Devoted to the Word – June 5, 2020

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:42

Devoted to the Word


Daily Devotion – June 5, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:42

See series: Devotions

The members of the Jerusalem church had heard the apostle Peter proclaim the good news that Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had crucified, was the promised Messiah and their Savior. Through God’s Word, they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, who convicted them of their sin and convinced them of their Savior. Their sins were forgiven. Heaven was their home. Their hearts were filled with joy.

We are told, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” The Word of God was their delight. It was the one thing they needed. It was more precious to them “than thousands of pieces of silver and gold” (Psalm 119:72). It was their dearest treasure. Therefore, they not only held it in the highest regard, but they also put it into practice. They lived in the joy of the gospel. In their worship, fellowship, witnessing, praying, love, sharing, and offerings, they thanked God for the blessing of his Word.

God’s Word has not changed. It is still the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. The way of salvation has not changed. Jesus Christ is the only Savior this world will ever have. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Scripture continues to be the only true source for direction in this life and hope for eternity. Where repentant, blood-bought souls gather around the Word of God, regard it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it–there the power of the Holy Spirit will be present to lead us into all truth and the joy of the gospel.

Prayer:
Lord, help me to be devoted to the hearing of your Word, to fellowship with your people, and to prayer that is pleasing in your ears. 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.
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A Change of Heart – June 4, 2020

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:37,38

A Change of Heart


Daily Devotion – June 4, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:37,38

See series: Devotions

“Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” (Luke 23:18). On Good Friday, the hateful crowds chanted those words to Pilate. Fifty days later, they had had a change of heart. Now they were terrified. They wished they never had cried out for Jesus’ death.

God’s Word caused the people of the Pentecost crowd to change their hearts. The Holy Spirit, through Peter’s words, had changed the people’s attitudes about Jesus. Now they realized he was the Son of God, and they were guilty of condemning him to death. “What shall we do?” they pleaded. Is there some way we can appease God?

Our natural, sinful hostility may not be as blatant as that of the angry crowd on Good Friday. But make no mistake about it. It is just as real, just as damnable. The critical questioning of how God rules our lives, the lack of complete trust in his care, the thoughts of gaining independence from God—all these are signs that in us lives the same sinful flesh that lived in the people who killed Jesus.

God gives us a change of heart through the good news that Jesus’ death is the payment for sin that we needed. He appeased the wrath of God. Our guilt is removed. We are led to trust Jesus as our living Savior and honor him as our gracious Lord. And with hearts changed by the power of God’s Word, we strive to glorify and serve Jesus in all we do.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I am sorry for the sins I have committed against you. Have mercy on me. For your sake, forgive me and grant me a new heart committed to following your will for 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.
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Christ Lives to Reign – June 3, 2020

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. . . . Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
Acts 2:32,36

Christ Lives to Reign


Daily Devotion – June 3, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:32,36

See series: Devotions

King Cyrus of Persia, King David of Judah, Caesar Augustus of Rome—these are three of the countless people who have ruled over the centuries. Some kings and kingdoms lasted for generations; some were short-lived. As different as they were from each other, they all had one thing in common—they did not last.

How uncertain life would be if all we had to lean on were these passing kings and kingdoms? Our immortal souls need something more. How eagerly, then, we listen to the words of the apostle Peter! He tells us of a far greater King. This King is the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter tells us of a far greater kingdom. Jesus’ kingdom will last for eternity.

It didn’t always seem this way, though. Jesus’ enemies plotted for years to kill Jesus. Finally, they carried out their plans and crucified him. Above his bloody head hung the inscription: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37).

Yet Jesus was different. Years before he died, he said, “Destroy this temple [this body of mine], and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19). On Easter Sunday, he did just that. His disciples ran to an empty grave. He had risen. He was still King, and his kingdom was still intact.

Today let Peter’s words give you strength. Be assured of this: your King lives to reign. He the Lord of your heart. He is your eternal source of forgiveness and hope.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for reminding me today that you are my king and are ruling all things. Use this truth to comfort and calm me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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An Important Job to Do – June 2, 2020

“This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”
Acts 2:23

An Important Job to Do


Daily Devotion – June 2, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:23

See series: Devotions

The world is full of different jobs. Each comes with different requirements and descriptions. When looking for a job, people will want to find one they are suited for and that they will enjoy doing. Some jobs require special skills or abilities to perform them properly.

Jesus’ Father gave him a unique job. He was sent to serve as the Savior of the world. Though innocent, he was condemned to death and crucified. But all this happened according to God’s purpose and foreknowledge. God used the horrible determination of wicked people for his own wonderful purpose—to save us from our sins.

This is good news for us because, as God’s creatures, we have a job of our own to do. We were created by our Father to glorify and honor him with godly living. However, we fail miserably at this job. Having failed, we deserve to suffer what God’s justice says our sins deserve. But, instead of giving us what our sins deserve, our merciful God saves us through the sufferings and death of his own Son on the cross.

We now have a new purpose in our lives. Our number-one job is to glorify and honor Jesus, who willingly died on the cross for us. We live to thank God, who gave us forgiveness and eternal hope.

God bless you in doing your job for him today!

Prayer:
Lord, help me today to do the job you have given me—to glorify and honor 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.
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A Different Language – June 1, 2020

“How is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?”
Acts 2:8

A Different Language


Daily Devotion – June 1, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:8

See series: Devotions

Learning a foreign language is a long process and hard work. If you have ever tried it, you know. But a long time ago, on the day of Pentecost, a miraculous thing happened. The Holy Spirit’s power came upon the Apostles, giving them the ability to speak fluently and instantly in languages they had never learned. Amazing!

