Resurrection Reassurance – November 18, 2020

And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:17,18

Resurrection Reassurance


Daily Devotion – November 18, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4:17,18

See series: Devotions

In a popular comic, Hobbes the tiger and his boy Calvin are careening down a hill in a red wagon. As they unknowingly speed toward a cliff, Calvin yells out, “It’s true, Hobbes, ignorance is bliss!”

Ignorance can be bliss. Not knowing about a problem means you are not worried about that problem. Being ignorant about a problem means you aren’t trying to fix that problem. You are blissfully unaware.

But, as the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon illustrates, being ignorant about something does not make it go away. And, sometimes, being ignorant can have catastrophic consequences—like riding your red wagon off a cliff.

Death is one of those things about which people like to be blissfully ignorant. They do not know what will happen to them after they die and prefer not to think about it. They are blissfully ignorant. But, being blissfully ignorant does not make the reality of death go away. It is something we will all face.

Thankfully, the Bible has some comforting news about what happens when we die. It assures us that Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose again. And he promises he will raise all of these followers from the dead when he returns on judgment day. And just as sin and death can’t touch Jesus’ body anymore, so Jesus will change our bodies. We will be without sin, pain, or any disability. “And so,” Paul concludes, “we will be with the Lord forever.”

When it comes to death, ignorance is harmful, but the Spirit-imparted wisdom of Jesus’ resurrection gives us eternal encouragement and good hope.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, because of you, I shall not die but live and proclaim 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.
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At Home With Jesus – November 17, 2020

I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. . . . My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Ezekiel 37:26,27

At Home With Jesus


Daily Devotion – November 17, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 37:26,27

See series: Devotions

There’s no place like home. That’s why we want to be home for the holidays. That’s where we want to be after a long day at work. Home is where we feel safe, and our hearts are at rest.

In the prophet Ezekiel’s day, the people of Israel were far from home. They were living in far-off Babylon. And it was their own fault. They had separated themselves from God by worshiping other gods and living for themselves rather than for him. So, God used King Nebuchadnezzar to invade Israel, rip them from their comfortable lives, and whisk them a thousand miles away to Babylon. Living as exiles, the Israelites learned a hard lesson. They longed to be at home with God.

Do you feel like your sin has put distance between you and God? The prophet Ezekiel has some words of assurance for you. God has made a permanent pact of peace with you. God knew that we couldn’t bridge the chasm created by sin. So, Jesus closed the gap for us. He loved God and us perfectly. On the cross, he suffered hell, the consequence of everyone’s sin. Because God raised Jesus from the dead, nothing can separate those who are in Christ Jesus from God’s love.

So, when your sins leave you feeling far from God, look to Jesus. Remember what he has done to rescue you from those sins. Remember that because of what he has done, God promises to dwell with you. And, one day, he will take every one of his followers home to heaven. And you can be sure there is no place like it!

Prayer:
Merciful God, you are mine and I am yours. By your Holy Spirit, make your home in me that I may rest 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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God is Here – November 16, 2020

Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, . . . Shake off your dust; rise up, . . . For this is what the LORD says: “You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed.” . . . “Therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I.”
Isaiah 52:1-3,6

God is Here


Daily Devotion – November 16, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 52:1-3,6

See series: Devotions

An old man sits hunched in the dust. His wife and three children huddle around him. Their vacant stares and tear-swelled eyes telling a tale of hopeless surrender. In his hand, the father limply grasps a lyre. His captors call for a joyful tune, but when he opens his mouth all he can produce is a song of lament: “By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept when we remembered Zion” (Psalm 137:1).

Babylon had destroyed everything that Israel held dear and dragged them into captivity. Having lost hope of ever returning home, they were sleepwalking through life.

Still, they had reason for joy. They were God’s people. He hadn’t stopped loving them. He was with them. He hadn’t forgotten his promise to them. The long night would end. He would set them free and send them home.

What joy has been stolen from you? What sadness stings your eyes? We all suffer loss that leaves us slumped in the dust, sleepwalking through life, wondering, “Where is God?”

In our stupor, God speaks tender words of assurance. “Here I am,” he says, “Yes, it is I.”

God, who delivered us by his Son, Jesus Christ, is here. He, who strong-armed Satan and paid the debt of our sins on the cross, is here. He, who disarmed death and opened heaven’s gates for all who trust in him, is here. He has not forgotten you. He has not forsaken you. You are loved. You are forgiven. Heaven awaits.

Wake up! Watch for him in faith. Why surrender to sin? God arms you with strength in his Word. Why wallow in self-pity? God has purchased you for himself with the blood of his Son. Why sleepwalk through life? God will deliver you as he has promised. And when that day comes—when shackles, storm clouds, and shed tears are past—you will know that God is here and has the power to save.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I am dismayed, be near me and deliver 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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Inside or Outside – November 15, 2020

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord! Lord!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Matthew 25:10-13

Inside or Outside


Daily Devotion – November 15, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:10-13

See series: Devotions

Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins illustrates two different ways to approach the day Jesus returns to judge the world. One is to be prepared as the five wise virgins were. The other is to remain unprepared as the five foolish virgins. While both groups went about their daily affairs, the wise virgins made sure they were prepared no matter how long the wait was. The five foolish always thought they had more time to prepare.

The lesson is clear. I want to model my life after that of the five wise virgins. Mainly, this means giving attention to God’s Word. As I do, I will be reminded again and again that because of what Jesus did to save me from my sins, I can one day enter the “wedding banquet” of heaven. And, knowing this, I will want to live a life pleasing to him. And, rather than being distracted by the things of this world, I will keep one eye on the sky, looking eagerly for Jesus’ return.

When will this be? Only God knows. But we do know this: It could be today. So, live this day as if Jesus will appear on the clouds at any time. After all…he just may.

