The Real Star – December 18, 2020

“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
John 1:26,27

The Real Star


Daily Devotion – December 18, 2020

Devotion based on John 1:26,27

See series: Devotions

With these words, John the Baptist takes his place next to Dr. Watson, Ed McMahon, Art Garfunkel, and Scottie Pippen in the society of famous “second fiddles.” Dr. Watson didn’t solve the case. He marveled at the wits of Sherlock Holmes and then complimented the detective on a job well done. Ed McMahon didn’t sit behind the desk on The Tonight Show. He introduced Johnny Carson and then provided a hearty “laugh track” to the host’s comedic efforts.

Some of those famous second fiddles weren’t always so happy to play the supporting role. But John the Baptist was more than okay with it. In fact, he knew it was his divinely-given role in life to point ahead to the one who was coming after him. Before he was even born, the angel Gabriel told John’s father, “He will go on before the Lord . . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

And when he grew up and started preaching and started to gain a bit of a following, even then John remembered that it wasn’t about him, it was about Jesus. “The one who comes after me,” John says, “He is the one you’re looking for. He’s the star of this show.”

What an example for us to imitate! What a blessing to play “second fiddle” to Jesus! It was the purpose and goal of John the Baptist’s life. It’s the purpose of our lives as well. Aware of our mountain of sins, aware of our spectacular failures in obedience, we echo John’s words, “I am not worthy.” But Jesus took our unworthiness to the cross. And now, in joyful thanks, we become John the Baptists—if not in appearance or mannerisms, at least in message and attitude. Our goal each day is to give Jesus glory—in how we interact with the people around us and use our time and abilities. It’s not about us. It’s all about Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord and King, forgive me for those times when I am overcome by pride, arrogance, or selfish ambition. Lead me to follow John’s example of humility and to glorify you all my life. Amen.

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

Prepare the Way – December 17, 2020

Finally they said, “Who are you? . . . John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
John 1:22,23

Prepare the Way


Daily Devotion – December 17, 2020

Devotion based on John 1:22,23

See series: Devotions

In the ancient world, VIPs would send their heralds ahead of them to make straight the way—that is, to ensure the safety and travel ability of the road.

John the Baptist’s mission was to go ahead of Jesus, preparing the way and proclaiming the King’s imminent arrival. He was to blast through sinful pride and self-righteousness, to urge people to repent of their materialism and overconfidence, their lack of priorities and spiritual apathy, to get them ready and eager for the arrival of the One who could save them.

How do we “make straight the way for the Lord” today? By looking closely at our hearts and identifying those sins that clutter them. Are we giving certain sins a comfortable place in our hearts? Are we making excuses instead of getting tough on bad behavior? The Baptist calls out, “Repent!” “Make straight the way!”

Prepared hearts are hearts that daily loathe the sin within us and celebrate the arrival of our Royal Deliverer from heaven. He comes to us time and again in his Word and sacraments, bringing gifts most valuable—forgiveness of sins and peace with God. And on the last day, he will come not in simple means, but in awesome power, riding on the clouds of heaven, bringing our ultimate deliverance. As you prepare for that day, hear and heed John’s clarion call: “Repent!” “Prepare!” “Make straight the way of the Lord!”

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 3)
Fling wide the portals of your heart, make it a temple set apart.
From earthly use for heaven’s employ, adorned with prayer and love and joy.
So shall your Sovereign enter in, and new and nobler life begin.
To God alone be praise for word and deed and grace! Amen.

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

Safe From the Fire – December 16, 2020

“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.”
Malachi 4:1,2

Safe From the Fire


Daily Devotion – December 16, 2020

Devotion based on Malachi 4:1,2

See series: Devotions

Any fan of camping will tell you that a fire can be a beautiful thing. Anyone who’s ever had their power go out during a winter storm will tell you that a furnace is beneficial and necessary. But the fire that the prophet Malachi describes in our Bible reading for today is not like that. This fire rampages. This fire destroys.

Whom does the fire destroy? All the arrogant and every evildoer. (They) will be stubble. Not a root or branch will be left to them. It would be foolish for us to push these words aside as if they were only meant for others to hear and consider. A quick look of our interactions and relationships, the desires of our hearts, the machinations of our minds reveals the truth: “I am the arrogant one. I am an evildoer. I deserve the fire.”

But the day when the fire destroys and the evildoer is reduced to stubble—that’s also the day when Jesus has promised to stand beside those who trust in him so that not a hair of their heads nor a thread of their clothing will be singed.

For you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. Sun is spelled s-u-n there, but the Bible reveals a righteousness that comes through the S-o-n. For it is in the Son, the Son of God, that we find true healing from our sins. The tears, breaks, lacerations, and gashes that our disobedience has inflicted in our relationship with God, have been healed by Jesus’ wounds. Believe in him and what he has done, and no fire of hell, no flame of judgment will be able to touch you.

Prayer:
Jesus, lead me each day to place my trust fully in you and to rejoice in the healing found in you, that I might truly be prepared for the day of your return. Amen.

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

Clothes for Christmas – December 15, 2020

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.
Isaiah 61:10

Clothes for Christmas


Daily Devotion – December 15, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:10

See series: Devotions

Every Christmas when I was a child, I would receive a beautifully wrapped present from my grandma. And every Christmas, without fail, I would eagerly tear open the wrapping paper to find two pairs of dress socks in the gift box. She lived during the Depression and the practical values instilled in her at that time never faded away. Unfortunately, when you’re six years old, that sort of practicality is not always fully appreciated!

Isaiah speaks in our Bible reading today about a gift of clothes that we can get excited about, clothes that cause thankful hearts to delight greatly in the Lord, clothes that cause our souls to rejoice in our God!

For who wouldn’t get excited about garments of salvation and robes of righteousness when you realize how badly we need them? Our filthy rags of sin are not appropriate for standing in God’s presence—not now, not in eternity. Every selfish action is another splotch. Every impatient word is another spill. Every hateful thought is another ugly stain of iniquity that we could never hope to get out by ourselves.

