And – September 23, 2022

Read: Luke 16:1-13

You cannot serve God and money.
Luke 16:13

And

Family Devotion – September 23, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 16:13

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

This Bible passage is so simple we may think, “Of course I want to serve God! I’m a Christian!” But there’s a sneaky word in the passage— “and.” Maybe we want to serve God, but we also want the things money gives us. We want God… AND money.

We want to give our offerings… AND take the big vacation. We want to serve at our church… AND be involved in our other activities. We want to go to church… AND watch sports on TV. And. And. And… we want it all!

The thing is, we can’t actually have it all. God might give us some good things on this earth, but we don’t get everything. We live in a world where many people want worldly things before God. That’s because the devil wants you to fall away from God, and he knows that money and the things that money can buy can do that. How sad. The devil will use the lives of famous people and maybe even our friends to convince us that having money and a beautiful, fun life will make our lives better. We can easily become distracted from loving and serving God.

God doesn’t want you to love him and money. Just him. He wants us to serve him first. The tragedy is… we don’t. Not a single person has ever lived who perfectly loves and serves just Jesus. We all serve God “and” ourselves. What do we do?

In comes our great rescuer—Jesus. Jesus loves us. Not us “and” the world. Not us “and” living a beautiful, fun life. Not us “and” a long life in this world. Just us. Jesus gave up his life to love us and rescue our lives. So even when we do serve money first, we repent and remember that he saved us for the better life! So there’s no need to worry about our money! God has taken care of all of us. Rather than serving God and money (which is impossible), we can serve God with money by being “ready to give!”

Beautiful, pure devotion to God is backwards from what the world says. Don’t live your best life now! Our best life will be in eternity! Wait for that day. Pray for that day. Remember, your money will come to nothing on that day. Only true life with Jesus will remain!

Closing Prayer:

Holy God, our hearts often return to a desire for things of this world and gaining material possessions. Forgive us. Restore our joy in your salvation and give us a willing spirit to serve you first. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does Jesus love more: You? Or lots of toys?
  • Our Bible verse says you cannot serve God and… what?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why will we never perfectly serve just God?
  • When will you live your best life?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In your own words, explain what our Bible verse means: “You cannot serve God and money.”
  • How does regularly remembering your salvation in Jesus help you to think of your money wisely now?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Ready to Give – September 21, 2022

Read: 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19

Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on that which is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:18,19

Ready to Give

Family Devotion – September 21, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 6:18,19

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today, we are looking at the blessing money can be. Our verse tells us to be “ready to give” and “willing to share.” God’s Word for today isn’t about how you “must give” and “have to share” in order to make the world better or to get to heaven. Instead, it talks about being ready and willing to give or share.

Do you feel ready to give? How willing are you to give away your things and share your money? A lot of us want to keep all of our toys and our nice house and any vacations or sport camps we want to do. We do not feel very willing to share much of the time.

Here is the good news: you have no pressure to give or share in order to fix all of the sad things. It’s not on you to make the world a better place. We could choose to never give a penny or help anyone with our money. Why? Because we don’t have to fix the world, Jesus already did! Jesus was the most “ready to give.” He gave all of his money, his time, and even his life—for you, your family, your friends, and the world. Money was not important to Jesus because YOU were important to Jesus!

So, if we don’t have to give our money to make the world better or to get to heaven, then why would we be ready to give? It’s in the last words of our verse: That you “may hold on that which is truly life.” It means this: Your life is more than stuff and experiences! TRUE life is with Jesus and joining him in his work on earth by loving others until we are with him forever. Until then:

  • We can be “ready to give” our toys to those who have no toys.
  • We could be “ready to give” meals to families with no daddy to help them.
  • We can be “willing to share” dinner with an unchurched kid from our class.

These are not small things! These are “truly living” a life in Jesus. We can join Jesus in being “willing to share” anything and everything!

Closing Prayer:

Father, thank you for your readiness to give everything for us. Forgive us for our selfish ways. Renew our hearts so that we may bless others with our money and live a TRUE life with you. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What was Jesus “ready to give” for you?
  • How do you hope to use your money for others someday?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why don’t you need to fix the world with your money?
  • How can you use your money in a way that is “ready to give?”

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or Disagree: You can fix the world.
  • How does Jesus’ salvation of the world change the way you think about money?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Abundance is Not Enough – September 19, 2022

Read: Ecclesiastes 5:10-20

He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;
Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.
Ecclesiastes 5:10

Abundance is Not Enough

Family Devotion – September 19, 2022

Devotion based on Ecclesiastes 5:10

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Do you know what it means to “love abundance”?

It means you want a lot of stuff. You think having lots of treats or a new phone or a big house with a trampoline or better sporting equipment or a fancy vacation like your friend went on will make your life better.

Did you know that a lot of people think that buying things will make their lives happy?

Many grownups believe that if they have the prettiest house or the best toys for their kids, their life will be better. Even children can want life to look like someone they see online or on a TV show. They can dream about being as rich or richer than their parents one day—even though God might not give them that life. Some Christians might be tempted to stockpile their money like squirrels stashing nuts or not give their offerings to God because they are scared of not having enough for the future. They forget that God gave them their money and he promised to take care of them. That can be a hard truth for people.

So what’s the solution to wanting more and more abundance? You probably guessed it—JESUS! And this is the best answer ever because it means that if we have Jesus, we don’t really need anything else. Jesus died for us and promises us heaven one day!

Then the Bible teaches us two powerful words to help us remember that more, more, more does not ultimately make us happy. The two words are: “thank you.”

Throughout the Bible, there are reminders to give thanks to God for what he has done for us and what he has given us. When we say, “thank you” for our dinner, we remember that the dinner is enough. When we say “thank you” to our parents for driving us home after school, we remember that time with our parents is enough. When we say “thank you” for our toys, piano, bed, pets, or siblings, we remember that the gifts God has given us are enough. Best of all, we can thank Jesus for heaven. Because more than anything else, Jesus loves us in abundance.

Later this week, we will learn how money can also be a blessing!

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for all of your blessings. Forgive us for when we are unsatisfied with your gifts. Give us hearts that are content with your promises and eager to grow in your wisdom, not wealth. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What’s the most important thing to thank Jesus for?
  • Name the top two things that you are most thankful for.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • “He who loves abundance” is someone who wants a lot of stuff. When will you finally have enough stuff?
  • Having Jesus means we have enough. When is a good time in your day for you to daily say “thank you” to him?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Describe the last time you saw someone online showing off something you have always wanted. How did it make you feel?
  • Agree or Disagree: If I am just as rich as my parents when I grow up, then I will have enough.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Love Looks for the Lost – September 16, 2022

Read: Luke 15:1-10

Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
Luke 15:4

Love Looks for the Lost

Family Devotion – September 16, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 15:4

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It was one of the most horrible, terrifying experiences of Sam’s young life. He was with his parents in a huge store with elevators between the three levels. His parents were deep in conversation with each other about buying something. Sam quickly got bored. So he looked around and started to wander in his own little world of adventure. When he looked up, his mom and dad weren’t there. He walked down the aisle a little quicker and glanced around each furniture display. But he still couldn’t see them. His heart began to beat a bit faster. Did they get on the elevator to go to a different level? He didn’t know what to do. And then… there they were walking toward him! Oh! Phew!

There was a time when you were completely and utterly lost. You were buried under a pile of sinfulness and totally separated from God. You didn’t know or understand it at the time. But God did. Maybe you had just been born, but that was plenty of time for your parents to hand down to you what is in every family—imperfection, separation, and lostness.

So God sent out the search and rescue team to find you. God uses Christian parents who love and care for you and wanted you to be a part of God’s family. They didn’t want you to be lost. Maybe they brought you to a church where God used a pastor who poured water on your head and dripped God’s promises on you in Baptism. You once were lost, but now were found. And every time someone who is lost is found, the angels in heaven cheer!

Each of us has a similar story. We have imperfect, sinful parents, so we are born as imperfect, sinful people. Along the way we fall and fail. Sometimes we stray so far away, it’s like we are on a different planet. Sin separates us from God. We were all at one point lost. But like the shepherd who left the 99 to find the one lost sheep in today’s story—Jesus sent out the search and rescue team for us.

We all were lost, but now we are found. That love of Jesus that found us spills over and does the same thing Jesus did for us. Love looks for the lost. It leads us to talk to other people about Jesus. It does anything and everything. It never gives up. So what if they don’t listen to you? So what if they don’t believe in Jesus right away? They are lost and need to know they can be found in Jesus.