Prayer:
Gracious Savior, I know you are coming again in glory. Give me the strength of faith to prepare myself for that glorious day. Amen!

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Lord is Our Refuge – November 14, 2020

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

The Lord is Our Refuge


Daily Devotion – November 14, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 46:1

See series: Devotions

“Christianity is a crutch for the weak.”

This is the atheist’s argument against putting one’s faith in the God of the Bible. They argue that anyone who depends on anything other than themselves is feeble.

Medically speaking, a crutch is a tool the injured use for support. Only the wounded need crutches. But here’s the thing: somehow, someway, we are all wounded. We all need help. Some just choose crutches other than Christianity.

When we don’t feel good about ourselves, where do we turn for assurance? We have enough options to choose from: earthly goods, food, alcohol, drugs, money, work. The problem with many such crutches is that they offer only temporary reprieve and often only mask much deeper issues of the heart.

The heart of the issue is that we are all sinners in desperate need of saving. And the only one who has the power to help us is Jesus Christ. He took up our infirmities. He carried our sorrows. And by his wounds, we are healed.

God graciously allows us to go through hardship so that we seek the only one who can help. When we seek Jesus in our struggles, he finds us in his Word.

You say, “I’m too tired.” … Jesus says, “I will give you rest.”
You say, “I’m all alone.” … Jesus says, “I am with you always.”
You say, “I don’t know where to turn.” … Jesus says, “I am the way.”
You say, “I’ve had enough.” … Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
You say, “I’m afraid.” … Jesus says, “My peace I give you.”
You say, “I can’t forgive myself.” … Jesus says, “I forgive you.”
You say, “I have my doubts.” … Jesus says, “Whoever believes in me will never be put to shame.”

One famous Christian named Saint Augustine, reacting to the sufficiency of Jesus, observed, “Lord, you created us for yourself. And our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”

What was his point? Nothing satisfies like Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
God, you are my refuge and my strength, a helper who can always be found in time of trouble. I gladly count on you as my crutch. 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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Like a Thief In the Night – November 13, 2020

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
1 Thessalonians 5:1,2

Like a Thief In the Night


Daily Devotion – November 13, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 5:1,2

See series: Devotions

Thieves don’t send you a “save the date” card in the mail when they are planning to break into your place and take things. They wait until you’re not home, or until they think you’re asleep. They often like the cover of darkness. The point is that they want to be unexpected.

It seems a little strange that God would compare himself to a thief. He says, “I’m not going to send you a ‘save the date’ card for the day Jesus returns to judge this world. You’ll just have to be ready for it to come at any time.”

God does this for a couple of good reasons. One reason is so that you are not taken in by charlatans who claim that they know the date that Jesus is returning for judgment day. Some of them are foolish enough to set an exact day, but more of them predict a year or a season, and if you believe them, you might be tempted to do some strange things in anticipation.

Another reason God does not tell us the date of judgment day is that he knows us. If we think we have time before something, we procrastinate. But if we know we have to be ready any time, we are moved to get our acts together.

How do you get your act together for judgment day? Repent, and believe the good news that Jesus is your Savior. Trust in him and not in anything that you have done for your salvation. Be sure to tell the people you love so they can be ready too.

Prayer:
Whether my death or judgment day comes first, Lord Jesus, keep me always ready for your salvation. 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 Righteous Get Eternal Life – November 12, 2020

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Matthew 25:46

The Righteous Get Eternal Life


Daily Devotion – November 12, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:46

See series: Devotions

There is such a thing as eternal punishment. It’s for anyone who is not perfect. Heaven is perfect, and nothing unclean or impure will ever enter there. Eternal means eternal, so eternal punishment outside of heaven doesn’t just come to an end. It’s not a pleasant thought. Hell is not a pleasant place.

Hell is a place of eternal punishment prepared for the devil and his demons outside of the presence of God. Human beings don’t have to go there as long as they’re righteous. That means perfectly holy in every thought and action throughout life.

It’s a tall order. In fact, if you’re honest with yourself, you know you’ve already blown it. Even if you’ve never done anything majorly bad in the eyes of society, you know perfectly well you’re not perfect.

But God did not want you to suffer eternal punishment. So he sent his Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life that you could not live. Jesus was perfectly holy. His righteousness was complete and pure. Then, when he suffered the punishment that he did not deserve by dying on the cross, he declared that he did that for you. And through faith in him, he gave you his righteousness. God made the one who had no sin be sin for us so that in him, we become the righteousness of God. Jesus is the Lord our righteousness.

Now, on judgment day, through faith in Jesus, you will go right to eternal life in heaven. You have the righteousness of Jesus—not your own—as your ticket to heaven, and nothing can take that away from you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness. You took on you what was mine and gave me what was yours. I will thank and praise you forever. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Honor the Service – November 11, 2020

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”
Matthew 25:34

Honor the Service


Daily Devotion – November 11, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:34

See series: Devotions

Today many countries celebrate their military veterans. Whether it’s called Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, or Veterans Day, it’s a time to honor all those who have served their country in war or peace, dead or alive, although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.

Christians honor Jesus for a similar reason. He was willing to sacrifice himself in order to win a great victory for us. Ever since the creation of the world, Jesus wanted us to live with him forever in heaven. It didn’t look good since we were going to be born sinful and could not enter a perfect heaven that way. But Jesus took care of that by being born without sin and then remaining sinless throughout his life until he sacrificed himself and took the punishment for our sin. He volunteered to serve in this way, even though he was King over the entire universe. That was quite a sacrifice!

Many veterans make the sacrifices they do so that their families and communities can remain in peace and safety. They know that peace is won in this world only with blood and sacrifice.

Jesus won peace for us with his blood and his sacrifice. He did all that so that he could say to us on judgment day, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Take your inheritance. Come with me to heaven. Live in eternal peace and safety.”