God saw that we needed new spiritual clothes, that without them, we could never spend our eternity with him, and so he gave sinners the shirt off his back. Jesus put on our rags of sin and took their punishment.

And when a person is baptized, God wraps them in the holy, perfect robes of Christ’s righteousness. In those garments of salvation, they can stand in the presence of a perfect God. In those garments of salvation, they have a place in the family of the Father and proper attire for the eternal heavenly banquet. Here is something to be genuinely excited about as you prepare for Christmas: Jesus was wrapped in strips of cloth so that you could be wrapped in robes of righteousness!

Prayer:
Gracious God, my soul rejoices in you, for when I did not have the proper clothes to stand in your presence, you gave them to me. May those robes of righteousness be my consolation when I fall, my comfort in times of sadness, and my hope when my last hour comes. Amen.

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

Proclaiming Freedom – December 14, 2020

He has sent me . . . to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
Isaiah 61:1

Proclaiming Freedom


Daily Devotion – December 14, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:1

See series: Devotions

Martin Luther said that the words of Isaiah 61 are a “most proper definition of Christ, as well as his task and his functions.” If you want to know what Christ has come to do, read Isaiah 61. But you didn’t need Martin Luther to tell you that. Jesus himself read these words aloud in the synagogue of Nazareth. And when he finished reading, he looked up and told everyone listening, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Jesus points to these words and says, “Isaiah was talking about me!”

In a bad news world, you have a good news, God! To people who know what it’s like to be spiritual prisoners—of the devil, of the world, of their own sinful natures—the Savior comes. And He says, “I have come…to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”

It’s kind of a neat thing to note that the Hebrew word that’s translated “freedom” is a relative of the Hebrew word for “flying”—specifically, the fluttering of bird’s wings. Think of a majestic bald eagle crammed into a tiny birdcage. That’s us. Human beings, the majestic crown of God’s creation, imprisoned by our own doing, and Satan holding the key. God looked at that picture and said, “That’s not right.” And so, Jesus came to let the bird out of the cage, so to speak—to give freedom from sin, death, and Satan’s power to all who believe.

To do that, of course, Jesus himself was bound, subjecting himself to temple guards and their chief priests, to Roman soldiers and their governor. He was treated as a guilty one even by the Father himself so that by his blood, we—the truly guilty ones—may go free.

What a privilege it is to be able to have that freedom through Christ proclaimed to us! What a privilege it is to be able to proclaim that freedom through Christ to others!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you not only proclaim freedom for the captives, but you did all that was necessary to achieve freedom for the captives. How can I ever thank you enough? Make me joyful and ready as your messenger to proclaim to others the freedom you have won. Amen.

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

Christmas Clothes – December 13, 2020

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

Christmas Clothes


Daily Devotion – December 13, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:10

See series: Devotions

Every year as Christmas approached, my mom would take my two brothers and me shopping for Christmas clothes. She insisted that we had to look our best for the Christmas Eve service and pictures afterward. So each year, Dad and Mom would drag three unhappy boys to some department store for an evening of trying on clothes. And the best or worst part of it, depending on your perspective, was that all three of us had to match. We usually ended up with identical or very similar outfits.

Do you have your Christmas clothes picked out this year? What about your spiritual clothes? What kind of clothes have you picked out for yourself today? Are you wearing the ugly robes of shame and guilt over the sins of last night? Perhaps you have chosen for yourself darker garments of jealousy and anger. Could it be that your clothes are permanently stained by the repetitive sins of greed, lust, or worry? Maybe you are sure that your clothes look pretty clean compared to those around you, but they smell of pride and arrogance.

Mom always said we should look our best for Christmas, but our best isn’t good enough for heaven, and it never will be.

As you prepare to celebrate Christmas, give thanks that Jesus has provided new spiritual clothing for you. The Bible says: “For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.”

Through his suffering and death on the cross, Christ has taken away our sin-stained garments and removed them from us. Through his perfect life in our place, Christ has earned our forgiveness and salvation. Jesus has taken his robe of righteousness and wrapped it around us. In Christ, you and I are dressed for heaven. Give thanks to Jesus for your Christmas clothes—his garments of salvation which he has won for you.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for earning salvation for me through your life and death in my place. Help me to always appreciate what you have done for me. Help me to live as you have clothed me—as a forgiven and righteous child of God. Amen.

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

The King of Glory is Coming – December 12, 2020

Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—he is the King of glory.
Psalm 24:7-10

The King of Glory is Coming


Daily Devotion – December 12, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 24:7-10

See series: Devotions

Imagine that you lived in ancient times. Your home was a city that had a great wall around it. A very prominent gate guarded the city, keeping enemies out and you safe. On the wall stood watchmen keeping a vigilant eye on everything that approached. Even though enemy nations were out there, you still felt secure.

Then, one day, the King of the country approached your city, riding victoriously on his war-horse. Your king… your defender… your hero has defeated the enemy and now comes to dwell with you. What joy! What peace! Imagine how excited you would be to greet your hero!

The best part of this is that you don’t have to imagine it. This isn’t pretend or make-believe! It’s real. Jesus is your conquering hero, but with a twist of divine irony, he came humbly and lowly, born in a manger. The world hardly noticed his arrival. But he came as our glorious King to defeat our greatest enemy. On the cross, he went to battle against Satan, and the almighty LORD crushed Satan’s head completely. By his death, Jesus paid for all your sin. Through faith in Jesus, your sins are forgiven.

What’s more, is that your conquering hero is coming and he wants to dwell with you forever. Are you ready for his arrival? According to the calendar, there are only 19 days left before Christmas. You know full well all the pressure and stress of getting ready. Presents and decorations and good food are all wonderful blessings… but let’s not forget to lift up our heads and hearts to see Jesus the most precious gift of God! He is our King of Glory!

Prayer:
O King of Glory, help me to prepare my heart to welcome you each day. Keep me from the distractions of this season so that I can welcome you as my Savior and King. Amen.

