An Eternal Perspective – May 28, 2020

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

An Eternal Perspective


Daily Devotion – May 28, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:17,18

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

Prayer:
Eternal God, help me to focus not on my earthly troubles but on the eternity I will have with you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Minimize Your Anxiety – May 27, 2020

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

Minimize Your Anxiety


Daily Devotion – May 27, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 5:7

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:
Father in heaven, help me to give to you everything that makes me anxious that I may rest in your care. Amen

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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No Surprise – May 26, 2020

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

No Surprise


Daily Devotion – May 26, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 4:12,13

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrong Direction


Daily Devotion – May 25, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:6-8

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:
Gracious God, when I look in the wrong direction, gently restore me and remind me of what is truly important, the work you empower me to do. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God is on Your Side – May 24, 2020

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

God is on Your Side


Daily Devotion – May 24, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:15

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live as Strangers


Daily Devotion – May 23, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:17

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for washing away all of my sins on the cross. Forgive me for the times I am fearful about this life and forget about true life in heaven. Remind me always of my heavenly home. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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One More Sight – May 22, 2020

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

One More Sight


Daily Devotion – May 22, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:10,11

See series: Devotions

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

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

And just how had they seen him go into heaven?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow! What a sight that will be!

Prayer:
O Savior, remind me of your ascension that I might eagerly await that day when you return to take me to heaven. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Still There – May 21, 2020

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

Still There


Daily Devotion – May 21, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:9

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

Wow! What a sight!

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

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Power – May 20, 2020

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

Power


Daily Devotion – May 20, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:9

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow! What a sight!

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

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Blessing – May 19, 2020

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

Blessing


Daily Devotion – May 19, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 24:50,51

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow! What a sight!

Prayer:
O Savior, remind me that you are always blessing me and that you always will! Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Last Sight – May 18, 2020

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

The Last Sight


Daily Devotion – May 18, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 24:50,51

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

Wow! What a sight!

Prayer:
O Savior, when my conscience attacks me because of my sins, remind of me of your nail-scarred hands, that I might know for sure my sins are forgiven. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Devoted to the Word of God – May 17, 2020

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

Devoted to the Word of God


Daily Devotion – May 17, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:42

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word.

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

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Christ is Your Glue – November 25, 2017

[God the Father] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:13-20

Christ is Your Glue


Daily Devotion – November 25, 2017

Devotion based on Colossians 1:13-20

See series: Devotions

Your body is made up of 100 trillion microscopic things called “cells.” Cells are the basic unit of life, the foundation of every living thing. And the glue that literally holds those 100 trillion cells together is called laminin. Laminins are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of your body to the next cell. Without laminins, you would literally fall apart. The coolest thing about laminins is what they look like. The glue that holds you together, the foundation upon which your body is built, comes in the shape of a cross.

In speaking about Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul had this to say: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Cross-shaped laminins literally hold your body together, and the eternal life that Jesus Christ purchased for you when he died on the cross in your place is the foundation of your faith, the glue that holds your entire life together. No longer do you need to worry about where you will spend eternity—Jesus has made things peaceful between you and God now and forever. Jesus has freed you from being a slave to sin and now empowers you to say “no” to its temptations. And when we fail to say “no” to sin, Jesus is ready with his forgiveness to lift us back up and empower us to live as his children.

There is no need to worry about your life now or ever because Jesus, both true God and true man, is not only your Savior, but also your King. He is in control of your life. He is going to hold you together in every way.

Prayer:
Christ my King, I know you will never let me down. You will hold my life together in every way. When I forget about that, forgive me. And then lead me through the precious promises of your Word to trust that with you holding me together I can handle anything now and forever. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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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Happiest Day of My Life – August 18, 2017

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

Happiest Day of My Life


Daily Devotion – August 18, 2017

Devotion based on Philippians 1:21

See series: Devotions

A teacher asks her second-grade class to draw a picture of the happiest day of their lives. After they turn in their assignments, she straightens them into a pile and begins to scan through them. She pauses at one picture. The picture is of a funeral. She looks for the name at the top and calls the student up to her desk. When she asks him to explain, he tells her the happiest day of his life will be his funeral. The happiest day because he will go to heaven.

When the Christian Paul wrote “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” he was expressing the heart of being a Christian.

From the Bible, Christians understand and believe that they are full of sin. They see the selfishness inside themselves. They see how much they resent God commanding them to do things they don’t want to do. They realize how they really have nothing to offer God for him to look on them with favor.

They also understand and believe how much God loves them. Jesus lived a completely innocent and sin-free life. He then covered himself with all the garbage of our sin and guilt. Jesus took all the blame and all the shame we deserve. He stood still under the crushing justice of God’s anger over our sin. His sacrifice guaranteed no Christian will ever experience even an ounce of God’s justice.

Christians understand and believe that heaven is waiting for them. When they die, Jesus will welcome them into that place filled with joy and peace, where there is no sadness, and sorrows no longer exist. It’s no wonder Christians look forward to the day when they leave their pains, their aches, and their struggles behind to gain the perfect happiness of living with Jesus forever!

The same love from Jesus that fills Christians with hope also fills them with purpose. Jesus’ love leads believers to want to serve Jesus in any way and in every way they can. They live to give glory to Jesus.

I’m looking forward to my funeral. In the meantime, I thank Christ he’s given me another day to serve him.

What about you?