Prayer:
We honor your service for us, Lord Jesus, today and every day. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Not to Worry – November 10, 2020

He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Matthew 25:32,33

Not to Worry


Daily Devotion – November 10, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:32,33

See series: Devotions

People worry about the day they will face their maker the day this world comes to an end. They wonder if a movie of their life will play, and everyone will see the bad things they have done. They wonder if they will have the right words to say when they are called on to give an account of their lives.

Jesus instructs people who believe in him not to worry about judgment day. He is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep, and he will not forget about them or abandon them. He knows precisely who his sheep are, and he promises to be with them all the way through the process of judgment day.

When Jesus returns in glory with his angels, he will sit on his throne and send his angels throughout the earth to gather up his sheep. Those who have died will have their souls reunited with their bodies, and their bodies will be restored, never to die again. Those who are still alive will have their bodies glorified, and then they will be picked by the angels to be taken to the place where Jesus is judging.

The angels will not confuse right and left. Those who trust in Jesus will be on his right, and he will give them eternal life. Those who do not believe in him will be on his left, and he will give them the eternal death that they deserve. There will be no movies and no long line of people guessing what the right words are. For those who are followers of Jesus, there will only be the relief of leaving a sin-filled world to spend eternity at the side of their loving Lord. No wonder there is no reason to worry!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my Good Shepherd. Send your angels and guide me safely to your right hand on judgment day, then onward into 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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Judged By the Son of Man – November 9, 2020

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him.
Matthew 25:31,32

Judged By the Son of Man


Daily Devotion – November 9, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:31,32

See series: Devotions

Judges are important for any society that seeks justice. They are responsible for seeing to it that every person is treated equally and fairly. Judges are important.

Jesus said that when he returns one day, there will be a courtroom of sorts, and there will be a judge sitting on a throne. All the angels will be with him, but none of them will be more important than the judge on that throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, but no one from those nations will be more important than he is, no matter how important those people were in life on earth. The judge will be the most important person there. He will hold the power of eternal life and eternal death.

When Jesus says that the judge will be the Son of Man, he is referring to himself. Although Jesus is the God of this universe, he became a human being, so he is called the Son of Man. Long before he was born, he ruled over the earth, and on judgment day, it will be obvious that he still does, even though he humbled himself to be the son of a woman.

As a perfectly just judge, Jesus would have had to find every person guilty of disobeying his holy Word because every single one of us has—over and over again. But, thankfully, when he came to this earth the first time, he took the punishment for our disobedience. He will not forget this when we stand before him on the Last Day. All who trust in his saving work will be found not guilty and spend eternity with him and his angels. How wonderful to know that on that wonder-filled day, we will not need to be afraid!

Prayer:
Calm my fears about death and judgment day, dear Lord. Let your saving work give me unshakable confidence. 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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Sheep Among Wolves – November 8, 2020

[Jesus said] “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.”
Matthew 10:16

Sheep Among Wolves


Daily Devotion – November 8, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:16

See series: Devotions

I am constantly amazed at the bravery of the men and women in our armed forces. What is it like to walk down a street, knowing at any moment an RPG could come careening into your squad and blast you to pieces? What is it like to get up every day to patrol that same street, with that same danger lurking in the shadows? Their training and their equipment help them. They know they need to be the fastest, strongest, smartest soldiers out there. Their lives depend on it. They cannot let their guard down for an instant.

Don’t we approach life the same way? I need to be bigger, faster, stronger, and smarter than the people around me. If anyone tries to cut in line in front of me; I’ll let him know where the back of the line is!

Jesus didn’t strap a flack vest on his followers, teach them hand to hand combat, and then give them 120 pounds of ammo, machine guns, and combat knives. He sent them out into the mean, ugly, God-hating, Christian-persecuting world with only a woolly lambskin!

Not quite. But he told them they would be sheep, surrounded by the biggest, baddest, meanest wolves they ever saw.

How could they survive? Jesus was with them. He was the one behind the “I am sending you.” Instead of trusting a snarl to put someone in his place or an insurance policy to cover losses, they could trust Jesus to look after them. After all, he pulled them from the fires of hell. He walked down the street to the cross and took the full force of God’s fiercest wrath over their sins.

He’s done the same for you. Whether it is the dark of night or the light of a new day, there’s no need to fear. We can show love to others and accept all the vulnerability that comes with being Christians. We know our Shepherd will care for his sheep—no matter how the wolves may snarl.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, although I know I am like a sheep among wolves in this world, I also know you are with me and will watch over me. Grant me the peace that comes with knowing 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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Eternal – November 7, 2020

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.
Revelation 14:6

Eternal


Daily Devotion – November 7, 2020

Devotion based on Revelation 14:6

See series: Devotions

For lovers of history, it is a dream location. If you drive through central Wyoming along State Highway 220, you can’t miss it. From the proper angle, it looks like a giant cereal bowl turned upside down. It is called “Independence Rock.” Independence Rock is 12 stories high. If you get out of your car and walk around the base, you’ll be walking for more than a mile. During the 1800s, Independence Rock was a major landmark along the Oregon Trail. Pioneers in covered wagons knew that if they could reach it by the Fourth of July, they were on schedule to finish their journey and get settled before winter. Many carved their names into the rock. You can still see their names today.

But for those who love history, here’s something about Independence Rock that is, perhaps, the most powerful. If you climb to the top and look around, you’ll see virtually no evidence of 21st Century civilization. There are no towns, no gas stations, no motels. In fact, if you climb back down and travel a bit further, what you will find are the ruts left by the covered wagons from so many years ago.

In a world where rapid change is the norm, it is a comfort for some to know that there are still some places that have changed very little.

Such a sense of comfort, however, is nothing in comparison to the comfort that comes from something that is truly permanent—the permanence that comes from the eternal gospel about Jesus Christ.