There was another time in the Bible that languages played a prominent role. People plotted to defy God’s plan to have them spread out over the whole earth and populate it. They began to build a great tower as a symbol of their power and as a rallying point to hold them together. But for their own good, the Lord interrupted their efforts, confused their languages, and put an end to their defiance. (See Genesis 11:1-9.)

Contrast that with what happened on Pentecost. This time languages did not play a role in God’s anger over a defiant people, but rather in his merciful love for all. People from at least 15 different countries all heard the wonders of God in their own native languages. Instead of using language to separate these people, God endowed his disciples with a gift that drew the people together.

Pentecost demonstrated that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Despite all their differences, these 15 groups of people were very similar—they were all sinners. In languages they could understand, God communicated to them the good news that their sins were paid for by Jesus’ death.

Perhaps we will meet someone today who speaks a different language. If so, our first reaction might be: How different this person is from us. Remembering Pentecost, however, let us think this way: How similar this person is to us—someone who needs Jesus and someone for whom the Lord Jesus lived, died, and rose again.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for demonstrating your mercy and power on the day of Pentecost. Give me a heart that sees every person’s need to know about your mercy and your power. 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.
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The Perplexing Work of the Spirit – May 31, 2020

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
Acts 2:12

The Perplexing Work of the Spirit


Daily Devotion – May 31, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:12

See series: Devotions

The crowd didn’t know what to think.

Picture it this way: You are in this crowd. You are a member of the Jewish faith. You have traveled a great distance to reach Jerusalem, a place where the language is different from your own. You are there to celebrate the annual Jewish festival of Pentecost. Suddenly, in this crowd of people, you hear something that grabs your attention. You hear the voice of a man speaking to you in your own language. What’s confusing is that all the people around you—no matter what language they speak—are experiencing the same thing. At that moment, in that slice of time, you don’t know what to think.

On that day of Pentecost, that was the perplexing work of the Holy Spirit. On that day, the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples of Jesus to speak in languages they had never studied. He did this to proclaim a message that everyone there needed to understand. He did this to proclaim Jesus Christ.

The work of the Holy Spirit is still perplexing.

Go to any place where the good news of Jesus is clearly present. Why do people take the time to come? Why do people go to the trouble? Why do people often plan their calendars around the opportunity to soak up the message of Jesus Christ with others?

It’s all because of the perplexing work of the Holy Spirit.

In the eyes of the world, nothing so plain as the gospel should be so powerful or so life-changing. Nothing so plain as the gospel should have such an impact on so many souls.

But that’s the thing about the message of full forgiveness through faith in Christ. It’s the very tool the Holy Spirit uses to change hearts forever.

However, don’t be perplexed by the perplexing work of the Holy Spirit. Instead, rejoice in it.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, you are a worker of miracles. You use the message of the gospel to bring us to Christ and keep us in Christ. Empower us to marvel in thankfulness for what you do. 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.
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Give Glory to God – May 30, 2020

[Jesus said] “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.”
John 17:4

Give Glory to God


Daily Devotion – May 30, 2020

Devotion based on John 17:4

See series: Devotions

When our favorite team enjoys success, isn’t it great how we get to share in that glory, even though we didn’t earn or deserve it? “Hey, Mike, your Brewers are really having a great season. You guys are playing some great ball. Way to go!” We are eager to return that undeserved and unearned glory to our team by cheering for them and telling others about their victories and successes.

Our God is glorious and awesome! He is the Creator and Preserver of the universe. Most glorious of all, he is the Savior of all mankind. There is nobody like him.

He has graciously allowed us to share in the glory of his love by bringing us to trust and rely in him, even though at one time, we were dead in our sins and unbelief. We didn’t earn his love and surely didn’t deserve it. Amazing grace!

Jesus gave glory to his heavenly Father by his death on the cross. Jesus’ death, while bearing the sins of the world, has reconciled God and sinners together. The doors to heaven and eternal life are open for all. That means they are open for you, too!

Strive to give God glory every day as you live for him and seek to do his will for your life. As the Bible says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for bringing glory to the Father by dying for my sins. Thank you also for leading me to trust in you. Help me to glorify your name by all that I say and do. In your name, I pray. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Prays for You – May 29, 2020

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
John 17:1-3

Jesus Prays for You


Daily Devotion – May 29, 2020

Devotion based on John 17:1-3

See series: Devotions

My prayers contain a lot of different people and things that I love. They are about the things that I think about the most and the things for which I am overwhelmingly grateful.

Did you know that the night before his death, you were a part of Jesus’ prayer? That’s right. With everything else on his mind as he prepared to die for the sins of the world . . . you were on his mind. You were on his mind because what he was about to do he did for you. He knew he needed strength to endure the intense suffering necessary to secure your salvation. So, he asked his heavenly Father to give him that strength. He also prayed that you would learn about what he had done for you and that you would come to believe that your sins are forgiven because of what he did.

It is always nice to hear that someone is praying for you. When you share a challenge you are facing–an illness, a loss, a concern—and a friend or family member says, “I’m praying for you.” It shows they care, and it’s a comforting thing to know. And it is comforting to think of God listening to and answering their prayers.