Love looks for the lost. Why? Because we were lost but now are found. Now we get to be a part of Christ’s love finding others!

Closing Prayer:

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love he sought me and on his shoulder gently laid and home, rejoicing, brought me! (Christian Worship 552:3) Dear Lord, may our greatest joy be in the finding of the lost. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Have you ever been lost? Describe how you felt.
  • When the shepherd lost a sheep, he searched until he found it. What does God promise to do when we get lost?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Today’s devotion is about being getting lost. What exactly were we “lost” in?
  • Today’s devotion talks about being found. How exactly did God “find” us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • True or False: I can blame my parents for my lost spiritual condition when I was born.
  • Love looks for the lost is the title of today’s devotion. But whose love? Name at least three different sources of love who are able to look for the lost.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Love, Even When It Hurts – September 14, 2022

Read: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11

If anyone has caused grief… The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
2 Corinthians 2:5-8

Love, Even When It Hurts

Family Devotion – September 14, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 2:5-8

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In the game of hockey, a player who breaks the rules is sent to the penalty box. A penalty is generally two minutes long. After the penalty has been served, the player can be restored to the team in good standing. The goal is that the player will learn the lesson and join his team again while keeping the rules.

In today’s devotion, a dear friend of Paul had been sent to the penalty box. He broke one of God’s rules and didn’t care that he did it. He needed to be given a talking to. It wasn’t about winning a debate or proving, “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Paul really loved him. He had to confront him because he wanted him to thrive and believe in Jesus. But before that could happen, he had to scold him and tell his friend that what he did was wrong and had hurt a lot of other people too. Paul knew it would be a very painful conversation. It made his heart ache.

Remember the last time someone really hurt you? Was it someone at home or a friend at school? How did you respond? Did you try to ignore what happened and hope it would just all go away? Or did you hurt them right back and humiliate them? Ignoring sin never works. And hurting someone because they hurt you is always wrong. Love hurts. And it hurts when we must face sin.

But something wonderful happened while Paul’s friend was in the penalty box. He learned his lesson. He was sorry for what he did, promised to obey the rules, and asked if he could rejoin the team again. But that’s so hard, isn’t it—to let someone back after they’ve really hurt you? When Paul’s friend came out of the penalty box, Paul reminded the rest of the team, “Now, forgive and comfort him, and reaffirm your love for him.” The goal of the penalty box is not just to punish even when you are in the right. The reason a parent grounds a child or takes a privilege away for a time is not because they hate you or to simply cause you pain. They love you so much. The goal is a genuine change in you that says, “That was my bad, and I’m sorry. I want to keep the rules.”

When someone comes out of the penalty box and is sorry for what they did, forgive! Love! Don’t hold it over them. Don’t keep bringing it up. Be like Jesus and forgive the naughty and the rude because at Jesus’ cross, God forgave all of your sins. And may God’s mercy replace your pain with peace and your hurt with love.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, sometimes it’s really hard to forgive and forget when I’ve been hurt and sinned against. But I know that you have forgiven me time and time again. Give me a heart that finds joy in forgiving. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why was Paul’s friend put in the penalty box?
  • When Paul’s friend came out of the penalty box, what did Paul remind the rest of the team?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you find it so hard to forgive someone who has hurt you?
  • Give two things you learned today about forgiveness.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Name someone you need to forgive. Talk out what happened that led up to it.
  • What is the result of unforgiveness? Why should believers forgive?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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 Love of a Brokenhearted God – September 12, 2022

Read: Hosea 3:1-5

The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again… Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods….”
Hosea 3:1

The Love of a Brokenhearted God

Family Devotion – September 12, 2022

Devotion based on Hosea 3:1

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If you were asked to picture your relationship with God, how would you picture it? Maybe the Bible can help. It gives the picture of a father and a child. After all, don’t we pray, “Our Father in heaven?” A devotion later this week will picture a shepherd with sheep. Both picture a God who really, really cares about you.

And then there’s today’s devotion that pictures your relationship with God like a bride and a groom who get married. When God says he wants you to see your relationship with him as a marriage, he’s hoping that you will want to know everything about him just as he knows everything about you. He is hoping that you will express how close you are with him in ways that make it clear to the entire world how much he means to you.

You can tell when a marriage is good. Couples kiss and hold hands. There’s a feeling that you’re safe and loved—like someone has your back. But if someone cheats, a marriage goes bad. Even if everything else in life is pretty good, it’s hard to be really happy or feel strong.

Today’s reading pictures people who loved something more than God. They cheated on him. They left him. It broke God’s heart because he wants his relationship with his people to be as loving and close as a marriage. Sadly, it’s a picture of our relationship with God. When our eyes wander to look at things as more important than Jesus—like your reputation at school, what you’re good at, how you look—our wandering breaks the heart of our God.

What was God willing to do to rescue your marriage to him? He was willing to pay any price to get you back. So Jesus entered into our world. And when it came time for him to die for our sin on the cross, he let it all happen, so that by his death and resurrection, whenever you ask, “Lord, after what I’ve done, how could you ever love me again?” Jesus looks at you like a man in love with his bride. His nailed hands hold yours and he says, “However many times it takes, I will love you. Again… and again… that is how many times I will forgive you.”

Isn’t that the most beautiful picture of your relationship with God?

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, whenever I’m tempted to think you’re sick of me and ready to move on to someone else who is more faithful, come back and whisper into my ear however many times it takes that you love me. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What are two ways that you know your mom or dad love you?
  • What is one way that you know how much Jesus loves you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What’s the picture God uses to describe the relationship he wants with you?
  • When was the moment in your life when God said, “I do” to you? (Hint: your baptism)

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • A lot of married people are unhappy and want to quit. Name two things from today’s devotion that encourage them to stay together.
  • Someday you may get married. What do you want to remember from today’s devotion that will help you live out your relationship with your future husband or wife?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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 Free Lunch – September 9, 2022

Read: Luke 14:25-35

[Jesus] said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:26-27

A Free Lunch

Family Devotion – September 9, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 14:26-27

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Have you ever heard the saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”?

A person would use that phrase to explain that even though a person might receive something for free, it wasn’t actually free. Use a lunch as an example—someone had to buy the food, someone had to pay the person who cooked the food. Even when something is given away for free—there is almost always someone who is paying. It just might not be you.

Jesus tells us that there is a cost to following him—a cost to being a believer. Our sin separated us from God and Jesus paid to bring us back to God. He paid for our sin with his life and death on the cross so that we could be believers.

As a believer, Jesus tells us that there may be another cost. Not to save us from sin—Jesus already did that on the cross. But a cost that comes as a result of following Jesus. People may not like us or they may make fun of us—even people that we love like family and friends. People have even been killed because they followed and believed in Jesus! Jesus calls this the “cross” we carry. It is not a cross that saves us, but a cross that we carry because we believe that Jesus is our Savior.

Hopefully, those things don’t happen to us—but they might, so Jesus wants us to be ready. He wants us to know that there is a cost to following him. But, as hard or as scary as the cross might be, Jesus is with us. He loves us, he has forgiven us, and he gives us eternal life with him. Knowing that Jesus is always by our side, we can “take up our cross” and follow him.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for living and dying on the cross so that I could be with you forever in heaven. Help me to daily take up my cross and follow you. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is your favorite thing to have for lunch?
  • What did Jesus do for you so that you could be with him in heaven?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Which do you think is the harder cost to pay—the price to save us from sin or the cost to follow Jesus? Why?
  • The cross we carry can be a hard thing to think about. How does Jesus encourage you?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Have you experienced a cost to following Jesus? If so, what happened? How did you react?
  • How can you prepare to take up your cross and follow Jesus?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Hard Choices – September 7, 2022

Read: Philemon 1,7-21

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.
Philemon 7-17

Hard Choices

Family Devotion – September 7, 2022

Devotion based on Philemon 7-17

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Maggie had tears in her eyes. She was mad. Evelyn had hurt her and then left without apologizing. Maggie was so mad that she didn’t even want to see Evelyn again.

Have you ever been that mad? So mad that you didn’t want to see someone or talk to them again?

Now, let’s say that Maggie’s friend, Bethany, came over and asked Maggie to forgive Evelyn. That might be hard for Maggie—after all, Evelyn hurt Maggie. Maggie was still mad. It didn’t seem fair for her to just forgive Evelyn for what she had done.

What would you do if a friend came to you and asked you to forgive the person who hurt you? It would be hard wouldn’t it? Maybe you would still be mad. Maybe you would still have a feeling of wanting to get back at the other person. Maybe you wouldn’t want to forgive them.

