Be Willing to Sacrifice – October 7, 2021

[Jesus said] “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.”
Mark 9:43

Be Willing to Sacrifice


Daily Devotion – October 7, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:43

See series: Devotions

What would you be willing to do in order to avoid sin?

Let’s say that your hand has a mind of its own. It keeps grabbing merchandise that you haven’t paid for and carries it out of the store. It regularly balls itself into a fist and punches people in the face for no reason whatsoever. It even expresses itself to others using obscene gestures. Would you be willing to chop off your hand if that meant your hand would no longer be able to lead you into sin?

What about if your eye kept looking at pornography on the internet? Would you be willing to gouge out your eye so that it would no longer be able to lead you into sin?

These are the kinds of situations that Jesus confronts us with in our Bible passage for today. And he tells us that even though it would definitely be hard to live without a hand or an eye, that is far better than spending eternity in hell.

Of course, Jesus isn’t advocating that we actually maim ourselves to avoid sin. He is, however, graphically portraying the lengths to which he wants us to be willing to go to avoid sin. Avoiding sin is not always going to be a painless endeavor. Sometimes, avoiding sin means that we must give up things that we enjoy. Sometimes, it requires us to do things that we might not otherwise want to do. Sometimes, avoiding sin can be painful. It requires sacrifice.

Jesus, however, assures us that the sacrifice is worth it. And he promises to give us the strength we need to make the sacrifices necessary to avoid sin. He already has sacrificed himself to remove from us the guilt of all our sins. He will not now abandon us as we strive to live our lives for him.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you sacrificed yourself for me. Strengthen me that I may be willing to sacrifice everything to follow you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Let God Promote You – October 6, 2021

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10

Let God Promote You


Daily Devotion – October 6, 2021

Devotion based on James 4:10

See series: Devotions

With the birth of social media came the birth of a new occupation, that of the social media influencer. Social media influencers are people who have thousands, even millions of followers on social media who use their wide audiences to promote products. Companies will pay these influencers large sums of money to mention their products in their social media posts. And these influencers put a lot of effort into promoting not only these products but also themselves. After all, you can’t become a social media influencer with millions of followers if you don’t work hard at promoting yourself in every way you can.

Self-promotion is essential if you want to be a social media influencer. It is the opposite of what you want to do, however, in your relationship with God. In fact, as the apostle James tells us today, the best way to be “promoted” in our relationship with God is to completely “demote” ourselves before him.

James tells us, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Yes, if we want to be “promoted” before God, the first thing we need to do is humble ourselves. This means recognizing before God that on our own we have absolutely nothing to offer him. It means confessing before God our utter sinfulness from the moment of our conception. It means laying out before him the guilt we have accumulated for ourselves through all our sinful thoughts, words, and actions. It means throwing ourselves on his mercy, knowing that apart from his mercy we are doomed to be punished forever for our sins.

When we humble ourselves like that before God, he lifts us up. He assures us that for Jesus’ sake he has forgiven us all our sins. Through faith in Jesus, he adopts us into his family as his dearly loved sons and daughters. He makes us heirs of eternal life with him in heaven. He elevates us from the depths of sorrow to the heights of joy.

Self-promotion will never get you anywhere with God. Rather humble yourself and let God in his grace promote you.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I praise you that in your grace you have lifted me up. Help me always to find my reason for rejoicing in you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Welcomes All Who Come to Him – October 5, 2021

Come near to God and he will come near to you.
James 4:8

God Welcomes All Who Come to Him


Daily Devotion – October 5, 2021

Devotion based on James 4:8

See series: Devotions

Jesus once told a story about a young man who demanded his inheritance while his father was still alive. The young man then went to a distant land where he squandered all his money. Eventually, he had to take a job feeding pigs and was so hungry that he wished he could eat the food he was feeding to the pigs. Finally, the young man decided to go back home. He knew that he had deeply hurt his father. But he hoped that his father would receive him back, if not as a son, then as a servant.

When the young man came within sight of his hometown, his father, who had been waiting and watching for him, saw him. In his joy, the father ran to his son, embraced him, kissed him, and welcomed him home.

This story beautifully illustrates what the apostle James teaches us in today’s Bible passage. “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” All of us have been like the son in Jesus’ story. In our stubborn sinfulness, we have run away from God and done our own thing—all to our own detriment. Eventually, our rebellion against God landed us in a hole so deep that we could never get ourselves out of it. Then, God graciously led us to realize how foolish we were to run away from him. He worked in us sorrow over our sins and a desire to return to him. He drew us to himself and moved us to ask for his forgiveness.

Then just like the father in the story, before we could draw ourselves to God, God already was running to welcome us. Because of what Jesus did in sacrificing himself on the cross to pay for all our sins, God forgave us, embraced us, and received us as his dearly loved children, whom he never stopped looking out for. What a blessing to know we have a God who receives us and celebrates our return—almost as if we had never left.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, when I stray from you, draw me back to you and hold me close, so that I never stray from you again. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Stand up to the Bully – October 4, 2021

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

Stand up to the Bully


Daily Devotion – October 4, 2021

Devotion based on James 4:7

See series: Devotions

Brandon dreaded going to school. Jake was at school, and Jake was a bully. Jake sought Brandon out, intimidated him, insulted him, and pushed him around. Everything Jake did made Brandon feel weak and powerless.

One day, Brandon finally had had enough. As Jake was coming after him, Brandon stood up as tall as he could, looked Jake straight in the eyes, and said, “Enough! I’m not going to let you bully me anymore! You can’t have any power over me that I don’t let you have. So, from now on, this bullying stops!”