Now think of Jesus praying for you nearly two thousand years ago. Isn’t it remarkable? Whatever illness, loss, or concern you are facing, take comfort knowing that Jesus is aware of it, and cares enough to pray for you.

Prayer:
Righteous Father, thank you for glorifying Jesus through his death and resurrection. Help me to know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 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.
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An Eternal Perspective – May 28, 2020

Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17,18

An Eternal Perspective


Daily Devotion – May 28, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:17,18

See series: Devotions

Imagine a regular day. If you are awake for 17 hours of that day, that means you have a little over a thousand minutes awake. Imagine for one minute of that day, something bad happened. Your car wouldn’t start. You got into a fight with a friend. You felt pain in part of your body. Then after that minute, nothing bad happened. In fact, for every minute of the rest of that day, only great things happened. You were able to eat all your favorite foods. You spent your time with people you love. Everything worked the way it was supposed to.

At the end of this day, how would you describe it? When you thought back, what would you focus on? Would you think about that single bad minute? Probably not. Instead, you probably couldn’t stop talking about the other thousand minutes and all the great things that happened. In fact, maybe even that single bad minute wouldn’t seem so bad in light of everything else.

So far, 2020 doesn’t seem to be a great year for a lot of us. There may be some real problems you are working through and some sadness that you feel. God wants you to find hope in the certainty that these troubles are only momentary. He wants you to give it an eternal perspective. The temporary troubles of 2020 cannot compare with the never-ending years of perfect joy every follower of Jesus will experience in heaven.

Your troubles are real, but God reminds you that from a perspective of eternity, they are light and momentary. Your time with Jesus will be perfect and forever. Fix your eyes on that eternity.

Prayer:
Eternal God, help me to focus not on my earthly troubles but on the eternity I will have 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.
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Minimize Your Anxiety – May 27, 2020

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

Minimize Your Anxiety


Daily Devotion – May 27, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 5:7

See series: Devotions

Minimalism is sweeping the world right now. From buying tiny homes to decluttering their homes, people are getting rid of their stuff. One expert, in particular, Marie Kondo, has sold millions of books, has her own TV show, and has made countless appearances speaking on the joys of minimizing and getting rid of things you don’t need. She encourages people to hold an object and if it doesn’t “spark joy” in their life, they should get rid of it.

What if you could practice minimalism not just with your stuff but with everything in your life?

Long before tiny homes or Marie Kondo, God was encouraging his people to practice minimalism—not physical minimalism but spiritual minimalism. Specifically, he told his people to get rid of anything that made them anxious–anything that kept them awake at night. God wanted his people to declutter all those things that made them wring their hands with worry.

In God’s minimalism, we don’t just take stuff and throw it away. While that may work for that old ski equipment, it doesn’t work for those things that make us anxious. Instead, God invites us to cast those anxieties onto him. He allows us to take those things that make us anxious, give them to him, and let him take care of it. Instead of worrying, God says we can trust him to arrange everything for us.

We can cast our anxieties on God because we know that he cares for us. Not just that he cares about us but that he cares for us. He guides us, watches over us, and provides for us. We can give God anything that makes us anxious because he is actively working all things in our lives to make sure that we are cared for.

What is causing you to worry today? What doesn’t “spark joy” in your life? Give it to God because he cares for you.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, help me to give to you everything that makes me anxious that I may rest in your care. 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.
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No Surprise – May 26, 2020

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12,13

No Surprise


Daily Devotion – May 26, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 4:12,13

See series: Devotions

Many things can surprise us in this life. An unexpected home or car repair bill may surprise us. The underdog coming back to win the game may surprise us. A phone call or message from a friend we have not spoken to in a very long time may surprise us.

One thing that should never surprise us, though, is that Christians will suffer in this life.

Many people don’t understand this. They think that Christians shouldn’t suffer if God is watching out for them. But, the Bible makes it clear that Christians will indeed suffer in this life.

Christians suffer because they participate with Christ. They belong to him and want to be like him. They follow where he goes and where Christ went, he found suffering. He was ridiculed, ostracized, tortured, and even killed.

However, this isn’t where Christ’s story ends. He rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and is with God the Father in perfection forever. And he promises the same to every one of his followers. So, just as Christians should not be surprised that they sometimes suffer in this life just as Christ suffered in this life, Christians shouldn’t be surprised that they will one day be glorified just as Christ’s glory will one day be revealed.

Do not be surprised when suffering comes your way, dear Christian. Take comfort and look forward to the day when you will experience the glory that will be yours through your Savior.

Prayer:
Holy Father, while I know suffering will come in this life, help me to see it as a participation in the life of Christ. Amen

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Wrong Direction – May 25, 2020

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”
Acts 1:6-8

Wrong Direction


Daily Devotion – May 25, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:6-8

See series: Devotions

They had seen his glory like no one else, and yet they still couldn’t get their earthly troubles out of their minds. They heard him preach as no one had ever preached. They saw him perform miracles like no one else ever had. They even saw him conquer death. And yet, in one of the last moments they had with him, their concern seemed to be their own earthly problem—they wanted to know when Israel might be a great nation again. They had the right Jesus, but their concerns were looking in the wrong direction.

Jesus didn’t leave them looking in the wrong direction. He told them that those earthly concerns belonged to the Father. He reminded them that they would have something better than a restored kingdom, they would have the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit, they would have the gift of faith to take the Good News of Jesus to not just Israel, but to the ends of the earth.