Let’s change the names now. Let’s pretend it is God who has tears in his eyes. He was upset because __________ (fill in your name) had hurt him—you disobeyed him, you were unloving, and you didn’t even apologize. How would you want God to respond?

We know how God responds because he tells us! He forgives us! He sent his Son Jesus to die for us. That wasn’t easy. Now, because of what Jesus did, God chooses not to remember all the different times and all the different ways we disobey him. He chooses to show love to us and forgive us, even when we don’t deserve it!

And as his children, God calls on us to do the same. It isn’t easy, in fact, it can be really hard. But sometimes, as a believer, God calls us to do the hard thing. He asks us to treat people the same way he treats us—with love and patience. He urges us to forgive others when they hurt us.

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, sometimes you ask me to do hard things. Thank you for forgiving me and making me your child. Help me to forgive those who hurt me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • When someone hurts you or is mean to you, do you want to forgive them? Why or why not?
  • Think of one thing you have done today that was wrong. Say this prayer: Dear Jesus, please forgive me for __________. Thank you for your love and forgiveness. Amen.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Do you find it easy or hard to forgive someone? Why?
  • Why do we forgive someone when they sin against us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why do you think it is so hard to forgive someone who has hurt us?
  • What are some things we can do when we find it hard to forgive?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Ice Cream or Broccoli? – September 5, 2022

Read: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Ice Cream or Broccoli?

Family Devotion – September 5, 2022

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 30:19-20

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Choose one:

  • Ice cream or broccoli?
  • Cookies or carrots?

The choice seems easy, right? Carrots and broccoli are easily the healthier, better choice. Ice cream and cookies may be good, but if you eat them all the time, you will not be very healthy.

We have choices that we have to make regularly when it comes to our faith—choices that can bring us closer to our Savior or weaken our faith because they keep us from our Savior.

  • Family devotion or watching another episode of your favorite show on Netflix or Disney+?
  • Worshiping on a Sunday morning or sleeping in and taking a “day off”?

God’s people in the Old Testament had similar choices to make. As they were they were about to enter a land God had promised to give them, their leader Moses told them they were going to have to make some choices. As believers, they were going to have to decide between doing things that would strengthen their faith and keep them close to their God or they were going to make decisions that would end up turning them away from their God.

The choice seems easy, right? But like ice cream and broccoli—easy, but hard.

Moses wanted them to make the right choice. God wanted them to make the right choice. God wants you to make the right choice. He wants you to continue to love him, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. God wants this for you because of what he has already done for you! He loved you, saved you, speaks to you in his Word—so that you can love him, listen to him, and hold fast to him.

The choice seems easy, right? But hard. There are so many things that can distract us and in the long run, turn us away from our Savior. We have to be careful with the choices we make!

The choice seems easy! Love your God! Listen to him daily! Hold on to him tightly! And thank him as he blesses those choices!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, thank you for the many blessings you bring into my life. Help me to love you, listen to you, and hold on to you tightly with the decisions I make. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Which one would you choose: Ice cream or broccoli? Cookies or carrots? Why?
  • How does God show that he loves you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When you have a choice between something healthy and something unhealthy, what do you usually choose? Why?
  • What are some ways you can choose to love God, listen to him, and hold on to him tightly?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Can you think of any decisions you have made that have kept you from your Savior rather than bringing you closer to him? Why did you choose what you did?
  • What choice do you think God’s people made?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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 Seat at the Table – September 2, 2022

Read: Luke 14:1,7-17

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat,’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Luke 14:7-11

A Seat at the Table

Family Devotion – September 2, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 14:7-11

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

One day Jesus was invited to join a group of Pharisees for dinner. He watched them choose the best seats at the table for themselves. So he told them a story about a wedding feast. When Jesus told stories, he did it to teach a spiritual truth or lesson. At first glance it might appear he was just teaching them proper manners for a meal, but his true purpose was much deeper.

Jesus was able to look into the heart of these Pharisees, and he could tell they were spiritually sick. They felt they deserved a place of honor at dinner and even eternal life in heaven because they were so great and did lots of good works. Jesus confronted their sin of pride because he knew if they continued in this way of thinking, they would miss their invitation into heaven.

Jesus’ story is a good reminder for us, who often struggle with the sin of putting ourselves first. Instead, Jesus encourages us to be humble as we live together with people each day. To not seek to always be number one, but to look for ways we can serve and lift others up.

More importantly Jesus guides us to understand that he is the one who chooses the seats in heaven. Martin Luther beautifully reminds us how we received that invitation into heaven. Listen: He [Jesus] has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy, previous blood and with his innocent suffering and death. What a remarkable truth—a truth that leaves no place for pride and only room for humility.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Savior, we marvel at the humility you showed by leaving your place in heaven to come to earth to save us from our sins. Help us to model your humility as we interact with others each day and to put our trust solely in you. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name three people you see each day.
  • Think of a way you can show each of them love and kindness.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • More than just bad manners, what was the problem the Pharisees had that Jesus needed to point out?
  • True or False: You deserve a seat in heaven.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What does Jesus mean when he says those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted?
  • Reread Martin Luther’s words in our devotion. Explain what they mean in your own words.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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 Royal Law – August 31, 2022

Read: James 2:1-13

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
James 2:8-9

The Royal Law

Family Devotion – August 31, 2022

Devotion based on James 2:8-9

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Many of you hearing this devotion have recently started a new school year. One of the most popular questions students are asked at the beginning of a new school year is, “What was your favorite memory from summer?” Your favorite memory might have been a vacation with your family, winning a baseball/softball tournament, not having homework, or just playing with friends. In the Bible, God doesn’t command us to not have a favorite summer memory or a favorite flavor of ice cream, but he does warn us against the sin of favoritism. When we unfairly treat some people better than others, we are showing favoritism.

During James’ time, favoritism was a real problem in the church. The church members were giving much more respect and attention to church members who were rich than those who were poor. It’s the temptation to value members who give the most money, volunteer the most time, or are the most talented.

Jesus tells us that there is no place for favoritism in the life of a believer—ever. It is a sin to treat one person better than another person because of what they look like, how much money they have, or what that person can do for us. To help guide us from falling into the sin of favoritism, God’s Word gives us what is called the “royal law” in our reading, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It is much better to humbly show love and kindness to all people than to use others for our personal gain.

How blessed we are that Jesus doesn’t offer his grace and love only to those who can help him out. As sinful people who enter this world separated from God, we have nothing to offer him. Yet, he showed no favoritism. He died on the cross to save all people, not just some people. May we follow the example of Jesus by showing love and respect to all people and by sharing the good news of the Gospel with everyone we meet!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help us to stand strong against the temptation to show favoritism. We thank you for the underserved love you showed all people by dying on the cross. Lead us to follow your example and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What was your favorite memory from summer?
  • What is your favorite story about Jesus in the Bible?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What are ways that students show favoritism at school?
  • How does the royal law “Love your neighbor as yourself” help us fight the sin of favoritism?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Have you ever been treated unfairly by another person because of what you look like or because of who you are? How did that make you feel?
  • Think of a classmate who is affected by the results of favoritism and come up with some ways you can show them kindness.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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It Is Not About “You”Tube – August 29, 2022

Read: Proverbs 25:6-7a

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 25:6-7a

It Is Not About “You”Tube

Family Devotion – August 29, 2022

Devotion based on Proverbs 25:6-7a

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A recent study showed that one out of three children between the ages of 6 and 17 want to be a YouTuber when they grow up. When asked why, the top four responses were: creativity, to become famous, self-expression, and finally money. While it isn’t wrong to be a YouTuber, the results of this study touch on a sin that we all struggle with at times: Pride.

People who are prideful think highly of themselves and want others see how great they are. They don’t mind helping others as long as they receive praise for being so “caring.” Their joy isn’t found in being successful but in the fact that others around them see they are successful. Pride is a sin we all struggle with. Pride wants to be more important than others… even more important than God.

Our reading for today was written by King Solomon and is found in the book of the Bible called Proverbs. Proverbs are wise sayings that lead us to know and to trust God’s wisdom for living a good life. In this proverb King Solomon shows what pride looks like and says that it is much better to be humble.

A humble person doesn’t focus inwardly on themselves but outwardly on others. They don’t constantly seek praise for their greatness but look for opportunities to serve and build up others around them. In humility they understand their sinfulness and weaknesses.