Jake was stunned. No one had ever stood up to him like that before. He stopped in his tracks, looked around, and saw that his power over Brandon—and everyone else—was gone. So, he ducked his head, turned around, and walked away.

Sometimes, the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to him.

It’s hard to think of a bigger bully than the devil. Like any other bully, the devil loves to use intimidation, insults, and accusations to exercise his power over us. And his power is considerable. In fact, no mere human being has the power to stand up to him on their own.

One person, however, does have the power to stand up to the devil on his own. That person is Jesus. Throughout his life, Jesus resisted and overcame the devil in every confrontation he had with him. Even when it seemed as if the devil was about to defeat Jesus as Jesus was hanging on the cross, Jesus emerged as the victor. By his death and resurrection, Jesus decisively defeated the devil and destroyed his power.

All those who trust in Jesus as their Savior share in Jesus’ victory over the devil. His power to stand up to the devil now is their power as they trust in him. When the devil tries to bully us with his accusations and intimidation, we can, with Jesus’ power, stand up to him and stop him. For, when we with Jesus resist the devil, the devil will flee from us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, by your power enable me to resist the devil so that he will flee from me, even as he must always flee from you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Do Not Be a Turtle – October 3, 2021

[Jesus said] “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
Matthew 18:15

Do Not Be a Turtle


Daily Devotion – October 3, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 18:15

See series: Devotions

The other morning I was walking my dog. We came across a large snapping turtle. Even though it could have inflicted much pain on my dog, this snapping turtle wanted nothing to do with my pet. It withdrew its limbs and head into its shell. When we had continued our walk down the road a ways, the turtle finally came out from its shell.

When we see someone struggling with a sin, our first reaction might be to play turtle and withdraw into a shell. It is so much easier to look the other way. After all, we are to live and let live, right? Wrong! Sin affects a person’s relationship with God. It separates the sinner from God. If never repented of, sin can lead to hell forever.

When people are caught in a sin, we are to go to them in humility and love. We are to gently show them their sin and lead them to confess it. But then we are to share the good news! “Jesus died for you. His death has paid for all of your sins. You are forgiven.” As people believe our message, we will have won them over. The angels in heaven will sing for joy!

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for taking all my sins away by your Son’s death on the cross. When others are caught in sin’s sticky web, give me the courage and love so I can be your tool to lead them back to you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Bad Week – October 2, 2021

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Isaiah 35:4,5

A Bad Week


Daily Devotion – October 2, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 35:4,5

See series: Devotions

Have you ever had one of those weeks when everything in life just seems to go wrong? Monday morning starts with a flat tire, and you are late for work. On Wednesday, you find out that the company you work for is preparing to downsize. Then your 7-year-old wakes you up in the middle of the night with the flu. The week is just the pits.

God’s people were having a very bad week. Their lives were imperiled by a powerful army that threatened their city. The situation seemed hopeless. But God sent a message to his people through the prophet Isaiah, “Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’” God fulfilled his promised to come to the aid of his people. The angel of the Lord went out and put to death 185,000 of the enemy soldiers. The army was so decimated that the commander had no choice but to withdraw and return home. God saved his people.

Satan is a powerful enemy who threatened us with cruel captivity and dreadful death. We were powerless to help ourselves. But our almighty God came to be our Savior. He demonstrated his divine power by giving sight to the blind, healing the paralyzed, opening the ears of the deaf and freeing a stammering tongue. But the most important way that he used his power was to face our enemy for us. Oh, it was a bad week for him that ended in his death. But victory was declared when he rose from the dead! He saved us from our enemy!

As we go through life, we know that there are going to be bad weeks. But in Jesus, we have the good news of life and salvation. That helps us cope and gives us hope.

Prayer:
Jesus, I praise you for rescuing me from threat of Satan. Assure me every day that you are with me and that your power will help me overcome all the difficulties that I face. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Important Work – October 1, 2021

He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Mark 9:36,37

Important Work


Daily Devotion – October 1, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:36,37

See series: Devotions

Can you think of other times when Jesus used visual aids to make a lasting impression on his disciples? He had Thomas take a long look at the nail-marked hands and side, throwing in an invitation to touch those wounds as well. A shriveled-up fig tree attested to the power of faith in an unforgettable way. He used a coin with the emperor’s image, a coin plucked from a fish’s mouth, and a coin plunked into the temple’s money box as visual support for the words he was speaking.

Jesus wasn’t afraid to use a visual aid when he thought it would drive home his point. So what was his point in bringing the little child into the disciples’ line of vision? It was more than “be nice to kids.” (Important as that is!)

Jesus was trying to teach the disciples about the works that God considers great and honorable. And how those works are often quite the opposite of what we’d expect. The world around us makes sure to put its best foot forward when interacting with those viewed as most important, powerful, or influential.

But Jesus reminds us that our hearts are most like his heart when we’re interacting with those the rest of the world might overlook. The most important work is serving those who need us. That might be the little ones who look to us to put food on their table. It might be the lonely person at church who needs someone to talk to. It might be the aging parent who can’t do some things on their own anymore. That work may not win you any headlines or earn you any promotions. It might be inconvenient and messy. But it’s how God takes care of people in this world. And it’s humble service, first modeled for us by Jesus in his humble service to us. And that makes it really, really important.

Prayer:
Gracious God, help me to see the opportunities for your important work all around me. Give me the humility to embrace them and the strength to carry them to completion. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Path to Greatness -September 30, 2021

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Mark 9:33-35

The Path to Greatness


Daily Devotion – September 30, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:33-35

See series: Devotions

See if you can guess who said the following: “It’s my job. It’s what I do. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.” Or this? “I’m so mean I make medicine sick.” Or how about? “I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.”