No matter how old you get, no matter what changes you see, the eternal gospel remains the same. No matter how many times you have failed, no matter how often you have disappointed others, the eternal gospel remains the same. No matter how heavy the guilt from your past, no matter how chaotic your present or how uncertain your future, the eternal gospel remains the same. The gospel message that God came to this earth in the person of Jesus Christ, that he lived and died as your Substitute to wash away your wrongs, that he raised himself back to life to assure you that all is well—every part of that message remains the same. None of it will ever change.

And that is a beautiful thing to know.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the same yesterday and today and forever, and so is your gospel. For this priceless comfort, I thank and praise 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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You Will Be Safe – November 6, 2020

The Lord will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.
2 Timothy 4:18

You Will Be Safe


Daily Devotion – November 6, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:18

See series: Devotions

“Where are you going?” Mom yelled. “To Jenna’s,” yelled her daughter from the open car door in the driveway. “Be safe,” Mom yelled back as a parting thought.

“Be safe.” Ever notice how much of our life is about safety? It surrounds us. Factories hang banners that say, “Safety first.” We dedicate months to learn about “Fire Safety.” We put safeguards on our computers and locks on our doors. We store our valuables in safety deposit boxes. After basic physiological needs such as air, water, and food, some psychologists list safety as our next sought need.

Perhaps the reason we put so much emphasis on safety is that we know many of the places we go aren’t always “safe.” The highway isn’t always safe for the inexperienced driver. The computer isn’t always safe from hackers. And valuables get stolen.

But there’s one place that such things don’t ever happen. There’s one place that’s always safe: God’s heavenly kingdom, which the Bible says, “On no day will its gates ever be shut” (Revelation 21:25). In other words, there are no needs for locks or safes in heaven. It is completely safe.

What a beautiful thing to look forward to! As we near the end of 2020, we will reflect on many things that affected our safety this year. A virus threatened our health safety. Fires and hurricanes threatened our physical safety. Violence of various types threatened our community safety. But one day, it’s all going to end. One day, every follower of Jesus—every person who trusts in the full and free forgiveness he won on the cross—will be in the Savior’s arms, where they will be completely and forever safe. May this promise from God give you peace and comfort this day.

Prayer:
Lord, in the midst of turmoil, direct my eyes to my safe future at your side. 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 Lord Will Rescue Me – November 5, 2020

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack.
2 Timothy 4:18

The Lord Will Rescue Me


Daily Devotion – November 5, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:18

See series: Devotions

The little girl stood at the edge of the dock, afraid to jump. From the water, Dad coaxed and coaxed with open arms, “Jump. I’ll catch you.” But her little legs only stiffened. “What if you can’t catch me, Daddy? Or what if you can’t swim with me in your arms? What if the fish bite me?” And that’s when Mom told the girl to look to her right. There, tied to the end of the pier, was a life preserver. “You see this? I’ll stay here, right here with my feet on this solid dock, and I’ll throw you this life preserver if you need it. And I’ll pull you in.” With that added confidence, the little girl jumped. And every time she got to the end of the pier the rest of the vacation, she glanced over her right shoulder to see that life preserver, knowing there was something that could save her, something that could pull her in.

Ever feel like that little girl? Ever feel like you’re about to jump into something that you’re not sure how you’re going to get out of? God doesn’t promise a life free from trouble. He doesn’t promise a life free from evil. The sharks of this world may be out to get us. But he promises to be there on the pier with the life-saving message of his Word. No matter how deep the trouble is, no matter how much we thrash around in the murky waters of evil, our Savior stands with his feet firmly planted, ready to pull you out.

What turbulent waters are you in right now? See the life preserver of the cross and the empty tomb. Cling to the promises that they hold for you. Cling to the promises of sins forgiven and life eternal. Those aren’t empty promises. The Lord will rescue you from every evil attack.

Prayer:
Lord, help me to live in such a way that always sees the promise of your deliverance. 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 Lord Delivered Me – November 4, 2020

And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.
2 Timothy 4:17

The Lord Delivered Me


Daily Devotion – November 4, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:17

See series: Devotions

One of the most popular Bible stories is “Daniel and the Lions’ Den.” Daniel was a believer who was literally thrown into a lions’ den because he prayed to God. When you fold your hands at the end of this devotion, I doubt very few of you will have soldiers knocking at your door ready to haul you away.

We may not share the same threats as other believers. But as you look at your past, you may see some “lion’s mouth” that was licking its chops ready to swallow you up. Perhaps it was a physical ailment, a mental hardship, or a spiritual challenge. When you were going through them, they seemed bigger than life. Will I beat this cancer? Will I endure this depression? Will I succumb to this spiritual challenge?

The fact that you are reading this devotion right now tells me that particular lion’s mouth was shut. But this doesn’t mean it always will be. God doesn’t promise the chemo will work every time. God doesn’t promise that you will beat every disease. God doesn’t promise that you will avoid every accident. God doesn’t promise that you will live forever on this earth. But to this point, he spared you. Up to this point, he has given you a physical and spiritual life so that, by his grace, you have come to know him. Isn’t that awesome!

And, although God does not promise that you will never suffer harm, he does promise you eternal life. That’s why he sent his Son, Jesus. Jesus’ perfect life and innocent death in your place means God no longer holds you accountable for your sins. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead means God promises you eternal life when he raises your body from the grave on the last day.

They say the value of knowing history is so that you don’t repeat it. But sometimes the value of history is just appreciating that you have one. As you look back at your own personal history today, see how many times God worked things out for your good as he delivered you from the lion’s mouth. And as you see how many times he delivered you in the past, may that give you confidence for today.