When the Holy Spirit works faith in Jesus, he leads us to admit our sins of pride. He helps us to live humbly. Humility takes the attention off us and places it on Jesus, who saved us from our sins. If we try to find our worth in the things of this world, we will be sadly disappointed because they won’t last forever. Instead, we humbly listen to our King, Jesus, who calls us to be his children and his special people. We celebrate the fact that he promises to one day raise us up to a great place with him in heaven. Until then, we humbly dedicate our lives to let our light shine to give glory to God through our thoughts, words, and actions.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for all of your many blessings and for providing me with my gifts and abilities. Help me to use them to your glory and to help and serve others. Most importantly thank you for your gifts of faith and eternal life. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name the top two things you are good at doing.
  • Who should you thank for giving you the gifts and abilities to do those things?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Describe a prideful person. How do they act? Now describe a humble person. How do they act?
  • Give examples of how Jesus was a model for humility.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? How does today’s devotion help guide your reasons for choosing a career?
  • Write your own two-sentence proverb that highlights the importance of humility over pride.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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 Narrow Door – August 26, 2022

Read: Luke 13:22-30

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”
Luke 13:22-24

The Narrow Door

Family Devotion – August 26, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 13:22-24

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A man from California was visiting his brother and family. They played a fun game called Wits and Wagers. The game involves trying to guess the answers to challenging questions. For example, “In pounds, what is the world record for weight lifted by a single human ear?” (178 lbs.) Or “In hours and minutes, what is the fastest time for running a marathon while dressed as Santa?” (2 hours, 55 minutes)

In today’s Bible reading, Jesus was asked a challenging question, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” Jesus doesn’t really answer the question, but he does guide the person asking the question to think about how they personally can be saved. Jesus tells them that the entrance to heaven is through a narrow door. There is only one door, and it is a narrow one. Not everything will fit. This narrow door has no room for your pride or your accomplishments. No room for your money or possessions. No room for anything you think will earn your way in.

You see, there is just one door, and it is narrow, but that door is open, and it leads to salvation for everyone! Come in through the way that is Jesus, the new and living way that he opened for us—by his coming in the flesh, by the blood that he shed for us on the cross.

Jesus understands that there will come a time when the door to heaven will be closed. So, he encourages us to make every effort to fit through the narrow door. A challenging question for us is, “What does this mean?” This means we listen to Jesus as he guides us in his Word. We humbly confess our sins each day and turn from them. We don’t look to ourselves or the things of this world to find the answer of how to be saved. Instead, we humbly put our trust in Jesus, who is the narrow door and the only entrance into heaven. We faithfully study his Word and are reminded time and time again that it is by grace that we have been saved, through faith—and this not from ourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, you are the narrow door and our only entrance into eternal life in heaven is through you. Forgive us for our sins of pride and humbly lead us to put our trust only in you. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Describe the door in today’s devotion.
  • Who opened the door to heaven for us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is the door to heaven narrow?
  • Look up Ephesians 2:8,9 and write the verses down on a note card. Keep the card somewhere you can see it to be reminded that you are saved by grace and faith alone through Jesus.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Respond to a person who says, “There are all kinds of religions and different ways that all lead to heaven.”
  • Which is the better question (and give a reason for it): “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” Or, “Will those who are saved include me?”

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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 Two Mountains – August 24, 2022

Read: Hebrews 12:18-24

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, who names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:22-24

The Two Mountains

Family Devotion – August 24, 2022

Devotion based on Hebrews 12:22-24

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Imagine this: There are two mountains in front of you. On the left is a mountain full of danger and no clear path to the top. To make matters worse, no one has ever made it successfully and survived. On the right is a majestic mountain with an automatic chairlift to bring you safely to the peak of the mountain. There is nothing you need to do but sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way up. Which mountain would you choose to go up?

The writer of Hebrews paints a picture of two mountains in our reading for today. He wants us to imagine what it would be like to climb them. The first is Mount Sinai where God gave Moses and the Israelites the Ten Commandments. That experience was terrifying, and the writer urges us not to go back to that mountain. “Don’t try to get to heaven by keeping the commandments,” he says. He encourages us not to think that we can earn eternal life in heaven by what we do or by being good enough. That will never work because by nature we are sinful, and we sin every day. We can never obtain the perfection God demands. Our effort to gain eternal life in heaven on our own will only lead to eternal death in hell. As the saying goes, Jesus + something (our works) = nothing. Don’t go there!

But there’s another and better mountain—Mount Zion. It’s located in Jerusalem where Jesus went to the temple as little baby, a 12-year-old boy, and to suffer and die. That’s the place today’s Bible reading is talking about. But now the writer is referring to Mount Zion in the future as heaven. As God’s children we can successfully ascend this mountain, not because of anything we have done, but because of all that Jesus has done for us. He came down from heaven to earth as a little baby and lived a perfect life. He suffered and died on the cross to win for us the forgiveness of sins through the shedding of his own blood. Three days later he rose from the dead to win for us victory over sin, death, and the devil. He ascended into heaven 40 days later where he now acts on our behalf so that we can one day join him and all believers of all time in heaven forever.

As Christians we can be confident our names are written in heaven because our confidence lies completely in Jesus and not in ourselves. As the saying continues, Jesus + nothing = everything.

“You have come to Mount Zion.” Go there. And stay there!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Savior, forgive us for the times we think we play even a small part in our salvation. We thank you for doing everything necessary for us to receive eternal life in heaven and help us hold confidently to that truth. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What were the names of the two mountains?
  • Which mountain is better?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why could we never save ourselves or earn eternal life in heaven on our own?
  • What does Mount Sinai represent in our reading for today? What does Mount Zion represent?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What does it mean that Jesus + something = nothing? What does it mean that Jesus + nothing = everything?
  • How do those truths bring us comfort when we mess up and fail to obey God’s commandments as we should?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Heaven and Hell – August 22, 2022

Read: Isaiah 66:18-24

“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
Isaiah 66:22-24

Heaven and Hell

Family Devotion – August 22, 2022

Devotion based on Isaiah 66:22-24

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Has anyone ever told you they have some good news and they have some bad news? A person will usually follow-up that statement with the question, “Which do you want to hear first?” In this section of our reading Isaiah starts with some good news and finishes with some bad news.

First, the good news. “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me, so your name and descendants will endure.” This verse tells us that some people, when they die, will live with Jesus forever in heaven. Heaven is a perfect place with no sadness, no pain, and those who live there will joyfully worship and praise God for eternity.

Now, the bad news. “The fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” This verse shows us that some people, when they die, will live forever in hell. Hell is the worst place imaginable and is filled with only pain and suffering that will never end.

When talking about heaven and hell, an important question for us to ask is, “How can we be among those who will go to heaven?” It doesn’t matter what you look like, how good you are, or where you live. The answer to this question lies in the heart of every person. Those who have been given the gift of faith and believe Jesus died and rose from the dead to save them from their sins will live with him forever in heaven. Those who refuse to believe in Jesus as their Savior will spend eternity in hell. That is a hard truth for us to hear, but it is an important fact for us to know.

As believers in Jesus, we look forward to the day we will live with Jesus forever in heaven. Until that day we strive to be faithful in studying God’s Word so our faith can be strengthened. We also want to tell others about Jesus so that they may believe and live with us in heaven one day.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for the gift of faith so that we may live with you forever in heaven. Help us to be students of your Word our whole lives and to tell others the good news that you died on the cross to save them from their sins. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did Jesus do to save you from your sins?
  • Where will you live with Jesus forever one day?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why will some people go to heaven and other people go to hell?
  • What are you most looking forward to in heaven?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why do you think people find it easier to talk about heaven than hell? Why is it important to talk about both?
  • Mark 16:16 says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Think of a friend, neighbor, or family member who is not a Christian and make a plan to tell them about Jesus.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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 Hard Truth – August 19, 2022

Read: Luke 12:49-53

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.
Luke 12:51-52

A Hard Truth

Family Devotion – August 19, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 12:51-52

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It was a very busy night in this very small town long ago, as many families gathered for an important event. We know this event not only as the counting of people, a census, but as the night of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. We who believe in Jesus would think the reason many people would gather is because the Savior of the world was to be born. But they didn’t know. In fact, Jesus’ first visitors didn’t even know he was born until angels announced his birth to them. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests,” the angels proclaimed to the shepherds.

Jesus was born, and now we have peace with God. Jesus came to save us. He lived the perfect life we could not live and died in our place. He was our perfect substitute. Jesus made us right with God. Then why does Jesus say he didn’t come to bring peace?