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

Prepare the Way – December 11, 2020

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Mark 1:3,4

Prepare the Way


Daily Devotion – December 11, 2020

Devotion based on Mark 1:3,4

See series: Devotions

In the ancient world, before the king came to town, major road work had to be done. There was no interstate freeway system. Instead, workers went ahead of the king and made a smooth path to his destination. Low points were filled in, high points were leveled, and crooked paths were straightened.

So do you see the point of today’s Bible passage? King Jesus was coming, and John the Baptist had some road construction to do. But he was not altering the topography of Palestine. He was altering the human heart and cleared the way for people to believe in Jesus.

By nature, the human heart is a horrible barrier between King Jesus and his people. By nature, every inclination of thoughts of the heart is opposed to the will of God. It was true in John’s day, and it is still true in our day.

John prepared hearts through preaching a simple message: “Repent!” Repentance is a change of mind that God works in you. He leads you to hate your sin and trust in Jesus for forgiveness. Repentance is not a one-time thing. It needs to happen continually because the devil, the world, and your sinful nature are constantly working to unprepare your heart and turn you back to your sin.

Do not let them! Whatever sins haunt your heart, turn from them. Turn from them and turn to Jesus who has provided forgiveness for every sin. As God comforts you with this reality, he will also give you the strength to stay away from those sins today. And the way will be prepared to celebrate the arrival of your King.

Prayer:
King Jesus, keep my heart prepared to meet you. Amen.

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

Look Forward to This – December 10, 2020

That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:12,13

Look Forward to This


Daily Devotion – December 10, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Peter 3:12,13

See series: Devotions

If you read the Bible from start to finish, you will notice a theme that comes up many times and in many ways: “Look forward to this: The Last Day is coming!” But two thousand years after the Bible was completed, it still has not arrived.

So, is it even on your radar? Do you look forward to this? Did you lose sleep last night thinking about how Jesus will come again in glory? Did you cancel all your plans this weekend to study what the Bible says about the second coming of Christ?

Probably not. It’s just so easy to lose sight of. Life goes on, day after day, and it can be so distracting! Especially in this day and age and this time of year. There are Christmas lists to make, Christmas cookies to bake, and Christmas specials to watch.

But that’s a problem. Why should you desire the things of this world so much that you forget the world to come? It is absolutely worth looking forward to!

The heaven and earth we live in—as amazing as they are—are ruined by sin. They will be destroyed on the Last Day. In its place, God promises to give us a new heaven and a new earth. Sin and its effects will not continue—no more sickness, obituaries, tornadoes, floods, murder, or bad news.

We have no idea how good this will be because it is beyond our experience. It is kind of like Christmas presents under the tree. You know that they will be good, but you don’t know exactly what they are. Still, it is terribly exciting to think about those presents. And it is terribly exciting to think about how wonderful the new world God will create for his people will be.

That’s why it can be hard to wait for it. Just as it can be hard for a child to wait to open her Christmas presents. But rest assured, the wait will be worth it!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me something so wonderful to look forward to. Amen.

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

The Kind of People This World Needs – December 9, 2020

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God.
2 Peter 3:11,12

The Kind of People This World Needs


Daily Devotion – December 9, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Peter 3:11,12

See series: Devotions

A common criticism of Christianity is that the heavenly minded are of no earthly good. In other words, Christians can become so fixated on the next life that they do nothing to make this present world a better place.

While some Christians may live that way, they should not. That attitude is not in the Bible. In fact, today’s Bible passage says the exact opposite, that the end of the world and the Christian’s hope of heaven have a profound effect on how they live right now.

They push Christians to live a holy and godly life because they know that their life is not all about them. They know that God created them and sent his Son to save them. They know that Jesus put his perfect life in place of their imperfect sin so that, in his sight, they are holy and godly.

Now he says to Christians, “I have made you to be exactly what the world needs right now. Be what you are.” This means there are all sorts of things that they are meant to do, chief among them loving their God and their neighbors by doing good to those around them.

So, if you truly want to make this world a better place, if you seek to serve others in meaningful ways, if you hope to help them not only navigate this life but learn about the next life, then follow Jesus. Learn about him and trust in him. You will discover a joy and peace, unlike any other. And he will not only give you the gift of eternal life, but he will empower you to live a life of remarkable earthly good.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me to live a holy and godly life so that I am both prepared for the day this world ends as well as prepared to be of use while this world still exists. Amen.

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

Be Ready – December 8, 2020

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
2 Peter 3:10

Be Ready


Daily Devotion – December 8, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Peter 3:10

See series: Devotions

A thief does not announce his arrival ahead of time. He comes when you least expect. Jesus will do something similar. You see, the day of the Lord is the day of Jesus’ return when he will come in great power and glory. The Bible says that this day will come like a thief.

In other words, Jesus tells us that he is coming, but he does not tell us when he is coming. So we have only ourselves to blame if we are not ready when he returns.

The possibility is so dreadful that you have to ask, “What does it mean to be ready?” To answer this question, ask yourself: “What is at the top of my priority list as Christmas approaches? Entertainment or eternity? Gifts or God? A heart longing for a vacation, or a heart ready for Jesus?”

Entertainment is fine. Gifts are wonderful. Vacations are a blessing. But none of these is as important as a relationship with our maker. Sadly, we all mess up our priorities. Because we do not expect Jesus to return any time soon, we allow other things to become more important to us than him.

Today’s Bible reading reminds us not to allow this to happen. Since Jesus could return at any time, we want to be ready at all times. Being ready means setting your heart on Christ. Because in Christ, you are ready. It is for you that Christ came in the flesh. It is for you that Christ suffered and died. It is for you that he promises to come again, not to obliterate you, but to give you eternal life.

When he does, make sure you are ready!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, make me ready for your day by keeping my faith in you strong. Amen.

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

Still Waiting – December 7, 2020

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:8,9

Still Waiting


Daily Devotion – December 7, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Peter 3:8,9

See series: Devotions

In the second to last verse of the Bible, Jesus says, “Yes, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20). This is his promise to return in great power and glory on the Last Day. But if Jesus says that he is coming soon, why have nearly two thousand years passed since he said it? What’s he waiting for? Today’s Bible passage answers that question by reminding us that Jesus is eternal.