It’s easy for us to have the right Jesus but the wrong direction. This happens when we focus more on what matters to us than what matters to God. This happens when we care more about our own lives than the lives of others. This happens when we put more energy into our lives on earth than we do into our lives in heaven. Like the disciples, we may have the right Jesus, but we focus our lives in the wrong direction.

But by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus still reminds us today what is truly important. He points us heavenward and reminds us of our mission. He helps us to focus our efforts not on what is temporary but on what is eternal.

He gives us the right Jesus and points us in the right direction.

Prayer:
Gracious God, when I look in the wrong direction, gently restore me and remind me of what is truly important, the work you empower me to do. 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.
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God is on Your Side – May 24, 2020

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty).
Acts 1:15

God is on Your Side


Daily Devotion – May 24, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:15

See series: Devotions

On the day of his ascension into heaven, Jesus told the disciples they would be witnesses concerning him, and they were to do so in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

We learn from today’s Bible verse that right after Jesus’ ascension, the number of believers was 120. Wow! It sounds like an impossible task for the gospel to go so far with such a small group!

And yet, who is our God? Our God is the almighty One, the Maker of heaven and earth! Our God is the One who rules the winds and waves! Our God is the God who parted the Red Sea, who turned water into wine, who fed thousands with just a few loaves and fish. That’s who our God is!

How often we forget that, doubt that, or fail to appreciate that. We find ourselves fretting and worrying, getting stressed and anxious. Why so? Have we forgotten that our God is all-powerful? And even more importantly, have we forgotten that our God loves us?

Remember that the same powerful God who could do all those amazing things loved us enough to go to the cross and win forgiveness for us. Jesus, the true God, died for you! You’re forgiven! You’re loved! Loved and forgiven, by the all-powerful Ruler of all things!

And now it’s that all-powerful God, the God who can accomplish the impossible, who’s on your side.

And by the way, what did those 120 believers accomplish? Well, by the end of their lives, the Word had permeated Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and had been taken to Asia Minor, North Africa, and Europe. Was it impossible? Not with God on their side!

Prayer:
O Almighty God, remind me that you are the all-powerful One. Use your power in the way that’s best for me and all people. In Jesus’ saving name, I pray. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Live as Strangers – May 23, 2020

“Live your lives as strangers here.”
1 Peter 1:17

Live as Strangers


Daily Devotion – May 23, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:17

See series: Devotions

Live as strangers? It sounds like pretty shoddy advice when you first read it. You mean we shouldn’t make friends? We shouldn’t care about our family? We should be apathetic about others and not get involved in our community? It can’t mean those things, because Jesus wants people to care about each other in a big way. He even wants us to love our enemies.

The idea of living our lives as strangers in this world, then, has to mean something else. And when you take a look at how Jesus and his disciples lived their lives on this earth, you pick up a pretty good sense of what this verse means. To live as strangers here means to live our lives knowing that our real home is somewhere else.

You and I forget this all the time, of course. And because we do, we get crazy with fear. We fear that if our life here does not meet our expectations and become a big success story, then our life is a failure. And you know what? For forgetting that our true home is in heaven, for living our lives for the here and now, we deserve that fear and a whole lot worse.

But Jesus’ life and death have washed us clean of those failures. And once again, he calls upon us to remember that our life here is not about making our mark. It’s about walking with him in faith. And so, live here as a stranger. For Jesus is coming soon to take you home.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for washing away all of my sins on the cross. Forgive me for the times I am fearful about this life and forget about true life in heaven. Remind me always of my heavenly 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.
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One More Sight – May 22, 2020

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:10,11

One More Sight


Daily Devotion – May 22, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:10,11

See series: Devotions

The question seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? “Why are we standing here staring up into the sky? Are you kidding? Did you not see what we just saw? Of course, we’re going to be staring into the sky, because that was amazing!”

But then came the exciting announcement. “He’s coming back, you know. And he’s coming back in the same way you saw him go into heaven!”

And just how had they seen him go into heaven?

He had gone up as the powerful one, the one who could simply cause himself to lift off the earth and go up into the sky.

He had gone up with his hands raised in blessing. They could be sure that when he returned, he would not come in terror but to bless his people.

He had gone up showing them his nail-scarred hands, reminding them that their sins were forgiven. They could be sure that when he returned, those same nail-scarred hands would welcome them home to heaven.

The ascension was the last sight that Jesus’ disciples got of him. And in a way, it’s the last time we “see” him, too.

And maybe there’s one more reason that Jesus left us with this sight of him; so that we would hunger for his return! For us believers, Jesus’ return will be wonderful! Oh yes, he’s coming back powerfully, those hands are going to be up, blessing us! Because those hands bear the nail marks, the proof that you are forgiven, that your eternal home is in heaven. That’s what we will see!

Yeah, I guess I can kind of “get” why Jesus ascended the way he did. What a sight!

Wow! What a sight that will be!

Prayer:
O Savior, remind me of your ascension that I might eagerly await that day when you return to take me to heaven. 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.
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Still There – May 21, 2020

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Acts 1:9

Still There


Daily Devotion – May 21, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:9

See series: Devotions

I would assume that most of us have had the experience of watching a jet airliner flying across the sky. Eventually, to our eyes anyway, it gets so small that we can’t see it anymore. It’s not really gone; we just can’t see it anymore.