Those quotes are all from former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. During his heyday, he was one of the most controversial and talented athletes on the face of the earth. He was as quick-witted as he was quick-fisted. He was a fantastic showman, and he wanted everyone to hear that he was the greatest.

In our Bible passage today, Jesus’ disciples are doing their best Muhammad Ali impersonations, arguing about which of them was the greatest as they traveled on the road.

Jesus took that opportunity to show his disciples the way to true greatness. “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last and the servant of all.” And he wasn’t just saying it. He was doing it! He was the master of the angel armies who willingly came here to serve us in our greatest need. On Good Friday, Jesus gave no thought to his own well-being. He laid down his life so that we might live. That’s the definition of a hero. That is the epitome of greatness.

Prayer:
You are the greatest Lord Jesus and most worthy of all my praise. Help me always to remember and treasure your becoming a servant for me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Lord Comes Down – September 29, 2021

[God said] “Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them. When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow. . . . So Moses cried out to the LORD, “Please, God, heal her!”
Numbers 12:8-10,13

The Lord Comes Down


Daily Devotion – September 29, 2021

Devotion based on Numbers 12:8-10,13

See series: Devotions

God was rightfully angry at Miriam. She had spoken against his chosen leader–Moses. He demonstrated his anger by allowing her to suffer a skin disease. He wanted her to realize how serious her sin was.

What’s remarkable is the way Moses reacted. He didn’t shake his head and say, “See, Miriam, see—this is what you get.” He couldn’t possibly have forgotten the verbal knives that were used to stab him in the back, the axes that were used to chop down his reputation and good name. His wounds were still as open and festering as Miriam’s. But when he saw his sister in pain and panicking, he wasted no time. “O God, please heal her.”

That is selfless ambition, Moses standing up for his sister, pleading for his sister, forgiving his sister not when he decided he was good and ready, but when she needed him.

And that reminds us of another time when the Lord came down—not in a pillar of cloud, but in barn rags in a manger in Bethlehem. There God came down once again, not in anger to reproach, but in love to save. God came down once again, not to accuse of sin and condemn of sin, but to take away the sin of the world. In his bitter dying, in his glorious rising, Jesus cried out, “O God, please heal them!” And so we hold this gem in our hands and hearts, and we marvel with wide-eyed wonder when the writer to the Hebrews says, “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11).

Prayer:
I give you my endless praise, Lord Jesus, for coming to heal me. May my praise and thanksgiving be evident in all that I do. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Better Than We Deserve – September 28, 2021

“Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”
Numbers 12:2

Better Than We Deserve


Daily Devotion – September 28, 2021

Devotion based on Numbers 12:2

See series: Devotions

It’s hard for us to see someone else have something that we want for ourselves, and we don’t always handle it very well. Maybe we try to convince ourselves and the people around us of how unworthy that person is to have what they’ve been given—like Aaron and Miriam undermining Moses’ position as leader because of his Cushite wife.

Have you ever heard things like, “She doesn’t deserve him.” “They don’t deserve that house.” “He doesn’t deserve that job.” Have you ever said them yourself? Of course, when we speak in those terms, what we’re trying to say is that “I do. I do deserve a spouse like that. A house like that. A job like that. God, just give me what I deserve!”

When we’re spending so much time dissecting and criticizing what others have received, we’re not giving our attention to what we’ve been given—to our vocations, responsibilities, callings. Young people, when we argue with our parents and dismiss their advice and complain about their rules, are we perhaps forgetting who made them the parent and who made us the children? Fellow employees, when we’re snarky and impudent about our bosses, are we perhaps forgetting how they got to be our bosses? When we stick it to our government leaders or our teachers or our pastors, are we forgetting that God has given them a job to do, and he’s given us a job to do as well?

The fact is none of us really deserves any of those callings in life. Our sinful self-centeredness means that all we really deserve is an angry God and a hellish future. Faced with that prospect, our prayer quickly changes to “God, please DON’T give me what I deserve.”

And in mercy, he doesn’t. Our gracious God gave to Jesus the punishment we deserve, and he gave us the love that Jesus deserves.

And he doesn’t stop there! In addition, he gives us all kinds of other things that we haven’t earned or deserved. Like the privilege of being called mommy or daddy, the opportunity to work so that our needs can be provided for, the honor of being a friend, citizen, church member, and volunteer.

Prayer:
Gracious Father, in love you do not give me what I deserve. Thank you. Continue to look in mercy upon me, give me contentment and joy in my calling as I seek to serve you and my neighbor. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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No Sibling Rivalry – September 27, 2021

Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”
Numbers 12:1,2

No Sibling Rivalry


Daily Devotion – September 27, 2021

Devotion based on Numbers 12:1,2

See series: Devotions

Alexander and James Campbell were two brothers who had a lot in common. Both emigrated from their native Scotland to the United States in the 1850s. Both enlisted and fought in the Civil War. In fact, both played prominent roles in the First Battle of James Island in 1862. But right now if you’re picturing two inseparable siblings locking arms and boldly marching side by side into battle to face a common enemy, there’s one more detail I should probably mention. Alexander Campbell wore a blue coat in the Civil War, and James Campbell wore grey. They were shooting at each other at the First Battle of James Island, fighting on opposite sides of a bitter and bloody war.

While it’s true that ammunition isn’t usually involved, sibling rivalry is nothing new. And we see yet another example of sibling misbehavior in our Bible story today with Moses, Aaron, and Miriam—the first family of ancient Israel.