When Christians stay true to God’s Word and stand up against those who reject God, there is no peace. In its place are arguments, hard feelings, and sadness. Jesus gives an example of how personally dividing faith in him can be. It can split a family right down the middle—a husband from a wife. A parent from a child. It happens when someone lives life for Jesus but others don’t. It creates differences in how you live your life, how you view things, and what you believe is your purpose here on earth. Jesus says living God’s truth can be extremely hard. How tempting to just blend in! Or, in order to keep the peace, say nothing! Issues that need to be talked about get buried under smiles. Family members may not be arguing, but they aren’t discussing their faith either.

How blest we are to have a Savior who calls us to repentance and faith in his peace established on the cross and given to us through our baptism.

A Christmas song says, “Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.” Yet, as we learn from this portion of Scripture, complete peace will not be found on earth. Peace will, however, be found when believers reach perfect unity in heaven. That peace is meant to be!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you teach an important lesson today. We want there to be peace, especially in our family, but when others oppose and reject you it splits and divides. Thank you for forgiving our sins and bringing peace between us and our heavenly Father. Give us courage to speak your name. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • How does arguing make you feel?
  • Describe what it looks like when everyone is at peace in your home.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Jesus said faith in him brings division. Explain what that means.
  • What did Jesus do as our perfect substitute to restore peace on earth and peace with God?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Discuss how you will respond to anyone, even a family member, who causes division because they don’t believe in Jesus.
  • God wants us to live at peace. How can you contribute to peaceful living in your home?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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It’s Worth It! – August 17, 2022

Read: Hebrews 12:1-13

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

It’s Worth It!

Family Devotion – August 17, 2022

Devotion based on Hebrews 12:1-3

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Notice that Hebrews chapter 12 began with the word, “therefore.” It’s reminding us to look back at what was said in chapter 11. If you have a few extra moments right now, go back and check out Hebrews 11. This chapter is sometimes referred to as the “Heroes of Faith” chapter—kind of like the Hall of Fame of the Bible. The “great cloud of witnesses” at the beginning of today’s reading are these famous followers of Jesus who lived before us. God wants us to look to them and their lives as examples for us.

For example, what did Noah have to endure? Ridicule for building a huge ark when there was no apparent reason to do so. What hardship did Abraham have? He traveled to a location that only God knew and waited many years for a child. Moses risked his life as he approached Pharoah to let God’s people go. He had to listen to the many complaints of the Israelites as they traveled through the desert. Noah, Abraham, and Moses are heroes of faith who carried crosses, faced temptations, endured hardships, and committed sins. Yet God helped them to keep their eyes on him as they carried out God’s plans for them.

What is your hardship? What temptations do you face? Sometimes you might question why God allows trouble in your life, but God is all-knowing. You can trust what God is doing, even in troubles. Often he uses hard times to call sinners back to himself. Maybe you haven’t yet learned a lesson that he wants you to know. God wants you to follow him, getting rid of anything that would prevent you from staying on the right path. He loves you and disciplines you, just as a parent would discipline you if you were doing something wrong. Proper discipline is done out of love to lead you in the right direction.

God used these Bible heroes to carry out his plan, and he uses you too! Is your suffering worth it? Yes! It directs you to your Savior and makes you eager for the joys of heaven. When you’re having a tough time, remember that Jesus suffered too. He looked past the suffering with joy because he knew it was all for you. YOU are worth that much to him!

Closing Prayer:

O Lord, give us patience to endure hardship. Help us stand up under it and continually fix our eyes on you until we reach our heavenly goal. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name two heroes in the Bible and why they are your favorites.
  • Who is a hero of faith in your life today?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • True or false: Troubles in life are a direct result of bad decisions we make.
  • Describe a recent hardship in your life. How did God use it for your good?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Compare yourself to Noah, Abraham, Joseph, or Moses. How are you the same as them? How are you different?
  • How will you use these examples to help you persevere when hardship enters your life?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Speak It Faithfully! – August 15, 2022

Read: Jeremiah 23:23-29

Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully.
Jeremiah 23:28a

Speak It Faithfully!

Family Devotion – August 15, 2022

Devotion based on Jeremiah 23:28a

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Exactly nine years ago this week, a mother took her son to a zoo in China. She wanted her son to hear the different sounds the animals made. As they approached the cage marked “African Lion,” the mother hoped she and her son would hear the ferocious roar of the lion. Instead, when they neared the cage and saw the animal, it barked. The lion was actually a Tibetan mastiff, a dog that has a furry brown coat that makes it look like a really small lion. The mother and other customers felt cheated. So the zoo officials tried to explain the situation. They put the dog in the cage when the real African lion was sent to a breeding center. Regardless of any “good reason” the lion wasn’t in its cage, the zoo officials lied. This made people very upset. They expected to see and hear the African lion, but the zoo officials didn’t hold up their end of the agreement. They didn’t tell the truth.

People throughout history have been telling lies. It began with our first parents, Adam and Eve. They lied to God about their sin. People tell lies about their own actions or the actions of others. Sometimes they might lie because they think it will help a situation, but usually one lie turns into another lie to cover up the first one. What’s even worse is when the lie is about God’s Word. When people don’t tell the truth about God’s Word, it is very dangerous because it can pull people away from God’s truth and God himself.

God gives us such a treasure in his Word, yet many people miss its many promises. They twist its truths and spew lies. This is called false teaching. False teachings can lead people further away from God.

God calls us to speak his Word truthfully, just as it is written. When we speak only what God says, others will know what’s true. God gives you the strength to do this through his Holy Spirit when you regularly hear and learn his Word. Sitting with your family and reading or listening to these devotions is just one of the many ways you are carrying out God’s will for your life. Then, armed with these truths, you will be among those who hold this treasure in your heart. You will be able to speak it faithfully to those around you. God promises that his Word will not return to him empty. That means that when people hear God’s Word, the Holy Spirit works in their hearts as God wills it. Then they too can come to believe in Jesus as their Savior and join us in heaven.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your true Word, in which you give us the news about our Savior and salvation. Send your Holy Spirit to strengthen our faith and cause us to speak this Word faithfully to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What animal did the zoo substitute in place of the lion?
  • What’s it called when you don’t tell the truth?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What happens when God’s Word is not spoken of truthfully and faithfully?
  • Consider how you can share God’s Word faithfully. Name two promises from his Word that you will share with someone.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Think of a truth from God’s Word. Now think of a way people have tried to change it to something they want it to be.
  • Share with your family what you would tell someone who challenges the truth of God’s Word.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You’re an Heir of the Promise Keeper – August 12, 2022

Read: Luke 12:22-34

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Luke 12:22-23,32

You’re an Heir of the Promise Keeper

Family Devotion – August 12, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 12:22-23,32

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In our devotions this week, we have learned about the faith of an Old Testament hero named Abraham as he journeyed through this life. In today’s Scripture, Jesus is speaking to his disciples, the 12 men who left their families and all they had to follow Jesus. As the disciples traveled with Jesus, they did not have a home like you do. They did not travel with many possessions. Sometimes they did not know where their next meal would come from.

Jesus knew the kind of feelings uncertainty stirs in human hearts. The disciples must have worried at times about not having enough. Jesus reminded them that he alone was enough for them. He used two of their most basic needs—food and clothes—as examples why they did not need to worry about their life. “Look at the birds,” he told them. God cares for animals even as these; he would certainly care for his disciples. Jesus walked by their side, teaching them God’s truths. “Do not be afraid.” His words gave them comfort and hope.

We’re not too different from the disciples, are we? Can you even remember a time you didn’t have plentiful food and more clothes than you need? We have warm homes in winter and spaces to keep us cool in the summer. God knows you’ve got to pay the rent or tuition, buy groceries, and all the other bills. He is not saying, “Don’t think about those things.” He’s saying, “Don’t worry about them. Don’t make them the aim of your life. If you’re going to worry, worry about something important.” Then he says, “But seek first his kingdom, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Worry and fear lead us to doubt God’s promises and his presence. That is not where God wants us to be. He has given us Jesus! Even greater than providing for our earthly needs, God has taken care of our biggest need—our need for a Savior. He has forgiven all our sins of worry and doubt. He has promised us his kingdom and all the blessings of living in his loving care. Your home in heaven is certain and already being prepared for you. You need not fear anything in this world or what will happen to you. You are an heir of this gift of eternal life! What a gift! Thank you, Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for providing for all our needs, especially our need for a Savior. You give us what we don’t deserve. Help us to believe your promises and strengthen our faith until we are finally with you in heaven. Be with us, Lord. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • With your family, make a list of blessings that God gives showing he cares for you.
  • What will you do the next time you find yourself afraid or worried?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Give two reasons Jesus told his disciples not to fear.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to talk about what causes us to be afraid or worry. Share with your family a time you were worried. What will you do next time it grips you?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree. Worry is always a sin. Explain your answer.
  • Why do you think Jesus brought up heaven in this section that’s about worry? How was that actually a comfort to the disciples? How is that a comfort for you?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Believe the Promise Maker – August 10, 2022

Read: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country… For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:8,9a,10

Believe the Promise Maker

Family Devotion – August 10, 2022

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:8,9a,10

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Have you ever been on a hike with your family? Some hiking trails are short and easy with few hills and clear paths. Other hiking trails are more treacherous with steep inclines and winding paths obstructed by tree limbs or roots. Regardless of the difficulty of the trail, you probably want an adult or parent to guide you, especially if you don’t know where you’re going. When you have a guide, you can move forward because you trust the one leading you.