So perhaps we would have expected that to happen to Jesus when he ascended into heaven, he’d get so “small” that his disciples couldn’t see him anymore. But, that’s not how he chose to do it. Instead, he chose to have a cloud come and cover him. The cloud hid him from their sight.

Was Jesus perhaps trying to remind his disciples that he hadn’t left them? After all, he had promised, “Surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:20). Perhaps being hidden by the cloud was a gentle reminder of that. “No, I’ve not left you. I’m just hidden from your eyes, so you can’t see me. But, I’m still here!”

Can you imagine how much that might have helped the disciples in the days ahead? When they were taken captive and held in prison, experiencing the various persecutions they faced, being rejected so often by so many. I’m guessing it might have felt lonely on many occasions. I can only imagine how this sight of Jesus—that the cloud covered him, merely hiding him from their eyes—might have helped. They weren’t alone. They were never alone! Jesus was always there, “behind the cloud,” with both his power and his love.

And, you’re never alone either. Oh, you can’t see him; he is hidden from you just as he was for the disciples. But his promise to you is just as powerful as it was for the disciples. He is with you always! And someday you will see him, realizing that he had never left you, never forsaken you.

Wow! What a sight!

Prayer:
O Savior, remind me that, tho’ you may be hidden from me now, you are with me always, to the very end of the age. 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.
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Power – May 20, 2020

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, . . .
Acts 1:9

Power


Daily Devotion – May 20, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:9

See series: Devotions

I’ve tried and tried to illustrate Jesus’ rising up into the sky, but I can’t. No matter how hard I try to jump, I only get a couple of feet off the ground, and then I come hurtling directly back down. (Okay, I actually only get a few inches off the ground, but the result is the same; I very quickly end up back on the ground.)

To state the obvious, I can’t just cause myself to lift up off the ground and rise up into the sky. I can’t because I’m a mere mortal who doesn’t have the power to do that.

But Jesus could do that. And, Jesus did do that. And he did it in full view of his disciples. Can you imagine how their jaws must have dropped as they watched this take place? What power Jesus has!

And can you imagine how much that reminder would have helped them in the future? Oh so often, the disciples were going to face difficulty and trouble. Perhaps it often looked to them and others as if they were struggling, even “losing.” They were weak, sinful mortals, no different than you and me.

But not the Jesus whom they served. He could lift himself right off of the earth and go up into the sky! The Jesus they served was powerful. In fact, he was not only powerful but all-powerful. He’d shown them before, but he showed it to them yet again the last time they saw him.

And today he has once again “shown” that power to you.

Wow! What a sight!

Prayer:
O Savior, remind me that you are the all-powerful Savior, ruling all things for the good of your people, a people of whom I am a part! 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.
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Blessing – May 19, 2020

He lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
Luke 24:50,51

Blessing


Daily Devotion – May 19, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 24:50,51

See series: Devotions

Jesus’ ascension had to be at least somewhat difficult for the disciples. They had spent three amazing years with Jesus! And now it was becoming clear that Jesus’ presence with them was going to be changing. While he had promised to be with them always, he wouldn’t be sitting down to have a meal with them, walking the roads with them, or chatting with them any longer. That had to be a bit difficult.

But that was nothing compared to what was coming. Very soon they would be persecuted and imprisoned because of their faith in Jesus. Eventually, eleven of the twelve would die as martyrs because they believed and told people that Jesus was the Savior. The disciples were about to face some very difficult days.

And so what did Jesus do? He lifted up his hands and blessed them. Did you notice the detail? It doesn’t say that he blessed them and then left them. It says, “While he was blessing them, he left them…” Those hands of Jesus were up in blessing, and they remained up in blessing!

Remember, this was the last time the disciples saw Jesus. This sight would stick in their minds. So when the disciples faced imprisonment, persecution, even martyrdom, they could picture Jesus blessing them.

And sure, the disciples might have had a hard time understanding how the things that happened to them could be a blessing. But it didn’t matter if they could figure it out. They had that wonderful sight of Jesus’ hands still up as he left them! He was blessing them, and he always would!

He is still blessing his people, including you. Picture this the next time you are being persecuted and picked on for your faith in him. Picture this the next time you are facing any danger or difficulty. Picture your ascended Lord, hands up, blessing you.

Wow! What a sight!

Prayer:
O Savior, remind me that you are always blessing me and that you always will! 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.
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The Last Sight – May 18, 2020

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
Luke 24:50,51

The Last Sight


Daily Devotion – May 18, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 24:50,51

See series: Devotions

I was at my high school reunion. As I was registering someone behind me said, “Hi Tom.” I turned around, and I had no idea who it was. I must have gotten a wildly comical look on my face because my classmate said, “You don’t remember me, do you?” And I had to say, with great embarrassment, “I’m sorry, I’m not recognizing you.”

You see, I was remembering her the way she had looked when we graduated. But after a few decades, her appearance had changed, as had everyone else’s attending the reunion.

We remember people the way they looked the last time we saw them. Jesus knows this. So, he made sure the last time his disciples saw him, it was a sight to remember.

As Jesus was about to ascend into heaven, he lifted up his hands and blessed his disciples. What would the disciples have seen on those hands? Since Jesus had kept the nail scars on his hands for at least a week after his resurrection (cf. John 20:24-29), it seems reasonable that those scars were still there. Scars which reminded the disciples that Jesus had died and risen. And what had Jesus accomplished with his death and resurrection? Forgiveness. Forgiveness for those disciples, forgiveness for you and me. Did Jesus want his disciples to remember that? Does Jesus want you and me to remember that? Of course. So, it makes perfect sense that Jesus made his nail-scarred hands a key part of the last sight Jesus gave us of himself.