You can tell by their words that there was more going on than just a little dislike for their sister-in-law on the part of Aaron and Miriam. They were using their brother’s wife as a pretext to tear Moses down. And as is so often the case, when we tear others down, we’re hoping to build ourselves up. The jealousy of Aaron and Miriam wasn’t just a sibling problem. It was a human problem—a reflection of the depravity that we all share in our sinful hearts.

Realizing that depravity, that persistent pull that we feel to pull others down, makes us marvel all the more at the selfless love of Jesus. He’s the One who came from heaven not to pull us down but to raise us up to life eternal. He became our sibling in flesh and blood so that we could become his siblings in the family of the Father. There is no sibling rivalry here. Jesus exalts us as his blood—bought baptism-washed family. And because he does, we exalt him with thankful hearts.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, Brother from heaven. How blessed and grateful I am that you call me your family. Help me to live my life worthy of the calling that I have received. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Promise – September 26, 2021

But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Genesis 15:2-5

A Promise


Daily Devotion – September 26, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 15:2-5

See series: Devotions

God told Abram that he had nothing to worry about in the foreign land in which he lived. God promised to be his shield from harm. God also reminded Abram that he would receive every good thing because the LORD was his “very great reward.”

There was one thing, though, that troubled Abram. He had no descendant and this is what he wanted very much. That’s because a son was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abram that the Savior of the world would come from his family. But as Abram and his wife Sarai grew past child-bearing years, it seemed that the link between Abram and the Savior was lost. No Savior?! This is what Abram was afraid of.

So Abram decided to follow the custom of that time and adopt his servant, Eliezer. Through him, Abram thought, he could have descendants, and then the promise of God for a coming Savior would be fulfilled.

God helped his troubled believer overcome his fearful doubts. He told Abram, “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” Then God brought Abram outside on that clear night and showed him the starry hosts of the heavens. The multitude of stars—”So shall your offspring be,” God declared to Abram. As easily as God created all the stars, so he could give a son to an old man and his wife. The promise of the Savior would be fulfilled exactly as God determined.

Nothing was too hard for God to accomplish our salvation!

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for fulfilling your promise of sending Jesus to be the world’s Savior. Fill my heart with the joyful assurance that in Jesus I have the blessing of eternal life. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Humility – September 25, 2021

Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among great men.
Proverbs 25:6

Humility


Daily Devotion – September 25, 2021

Devotion based on Proverbs 25:6

See series: Devotions

Humility is a virtue that is often overlooked and seldom appreciated in our world. It’s the gifted athletes, musicians, actors, and entrepreneurs of the world that are admired. Seldom will you find a rich or famous person described as being humble. Humility, however, is a virtue that God loves.

To understand what it means to be humble, we need only look to Jesus. His entire life and ministry were lived with humility. When the Lord God came into this world, he was not born in a palace but in a lowly stable in Bethlehem. Jesus’ entire life was spent in the humble service of others. His life and work weren’t about “ME” as so many live today. Jesus dedicated his life to the humble and loving service of others.

Why else would the Lord have allowed himself to be hung on the cross like a criminal? How else can we explain his willingness to endure his Father’s wrath and the torments of hell? What other reason could there be for Jesus to lay down his life for lost mankind?

God doesn’t ask us to endure death by crucifixion or face the wrath of God, nor do we need to. Jesus took care of that. He has saved us from our sins and gained for us eternal life. What God wants of us, the ones who have experienced his mercy and love by faith in Jesus, is that we live our lives with humility. Let us live, not to make a name for ourselves, but live in the loving service of others. Live not for our glory but to the glory of God.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, bless me with a humble spirit that I may live my life in loving service to others. Let them see your love in me that they may learn to know Jesus as their Savior and give glory to your holy name. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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When You Walk in the Dark – September 24, 2021

Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.
Isaiah 50:10

When You Walk in the Dark


Daily Devotion – September 24, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 50:10

See series: Devotions

My elementary school was right across the street from my state’s boarding school for the blind and visually impaired. Occasionally the students from that school were mainstreamed into my school. I liked making friends with them. One of my blind friends taught me how to read braille.

Our teachers encouraged us to think about what it was like to be blind. They encouraged us to walk around in our homes at night without turning lights on. I still like to do that. Of course, I have seen my house in the light, so it’s not that difficult. But I still run into things. My wife is amused by my bruises.

Many people in this world are walking around in the dark. They think they know their way around the world, but they have not been enlightened about the true God or about Jesus Christ, whom God has sent. They run into things and cannot figure out why they are bruised.

Our teachers also encouraged us to learn how to be a guide for the blind. There’s a certain way to walk or run with blind people and guide them with your hand or arm. My blind friends learned to trust me as a guide. They pointed out that some of the other students thought it was funny to lead them astray.

The only way out of spiritual blindness is to have a guide. That guide is what God says in the Bible. His name is everything he tells us about himself in the Bible, and you can trust that name. God will never lead you astray. With eyes wide open, even in the dark, you can walk with him all the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when life seems dark, open my eyes to the light of your love. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Losing Your Life – September 23, 2021

Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
Mark 8:34,35

Losing Your Life


Daily Devotion – September 23, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:34,35

See series: Devotions

On July 17, 180 A.D., twelve inhabitants of Carthage, North Africa, were executed for being Christians. There were seven men and five women. Their names were Speratus, Nartzalus, Cintinus (Cittinus), Veturius, Felix, Aquilinus, Laetantius, Januaria, Generosa, Vestia, Donata, and Secunda. Speratus was their spokesman. He claimed for himself and his companions that they had lived quiet and moral lives—paying their taxes and doing no wrong to their neighbors. But when called upon to swear by the name of the emperor, he replied, “We do not recognize the empire of this world. We serve the God whom no one has seen.” The Christians were offered a delay of thirty days to reconsider their decision, which they all refused. They were put to death by the sword.