Prayer:
Thank you for delivering me in the past. Deliver me from evil 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.
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The Lord Gives You Strength – November 3, 2020

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.
2 Timothy 4:17

The Lord Gives You Strength


Daily Devotion – November 3, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:17

See series: Devotions

You grab a little boy’s arm and say, “Wow, look how strong you are!” And the boy grins from ear to ear. We can’t blame him. We like strength. We strive for strong marriages. We invest in a strong stock market. We take aptitude tests to find our strengths. And we vote for whom we think is the strongest candidate.

Why are we so obsessed with strength? I’m not so sure if it’s an obsession with strength as much as it is a fear of weakness. Weakness means others can take advantage of me or overpower me. Weakness means I am not the best and that I am vulnerable. Plainly said, weakness means there’s something wrong with me. And so, I hide my weaknesses as best I can.

As much as you may try to hide your weaknesses from others, there is One who knows every single one of your weaknesses, even better than you do. And that’s your God. But here’s the difference between God and many in our world: God doesn’t show you the door when he sees your weaknesses. Rather, he shows you himself. When you are weak, he is strong. And his strength isn’t four-year-old bicep strength. Nor is it Ford Super Duty with 6.7-liter power stroke strength. His strength is world creating, wind calming, death defeating strength. God’s strength is just that, God-strength. And he uses his strength for you.

Most importantly, he used his strength to work all of world history in order to save you from your sins by his sacrificial death on the cross. At first, this might seem a strange way to show strength, but it most certainly does—not just strength, but love. And then, in the greatest show of strength in the history of this world, he was brought back to life on Easter morning to prove that he had conquered death and won eternal life for you.

So go ahead, pull out a piece of paper. Write down all your weaknesses, for your eyes only. On the other side of the ledger put the name, “Lord.” The winner is clear. The Lord will give you strength.

Prayer:
Lord, give me confidence in your strength to overcome all of my weaknesses. 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 Lord Stood By My Side – November 2, 2020

Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me . . . But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.
2 Timothy 4:10,17

The Lord Stood By My Side


Daily Devotion – November 2, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:10,17

See series: Devotions

Demas. I doubt many people would know that name while playing a game of Bible trivia. But I bet we recognize what someone like Demas looks like in our lives. That friend, that co-worker, who stood by your side until something or someone better came along. And there you are, alone. Alone at the party. Alone at work. Alone at home. Alone in life. Not just alone but deserted. Abandoned. Neglected. Forsaken.

What races through your mind when you find yourself deserted? The emotions can take us all over the board. Anger—‘How dare he desert me?’ Embarrassment—‘It’s feels so awkward to be alone.’ Hurt—‘I can’t believe she did that to me.’ Scared—‘I don’t know what I’m going to do.’ And you can probably come up with many more emotions and questions.

From the very beginning, God knew that being alone was not a good thing. It wasn’t good for the first person, so God made someone suitable for him. Things haven’t changed. While we may like our “me time” on occasion, too much “me time” and we go crazy. For that very reason, God puts people in our lives. But let’s be honest, in our non-perfect world, the people in our lives aren’t always suitable. They take us down the wrong paths, say hurtful words, and disappoint. And at times, they desert.

Yet, there’s One who is always suitable. One who never disappoints, who always helps, and always leads us down the right path. That One is the Lord. No matter what you’re going through today, no matter how alone you feel, know this: The Lord stands by your side.

Prayer:
Lord, continue to stand by my side. And, grant me the confidence and comfort of knowing you 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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Rejoice – November 1, 2020

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice


Daily Devotion – November 1, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 4:4-7

See series: Devotions

We are saved from our sins by grace alone. That means salvation is a gift, won by Jesus when he died and rose again. Even the faith we need to believe this glorious message is something God freely gives. Salvation is secure because it is the work of Christ, and since it is his work, then it cannot fail.

On this day, thank God for salvation by grace, spend time reflecting on how your life has changed because of Jesus’ work. Don’t forget that Jesus has washed away your sin and guilt. As you look to him in faith, you can rejoice—just as Paul says—because the Lord is with you and heaven is your home. There’s no need to be sour, harsh, angry, or anxious because you have a Savior who hears and answers all your prayers. And remember: the peace we have through faith in Christ is something no worldly woes can disturb.

But the devil will try. “Worry!” he demands. “You should! Just look at all the horrible things happening in the world! And how about all the dreadful things you’ve experienced? Get angry! Get mad! Abandon hope! Forget about joy!”

Take to heart Paul’s encouragement: “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8,9).

If you spend time focused on the ugly results of sin, the devil will get his way. So, check your thoughts. Guard your heart. Set your mind on Christ and his salvation. As you do, you’ll discover new courage and peace, more reasons to rejoice, and an extra measure of joy for the day.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to focus on Jesus and fill my heart with the peace you alone can give. 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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Stop Worrying – October 31, 2020

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

Stop Worrying


Daily Devotion – October 31, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 4:6

See series: Devotions

Don’t worry! That’s what God says in his Word for us today. But we wonder how we can put aside all of our worry and anxiety. There are so many dangers that surround us, so many things that stress us out, so many people who are hurting, and some of them are very dear to us. Not to worry seems impossible.

It is impossible to stop worrying if our attention is riveted on the problems and predicaments of life. But wonder of God’s love for us is that he teaches us how much greater he is than the worrisome circumstances we face daily. He assures us that he is in control of all things. He is the almighty, all-knowing God who knows our every need and is capable of fulfilling all of them.

He took away our greatest worry; he freed us from the damnation we deserved as sinners. And he lavished his love on us by giving us life with him that will last forever. So our heavenly Father, who loved us so much to send Jesus to be our Savior, promises to provide for our lives and protect us from danger.

Thankful for his saving love, we can turn from our inclination to worry and turn to him with our concerns and burdens. We can confidently address him in prayer, knowing that he listens and will answer according to our best interests. Since God has secured our eternity through Jesus, we know that according to his love, he will care for us now too. So indeed, there is no reason to worry.