Picture this the next time your sins trouble you, the next time guilt rises in your heart. Picture those nail-scarred hands and remember that you are forgiven.

Wow! What a sight!

Prayer:
O Savior, when my conscience attacks me because of my sins, remind of me of your nail-scarred hands, that I might know for sure my sins are forgiven. 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.
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Devoted to the Word of God – May 17, 2020

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:42

Devoted to the Word of God


Daily Devotion – May 17, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:42

See series: Devotions

The members of the Jerusalem church had heard the apostle Peter proclaim the good news that Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had crucified, was the promised Messiah and their Savior. Through God’s Word they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, who convicted them of their sin and convinced them of their Savior. Their sins were forgiven. Heaven was their home. Their hearts were filled with joy.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” The Word of God was their delight. It was the one thing they needed. It was their dearest treasure. Therefore, they not only held it in the highest regard, but they also put it into practice. They lived in the joy of the gospel. In their worship, fellowship, witnessing, praying, love, sharing, and offerings, they thanked God for the blessing of his Word.

God’s Word has not changed. It is still the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. The way of salvation has not changed. Jesus Christ is the only Savior this world will ever have. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The Bible continues to be the only true source for direction in this life and hope for eternity. Where repentant, blood-bought souls gather around the Word of God, regard it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it, there the power of the Holy Spirit will be present to lead us into all truth and the joy of the gospel.

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word.

Prayer:
Jesus, bring me into a close relationship with you. Accomplish the will of your heavenly Father in me by your almighty Word and help me be devoted to you. Guide me and encourage me with your promises. 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.
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Unfailing Peace – May 16, 2020

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:21

Unfailing Peace


Daily Devotion – May 16, 2020

Devotion based on John 20:21

See series: Devotions

“Peace be with you!” What comforting words those must have been for the tortured and guilt-ridden disciples. They had forsaken Jesus at his crucifixion. They were meeting secretly behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. The women had told them they saw Jesus and that he was alive. Yet they did not believe. Their confusion and doubt robbed them of peace.

And then Jesus miraculously appeared to them! He showed them his wounds. He revealed that he had conquered death and was alive to tell about it. And one word summed it all up: peace.

Jesus’ peace is not just a neighborly greeting. It is the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. It is the pronouncement that God’s just anger over sin is appeased by Jesus’ holy blood.

Whoever holds the gift of God’s peace in Christ enjoys the greatest sense of well-being anyone could ever know. All is well between God and man. This condition of peace stands forever. Our feelings may fluctuate because we forget about God’s peace. But the Word and promises of God never do. “Peace be with you!” are words that never fail.

Prayer:
Jesus, your death gives me hope and joy knowing that my sins are forgiven. Draw me close to you in faith that I might always have your peace. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Heroes For Jesus – May 15, 2020

[Jesus said] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. . . . Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”
John 14:1,12

Heroes For Jesus


Daily Devotion – May 15, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:1,12

See series: Devotions

There is a good reason why Marvel Studios is worth nearly five billion dollars. Everyone loves a hero. But superheroes are in short supply. So, we call anyone a hero who goes above and beyond to protect and serve us. And we should. We should be thankful for our everyday heroes. They continue to work tirelessly to take care of us during this crisis.

But what about the rest of us? Those of us who cannot go to work? Those of us who have lost jobs? What’s our place and purpose? As nice as staying at home sounds, it just does not seem very heroic.

If ever there was a hero, it was Jesus. He worked tirelessly to take care of others—feeding the hungry, healing the sick. But he did more than relieve the temporary troubles of people. He went above and beyond when he went to the cross. His death and resurrection supply the entire world with eternal protection from all of sin’s terrible consequences. He gives forgiveness, life, and eternal salvation to all who trust in him.

And he does more. He also gives your life purpose. You are essential. By his powerful Word, you can do great things. You can feed souls hungering for hope. You can forgive sinners hurting from guilt. You can comfort souls scared of death. Even during this crisis, you can do all these heroic things from your own home. Whether you are doing these things for those living with you, or for those you reach out to online or on the phone. What a privilege it is to be a hero!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me a place in your family and a purpose for 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.
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Stand in the Son – May 14, 2020

[Jesus said] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. . . . I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:1,6

Stand in the Son


Daily Devotion – May 14, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:1,6

See series: Devotions

A patient walks into the doctor’s office. The doctor says, “You are deathly ill. The good news is you can get well. You just need to spend some time in the sun.”

The patient replies, “Is this a joke? I’m fine. I feel a little off, but I can take care of it with diet and exercise. You could always just give me a prescription. If it is really bad, you could always perform surgery.”

“No,” the doctor responds, “I’ve studied this illness extensively, and I specialize in treating it. I’ve successfully cured hundreds of people. There is only one way to take care of it: If you don’t want to suffer a horrible end, then stand in the sun.”

The patient stands up abruptly, and as he walks out of the room, he says gruffly, “That may be your truth, but it’s not mine. I’m going to find my own way to save my life.”

It would be tragic, wouldn’t it, for someone to lose his life simply because he didn’t like the cure his doctor provided? It is even more tragic when someone loses eternal life in heaven simply because they don’t like the cure for sin that God has provided.