They were not the first Christian martyrs, nor the last. Even today, there are people around the world killed for following Jesus.

Many Christians are not killed for their faith. But you will find that there are always sacrifices to be made in following Jesus. You will encounter skepticism and ridicule for putting the needs of other people ahead of your own. You will have less money and time for yourself when you use them for other people. You may lose status or the opportunity for advancement when you live a quiet and moral life.

But trusting in Jesus for your eternal salvation and living a God-pleasing life for others to say thank you to him are worthwhile. When Jesus suffered hell on the cross for your salvation, he made your much smaller sufferings bearable. You can look forward to eternal life with him!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me strength to take up my cross daily and follow you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Concerns of God – September 22, 2021

Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Mark 8:31-33

The Concerns of God


Daily Devotion – September 22, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:31-33

See series: Devotions

Admit it. You want things to look good, and you want to feel good. You want everyone to be happy, and you want things to turn out well. Those are just normal human concerns.

God has greater concerns. He wants everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved. He wants you to believe in Jesus so that you will not perish but have eternal life instead. He wants you to depend on him, and not on yourself.

Jesus shared the concerns of God the Father. That is why he did not care how he looked or felt. He knew that some people were not going to be happy about what he said or did. He taught his disciples that he would have to suffer and be rejected by the prominent people of his day and that he would be killed. He even mentioned that after three days, he would rise again.

The disciple Peter wanted things to look good. He wanted to feel good, and he certainly did not want Jesus killed. He wanted Jesus to share his human concerns.

Jesus recognized that those human concerns were a temptation from Satan. If Jesus did not suffer, Peter would not be saved. So Jesus rebuked Peter, pointing out that the devil was behind his human concerns.

Even if you do not always understand why Jesus is not acting according to your human concerns, you can trust that he knows what he is doing. He has in mind the concerns of God, and those are always in your best interest.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, relieve my human concerns by giving me insight to the concerns of God for my good. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Tell People About Him Now – September 21, 2021

Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Mark 8:30

Tell People About Him Now


Daily Devotion – September 21, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:30

See series: Devotions

It might sound surprising, but Jesus often told his disciples not to tell anyone about him. Something dramatic would happen, proving that Jesus was the Son of God, and the disciples would be excited to talk about it. Jesus would advise them to be silent instead.

That’s because Jesus knew that the religious and political leaders of his day would hear about what he did, find him a threat, and conspire to put him to death. Jesus knew that had to happen at a certain time, and when it was too early, he did not want his disciples to precipitate those events.

At a certain point in his ministry, when he knew it was the right time, Jesus entered Jerusalem very publicly, encouraged people to talk about him, and ended up going to the cross. He gave his life—the innocent for the guilty—and won forgiveness for the whole world.

You can talk about that now. You can tell people about Jesus now. There may still be opposition, but Jesus’ work is complete, and there’s nothing the opposition can do about it.

So, at every opportunity, go ahead and tell people who Jesus really is. You don’t have to worry about Jesus’ warning not to tell anyone about him. That was then, and this is now.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for accomplishing your work in exactly the right way at exactly the right time. Give me opportunities to talk about what you have done for everyone. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Is Who He Says He Is – September 20, 2021

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
Mark 8:27-29

Jesus Is Who He Says He Is


Daily Devotion – September 20, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:27-29

See series: Devotions

How can you tell that people are really who they say they are? Surely you have heard of people who claim to be good and helpful but turn out to be despicable. You’ve probably also heard of people who speak very quietly and humbly but turn out to be positive contributors to someone else’s life.

People had heard of Jesus. He asked his disciples what they were saying about him. Apparently, there were people who thought Jesus was a reincarnation of someone famous in Bible history. Others thought that he was at the level of other prophets whom God had sent to the people of Israel.

But that’s not who Jesus said he was. Jesus quietly said that he was the Savior promised for thousands of years. He said that he came to win forgiveness by his innocent suffering and death. He carefully explained that he was the ultimate prophet, the one who ends the need for more prophets. He used a term that said that and more; he called himself the Messiah.

Did his disciples think that he really was the Messiah? Peter said so. They had been with him long enough to see that he was not faking it. He was exactly who he said he was.

Who do you say Jesus is? He wants you to know that he really is who he said he was. He is the Messiah, the one who was promised, the one who earned forgiveness for you, the one who loves you. You can count on him, and you can say with confidence that he is your Savior.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, no matter what other people say about you, help me to trust you as my Savior. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Solid Rock – September 19, 2021

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Matthew 7:24-29

The Solid Rock


Daily Devotion – September 19, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 7:24-29

See series: Devotions

The kind of followers Jesus wants are those in whom the Word lives and who live by the Word. They have their life focused on Christ, their attention on his words, confidence in his protection, hope in his promises, and joy in the relationship they have with their Savior. Absolutely nothing can destroy such a spiritual building of active and saving faith. Life problems can beat against that house of faith; persecution can pelt it mercilessly; death itself will rise up against it, but it will not fall because it is based solidly on the Rock—Jesus Christ.

Quite different is the result for the one who hears God’s Word but does not put what he hears into practice. He does not recognize his sinfulness and does not trust in Jesus as his Savior. He trusts another basis for salvation, one that puts confidence in his own ability and self-worth. In his case, Jesus says, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” With such an imperfect footing, his life eventually comes crashing down. Without faith in Jesus, he is lost and condemned forever!