Jesus views time differently than we do. To the Lord, there is little difference between a thousand years and a day because he does not view events in sequence. He sees them all at once. What is long for us is short for him. So it makes perfect sense for Jesus to say, “I am coming soon” and for us to still be waiting two thousand years later.

Think of the little girl who asks for help, and her dad says, “Just a minute!” For her, that minute is an eternity, but for dad, that minute is a second. It’s the same way with Jesus. He says that he is coming soon, yet he appears slow from our perspective.

But that is not slowness; it is patience. Every day that is not the Last Day is a gift of God because it means more time for the Word of God to spread and rescue sinners from eternal damnation. It gives the human race more time to repent.

Repentance is a change of mind that God works in people. When you repent, God changes how you think about sin so that you hate it rather than loving it. When you repent, God changes how you think about how you are saved from your sins so that you trust in Jesus rather than your own goodness.

Why hasn’t Jesus returned yet? What is he waiting for? He is patiently waiting to spread his Word so that many more people believe in him and are saved. What a wonderfully loving Lord!

Prayer:
Eternal Lord, bless the spread of your Word as I wait for your return. Amen.

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

Welcome Gifts – December 6, 2020

Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation . . . Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Psalm 85:7,10

Welcome Gifts


Daily Devotion – December 6, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 85:7,10

See series: Devotions

Christmas is a time for happy meetings and warm greetings. Dear friends visit from long distances. Family members come to our homes to celebrate. What a joy it is to see them! Could you imagine receiving such welcome guests with a disinterested nod or a cold stare? Of course not! We receive such guests with enthusiastic handshakes; with heartfelt embraces; with joyful kisses!

In the psalm verses before us today, the writer describes an anticipated arrival, too. Only he is not describing the arrival of dear friends or family members visiting for the holidays, he is describing the arrival of something far more meaningful in our lives. The psalmist says love and faithfulness have arrived—gifts which moved our God to carry out his plan to save us with unwavering devotion. He says righteousness and peace have arrived—gifts which allow us to stand before our holy and perfect God as holy and perfect ourselves, the barrier of sin that once separated us from him removed.

And notice the beautiful picture language the psalmist uses to describe the arrival of these gifts. They do not come with a disinterested nod or a cold stare. They are so excited to be here, they meet with a kiss! And why wouldn’t they? These are not just gifts from God that will stick around for the Christmas season and then leave us. These are gifts from God through which he has granted us salvation, and they are here to stay! For this is really what we see in the manger of Bethlehem, isn’t it? As we look into the infant eyes of our God made flesh, we see his love and faithfulness. We see the righteousness that brought us peace. We see the one who came to save us from our sins so that we could live with him forever.

What welcome gifts! They are so glad to be here, and we are so glad they came!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, fill my heart today and always with the joy of knowing you sent the gifts of joy and peace to me in the gift of your Son. Amen.

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

Strong to the End – December 5, 2020

[The Lord Jesus Christ] will keep you strong to the end.
1 Corinthians 1:8

Strong to the End


Daily Devotion – December 5, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:8

See series: Devotions

By the summer of 1805, a man by the name of Lewis had had enough. For well over a year, he and his partner, William Clark, had been leading several dozen men across the western half of the United States. They had encountered all kinds of unexpected setbacks, brutal difficulties, exhausting stress. And over the past several weeks they had been struggling through an entire range of mountains until their energy level was gone.

But now the worst was over, Lewis thought. Climbing ahead of his men, he was about to reach the top of the highest mountain pass. As he did, he had every reason to believe that when he reached the top and looked beyond, he would see only gentle, descending slopes leading all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

But when he got there, he received the shock of his life. As he stood on the top of that pass and looked beyond, he saw more mountains. Many more. Mountains as far as he could see.

Has that ever been you? Perhaps that is you right now. You have been struggling through mountains of difficulty only to look beyond and see more mountains. Maybe it’s the frantic crises at work that never seem to stop, financial troubles that never seem to end, cancer treatments that just keep coming, or a fear of loneliness that stretches as far as your eye can see.

But as you stand there and look at those mountains, there’s something else for you to see. It’s Jesus. He’s not beyond those mountains. He’s right by your side. He is not some Sunday school story. He is your living Lord, your best friend. For all the times you have doubted him, he has washed you clean in his blood. For all the times you’ve been afraid, he has been your champion. For all the times you’ve been weak, he has been your strength.

Lewis and his men completed their journey. You will too. You will because Jesus, your Savior, walks beside you. He will keep you strong. He will keep you strong to the end.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as I view the mountains I have yet to climb, help me to see that you’re right by my side. Deliver me from my fears. Be my strength. Amen.

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

Sleeping At Your Post – December 4, 2020

[Jesus said] “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”
Mark 13:33

Sleeping At Your Post


Daily Devotion – December 4, 2020

Devotion based on Mark 13:33

See series: Devotions

Falling asleep at your post is one of the worst offenses a soldier can commit against his brother’s-in-arms. Throughout history, there have been severe punishments for someone falling asleep while on guard duty. Such a mistake could lead to people dying and battles lost. Falling asleep at your post has always been worthy of punishment by the military.

Are you sleeping at your post in your life of faith? Have you failed to keep watch over the spiritual lives of you and your family? Maybe you have gotten so caught up in the weekend tournament scene that you and your family have not been to worship in longer than you can remember. Or maybe you have spent so many nights binging Netflix shows that you have failed to keep up with your Bible reading. Or maybe, you had a bad church experience in the past and have drifted away. You always told yourself you would come back to the church, but as time has passed you just have not gotten around to it.

Falling asleep at our post in our spiritual lives is a risky proposition. The stakes are even higher here than in the military. Eternal lives are at stake. If we neglect our spiritual lives, we put ourselves in danger of missing out on the eternal life that God has won for us in Jesus.