We all need a cure for sin. You see, we are all sinful by nature. It is a spiritual disease we ignore at our peril. And we can’t prescribe our own cure. We can’t cut out the problem.

We need the Son—not the sun in the sky but God’s Son who hung on a cross to pay the price for our sins, the Son who rose from the grave to prove that he had cured even death itself. We need Jesus. Jesus is the only cure for sin and death.

Are you troubled by your sin? Are you troubled by the thought of your death?

Stand in the Son. You won’t regret it.

Prayer:
Jesus, you are the way, the truth, and the life. I trust in you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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I Will be Back – May 13, 2020

[Jesus said] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. . . . If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:1,3

I Will be Back


Daily Devotion – May 13, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:1,3

See series: Devotions

“Why are you leaving? Don’t you love us? We need you! How will we go on without you?”

Father was about to board a plane. He was going across the ocean to a distant and unfamiliar land. But it was a better place than the one they lived in now. He was going there to find steady employment, build a home, and set up a good life for his family. He would be gone for a long time. But he assured his wife and children, “When everything is ready, I will come and get you. Then we will be together always.” The promise of a better life lived together sustained the family during the difficult days while father was away.

The same is true for followers of Jesus. He has ascended to heaven, where he is preparing a far better life for us. When we face difficult days in this world—when a loved one dies, a relationship ends, a job is lost, or a virus spreads across the globe.

During those difficult days, remember the promise Jesus gave the night before his death. He said that our hearts do not need to be troubled because he is preparing a place for us, and he will come back one day to take us there.

And we will be with the Lord forever!

Prayer:
Come, Lord Jesus! I look forward to a better life lived together with you and all of your people. 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.
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A Place for You – May 12, 2020

[Jesus said] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. . . . My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”
John 14:1,2

A Place for You


Daily Devotion – May 12, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:1,2

See series: Devotions

“A man’s home is his castle, and each man’s home is his safest refuge.” That may sound like an endorsement for current “Safer at Home” rules. However, English judge and politician, Sir Edward Coke, penned that law in the 1600s. According to that law, no one may enter another’s home without an invitation.

Perhaps, after weeks of self-isolation, your home feels more like a prison than a palace. Perhaps you are living alone and long for fellowship with friends and family. Perhaps you are living with your family but have discovered that being together for so long can strain relationships as nerves fray and patience runs out. As comfortable and comforting as home can be, earthly homes are not perfect places.

But such a perfect place does exist. It is a heavenly home being prepared by Jesus himself. But you cannot just walk in. And he cannot just let you in. Because it is a perfect place, anything imperfect cannot enter. And, sadly, every one of us is imperfect. Thankfully, Jesus paid for our imperfection by going to the cross. He promises to cover his followers in his own perfection so that we are able to enter the perfect heavenly home he is preparing for us.

Discontent, disease, and disagreements are not going to be part of that home. Jesus has made sure of it.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to earth that I may have a place in heaven. 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.
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Do Not be Troubled – May 11, 2020

[Jesus said] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”
John 14:1

Do Not be Troubled


Daily Devotion – May 11, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:1

See series: Devotions

What’s troubling you?

It is hard not to be troubled about something these days. We have had to cancel plans. We have postponed or altered significant life events. We have lost jobs. We have watched friends or family contract and succumb to COVID19. And there’s nothing we can do to change the situation. We aren’t in control. This tiny virus has affected every aspect of our every-day lives. No doubt, it is bound to affect our future way of life too.

It’s troubling.

But then Jesus speaks over our anxiety and distress: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” There is great comfort in believing in the God who created the world. It means that he is more powerful than any pandemic. There is blessed assurance in believing in the God who so loves the world. It means that he gave us his Son to rescue us from all our troubles.

Don’t be troubled.

Jesus came to calm our troubled hearts. He took away the troubles of experienced fishermen by quieting a raging storm. He took away wedding troubles by changing water into wine. He took away hunger troubles by feeding thousands on a few loaves and fish. In fact, he took away every trouble that sin and death caused by overcoming them on the cross. He suffered the judgment we earned for our sins. And he silenced death by rising from the grave.

What do you want to do when trouble comes your way?

Do not let your heart be troubled by guilt. Believe in God who forgives you for Jesus’ sake. Do not let your hearts be troubled by death. Believe in God who gives eternal life to all who believe in his Son. Do not let your heart be troubled by anything else. Believe in God who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Jesus, you know my troubles. As you took care of the world’s troubles on the cross, I believe that you are taking care of my troubles now. 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.
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Peace be With You – May 10, 2020

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:19

Peace be With You


Daily Devotion – May 10, 2020

Devotion based on John 20:19

See series: Devotions

So, what makes you nervous? What brings fear to your heart or anxiety? I would think that the possibility that your life could be in danger would make you afraid. Of course, guilt is powerful, too. A guilty conscience can cause lots of anxiety, lots of nervousness.

On Easter Sunday evening, Jesus’ followers had both issues. First, they thought their lives might have been on the line. After all, the Jewish religious leaders had put Jesus to death—how hard would it be for them to get the disciples? Additionally, they were struggling with guilt. For whatever reason, they hadn’t quite gotten it, hadn’t paid attention when Jesus told them he’d rise from the dead. Then, they got several reports that he HAD risen. If he really had, how would he deal with them? In anger and judgment?

Here is what the Bible says happened: “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19,20).

In the place of fear, there was now forgiveness. Why? Because of the reality that Jesus had really died, Jesus had really risen. The sight of Jesus’ nail-scarred (but risen!) hands drove fear out of their hearts!