Prayer:
Teach me, Lord, not to worry. Remind me of your great love and power that I can trust in times of need. Accept my prayers through Jesus, my Savior, and help me according to your wisdom. 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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It Will Be Worth It – October 30, 2020

In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
Isaiah 25:9

It Will Be Worth It


Daily Devotion – October 30, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:9

See series: Devotions

Dinner last night was a grilled chicken breast and a cup of cooked broccoli-no cheese. You’ve avoided the pies, fries, carbs, and cookies that you know could sabotage you. With a soldier’s discipline, you’ve committed yourself to fight the battle against the fat. You’ve been getting up an hour earlier so that you can exercise before work. You’ve sweated and sacrificed. Then you step on the scale—the cruel, cruel scale! And it tells you that not only have you not lost any weight—you’ve actually gained two pounds. Is it worth it?

Has the same question ever entered your mind when it comes to your faith? You’ve held on tight to God’s promises even when you couldn’t understand what he was doing. But each day seems to bring more bad news, another reason for disillusionment. Your world isn’t getting any better. Your cross hasn’t gotten any lighter. So is it worth it?

Isaiah, in his picture of the great banquet, assures us that it will most certainly be worth it. He paints a vivid scene of trust given and richly rewarded.

Today, we live by faith and not by sight. We simply trust that God exists, has created us, is always with us, works what’s best for us, loves us, and is merciful to us for Jesus’ sake. And we trust that Jesus will come back and take us to our heavenly home. We believe all those things because God has promised them in his Word.

One day our eyes will see things that today our hearts only know by faith. One day, we will see Jesus face to face and rejoice that hope has finally and forever changed to reality. Our God promises it. We believe it. It will all be worth it.

Prayer:
Jesus, bless me and keep my faith strong until the day I see you face to face. 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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Dressed Appropriately – October 29, 2020

He will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.
Isaiah 25:8

Dressed Appropriately


Daily Devotion – October 29, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:8

See series: Devotions

Few things in life are more embarrassing than showing up to the right event wearing the wrong clothes. I can remember reporting to the starting line of my first cross country race in grade school wearing blue jeans. Needless to say, the race didn’t go well. Or maybe it’s a mistake as innocent as unwittingly wearing a polo and khakis to a meeting that’s definitely suits and ties. (I’ve done that, too.) When this sort of thing happens, you know what it feels like to stick out like a sore thumb.

In Jesus’ parable of the great banquet, someone shows up without wedding clothes. The wedding crasher is quickly identified and escorted from the banquet in disgrace.

And it makes a person wonder, “Will that ever be me? When I try to stand before God, will it be determined that I’m a wedding crasher? Will the selfish choices that I’ve made, the uncaring attitudes of my heart, finally come home to roost? Will the sins that I’ve managed to conceal my whole life be loudly called out, by the all-seeing eyes of God? Will I be the one ushered out of the banquet in disgrace?”

Take heart. The wedding crasher in Jesus’ parable was meant to illustrate someone who tries to stand in the presence of God while at the same time ignoring and rejecting the Son sent from God to save the world.

Simply put your trust in him. Jesus has come into the world not to call us out in disgrace, but to cover our disgrace. That’s why he lived a life of perfect obedience in our place. It’s why he suffered the disgrace of the cross for us. All those who are baptized into Christ have clothed themselves with Christ, wrote the apostle Paul. Our sins are covered by Jesus’ righteousness and perfection. Believe in him, and you will be dressed appropriately at the great banquet.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 376)
Jesus, your blood and righteousness,
My beauty are, my glorious dress.
Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head. 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 Place for Tears – October 28, 2020

The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
Isaiah 25:8

Not a Place for Tears


Daily Devotion – October 28, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:8

See series: Devotions

There were probably a few tears shed at the last banquet you attended. Maybe the father of the bride gave a moving toast that eloquently recalled tender-hearted memories of his little girl, now all grown up and ready to start a family of her own. Perhaps a grown-up daughter stood up at her parents’ 50th Anniversary and talked about how her parents had inspired her by their Godly example in the best of times and also the worst. Tears are often an unintended part of the banquet agenda.

But the great banquet, the prophet Isaiah mentions in our reading for today, will be different. Isaiah speaks about how that day will be for the drying of tears rather than the shedding of tears. Why? Because the things that hurt our hearts belong to this sinful world and our existence on this side of heaven.

There’s another gem in this verse that’s a little more subtle; but equally powerful. Pay special attention to the One who is wiping away the tears. It’s none other than the Sovereign LORD. That’s a name for God that connotes power and strength. Yet, here he is, tenderly wiping away the tears from our eyes like a mother comforting her distressed child. “It’s all right,” the Sovereign LORD will say, “I’ve got you. You’re home.”

In a world of tears, we often find ourselves waiting for the next promotion, relationship, or package from Amazon that will bring us joy and ease our pain. “Things will be better then!” we tell ourselves. And it’s true that God graciously gives us blessings in this world that make us smile. But earthly joys don’t last long, and we find that our times of joy are mixed with moments of tears. That’s actually not an entirely bad thing. The fleeting and fickle nature of earthly joys reminds us of a different time and a better place still to come—the grand and glorious heavenly banquet where the Sovereign LORD himself will wipe every tear from our eyes.

Prayer:
Sovereign LORD, I watch and eagerly wait for the day that I will see you face to face. Until that day, help me to be grateful for my earthly joys and use my times of sadness to make me long for a better eternal day in your presence. 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 Celebration of Victory – October 27, 2020

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.
Isaiah 25:7,8

A Celebration of Victory


Daily Devotion – October 27, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:7,8

See series: Devotions

On June 19, 1945, Dwight D. Eisenhower stood in the backseat of an open-top Chrysler convertible as it rolled down New York City’s famed Canyon of Heroes. When he waved to the crowd, a reported four million people waved back. It was one of the biggest ticker-tape parades in the city’s history, organized to recognize the famous general for his role in defeating the Germans in World War II. Big victories call for big celebrations.