Thankfully, Jesus never fell asleep at his post. He was alert. He was always vigilant in living as our substitute and Savior. Jesus lived a perfect life in our place, died on the cross to take our sins away, and assure us that salvation is ours. Through faith in Jesus, we are saved from our lack of readiness. In him, we have eternal life.

This same loving Savior encourages us to be alert in our lives of faith. So be on your guard! Get back into the Word. Find time to get into God’s house and grow in your faith. You and your family will receive eternal benefits as you stay alert.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your vigilance in earning my salvation. Help me always to be on alert, that I may stay in faith and reach everlasting life with you. Amen.

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

Strong to the End – December 3, 2020

He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:8,9

Strong to the End


Daily Devotion – December 3, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:8,9

See series: Devotions

“I don’t know how much more I can take.” Have you heard anyone offer that sentiment lately? Many of us are ready for 2020 to be over. No doubt about it, this year has presented many challenges: Covid-19. Natural disasters. Anxiety, depression, and stress are at dangerously high levels in society. Throw in political chaos, and it has been a year unlike any other.

How are you going to make it? Can you survive anything more? At the risk of piling on, there is no guarantee that 2021 will be better. In fact, it could be even worse. How are you going to make it?

Certainly not on your own. We are all so full of weakness, fear, and worry. We are so inclined to doubt, stress, and despair. We do not have sufficient strength to go it on our own, no matter what we may try to tell ourselves. Our supply of strength is severely limited and cannot possibly hope to get us through the challenges of this world.

Thankfully, God promises to keep us strong. He has sent Jesus to save us and strengthen us. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection give us the salvation we need and the assurance that God really does love us and care for us. In Jesus, we find forgiveness and peace. In Jesus, we find the strength to keep going and the hope of a better future in heaven.

God proved his love and care by keeping his promise of a Savior. He will keep his promise to strengthen us through his Word. How are you going to make it? Only through God and the strength he provides. Put your trust in Jesus and daily find strength through his Word. Make God’s Word a regular part of each day, and then, no matter how long this goes, God will keep you strong to the end.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, I cannot do this on my own. Help me to trust in your Word of promise. Keep me strong to the end. Amen.

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

Trust that God Has a Plan – December 2, 2020

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay; you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

Trust that God Has a Plan


Daily Devotion – December 2, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 64:8

See series: Devotions

Do these words from the prophet Isaiah make you uncomfortable? The picture of the potter and the clay is not how we normally look at life. We don’t want to think that we are being molded by someone else. Rather, we like to call the shots. We like to believe that we are in control. We would much prefer that others bend to our will rather than the other way around. Deep down, there is a stubbornness in each of us. We have a certain idea of how things should go. When someone has other ideas, we tend to dig in our heels and push forward with our own thing, regardless of the damage it may cause.

To such stubborn hearts, God speaks. He says that we have it all wrong. God wants to work on us. It is his will that matters, not ours. He wants to form us and mold us to his will. Too often, we fight God’s working in our lives.

Thankfully, Jesus never stubbornly fought against God’s will. He was always more than ready to serve in whatever way the Father called him to serve—even when that meant going to die on the cross for sins he had never committed. Imagine if Jesus had dug in his heels and stubbornly fought God’s plan for him! We all would be in eternal trouble. Instead, we rejoice to know that Jesus submitted to the Father’s will and earned our salvation through his life, death, and resurrection. Jesus was perfectly willing to serve us as our Savior.

That same loving Lord seeks to form you and make you a blessing to others. God will continue to work on you and mold you as you read and hear his Word in the Bible. Isn’t it exciting to think about what he might make of you!

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, you are the potter, I am the clay. Help me to willingly serve you in my life as you mold me into the humble servant you want me to be. Amen.

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

Humanity – December 1, 2020

The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
Genesis 6:5

Humanity


Daily Devotion – December 1, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 6:5

See series: Devotions

Our society bombards us with the idea that all people are inherently good and that humanity will eventually move past its difficulties. Humanity is held up as the one thing that can save us all. Movie after movie continues to tell us that good will prevail over evil and that we should trust in the goodness of mankind.

But is that reality? If mankind was inherently good, why do we continue to have so much war, murder, and crimes like rape and human trafficking? If people all have some good deep down in their souls, why is there so much yelling and screaming? Why can we not all calmly discuss our differences and work together?

The reality is no one is inherently good. The Bible says it is quite the contrary. We read in Genesis—and throughout the Bible—that mankind is inherently sinful. Our thoughts and desires are inherently sinful, not inherently good. We are by nature selfish and greedy. We want our way and do not want to listen to anyone else, let alone listen to what God has to say. That certainly is not news that anyone wants to hear, but it is true.

The good news is that there is someone who was inherently good. His name is Jesus. He is the only man to have ever walked this earth without a sinful nature. Jesus was better than good. He was perfect. As our substitute, Jesus lived a perfect life in our place and died on the cross to pay for our sins. He died and rose again to guarantee that our sins would be forgiven and that we could have the gift of eternal life in heaven. Through faith in Jesus, we have a desire to live for God and to do what is good out of love for him.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for taking my sins away and for being my perfect substitute. Filled with your love, help me to desire what is good. Help me to serve you today. Amen.

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

Living on Borrowed Time – November 30, 2020

Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
Genesis 6:3

Living on Borrowed Time


Daily Devotion – November 30, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 6:3

See series: Devotions

The wicked people of Noah’s day were living on borrowed time. Their days were numbered. God had had enough. He gave them a clear warning that they had 120 years before he was going to send powerful judgment. Our days are numbered as well. Unlike the people of Noah’s time, God has not told us specifically how many days we have left. But each one of us has a clock that is winding down.

How are you going to spend that time? The people of Noah’s day ignored God’s warning. They paid no heed to the fact that their day of judgment was approaching. They went on living as if it was no big deal. They kept on living out their daily routines.