Jesus reveals himself in his Word to give us a firm foundation for our faith and absolute confidence for our salvation. Build your life on Jesus, the solid rock.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, open my heart to believe your Word and put it into practice in my life. Keep me safe from all onslaughts against my faith, and finally bring me home with you in heaven. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Blessings – September 18, 2021

Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Psalm 103:1,2

Blessings


Daily Devotion – September 18, 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 103:1,2

See series: Devotions

“Daddy, what’s a benefit?” That’s a question one of my daughters asked me the other morning after she had recited to me these verses from Psalm 103. I answered, “A benefit is a blessing; it’s something good that we receive from God.”

The list of God’s blessings is endless. First, there are the “small” blessings in life: food, clothing, shelter, air to breath, a spouse’s love, a child’s laughter, friendship, good health. Praise the Lord for all these benefits!

Then there are the really “big” blessings that God gives us: forgiveness for our sins, angels who guard and protect us daily, the privilege of going directly to God in prayer, the sure hope of eternal life in heaven one day, confidence in the resurrection of the body at the end of time. Praise the Lord for all these blessings!

Are these blessings that we deserve? No. Have we earned them? No. Because of the sin we’ve inherited from our parents and the sins we daily commit, we deserve nothing but misery in this life and the one to come. But praise the Lord! Where our sin increased, God’s grace and blessings in Jesus increased all the more.

Praise the Lord! Praise him with your lips. Praise him with your life lived to his glory and honor.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, how great you are! You have showered upon me more benefits and blessings than I deserve. Help me say “thank you” to you by living my life in ways that bring you praise and worship. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Remember Who You Are in Christ – September 17, 2021

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
James 1:22-25

Remember Who You Are in Christ


Daily Devotion – September 17, 2021

Devotion based on James 1:22-25

See series: Devotions

In a moving scene in Disney’s The Lion King, the spirit of the departed Mufasa admonishes his son Simba with the words, “Remember who you are.” The young lion’s lifestyle choices revealed that he had forgotten who he was—the rightful king, and therefore he had forgotten his father as well.

The Bible closely connects Christian behavior with a conscious and deliberate recollection of who we are in Jesus Christ. We read in the Bible that all of us had been doomed to damnation because of our disobedience to God and his word. But through his perfect life and innocent death, Jesus set us free from the curse of the law. Connected to Christ through Baptism, we died to sin. Now we live for God as his dearly loved children and heirs of heaven. How could we return to the way of life that separated us from God in the first place?

Unfortunately, that is what happens when believers forget what the Bible reveals about who they are in Christ and what type of life that God has called them to live as Christ’s followers. All too easily, we slip into old sinful habits and self-destructive patterns. As Jesus told his disciples, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The solution is to purposefully peer into God’s Word daily and prayerfully put into practice what we read there. In the blood of Jesus, you have been washed clean from your sin—don’t roll around in the same immoral mud anymore. Remember that you belong to Christ and live as a child of God.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, let me never forget what you have done for me and what you have called me to be. I am your disciple; let me learn from you. You are my Savior; let me serve you in thanksgiving. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Communication that Values Relationships – September 16, 2021

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
James 1:19,20

Communication that Values Relationships


Daily Devotion – September 16, 2021

Devotion based on James 1:19,20

See series: Devotions

A recent article in a business magazine highlighted the use of a “ten-second rule” for more effective communication. The author noted that taking a long breath or two before responding can defuse a heated conversation. The momentary break gives everyone in the room a chance to refocus on relationships rather than disagreement.

This advice is not only good modern business practice, but it also reflects ancient wisdom found in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. When James counseled his readers to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry,” he was echoing thoughts collected hundreds of years earlier in the book of Proverbs.

Of course, all too often, we have failed to heed such advice. Our sinful pride, selfishness, and short tempers frequently can get the best of us, and instead of putting the needs of others ahead of our own, we respond in anger. We may feel the urge to win the argument or get our own way at any cost, even at the expense of friendships and other important relationships.

How comforting to know that God does not act as we do! The Bible tells us that God is slow to anger, even though we have given him so many reasons to be angry with us. And he is quick to listen to and answer our prayers, especially when we are asking for forgiveness. His Son, Jesus, perfectly demonstrated that same attitude throughout his earthly life, patiently bearing with sinners and humbly paying the price for our sharp tongues and short tempers.

Now we strive to live in a way that reflects Christ’s love for us and our gratitude for him. That includes making sure that we value people and our relationships with them more than we value winning arguments against them. Practice good communication habits, but even more so, practice imitating Christ’s humility and patient love for others, just as he has loved and forgiven you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive me for acting and speaking in anger rather than love. Help me to build up others through what I say and how I say it. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Changeless Grace – September 15, 2021

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:17,18

Changeless Grace


Daily Devotion – September 15, 2021

Devotion based on James 1:17,18

See series: Devotions

Life can seem like a roller coaster: full of unexpected ups and downs; and sudden twists and turns. But while amusement park rides are meant for entertainment, in real life these unpredictable changes aren’t always so welcome. Even worse, for some people, life might be more accurately compared to a mechanical bull, with random spins and jerking movements purposefully designed to throw off its rider.

So is that the case? Is the designer of your life out to get you? Could it be that when everything is going wrong, and you feel like giving up, that God himself is purposefully trying to get you to stumble and fall?

Jesus’ younger brother James wrote a very down-to-earth letter to fellow believers who struggled in their life of faith. Trials and temptations threatened their trust in God. Some even wondered if God was responsible for these stumbling blocks as if he wanted them to fall. James compared those who doubted God’s unchanging grace to waves of the sea, tossed this way and that by the winds of change in their lives.