Abraham went on a long journey. God promised him and his descendants a land that they would call their own, a land so bountiful that all their needs would be met. But can you walk in Abraham’s sandals for a minute?

Abraham didn’t know much about this land. He had never been there. There were no maps for him to follow and no pictures for him to look at. He didn’t get to decide if it looked like a land that would be best for his family, like you and your family do before planning a vacation or moving. He wasn’t able to talk to anyone who had been there to get advice. He knew he would feel like a stranger in this land. Why would he go with little to no knowledge of this place?

Count how many times the phrase “by faith” is used in Heb. 11:1-3, 8-16. Clearly, God is making a point with this repeated phrase. Faith in God enabled Abraham to move forward, to take one step after another. He knew that God was his guide. He trusted God to lead and provide for him and his family. Abraham believed that God knew what was best and had many good things waiting for Abraham and his family.

Abraham’s journey also taught him that this earth was not his forever home. When Abraham and his family arrived in this land, they made their home as strangers in a strange land. They knew that this was only a temporary home. Our text tells us that Abraham was looking forward to “the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” God promised him a forever home—heaven! Abraham saw beyond this world and pressed on, trusting that his eternal home was waiting in heaven.

Like Abraham, we believe that the town or building in which we live on this earth is only a temporary home. Christians sometimes feel like strangers as we live in this world. Though our lives in this sinful world might be filled with the ups and downs, the end of our journey is just the beginning of our life in heaven. That is a home worth waiting for, and it’s all yours through faith in Jesus! Let’s journey together with God as our guide!

Closing Prayer:

O Lord, give us faith like Abraham’s that follows where you lead and holds to your promise of heaven. We praise you for your goodness to us. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • How would you feel if God told you leave your home and live somewhere else like he told Abraham?
  • Why did Abram confidently go where God told him?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Discuss why Abraham might have felt like a stranger in a foreign country?
  • According to the devotion, how should we view our life on earth?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • “By faith” many Bible heroes followed God. Discuss what you are doing right now in your life “by faith.”
  • Discuss with your family how talking about our final and forever home in heaven actually makes our daily lives better.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Be a Treasure Seeker! – August 8, 2022

Read: Genesis 15:1-6

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, your very great reward.”
Genesis 15:1

Be a Treasure Seeker!

Family Devotion – August 8, 2022

Devotion based on Genesis 15:1

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Abram was a very rich man. In those days, having many sheep, donkeys, cattle, camels, manservants, and maidservants made a person very rich. God blessed Abram in this way. Yet, even with all these blessings, Abram was missing something. He and his wife Sarah had no children.

This was very difficult for Abram and Sarah. Not only did they desire to have the blessing of children, but God also promised that he would give Abram many descendants. The older Abram and Sarah got, the harder it was for them to believe that God would give them even one child, let alone many descendants.

So, God went to Abram and reminded him of his presence. He said, “I am your shield, Abram.” Just like a shield protects a warrior, so God would protect Abraham from his doubts as he carried out his good plans for him. God also said, “Abram, I am your very great reward.” God assured Abram that he was his greatest treasure, worth more than earthly wealth, possessions, or even a precious child. His worth came from God alone.

We need these reminders too. Just like Abram and Sarah, we may think God has forgotten his promises to us or he has forgotten us altogether. When our desires aren’t met, we doubt God’s promises and think that God doesn’t care for us. When that happens, remember what God told Abraham, “I am your shield and great reward.” We don’t have to worry or be afraid. The God who gave his own Son to save you from sin always knows just what you need and when you need it. He will bless you as he sees fit, not for earthly gain, but for your eternal benefit.

In God’s mercy and love, he gave Abram many earthly blessings and the promise to make him a great nation. By faith, Abram believed that he was right with God. That’s what really mattered for him. That’s what really matters for you. No matter how many earthly blessings Abram had, his first and most important treasure was always God himself. God alone is your number one treasure too. May he always help us believe that and live it!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord God, we know your promises are true. By your Holy Spirit, our faith grasps the truth. Forgive us for the times that we doubt. Cause our faith to grow as we regularly come to your Word. Thank you for being our most important treasure. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What two promises did God give Abram and Sarah?
  • Why can we trust God to provide for us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • God promised Abram and Sarah a son and that they would have many descendants. Explain how God would bless the whole world through those two promises.
  • In what ways is God your very great reward?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Read Genesis 15:6. Discuss what “credited to him as righteousness” means.
  • At times we have to wait on God as he works in our lives, just like Abram and Sarah waited for God to fulfill his promise. What temptations exist for us as we wait for God’s answer to prayer? How can we avoid falling into these sins?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Money Doesn’t Make You Rich – August 5, 2022

Read: Luke 12:13-21

Jesus said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Luke 12:15

Money Doesn’t Make You Rich

Family Devotion – August 5, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 12:15

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

One lazy summer day, Lucas closed his eyes and dreamed, “If I was rich, if I was a millionaire, what would I buy?” Have you ever dreamed the same? If you had a million dollars, what would you do with them? Would being rich change you? Would being rich make for a better life and a better you?

One time, a man asked Jesus to help settle an argument he was having with his brother about money. The man was dreaming the same dream as Lucas, “If I was rich….” He hoped Jesus would take his side. Jesus felt sad that the only reason the man was interested in talking with him was help him get his money (as though that‘s the best that Jesus could do for him). So he told him a story about another rich man whose only worry in life was where he would place all his stuff. “This is what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barn and build bigger ones,” he dreamed. Bigger barns aren’t bad. But when barns get so big in our hearts that we can’t see God behind them, Jesus warns, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life doesn’t consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Jesus didn’t want to be a go-between two arguing brothers. He had something more important to share… himself. Money doesn’t make you rich. But Jesus does! Go ahead and dream—not if you were rich—but you are rich! Take all the money of the world, bring it all together, pile it up into a pile as tall as the highest mountain, and it won’t even make a drop in the bucket compared to the spiritual riches we have through Jesus! What’s the difference between spiritual riches and the world’s riches? Ask yourself—which one ends and which one will never end? Which one did Jesus shed his blood for?

We’ve all dreamed the dream of Lucas to be rich beyond our wildest dreams. We’ve also been the man who only wanted Jesus to give us a wealthy life. But money doesn’t make us rich. Jesus does! He won on the cross and now we can trade our riches for his, and though it may look like failure here on earth, the riches in heaven will be as big as Christ is. Don’t dream of it… believe in him!

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, Jesus, for leaving the riches of heaven to give your life for us. Because you left your crown for the cross and your throne for the grave, we are fools to the world, but millionaires in heaven! Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
  • What did Jesus do for us that is worth more than a million dollars?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What’s the difference between being rich in life and being rich in heaven?
  • Talk together as a family about work that puts food on the table. Then discuss how we can work ourselves to the point of starving our souls or hurting our families.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • True or False: Being a Christian means you can’t be rich.
  • In your own words, describe what is meant by today’s message: Money doesn’t make you rich.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Your Life Is Safe – August 3, 2022

Read: Colossians 1:1-11

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:1-3

Your Life Is Safe

Family Devotion – August 3, 2022

Devotion based on Colossians 3:1-3

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

There is a place in the United States that holds more gold than any other country in the world. Located in Kentucky, Fort Knox is a fortress-like building with granite walls two feet thick. The gold vault is protected by a blast-proof door that weighs the same as a fully-loaded school bus. Fort Knox protects some of the most precious items that belong to the United States.

Today’s devotion says, “Your life is hidden with Christ” —not hidden like in “hide and seek, come and find me,” but hidden safely. It’s the Bible’s way of saying that the empty vault of Christ’s tomb means your life is now safe in Christ! So close is your life connected to him, it’s as if you died with him on Good Friday and came back to life with him Easter morning! Because Christ is alive—your faith is suction-cupped to him safely and forever. Your life is Fort Knox-safe!