We so easily keep on doing what we are doing and give no thought to our relationship with the God who created us. We go to work, get the kids to school, and go to tournaments on the weekends. We keep up with our favorite shows on Netflix and religiously follow our Facebook and Instagram feeds. Meanwhile, the clock on our earthly lives continues to wind down, and we fail to have a sense of urgency about our lives of faith. How many worship services have you failed to attend or tune into because you were caught up in daily life? How many days have you failed to spend even five minutes in the Bible because you had more important things to do?

Thankfully, Jesus did not take that approach in being our Savior. Jesus came into this world and had a short amount of time with which to accomplish our salvation. He came and got right to work, and he never once failed to handle our eternal destiny with a sense of urgency. He lived, died, and rose again so that we could be set free from sin, death, and hell. Thank God that Jesus had a sense of urgency about winning our salvation!

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your determination and commitment in achieving my salvation. Enable me to serve you today with that same determination. Help me to always be ready for the day when you will call me home. Amen.

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

Jesus is Your Shepherd – November 29, 2020

“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land . . . I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.”
Ezekiel 34:11-13,23,24

Jesus is Your Shepherd


Daily Devotion – November 29, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 34:11-13,23,24

See series: Devotions

We have seen some major storms this year. With frightening clouds, damaging winds, and darkness, hurricanes unleashed their destruction. Many people had to evacuate, and those that stayed had to seek cover.

In today’s Bible reading, the Lord speaks about sheep that were scattered and harmed by a violent storm.

Those sheep were God’s people. The storm clouds and darkness described the sin and destruction that scattered God’s Old Testament people among the heathen nations, where they were insecure, helpless, hurt, and facing a dismal end.

The Lord promised to send one shepherd to gather his sheep from every land, perfectly care for their needs, and grant them his salvation. That shepherd was called “David.” King David had been God’s chosen shepherd of his people centuries earlier, but this “David” would be his greater descendant, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

In the greatest storm ever, on a cross, Jesus would suffer the punishment for all of the rebellion and wrongs of his people and win forgiveness for their sins. That Savior would gather all of his chosen ones safely into the perfect pasture of his kingdom.

Do you have storms in your life? Do you have wrongs against God that have sent you running, hurt, and perishing? Jesus is your shepherd, who graciously gathers you safely into his flock, is caring for your every need, and will continue to do so perfectly forever!

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for shepherding me safely into your fold. Continue to tend me this day and always with your grace in Christ Jesus, my Savior. Amen.

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

Searching – November 28, 2020

“For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.”
Ezekiel 34:11,12

Searching


Daily Devotion – November 28, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 34:11,12

See series: Devotions

I can’t find my cell phone holder. It clips on my belt and conveniently holds my cell phone. But I can’t find it. My 3-year-old daughter decided to play with it, and well, that’s explanation enough for its disappearance. I’ve looked for it. I’ve looked everywhere I can think it could be. But nothing.

There’s a very good reason I’ve looked so diligently for that cell phone holder. It’s very useful. It’s valuable to me.

That’s what makes God’s words in Ezekiel 34 so amazing. He says, “I myself will search for my sheep.” God is talking about us, his sheep. You hear a sense of urgency in God’s voice as he describes his search and rescue mission. He compares himself to a loving shepherd who frantically searches for his lost sheep until they’re found. But why would God search so diligently for us? Unlike my cell phone holder, we do not appear to be very useful or valuable to God. Quite the contrary. We have disobeyed him, disgraced him, deserted him. And not just once but over and over again. Why doesn’t he just let us go our own way? Why doesn’t he just give up on us?

Because he loves us. So much, that he sent his Son to suffer hell for us. That was the real rescue mission. Jesus said, “The Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).

And now God won’t give up on us. Even though we turn our backs on him and go our own way, he keeps searching for us. And when he finds us, he holds us close, calms our fears, and comforts us with the promise of eternal green pastures in heaven.

Prayer:
Father, in your great love, you searched for me and found me. You saved me from the eternal death my sins deserve. Keep me close to you. Feed me with your Word. And finally, deliver me safely to my eternal rest. Amen.

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

Underestimation – November 27, 2020

They put a staff in [Jesus’] right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.
Matthew 27:29

Underestimation


Daily Devotion – November 27, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 27:29

See series: Devotions

You are in Windsor, Canada. It is 1902. You are in the stands of a racetrack, waiting for the next race. As you do, you see a horse coming out to the track that makes you wince. You check your program. His name is “Prince Direct.” The Chicago Tribune later describes him as “fat” and “gross.” Worse yet, as he plods his way past you, you notice that he has the most awkward kind of walk you have ever seen. At once, you dismiss him out of hand. So does everyone around you.

And then Prince Direct begins to run. Suddenly he is a horse transformed. The legs underneath him are fast and sure. He blows past every other horse in the race. His performance shocks everyone. In the end, all the crowd can do is cheer. It is a grand case of underestimation.

It is what the soldiers who crucified Jesus did. As they prepared him for the cross, they decided to have some fun. They had heard the claims that he was a king. Their immediate response was mockery. “This man, a king? Look at him. This man is a nothing. Whatever he claims to be is a nothing. And soon this nothing will be dead.”

And so Jesus went to the cross. On the cross, he suffered and died. And three days later, he rose from death. In so doing, he demonstrated that his death had paid for the sins of the world. And that through faith in him, we have forgiveness and life. He is the Son of God and, indeed, the King of kings. It had been a grand case of underestimation.

The next time you feel the temptation to underestimate Jesus, take a deep breath, and give yourself a moment. Remember who he is. Remember what he has done for you. Let it assure you he is able to do anything for you. Let it assure you he will do what is best for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, King of kings, forgive me for all the times I have underestimated you. Help me remember who you are. Amen.

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

Glasses of Gratitude – November 26, 2020

Do not forget the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 8:11

Glasses of Gratitude


Daily Devotion – November 26, 2020

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 8:11

See series: Devotions

Imagine you have two pairs of special glasses. The first pair makes you see the people and things in your life in all the wrong ways. You see people who irritate you at work. You see people who don’t appreciate all that you do. You see people who slight you and disrespect you. You see all the faults in other members of your family. You see the disappointments in your family life or your lack of family life. With this pair of glasses, you see all the things that make you anxious, bitter—all the things that put you on edge. You see others who seem to have it far better than you. Worst of all, with this pair of glasses, you see no reason to think very much about your relationship with God.