The prophet Isaiah doesn’t speak of a ticker-tape parade in our Bible reading for today. But it’s a big celebration of a big victory, nevertheless. How can it not be considered a big victory when your most formidable enemy goes down in defeat? And after all the tears that it’s caused, after all the families that it’s torn apart, isn’t it awesome to see death finally lose?

And not only does death lose, it gets swallowed up forever. Once Jesus left the tomb alive on Easter morning, death was done—that is to say, its stranglehold was loosened, its undefeated streak finally and forever was broken. The grave may receive our bodies, but it does not get to keep them. Once our greatest enemy, death is now merely the gateway to victorious and eternal life for all who trust in Jesus as their Savior.

Death is still a reality. But Jesus is bigger than death. He has swallowed up its power forever. And that is reason to celebrate!

Prayer:
Jesus, risen Savior, I lift up your name in unending praise and celebration because you destroyed death’s power over me and have opened the gate to eternal life. As I struggle on this side of heaven, comfort me, strengthen me, and cheer me through the tastes of the heavenly banquet that you give me 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.
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With the Finest Fare – October 26, 2020

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines.
Isaiah 25:6

With the Finest Fare


Daily Devotion – October 26, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:6

See series: Devotions

When was the last time you went to a banquet? You know, a fancy meal, probably in a fancy place, attended by people dressed up in their fanciest clothes. Perhaps it was a wedding banquet, or a banquet celebrating someone’s retirement, or a couple’s golden anniversary. We don’t go to banquets every day. They’re reserved for special occasions.

In chapter 25 of his book, the prophet Isaiah wrote about an extraordinary banquet. It’s extraordinary because of who the host is. He wrote that “the LORD Almighty” would prepare this banquet. We might glance over the words “LORD Almighty” without too much thought because they appear often in the Bible. But the name “LORD Almighty” is intended to express power. This is the God who summons and commands the angel armies! He sets the stars in their places and draws up the boundaries for the oceans. And yet, Isaiah insists that he is the one preparing a banquet.

Isn’t that remarkable? The God we serve is also willing to serve us, to make sure that we have all we need—especially everything we need to feed our souls.

This world is barren and devoid of rich spiritual food. Material possessions, humanistic philosophies, knowledge, relationships, adventure all claim that they can fill us up and make us satisfied. And they might for a while. But when all is said and done, we find ourselves still spiritually hungry.

What we really need is the food God prepares. And unlike most banquets, this feast is one that is before us every day—as we are filled up by God’s Word revealed in the Bible. There we see Jesus, the bread from heaven, who feeds us with the forgiveness he won for us and soothes our thirst for joy and peace. In Jesus, we have the most abundant spiritual feast imaginable.

Prayer:
LORD Almighty, thank you for providing food for my stomach and more importantly, food for my soul. Lead me to find daily nourishment in that rich banquet. 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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Your Good Shepherd – October 25, 2020

He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3

Your Good Shepherd


Daily Devotion – October 25, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 23:3

See series: Devotions

The man who wrote Psalm 23 was a King of Israel named David. David’s life was one of wonderful highs and also deep lows. He rose up from a shepherd boy to be the King of Israel. And yet, in spite of how richly God had blessed him, David sinned against God by committing adultery and murder.

Still, God did not abandon him. God sent the prophet Nathan to lead David to admit his sin. In love, God sought to restore his wandering sheep into a favored relationship with him. God did this not because of anything David had done—David actually deserved the opposite! God did this for “his name’s sake.” So that we might see the glory of God and his name, God forgives sinners like David, and like you and me.

God’s glory is revealed to us when he reveals the type of God he is: slow to anger, abounding in love, rich in mercy, full of forgiveness, wanting all people to be saved from death and destruction. This is the Shepherd that restored and guided David. This is the Shepherd that restores and guides us.

Listen to your Good Shepherd and repent for the times you have wandered away from him. And be assured of his forgiveness because he is your Good Shepherd who laid down his life to take away the guilt of your sin.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 374):
My shepherd will supply my need—Jehovah is his name.
In pastures fresh he makes me feed, beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back, when I forsake his ways.
And leads me, for his mercy’s sake, in paths of truth and grace.

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 Without Fear – October 24, 2020

“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. . . . What can man do to me? It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”
Psalm 118:6,8,9

Live Without Fear


Daily Devotion – October 24, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 118:6,8,9

See series: Devotions

Someone once remarked that “worrying is the only game in which, when you guess right, you don’t feel any better.” If a person wants to worry, there will always be a market for it. You can worry about finances, health, the past, your boss, kids, lack of kids, hair, lack of hair, and as I pull up to the drive-through window, who cooked that burger I just ordered. And let’s not forget global terrorism. And if our worries do pan out, at least we are better off and more prepared for the moment because we have worried. Wrong!

God has a better plan for us. His plan is that we do not worry because we know he is with us. And he is dependable minute-to-minute, day-to-day, and year-to-year. He is the almighty God who is always with us, even when others seek to create a mess for us, or we find we are in a mess of our own doing. He is a loving God who is our Savior that took away our greatest worry—fear of eternal death. Only God provides security for both body and soul.

Sure, we may need to make some changes in our life. One thing that will not change, though, is that God is always with us. God is not going anywhere, except to our rescue and to provide us with a life without fear. So, whether we are fretting over baldness, bankruptcy, bacteria, or bad (sinful) behavior, boldly rely on God. Put your worries and fears behind you.