And a “safe” life changes how you live: “Set your hearts on things above… Take off the old self and put on the new self” (verses 2,9,10). Like a dirty, sweaty shirt after a long day outside, “Take it off!” Jesus bought your life on the cross. You don’t belong to yourself. You belong to him! Your life is hidden with Christ. You’re safe! You’re forgiven! It’s like wearing a brand-new set of clothes every day. The “new” you doesn’t want to talk naughty or tell lies or make someone cry. The “new” you wants to be trusted by friends and family. The “new” you is peaceful, happy, and content.

The best part about the “new” life? It can happen to anyone! Jesus doesn’t care what your past looks like or what your background is. None of that matters. Your life is safe in Jesus. It gives the new life and the new you that you’ve always wanted. It’s not just possible. It’s already happened! Thanks be to God! Amen.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, today we thank you for our lives. Thank you for saving them and keeping us safe every day. When we fall back into old ways of living, help us set our hearts on things above where you are seated at the right hand of God. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What’s the name of the fort where America keeps its gold safe?
  • How did Jesus keep us safe?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean that “your life is hidden with Christ?” Where did that happen? (At the cross)
  • What does it mean to “take off the old self and put on the new self?” When did that happen? (At your baptism)

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Ask your family the characteristics of the “new” you they most appreciate about you.
  • Now identify at least two more ways you can live the “new” you this week.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Happiness Is a Gift – August 1, 2022

Read: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:18-26

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy himself apart from him? Yes, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness.
Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

Happiness Is a Gift

Family Devotion – August 1, 2022

Devotion based on Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Are you a happy person? What would have to happen for you to enjoy the perfect day? Maybe it would begin with no alarm waking you up—sleep in as long as you want! Then how about munching on a plateful of delicious, crisp bacon for breakfast? Then imagine everyone is super nice to you all day long. No one bugs you to do anything all day—you get to watch your favorite movies, eat your favorite foods, and play your favorite games. Would that make you happy?

But you know that not everything goes the way you want. Are you happy when you spill soda down the front of your shirt? Do you laugh with joy when someone interrupts or gets angry with you? Or when you don’t get the grade you hoped for? Life isn’t always fair.

There was a time when people would wake up in the morning and be happy. There was a day when people would look at each other and be filled with nothing but joy. Then there was that moment for Adam and Eve when happiness changed. They looked at fruit they weren’t supposed to have and decided for themselves that eating it would bring them better happiness. That was the moment they lost it. Happiness.

Ever since, people have tried to get happiness back by what they eat, what they wear, or going to fun places. The man who wrote today’s Word of God spent his life chasing happiness. He was a king of a huge kingdom! He didn’t deny himself a single luxury! At the end of his life, guess what he said about all it? He said that his stuff, without God, is meaningless. We can’t talk ourselves into being happy. We don’t even have the ability to make ourselves truly happy. Happiness is a gift handed to us from God’s hand. “God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (verse 26). Happiness is not getting what I want. Happiness is when Jesus gives me what I need: himself. I need him to make right everything I did wrong. He did it on the cross! There, Jesus didn’t wish for his personal happiness. He was thinking of my happiness. He suffered so I could live happily with him in his kingdom.

Without God, everything is worth absolutely nothing. In Jesus, he’s given you everything you need for a happy life that can never be taken away from you!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, whenever I’m sad or having a bad day, help me remember that happiness is not about having things go my way. Happiness is having you, Jesus, in my life. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Point at the happiest person in your family! Ask them to share what makes them so happy.
  • How does Jesus make you happy?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Describe what would have to happen for you to have the happiest day of your life.
  • What do you need to remember from today’s devotion that will help you handle an unhappy day?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Looking back at the happiest moments of your life, evaluate them: Are they events? Places? People?
  • How does today’s devotion stretch your understanding of true happiness?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Gifts for Our Good… – July 29, 2022

Read: Luke 11:1-13

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:11-13

Gifts for Our Good

Family Devotion – July 29, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 11:11-13

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

As she ripped the wrapping paper off the present, her eyes were full joy and excitement. Who doesn’t like opening presents?! Then, a puzzled look, as she pulled out a dirty, stinky pair of socks. She tore into the next present, hoping it was better, only to find a half-eaten, moldy piece of cheese.

Eeww! Those are not great gifts—who would ever ask for THAT?! Can you imagine someone who loves you giving such an awful gift?

They wouldn’t, would they? Your family and friends want to give you good gifts. When you give a friend or someone in your family a gift, you want to give them something good. We like to give and get good gifts!

When we talk to God about all the things going on in our lives, about the people in our lives, and about the things we need, God gives us a wonderful promise. He says that he will hear and answer all of our prayers! So does that mean that God will always give us exactly what we want and asked him for?

Not exactly.

Today’s Bible verses tell us that God knows the best way to answer all of our prayers. In the same way we know our parents and those who care for us want to give us what is best for us, God too will give us what is best for us.

So, what if we really want something, and we ask God for it—but that thing that we really want would actually be bad for us? Worse, what if it would be something that could hurt our faith? What if it is something that would lead us away from Jesus? Or what if it would get in the way of God giving us something even better? Then that thing we might really want wouldn’t actually be good for us to get—kind of like dirty, stinky socks or moldy cheese!

Instead, because he loves us, God gives us what is best for us. He has given us the Holy Spirit, who created faith and keeps us in our faith. He has given us Jesus, who forgave all our sins. He has given us promises that he will hear and answer all our prayers with what is best for us! And that brings joy to our heart!

Closing Prayer:

Lord, you know how to give good gifts. Help me to trust that your answers to my prayers are what are best, even when I don’t see it. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is the best you’ve been given? What made it great?
  • What is the best gift God has given you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How does God know what is the best way to answer our prayers?
  • Does knowing that God is going to listen to your prayers and answer them help you talk to God more? Why or why not?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is the Holy Spirit a great gift from God?
  • Take a moment and think of something that might at first appear to be a good thing, but later could be bad for you.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Dear God… – July 27, 2022

Read: 1 Timothy 2:1-7

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4

Dear God…

Family Devotion – July 27, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 2:1-4

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Dear God, please give me a new doll.”

“Dear God, please make me a better basketball player.”

“Dear God, please give me a new Nintendo Switch or a new PlayStation.”

“Dear God, please make sure I get an ‘A’ on this test.”

“Please, God, help me with…”

God tells us that he wants us to talk to him about all the things we need and want. But if we aren’t careful, our prayers can just turn into a long list of the things we want God to do for us. God wants us to talk to him about more than just the things we want.

Think about today’s Bible reading. Look who God also wants us to pray for and talk to him about—all people! Our neighbors, our family, our government, even people we don’t like! Why would God want us to pray for all people? Look again at what he tells us.

God wants all people to be saved. God wants us to pray for others because he wants all people to be with him in heaven. He wants everyone to know what you know—that Jesus is our Savior and has forgiven all of our sins. He wants everyone to know what you know—that Jesus loves us and wants to be with him forever.

So how does that happen? Maybe a good place to start would be to talk to God about it! Talk to God about the people in your life—your family, your neighbors… everyone! Talk to God not only about the things you need, but the most important thing all of us need—a Savior. Then, be bold in talking to people about Jesus and see how God answers your prayers!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, thank you for wanting me to talk to you about all my wants and needs. Help me to remember to talk to you about all the people you have put in my life. Use me to talk to them about all you have done for them so that they will be with you forever too. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Who are some people in your life that you would like to pray for?
  • List at least one thing you want to talk to God about for each of those people.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How many people does God want to come to faith?
  • Can you think of anyone who might be hard to talk to God about? What makes it difficult to pray for them?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Paul encourages us to pray for our government. What blessings or benefit do we receive from good government?
  • God want us to pray for all people because he wants all people to be saved. How does this help us pray for all people? What are some things we might pray for the people in our lives?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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I’ve Got Questions… – July 25, 2022

Read: Genesis 18:20-32

The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
Genesis 18:22-23

I’ve Got Questions…

Family Devotion – July 25, 2022

Devotion based on Genesis 18:22-23

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If you had a question for the President of the United States, do you think you could just walk up to the front door of his house, knock on the door, and then ask your question when he opened the door?

No way!

The President is really busy and important. Even if you did manage to get some time with him to ask your questions, you would probably only be able to do that once, and maybe for just a few short minutes.