James reminded his readers that the God who created this universe and everything in it only and always gives good gifts. Shadows shift on earth as the sun glides across the sky, and the clouds may temporarily dim its light. But the sun itself and the live-sustaining heat it emits are not diminished. So also, our heavenly Father and his eternal love for us do not change just because the world casts shade on his word. God gave his only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Light of the world, revealing the Father’s merciful heart with his sacrifice in our place. And he gives us new life, a spiritual rebirth, through the gift of faith in his Son. That love and those gifts remain constant, even in the darkest days, even through all the twists and turns of life.

Prayer:
Lord God, when I am weary from all the changes of this life, keep my eyes focused on your unchanging love for me in Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Christ Brings Change – September 14, 2021

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
Isaiah 35:5-7

Christ Brings Change


Daily Devotion – September 14, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 35:5-7

See series: Devotions

There is a joke which asks: “How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb?” The answer is: “None. Lutherans don’t believe in change.” There may be a cultural kernel of truth to that joke which makes us chuckle. But in reality, Lutherans—along with all Bible-believing Christians—believe in many enormous changes because we believe in Christ.

We all come into this world spiritually blind, deaf, and lame—in other words, we are unaware of God’s goodness to us, unwilling to listen to his promises, and unable to walk according to his word. By nature, our souls are spiritual wastelands devoid of real life. But into that desert steps Jesus Christ with his life-giving, life-changing gospel. He came into our sin-darkened world not only to announce our salvation but to make it happen. By his sacrifice on the cross, our debt with God has been paid. We are fully and freely forgiven for the sake of Jesus and through faith in him.

This good news of Jesus our Savior has the power to effect incredible changes in us. It enables us to see God as the loving Father that he is. It tunes our ears to hear and believe his promises of eternal life. It makes our hearts leap with joy, which in turn empowers us and motivates us to love our neighbor and to live a life of praise and thanksgiving to the God who saved us.

Have you become frustrated with yourself, stuck in your self-serving, self-defeating ways? Look to Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who alone has the power to make the blind to see and the lame to walk. Rejoice in the changes he brings you now, and especially the eternal changes he will make in you on the day of resurrection.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, let me always listen to your promises, see your grace, walk in your light, and sing your praises. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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He Will Come to Save You – September 13, 2021

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Isaiah 35:4

He Will Come to Save You


Daily Devotion – September 13, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 35:4

See series: Devotions

Merlin was a rescue dog. We don’t know what his life was like before he became a part of our family, but we suspect he might have been abused. For some reason, he was especially terrified by the sound of my dress shoes on the hardwood floor. The poor dog would nervously bark and nearly wet himself with fear when he heard me coming down the hall. My guess is that his abuser must have worn similar shoes.

Fast forward a few years, and things had changed completely. Merlin had lost almost all his skittishness as he knew he was with a family that loved him and cared for him. Now the sound of me approaching down the hallway no longer caused him fear, but his great tail began to swing from side to side as he prepared to be greeted with affection. Even now, years later, I can’t help but feel anger towards whoever had mistreated our beloved Merlin as a puppy.

Just as there are rescue dogs, we are a rescued people. We have been tortured and abused by the devil and by a guilty conscience. Both point out the many ways that we have disobeyed our Maker and caused him to become angry with us. The thought of suddenly being in God’s presence can be terrifying—we know he has every right to punish us.

But that has changed completely because we have come to know that we are loved and cared for by that same God that we had angered. God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, has willingly taken our punishment upon himself at his Father’s request. Our sin has been paid for in full. Now when we hear that God is coming, it no longer brings fear, but comfort and relief. Jesus Christ will return on the day of judgment, but for all who have learned of his love and trusted in his forgiveness, it will be a glorious day of joy and salvation. Do not fear his coming, but see that he is already with you, and take heart in his promises of peace.

Prayer:
Gracious Lord God, comfort my heart with your promise of salvation. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Pray With Confidence – September 12, 2021

[Jesus said] “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:7-11

Pray With Confidence


Daily Devotion – September 12, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 7:7-11

See series: Devotions

Jesus invites us to pray with confidence. We can do so because the almighty God is the giver of all things for everyone and everything.

As he teaches us about confidence in praying to our heavenly Father, Jesus makes a comparison to the care responsible parents give to their children. They seek to provide their children with what is healthful and safe for them. They wouldn’t deliberately deceive their hungry children by substituting a stone for bread or a snake for a fish.

How much more God will provide what is good for his dear children! He may give a better gift than the one we ask for, but he will not perversely answer our prayers to harm us. God is always looking out for our best interests. Most importantly, he has given us his Son, who has prepared our eternity with God. So Jesus wants us to understand that if God has taken care of this great thing, he certainly will provide the lesser things in our lives now. Another passage in Scripture says it this way: He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

Prayer: (Psalm 66:19,20)
God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Let God Do the Exalting – September 11, 2021

Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.
Proverbs 25:6,7

Let God Do the Exalting


Daily Devotion – September 11, 2021

Devotion based on Proverbs 25:6,7

See series: Devotions

While these words might sound like nothing more than ancient advice for dining with royalty, they reflect a deeper truth of the Bible. It’s better for us to humbly wait to be exalted than to exalt ourselves. Unfortunately, that’s not always so easy for us to do. If we are good at something, we want everyone else to notice and give us the proper recognition. If we put a lot of work into a task or project, we want to be praised. Sadly, at times this attitude can even infect our spiritual lives. “Lord, you sure are lucky to have me working in your kingdom!”