Let’s be candid. You and I often wear these glasses with gusto. And when we do, we give God every reason to forget about us and walk away.

But he hasn’t, and he doesn’t. Instead, he sent his Son. When Jesus walked this earth, he never stopped thinking about us. He had you and me in mind when he lived a perfect life in our place and carried our sins of ingratitude to the cross. And because he has now risen from the dead, you and I not only get to bask in his forgiveness. You and I now get to live our lives wearing a different pair of glasses. These glasses empower us to see our lives as they truly are. They are the glasses of thankfulness.

When you put these on, you see something wondrous. You see the hand of God taking care of you. He makes sure that you have enough to eat, that you have something to wear, that you have a place to stay. He demonstrates his love for you through friends and family. He demonstrates his love for you through medical teams that see to your physical needs. Most of all, he demonstrates his love for you through his living Word, through his message of the cross and the empty tomb of Easter.

With the glasses of gratitude, that is what we see. Wearing them, we will not forget.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord. And help me see all I have for which to give thanks. Amen.

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

The Enemy – November 25, 2020

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:26

The Enemy


Daily Devotion – November 25, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:26

See series: Devotions

Death is big business. In the United States alone, the funeral industry generates 20 billion dollars per year. Funeral homes employ tens of thousands. Add to that the number of people who work for the makers of caskets, urns, hearses, vaults, floral arrangements, and gravestones. And add to that the number of people who maintain cemeteries, crematoriums, and mausoleums. In the US, there are 2.7 million annual funerals. And with ten thousand baby boomers hitting the age of 65 every single day, there should be an abundance of funerals for years to come. Without question, death provides employment and a good living for a lot of people.

The big dollars and the big employment numbers change nothing, however. Death is still the same devastating beast it has always been. It brings crippling grief and waves of pain. It brings a depth of loneliness and loss from which many never fully recover. Do a search for quotes about death, and you’ll find all the easy clichés: “Death is a part of life,” “People don’t really die as long as someone remembers them,”—you know the kind. But it takes classic punk rocker John Lydon to display some real candor about death. “I hate death,” he says. “It takes people away from you. You’re left feeling rudderless.”

When the Son of God entered our time and space in the person of Jesus Christ, he saw death for the monster that it is. He knew that the specter of death was a direct result of sin—your sin and mine. And so Jesus didn’t come to dress it up, to compromise with it, or make it more polite. He came to destroy it.

And destroy it he did. Jesus lived a perfect life as our substitute. He went to the cross to pay for our every wrong. In so doing, he pulled the cause of death out by its roots and threw it into the fire. That’s why he rose from death three days later. He did it to remove all doubt that he had crushed and defeated death once and for all time.

That leaves only life. Eternal life. With Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for destroying death. When grief comes calling, refresh me in what you have done. Amen.

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

Cemetery – November 24, 2020

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20

Cemetery


Daily Devotion – November 24, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:20

See series: Devotions

Perhaps it’s been a long time since you’ve walked through a cemetery. Then again, perhaps not. When you did, what are the emotions you felt?

Your answer depends on the circumstances, of course. Maybe the circumstances were such that you felt crushing grief. Maybe you felt a numbness or felt relief mixed with exhaustion. Or it could be that the circumstances were such that you felt simple curiosity about the people buried there. Maybe you felt a fascination about the past. Maybe you felt quiet reflection.

In your imagination, put yourself inside a cemetery for a moment. Walk slowly and look up and down the rows of stones. The words of God before us in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 are from the apostle Paul. In that cemetery, imagine the apostle Paul walking with you. As you walk with him side-by-side, there is something else you would sense from Paul—something different. You would sense from him a great feeling of anticipation.

From 1 Corinthians 15, we know why. There, the apostle Paul points to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As he does, he makes it clear that Jesus’ resurrection is not some isolated, one-time event. Instead, he reminds us that Jesus is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. In other words, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is only the first of many.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is God’s exclamation point to the reality that Jesus Christ, Son of God, has lived a perfect life on our behalf; that he has suffered and died on the cross for our every sin. Through faith in him, we possess forgiveness of sin, peace, joy, and life eternal. Jesus’ resurrection has set in motion a series of wondrous things that are to come.

Which brings us back to the cemetery through which you are walking. In such a place, at times will you feel grief, loss, reflection? Yes, you will feel all of these. Most of all, however, there is anticipation. On the Last Day, these graves will open. The bodies of those who have died in the Lord will reunite with their souls. And the roar of victory will last forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, fill me with anticipation for the wonders we will experience when you return. Amen.

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

Search – November 23, 2020

For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.
Ezekiel 34:11

Search


Daily Devotion – November 23, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 34:11

See series: Devotions

The year is 1988. The country is China. The woman’s name is Li. Her son’s name is Jia. Jia is about 18 months old. In October of that year, Li receives news that is every parent’s nightmare. Her child is missing.

At first, Li assumes that her son has simply wandered off and that someone will soon find him and bring him home. It soon becomes clear, however, that people have very likely kidnapped her son with the intent of selling him to a childless family, a crime that is prevalent in China at the time.

Li, however, is determined to find her son. She begins her search. Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months. Months turn into years. As they do, the story of Li and her search gathers more and more attention. She receives hundreds of leads. She pursues every single one. Each is a dead end.

Then, in May of this year, Li receives word about a man who seems to fit her son’s description. The man agrees to a DNA test. It’s a match. When they finally meet, there are tears and smiles and more tears. Li’s extraordinary search of 32 years has come to an end.

You and I are part of a search too. Our own sin snatched us from God’s family and carried us off to a place that is barren, lonely, empty, cold. God’s heart, however, could not forget us. As hour heavenly Father, he refused to give up on us. As part of his rescue mission, God sent his Son, Jesus, to live a holy life on our behalf and to carry our every sin to the cross.