It can be hard to get important and powerful people to pay attention to you, especially the younger you are. Now, look at the amazing thing that happens in this Bible story. “Abraham remained standing before the LORD. Then Abraham approached him and said…”

Abraham approached God to talk to him! If the President is a powerful and busy guy, imagine how busy God must be! He takes care of everyone on earth. He sends rain to water the grass and cause crops to grow. He makes sure the animals have food. He causes the sun to rise and set. Yet, Abraham was able to approach and talk to God! And he kept talking to God!

Talking to God—that is what prayer is. What a neat thing you and I can do—anytime and from any place—we can talk to God about anything! God is never too busy to listen to us.

But why? Why would God want to listen to Abraham, or to you? God wants you to talk to him because you are important to him! He wants to listen to you because he loves you. He hears all of your prayers and answers them because Jesus forgave all your sins. God wants you to keep talking to him, every day and about everything, because at your baptism, God made you his child. Because of who God is and what he has done for you, you can, like Abraham, approach God and talk to him!

Whether you’ve got questions, things you are afraid of, or something that makes you really happy and thankful—all are great things to talk to God about!

Closing Prayer:

God, thank you for never being too busy to listen when I talk to you about all the things going on in my life. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • If you could ask God any question, what would it be?
  • Who is the most important person you have ever talked to?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why can you approach God and talk to him like Abraham?
  • Make a list of things you always wanted to talk to God about. Which do you want to talk to him about today?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why does God want you talk to him?
  • What do you think God wants you talk to him about?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Only One Thing Is Needed – July 22, 2022

Read: Luke 10:38-42

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42

Only One Thing Is Needed

Family Devotion – July 22, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 10:41-42

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Having guests over is an exciting adventure, isn’t it? Preparing for guests isn’t so exciting. There are so many things to do to get ready for them. The house must be just right—bedrooms cleaned, floors swept and mopped, dishes washed, laundry washed and put away. Then the groceries need to be purchased, meals planned. Oh yes, it is summer, so the grass needs to be mowed, yard toys picked up. Whew, that’s a lot of work! That’s why it’s important for everyone in the family to chip in and help.

Martha was no different. Her favorite guest was coming over—Jesus! She loved her Lord so much that she wanted everything to be just right for him. She also wanted help from everyone in her family. But listen to what happened: “Martha had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” Martha was busy planning the menu, setting the table, and cooking in the kitchen. And there was Mary… sitting. Martha had enough. “Lord, tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Jesus knew everything that Martha was trying to do for him in her house. Then he gently tells her what she needed to do for him in his kingdom. The food in the oven could wait. So could the Jell-O. Life goes on even if a dinner gets missed in your house. But in his kingdom, life ends when the Word is not listened to. No Word? No faith. No life. You and I would be dead in our sins without the one thing needful.

A Christian without the Word is like a car that runs out of gas. You don’t even realize it until you press the gas pedal and there’s nothing there. But a Christian with the Word never runs on empty when they need it most.

So sit and listen so that you can hear and believe. So you can believe and do. So that you can go and tell. Because now we know that there is one thing needful.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, never take away from us the one thing needed—you. Never leave our homes, but always live with us. Keep our ears listening to your words. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Describe what happens in your house before guests come over.
  • What did Mary do to get ready for Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why was Martha so frustrated with Mary?
  • What did Jesus say was Martha’s missing focus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • If someone in your family is a natural “worrier,” how might you be of help? What words of Jesus might encourage them?
  • True or false. God is not interested in how busy you are.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Thank You, Lord… Can I Have More? – July 20, 2022

Read: Colossians 1:1-14

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.
Colossians 1:3-4,9b-10

Thank You, Lord… Can I Have More?

Family Devotion – July 20, 2022

Devotion based on Colossians 1:3-4,9b-10

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Alison just finished eating supper at the table. It was time for dessert. It was her favorite—strawberry shortcake. The cake was on the plates and the bowl of strawberries was making its way around the table. Suddenly, disaster struck. There weren’t enough strawberries for everyone. Alison’s mom mysteriously calculated the exact number of strawberries, divided it by the number of kids at the table, and then spooned them out evenly. Now everyone would be happy, right? Wrong! Alison complained, “But Mom, the berries don’t even cover my cake.” Mom replied, “Alison, be happy with what you have.”

Be happy with what you have. Is that what your mom says too when you’re at the store and you see the newest game or an action figure? Is that when Mom says something like, “Stop begging, be happy with what you have”?

Whether strawberries or toys, it’s good to be happy with what we have. But when it comes to spiritual blessings, God wants us to beg, and ask and ask and ask, and want more and more and more. More of what? Let’s call them our “spiritual strawberries.” When it comes to spiritual things, to the strength of our faith, to the number of God-pleasing fruits, or works of faith, “We pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way.” God never wants us to stop wanting more.

But that’s sort of hard, because there’s a part of us that doesn’t want to do that. There’s something in us that wants to do exactly the opposite of what God wants. But God has an answer for that. God tells us how we can grow in love for God and others. We grow when God feeds us. We grow the more we hear and know and read and study God’s Word.

For the tons of spiritual presents God gives, each wrapped with the red ribbon of Jesus’ blood—for faith in Jesus, for forgiveness, for the certain hope of heaven—we say “Thank you, God!” But never stop asking God for what you don’t have. Ask him to cover your cake and dump on those spiritual berries. Ask the Lord for strength to please him in every way, for strength to produce fruit in every good work. And find that strength in God’s Word.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, I am so thankful for everything you have given me in my life and for my faith. Don’t ever stop strengthening and supporting me to live my life for you. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • When Alison complained she didn’t get enough strawberries on her shortcake, did her mom tell her—“Be happy with what you have” or “Ask for more and more”?
  • When it comes to producing good spiritual berries of love for God and others, does God tell us—”Be happy with what you’ve got” or “Ask for more and more”?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • “Live a life worthy of the Lord.” What exactly does that mean?
  • What has God given us that gives power to live life for him?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Have an honest discussion with your parents (or guardian, etc.) what is getting in the way of your family “growing in God’s Word.”
  • The devotion talked about “spiritual strawberries” as fruit that shows itself in life. Identify what a couple of those berries might look like in your life.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Is anything too hard for the Lord? – July 18, 2022

Read: Genesis 18:1-14

“Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Genesis 18:14

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Family Devotion – July 18, 2022

Devotion based on Genesis 18:14

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Ever hear someone say, “Out of sight, out of mind?” It means that people quickly forget something or someone they have not seen for a long time.

For example, there may be a musical toy so noisy that a parent puts it away on a high shelf or in a closet. Sure enough, the toy gets forgotten. “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Before today’s Bible reading, the Lord promised Abraham that his family would become a great nation and that through his family the whole world would be blessed. Abraham and Sarah believed the Lord would keep his promise. A year passed. Then another one. And another. Twenty-four years passed. After so much time, God’s promise might have seemed, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

One day, three visitors came to Abraham and Sarah’s house. But they were no ordinary visitors. One of them was the Lord himself who came to hand deliver this special announcement, “This time next year, Sarah will have a son.” Sarah giggled when she heard the Lord say she would have a baby in about a year. She was well past the time of childbearing. Imagine, a grandma having a baby! The thought made Sarah laugh out loud.

“Why did Sarah laugh?” the Lord asked. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” What a great question! With that, God reminds us that he is so strong and powerful, he can do things that are not normal. That question reminded Sarah and Abraham that no matter how much time passes, the Lord always keeps his promises. Sure enough, against all human odds, Abraham and Sarah welcomed a little boy named Isaac. Sure enough, the whole world would be blessed because one of his distant descendants would be Jesus—the answer to God’s promise to save us all. It took a long, long time for God’s promise to come true. But truth is, God never forgets his promises.

Every time we go to church, the Lord serves us. He strengthens our faith. By skipping worship or leaving our Bibles on the shelf, we keep God’s reminders “Out of sight, out of mind.” But the Lord is faithful to his promises. He continues to serve us. Let us keep his Word and promises always in sight and on our minds!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord of strength and renewal, keep our eyes looking at your Word to keep it on our minds. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What was Sarah’s reaction when the visitor said she would have a baby?
  • How often does God keep his promises?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • If you were Sarah, how might you have reacted to the message of a baby?
  • “Out of sight, out of mind” is what we don’t want to do with God’s promises. Name two ways you can keep them from being forgotten.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Identity what things or events take your eyes off the Lord.
  • Name at least two things that you think are impossible. Then answer the question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” How does the answer strengthen your faith?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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