We see the exact opposite in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Even though he was the King of the universe, he didn’t come into our world to seek praise and honor. Instead, he came to serve and to give his life for our sins, even for our sins of pride and arrogance. Jesus didn’t need to be exalted by men because he knew that he had the approval of the only one that mattered—his Father in heaven.

It is through our Savior’s perfect life and sacrifice that we can be certain that we have the approval of our Father in heaven. Jesus did everything necessary to make us God’s dearly beloved children, so we don’t need to constantly strive to put ourselves above others. Love for Christ moves us to use our God-given talents to the best of our ability, not to be praised and honored by others, but to glorify our Father in heaven. Even when no one thanks us or notices our hard work, we can look forward to the day when our heavenly Father will exalt us in heaven and say, “Come up here. Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, every good and perfect gift comes from you. Help me to humbly use the gifts that you have given me and to rejoice that I have your approval through my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Blame Game – September 10, 2021

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.
Mark 7:21-23

The Blame Game


Daily Devotion – September 10, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 7:21-23

See series: Devotions

We live in a world that likes to point the finger of blame. Rarely, it seems, does anyone take responsibility for their actions. It is always someone else’s fault. If a mistake is made, there can be any number of ways to shift the blame: maybe it was the way we were raised, maybe there were circumstances beyond our control, maybe what we said was taken out of context, or maybe it was because someone else started it. It seems there is always something or someone else to blame.

But in our Bible reading for today, Jesus bluntly says that the problem starts with you and me—in our hearts. He runs down a terrible list of sins and says that these things come, not from outside influences where we can shift the blame. Rather, he says they originate in our own hearts. Combine that with a society that tells us to do whatever is in our hearts, and we have a big problem. When we fail to control the desires that reside in our heart, it boils over into sin of all kinds. For such things, we deserve eternal punishment from God.

Yet, the One who speaks these words is also the One who saves us. Jesus was different from you and me. He was pure in heart. None of the things on this list resided in his heart. He was perfectly pure, and he lived an entire life in our place without ever once falling into sin. He was perfect where we have failed and through the miracle of the cross, Jesus takes our sin away and provides us with his perfection so that we can stand holy in God’s sight. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we can confidently say that through faith in him, heaven is our home!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you are perfect and holy and have given me the gift of eternal life. Help today to control the desires in my heart. Help me to live for you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Equip Yourself for Battle – September 9, 2021

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13

Equip Yourself for Battle


Daily Devotion – September 9, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 6:13

See series: Devotions

The average United States soldier carries 27 pounds of personal protective equipment. That weight is on top of an already heavy loadout of weapons and gear. Our soldiers are often thought of as being well-equipped and well-prepared. But imagine for a moment if the soldier decided he did not want to carry the protective equipment. Imagine if he did not want to be bothered with putting on his armor. Sure, that would make for an easier morning and less expended energy getting around, but such a choice would also make him less safe. It would make him more susceptible to serious injury or even death. For a soldier to go into battle without his armor would seem foolish.

The same might be said about our own spiritual lives. Yet, how often do we truly arm ourselves for battle? And please understand this is not hypothetical. God does not say “if the day of evil comes.” He says, “when the day of evil comes.” The enemy is going to attack. Satan is going to mount an assault against our faith each day. We can either do the time-consuming work of arming ourselves for battle through reading the Bible, prayer, and worship, or we can leave our armor behind as we go off to face our spiritual battles. For a child of God to go into spiritual battle without the armor of God is foolish.

There is One who always armed himself for battle. One who always put on the full armor that God provides in his Word. Throughout the Bible, we see Jesus arming himself with Bible passages, prayer, and trust in his heavenly Father as he faced the devil’s attacks. For each battle, he stood firm. He never failed or sinned. And in his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has crushed Satan and given us the victory.

As you get ready for battle today, know that the victor is on your side. He has provided all the armor you need in his Word. Equip yourself for battle today.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the eternal victory you have given me. Bless me as I arm myself with your Word today. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Run -September 8, 2021

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

Run


Daily Devotion – September 8, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 6:12

See series: Devotions

“This foe is beyond any of you. Run!” In the first Lord of the Rings movie, Gandalf shouts those words to his companions. They have just defeated many enemies in battle, yet this new enemy is on a different level. So, they all flee. Not even mighty wizards or warriors could stand up against that powerful foe.

With this verse from the Bible, God is reminding us that our evil foe is no ordinary enemy. Satan is not flesh and blood like we are. He rules the evil spiritual forces that are arrayed against us. This foe certainly is beyond any of us. We are no match for the devil, and in countless places, the Bible encourages us to flee—to run from this powerful enemy.

Yet, there are times when we fail to realize the seriousness of the situation, times when we figure we can handle the devil’s temptations on our own. Our over-confidence gets us into trouble. So to the times when we fail to take our enemy seriously. In any case, we are overmatched, and we fall to the devil’s attacks. We so easily give in to temptation.

There is One who faced off against Satan and came out victorious. Jesus came into this world and did battle as our Savior. He succeeded in fending off every one of the devil’s attacks. Jesus never fell into sin. His power was more than enough to conquer our ancient enemy. And even as Jesus hung on the cross to pay for our sins, when it looked like the devil might win, Jesus removed all doubt when he rose from the dead. In his resurrection, Jesus has forever defeated the devil for us.

We are no match for the devil, but we need not fight him alone. Jesus, the victor, is on our side and will defend us through his Word. When we turn to him in prayer and trust in his Word, Jesus will fight for us, and it will be the devil who flees.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you are all powerful and Satan is no match for you. When temptation comes, help me always to run to you and to trust in your Word. Amen.

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