Prayer:
Whatever worries are on my heart this day, Lord, sweep them away with the assurance that you are with me and, with you at my side, I have nothing to worry about. 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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Model Behavior – October 23, 2020

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
Philippians 3:17

Model Behavior


Daily Devotion – October 23, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 3:17

See series: Devotions

I was watching an old “I Love Lucy” episode and laughing at one of the many times Lucy meant well but messed everything up. While I was laughing, I noticed that my three-year-old daughter was also laughing. Only she wasn’t watching the TV; she was watching me. When I laughed, she laughed. It was a moment that really struck me as a parent because I realized that my daughter was learning a lot from my behavior. She was imitating me.

So, whom are you imitating? Chances are, it is whomever you are watching.

Are you watching those who are loving or unloving? Kind or unkind? Generous or selfish? Arrogant or humble?

The apostle Paul encouraged the church in Philippi to follow his example and to keep their eyes on “those who live as we do.” In other words, he wanted them to watch people who live in a God-pleasing way. God wants us to do the same. It’s important to keep our eyes on and give attention to those godly examples and models he has placed into our lives, and then to be that example for others. In doing so, we encourage and build one another up that we all may live God-pleasing lives.

Of course, none of the people we look at and imitate is perfect. That’s why, most importantly, we need to be reading about Jesus in the Bible. Jesus lived a perfectly God-pleasing life. Not just as an example for us (although he certainly is that!), but as a substitute for us. He gives us credit for his perfect life so that we can one day enter the perfect paradise of heaven.

Until then, we want to thank him by living in a way that is pleasing to him. And, watching the godly people he has placed in our lives can be a great help in doing so.

Prayer:
Gracious God, I praise you for the many godly examples you have given me in the pages of the Bible and in my life. Help me to imitate those who look to 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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Press On – October 22, 2020

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14

Press On


Daily Devotion – October 22, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 3:12-14

See series: Devotions

As she trained for the marathon, there were days when she wanted to give up. She woke up before anyone else to have time to run. Soreness and injuries were always present to amplify her desire to quit. Even on the day of the race as the miles dragged on and her muscles screamed at her to quit. Only one thought kept her putting one foot in front of another: the finish is ahead. So, she continued through pain and adversity because the goal was in front of her. Every step brought her one step closer to victory.

For Christians, this life is like running a marathon. When this life gets hard, and the joys of heaven seem far away, it is important to press on toward the goal. When the days are long and dreary, and God’s promises of salvation seem like more of a dream than reality, looking ahead to the finish will help.

Looking back at your sins, disobedience, and failures won’t help. Turning around to see the emptiness of this world with all of its meaningless distractions doesn’t get you any closer to your goal. Focusing on the present pains and frustrations only hides the goal from your mind.

Press on because the finish line is ahead. The halls of heaven are in front of you. The prize which God has had in store for all who know his Son as their Savior awaits.

Only focusing your attention on the goal will help you continue. Press on.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to continue in the way you have laid out for me. Remind me always of the goal you have in store for 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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We Do Not Belong – October 21, 2020

Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20

We Do Not Belong


Daily Devotion – October 21, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 3:20

See series: Devotions

Growing up I had a neighbor who was from Uruguay who was living in the United States on a temporary work visa. He was a friendly guy who always said “hello” to the neighborhood kids. His English was good, but you could tell from his accent that the United States was not his home. Sometimes he would give us snacks and candies with names we didn’t know, and he would watch our faces with delight as he shared with us these reminders of his home. One time, his garage door was open, and we could see boxes and storage containers stacked against the wall. Being curious kids, we asked him what was in all those boxes. He told us they were things that he didn’t bother to unpack since he would be going back to his home in Uruguay soon.

Like my childhood neighbor, Christians know that they are temporary residents—not of the United States, but of this world. And, like my neighbor, they can be recognized as being different from the people of this world. For example, they don’t talk the same way the world talks. At least, that is their goal. They want their conversations to be kind, gentle, and understanding. They want to speak of forgiveness and sacrifice. They want to talk about the hope they have.

And, like my neighbor, as Christians live in this world, they look for reminders of their true home. It is why they worship with other Christians and why they read and study the Bible.

When you find yourself frustrated with this world, know that Jesus has won an eternal life in heaven for you. Through faith in him, you can know that this world is only temporary. And you can look forward to a permanent residence in paradise.

Prayer:
Do not allow me to be distracted by the things of this world, lest I fail to wait with eagerness for Jesus to return. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and take me to my true 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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Laying a Cornerstone – October 20, 2020

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
Matthew 21:42

Laying a Cornerstone


Daily Devotion – October 20, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 21:42

See series: Devotions

There were so many reasons that people rejected Jesus.

Some found him far too ordinary for his claims. They had grown up with him in Nazareth. They knew his mother, brother, and sisters. He was just too normal, and so they rejected him.

Others found his message of grace and forgiving scandalous. He ate and drank with sinners while rebuking the self-righteousness of the religious leaders of his day. His mercy was too much, and so they rejected him.

Still, others thought his message was too exclusive. Jesus preached that he is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus said that he was the only way to the Father. His road was too narrow, and so they rejected him.

For countless others, though, they saw Jesus as their only source of hope in an uncertain world. For women like Mary Magdalene, disciples like Philip, and men like Nicodemus, they saw Jesus as essential for their lives. They realized that with him, they had everything. Without him, they had nothing. He was the cornerstone of their lives. His love became their source of guidance. His forgiveness and grace became the standard upon which God would build their faith. The work he accomplished made eternal life theirs.

Jesus is your hope, as well. While you may see many rejecting him, that does not change the fact that he is still the cornerstone. Believe in him. Build your life around him. With him, you have everything. Without him, you have nothing. The forgiveness he won for you means your relationship with God is restored, and eternal life in heaven is yours.

The cornerstone is set. You can say with the Bible writer, “The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Prayer:
Father, you have done this marvelous thing in making Jesus the cornerstone. Help me to trust in him alone. 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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