Prayer:
Jesus, thanks for giving me heaven. I can’t wait to be there with you! In the meantime, help me live for you, serving you with my whole life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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If Only… – March 8, 2017

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. … The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” … Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Genesis 2:7, 15–17, 3:1–7

If Only…


Daily Devotion – March 8, 2017

Devotion based on Genesis 2:7, 15–17, 3:1–7

See series: Devotions

“If only… I had more money.”

“If only… I had a better relationship with my family.”

“If only… I could just find the right job.

It’s not only greed. It’s not only a desire for more. It’s a complete lack of faith in God to provide all that’s good. Adam and Eve fell into that trap.

“If only… we could have our eyes opened and be like God. If only we could know evil, as well as good. If only we could enjoy something more than what God has already given.”

What more could God have given them? What more could God give us? We have from him all that we need and so much more.

Yet we are not content with him. “If only …”

If only there was a way out of this trap we have fallen into. If only God would take pity on us and forgive us for wanting more than him. If only there was a Rescuer to set us free from our foolish sin and greed and mistrust of God. If only there was a way to escape the curse of death that we have brought on ourselves.

It’s more than “if only”–it’s a rock-solid, gospel-truth promise of God: the “offspring of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) has crushed the serpent’s head for us. His name is Jesus. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

We don’t need “if onlys”. We have a gracious, forgiving Savior who is our all in all.

Prayer:
Dear Father, forgive me for wanting more and failing to trust you for all. Thank you for forgiving me and saving me through Jesus, your Son. In him, I have all I could ever want. 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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Angels Attend Me – March 6, 2017

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Matthew 4:11

Angels Attend Me


Daily Devotion – March 6, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 4:11

See series: Devotions

All too often I am tempted to think I’m on my own. No one is concerned. No one is paying attention. No one offers any help. The thought becomes especially strong as life becomes more complicated. I may wrestle with uncertainty in my job. I may be anxious over family matters. I may be overwhelmed with health issues. It seems when I really need someone, no one is there. I may even be tempted to think God has abandoned me as well.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. I can always rely on the Lord for his help, just as he sent angels to attend to Jesus’ needs.

Jesus had just completed forty days of grueling and incessant temptation. The devil tried to derail Jesus’ God-given ministry, but he was not successful. Jesus triumphed over every deceptive device his enemy employed, yet his faithfulness came at a cost. He was physically and emotionally drained. This is why the Father sent angels to attend him.

Today, I live with the same assurance. When I am physically and emotionally drained, when I feel abandoned, when I think I am on the verge of despair, I know where I can look for help. God will send his angels to attend me.

Angels attend me according to God’s gracious command. Angels attend me to strengthen and keep me safe. Because of what the Lord has done for me, and continues to do for me, I am never alone. By faith I know God’s angels will be there to attend me. Even more important, by faith I know God’s angels will work in perfect harmony with Jesus for my blessing.

My Savior wants me to be in heaven with him, and he gave up his life to give me this assurance. Through his blood-signed promise and his precious sacrifice on the cross I also know I will never be alone. Jesus will always be with me, and he will always strengthen, comfort, reassure, and forgive me. I also have every confidence he will send his angels to attend me.

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, I rejoice in your all precious promises. Keep me in your care. Strengthen me through your grace. Send your holy angels to attend 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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A New Covenant – November 2, 2016

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:31-34

A New Covenant


Daily Devotion – November 2, 2016

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:31-34

See series: Devotions

You get a new job. Before you go to work, you have to sit down with your employer and come to an agreement on your wage, benefits and the tasks you are expected to complete. When all of those details are ironed out, you and your employer put those details down on paper and sign it, stating that each of you will honor your end of the deal. You promise to work a certain amount of hours completing a certain task or tasks. Your employer promises certain compensation to you for your work. It’s a contract, a legally binding agreement between two parties which outlines what each party does for the other.

While it is not an exact parallel, the word “covenant” in the Bible is much like a contract. In Jeremiah chapter 31, God says, “The time is coming… when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers…because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them.” God speaks about two covenants, the new one and the one which had been broken but not by God.

God had made a covenant with Israel. It is summarized in Exodus chapter 19, verses 5 & 6, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations, you will be my treasured possession… you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Simply put, God would make Israel his special people for a special purpose, and on the other side Israel was to obey God fully. Sadly, the Israelites were just like all of us: sinful. They forsook God and broke his covenant. We’re no different. Daily we choose sin over righteousness, lies over the truth, hurtful words over kindness, grudges over forgiveness, anger over patience, selfishness over selflessness. The list could go on.

If our status before God depended upon holding up an agreement with God, eternity would not look good for us. But here is where God’s “new” covenant comes in. This is a one-sided covenant, where God does something for us and that’s it. He says, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” This sin-forgetting forgiveness is accomplished by the sinless life of Jesus, his death on the cross, and his victorious resurrection from the dead. Through faith in Jesus, God does not hold our sins against us because he held them against his Son. Through faith in Jesus, the God of heaven and earth is our God and we are his.

The only covenant, the only contract that matters for you is one-sided: God declares you his forgiven son or daughter and he signed it with the blood of his Son, your Savior, Jesus.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 389):

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee; Let the water and the blood from thy riven side which flowed be of sin the double cure: cleanse me from its guilt and power.

Not the labors of my hands can fulfill thy laws demands. Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone. Thou must save, and thou alone.

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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