So picture Jesus: He’s standing in front of you, smiling, hands outstretched. You can see the nail scars on his hands. He says to you, “Peace be with you.” There in his word of peace, in his nail-scarred, risen hands—is the antidote to fear, all fear. For there, in the hands and words of Jesus—there is forgiveness.

Prayer:
Ah Jesus, my risen Savior, often I’m nervous and afraid. Forgive me! Focus my attention on your nail-scarred, risen hands, that I might see clearly that my sins are forgiven, and that I’m at peace 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.
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Pray Boldly – May 9, 2020

Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5:16

Pray Boldly


Daily Devotion – May 9, 2020

Devotion based on James 5:16

See series: Devotions

I remember counseling a 16-year-old boy about a problem he was having. I asked if he had prayed about it, and he nonchalantly answered, “I haven’t prayed in three years.” When I asked him why, he replied, “Because God is going to do what he’s going to do whether I pray or not.”

He had a point. God says in Isaiah 46:10, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” So why bother to pray?

Because God promises that our prayers make a difference. James 5:16 tells us: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” The Bible tells us about times when prayer had a direct impact on things. For example, God told a man named Hezekiah that it was time for him to die. Hezekiah prayed for God to spare his life and God healed him and gave him 15 more years to live (2 Kings:20).

But wait. That just doesn’t make sense. How can the God who plans and controls the future tell us that our prayers affect what he does and what happens? I have no clue. But that’s ok. All I need to know is that I can trust God. And if he tells me that my prayers make a difference, then I know they make a difference.

So, pray boldly, even if you can’t fully understand how your prayers synch with God’s sovereign will. Pray boldly, not because you fully understand how prayer works, but because you are fully convinced in Jesus Christ that God loves you.

Prayer:
Lord, I am amazed that you give me the privilege to pray and promise that my prayers make a difference. Help me to be confident that you will hear and answer when I pray. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Not a Stranger – May 8, 2020

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Luke 24:27

Not a Stranger


Daily Devotion – May 8, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 24:27

See series: Devotions

Here’s a vivid picture. It goes like this. The Old Testament Scriptures—the books of the Bible written centuries before Jesus’ birth—give hundreds of prophecies regarding the promised Savior from sin. Jesus fulfilled all of them. Someone who did the math says that the chance of one person fulfilling just 8 of those prophecies by sheer coincidence is the equivalent to the following scene. Imagine the state of Texas covered in two feet of silver dollars, with one silver dollar marked. Blindfold one person. Tell that person to wade through all those silver dollars and to pick up the marked silver dollar on the very first try.

You get the point. When we let the Scriptures speak for themselves, the Scriptures shout, loudly, that Jesus is the promised Messiah; that Jesus is the One; that Jesus is the One who came to live a holy life as our substitute and paid for our sins in full at the cross.

Which brings us to an episode that Luke records in Chapter 24. When you have the chance, read the entire chapter. Luke describes what is happening. It is Easter Sunday. Two of Jesus’ disciples are walking from Jerusalem to a neighboring village. They are sad, confused, and their minds are a blur. They both thought that Jesus was the promised Christ, but now they don’t know what to think. All they know for sure is that Jesus was dead—dead and buried. But now there are claims swirling around about Jesus’ tomb being empty, about angels announcing that he’s alive.

As they walk along, discussing all this, a man begins walking with them. He asks what they’re talking about, and they immediately pour their hearts out about Jesus. In reply, the man cites passages from the Old Testament Scriptures. He does this to show them that Jesus has fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies. He does this to convince them that Jesus is the One. Shortly thereafter, they realize that their new traveling companion is Jesus himself!

It’s all there in the Scriptures. Let them speak. Let them shout!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to me. Let them speak. Let them shout. 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.
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Stranger – May 7, 2020

Live your lives as strangers here.
1 Peter 1:17

Stranger


Daily Devotion – May 7, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:17

See series: Devotions

There’s an old theme that runs through a lot of storytelling. The theme is that of the stranger who enters people’s lives, touches their lives, and then moves on. Think of the classic western, Shane, where Shane enters the lives of a farming family, defeats the bad guys on the family’s behalf, and then rides away. Think of the old TV series, The Fugitive, where Dr. Richard Kimble, a wrongly-accused but innocent man, comes across someone in need, helps that person, then departs. You can even see science fiction with this theme. Think of that the next time you watch ET: The Extraterrestrial.

It should probably come as no surprise to us that a lot of ageless themes like this are ageless because they echo themes from the greatest story of all—a story that happens to be true. Jesus Christ came into our world and lived among us. As he did, however, he did not get caught up in the temporary distractions of this world. Instead, he kept his eyes fixed on why he was here. He was here to rescue us from the curse of our sin, then go home to prepare a place for us. This he did when he lived a life of perfect love on our behalf. When he suffered and died for our every sin. When he rose from death, and his visible presence ascended into heaven.

And now here we are, fully forgiven through faith in Jesus. Knowing that, through faith in Christ, heaven is our home. With all this in mind, the apostle Peter tells us, “Live your lives as strangers here.” When we live our lives as strangers in this tired, old world, we remember that everything here is temporary and is passing away. When we live our lives as strangers here, we are then free to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord. And when we live our lives as strangers here, we know that the best is yet to come.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, here I am only passing through. Help me to remember this. 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.
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