And now he seeks to bring this good news to every lost soul, including yours. Perhaps you are at a point in your life when you feel lost, adrift, forgotten. If so, remember what your heavenly father has done to find you and rescue you. You are not forgotten. You are his.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your search. Thank you for seeking me out. Through faith in your Son, my home is in you. Amen.

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

Do Not Grieve – November 22, 2020

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 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 4:13,14

Do Not Grieve


Daily Devotion – November 22, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14

See series: Devotions

We’re not always sure what hope looks like. No hope, however, is easy to spot.

Frustrated folks in corrupt countries see no way up or out, so they lash out in violence, torching cars and burning buildings. American families, who have maxed out their credit cards and can’t figure a way out from under the debt, often have a sense of hopelessness. In instances like these, having no hope of a future causes grief to set in.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Just when there seems to be no way out, Jesus says, “I am the way” (John 14:6). Just when death seems to have a victory, Christ shows us his empty tomb. Just when your world seems to get worse and worse, Jesus says, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).

Even when we lose a loved one to death, we can have hope. The apostle Paul assured the Christians of his day that those who have died trusting in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins are not lost. Their souls are in heaven with Jesus. And, on the day Jesus returns, he will bring those souls with him and reunite their souls with their bodies which will be raised from the grave.

So, if you have lost a Christian loved one, do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. Look forward to being reunited in the halls of heaven!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, give me hope that only you can give because you conquered death and guarantee a glorious resurrection to all who believe in you, life is not hopeless and death is not final. Amen.

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

Faith to Give Thanks – November 21, 2020

When [Jesus] saw [the ten men who had leprosy], he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:14-16

Faith to Give Thanks


Daily Devotion – November 21, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 17:14-16

See series: Devotions

Ten men had been miraculously healed by Jesus. Nine never bothered to say, “Thank you.” But, before we point our fingers too quickly, we would do well to honestly assess our attitudes about all that God has done for us. It is easy to be like the lepers who went on their way—to be so busy enjoying God’s blessings that we fail to say, “Thank you.” What are some blessings for which you never, or have rarely given God thanks—legs that walk, eyes that see, lungs that breathe, a family that loves, friends that care? Or, how about the forgiveness God grants for Jesus’ sake, even for the sin of being less than thankful for his blessings?

When you take the time to consider the countless blessings the Lord has showered on you, it will move you to take the time to thank him for those blessings. That’s what the Samaritan leper did. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.

Why not do the same today? Throw yourself at Jesus’ feet and thank him. Thank him for as many blessings as you can think of. You may be surprised how long the list is. And, you will be all the more grateful for all of his gifts.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you. Amen.

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

Wedding Ready – November 20, 2020

[Jesus said] “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. . . . The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ . . . “The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Matthew 25:1-6,10-13

Wedding Ready


Daily Devotion – November 20, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:1-6,10-13

See series: Devotions

What’s the big deal about missing a wedding banquet? People miss them all the time. Sometimes they miss them on purpose. This year, people might have a bigger issue with missing a wedding banquet. Because of the pandemic, countless couples have changed, rearranged, or canceled their plans.

But that’s nothing compared to missing the feast that Jesus invites us to receive. The Bible describes heaven as one, eternal, joyous feast. Jesus has invested so much to include us at this feast. He gave his life to get us in. Jesus clothes us in his righteous garments. He gives us faith that holds onto his invitation. And now he is busy getting the banquet ready. This is one feast we don’t want to miss!

But there is so much that distracts us, that seems more important, that gratifies us now. Why wait for those eternal pleasures? What’s the big deal? The big deal is, you are either in or out. This is one wedding banquet you won’t be able to crash. You either spend eternity in God’s presence, enjoying all his blessings, or you miss out entirely and regret it eternally.

Jesus is coming back. Since we can’t know when it’s wise to be ready. So, keep your faith well-oiled with God’s Word. Repent of your sins. Trust that Jesus has fully atoned for your guilt. And wait with wide-open and expectant eyes for Jesus to return. Then, no matter when he does, you won’t miss it!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for inviting me to your wedding feast. Keep my faith focused on you so that I am ready for your arrival. Amen.

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

The Bride of Christ – November 19, 2020

“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! The wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”
Revelation 19:6-9

The Bride of Christ


Daily Devotion – November 19, 2020

Devotion based on Revelation 19:6-9

See series: Devotions

Ever since she was a little girl, she had dreamt of and longed for this day. For years, she had filled a scrapbook with all the things that would make her wedding day perfect. The white linen dress. The names of her bridesmaids. The gowns that her bridesmaids would wear. The color of those gowns. The flowers that would adorn the altar. The bouquet she would hold in her hands. The ever-growing and changing list of guests. The banquet to follow.

But now, as she stood at the end of the aisle, all those things faded into the background. In that moment, she forgot about the gown and the guests. She gazed past the bridesmaids and bouquets. All she could see was her groom standing before the altar. Her eyes locked onto his. Her heart swelled with soothing joy. She was blessed.

Even if marriage is not part of your or God’s plan for your life, God wants to bless you through the wedding supper of the Lamb. The Lamb, who is Jesus, wants to join with you and me in a perfect, eternal union, to be one with us, and live with us forever. He wants to care for us and shower us with eternal pleasures from his hand.

But are we a suitable bride? Soiled with sin, we wouldn’t be fit to be carried over heaven’s threshold. Still, Jesus wants us to be his. So, he gives us his love. On the cross, he piled our sins on himself and paid for them all. The blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. His perfect life covers all our guilt. We are forgiven and fit to be his bride.

Are you ready for the wedding feast? Invited by the Father and clothed in Christ’s righteousness, you are. Don’t let the worries and pleasures of life distract you. Keep dreaming of and longing for the day when Jesus comes and calls out, “Everything is ready. Come to the feast!”

Prayer:
Lamb of God, by your power and grace, keep me ready and waiting for your heavenly feast. Amen.

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