When It Rains It Pours – February 26, 2024

Read: Job 1:13-22

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.
Job 1:21

When It Rains It Pours

Family Devotion – February 26, 2024

Devotion based on Job 1:21

See series: Devotions

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

There’s an old saying, “When it rains, it pours.” In other words, problems often seem to pile up one on top of the other. We all have times in our lives when everything seems to be going wrong.

When it rains, it pours.

But that’s not always true. When we get frustrated, we tend to see only the bad. We start looking for the next thing to go wrong. When it does, we get annoyed, throw up our arms and ask, “What else can go wrong?”

What we fail to see are all the things that are going right in our lives. We forget that we have air to breathe and food to eat. We look right past our homes and toys and iPhones. We forget about the family, friends, and forgiveness God gives us. We focus only on the negative and feel like everything in our lives is bad.

At other times, though, when it rains, it really does pour. In our reading for today, Job found himself in a hurricane of hurt and problems. All of his earthly possessions were either destroyed or stolen. His ten children were killed in a tragic accident. Later, he would be struck with painful sores all over his body.

Sometimes when it rains, it really does pour.

But God allows storms in our lives for our good. In the book of Job, we eventually find out that God was teaching Job an important lesson. God often has lessons for us to learn when we are going through hard times. He promises that even the worst pains and problems in our lives will end up working out for our good.

When it rains, it pours. Every day, in good times and bad, God floods our lives with countless blessings. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes to see. Stop focusing on what’s wrong in your life and recognize all that’s right.

See all the good things God rains down on you and then, like Job, you’ll be able to say with a smile, “When it rains, it pours.”

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, when pains and problems pour down in my life, help me to trust that you will always make it all work out for my good. 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 something hard that has happened in your life?
  • Make a list of as many good things as you can that God has given you and does for you. What do you have more of, hard things or good things?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When bad things happen to you, what can you do to help keep you from becoming negative and frustrated?
  • One of your friends from school is having a lot of problems. She asks you, “Why is this happening to me?” What would you say?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • One of the lessons Job learned from his struggles is that we shouldn’t expect that God is always going to tell us why bad things happen. Is it wrong to ask God why? (Explain your answer.)
  • Agree or disagree. We shouldn’t be sad when problems come into 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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Why Was Jesus Tempted? – February 23, 2024

Read: Mark 1:12-15

[Jesus] was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan.
Mark 1:13

Why Was Jesus Tempted?

Family Devotion – February 23, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:13

See series: Devotions

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

Years ago, when the Union Pacific Railroad was being built, an elaborate bridge was built over a large canyon. Wanting to test the bridge, the builder loaded a train with enough extra cars and cargo to double the normal weight of a train. The train was then driven to the middle of the bridge where it was parked an entire day.

One of the workers asked the builder, “What are you doing? Are you trying to break the bridge?”

“No,” the builder replied, “I’m trying to prove that the bridge won’t break.”

God allowed Jesus to be tempted to prove that he could and would resist all the devil’s temptations. Jesus didn’t break. And that’s important.

It’s important because we definitely do break. Every day the devil tempts us to do bad things—to lie to our parents and teachers, to cheat on tests, to pick on other kids, to whine and complain and worry. And every day, we fall into temptation. We disobey our parents and teachers. We try to get away with the naughty things we know we are not supposed to do.

That’s why it is so important that we see Jesus resisting the devil’s temptations. Jesus did that for us, in our place. Like a substitute teacher takes the place of the regular teacher, Jesus took our place. He always obeyed God perfectly in our place. He never fell into temptation even once in our place. He did not break.

And then he did something amazing. He went to the cross and suffered the punishment we deserve in our place, as our substitute. Because Jesus lived and died as our substitute, we can be sure we are forgiven. Because he lived and died as our substitute, we can be sure we are going to heaven.

When Jesus was tempted in the desert by the devil, he proved that he was a bridge that wouldn’t break. Because he did, you can be sure he has defeated the devil and won for you a place in heaven.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for living and dying as my Savior. 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 ways the devil tempts you to do bad things?
  • When you mess up and do those bad things, why is it so important to think of Jesus as our substitute?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Agree or disagree. A temptation is something that makes you sin.
  • Why is it important for us to know that Jesus did not break under the weight of temptation?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or disagree. It was easier for Jesus to resist the devil’s temptations because he is God.
  • Agree or disagree. Because Jesus lived and died as our substitute, it doesn’t matter if we fall into temptation.

 

 

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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Fill in the Blank – February 21, 2024

Read: Romans 8:31-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38,39

Fill in the Blank

Family Devotion – February 21, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 8:38,39

See series: Devotions

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

Teachers love to use different kinds of questions on tests. Some questions are multiple-choice. Those are the easiest. You get to pick from one of three possible answers. Some questions are short-answer or essay questions in which you have to write out your answer to the questions. Some questions are fill-in-the-blank. The teacher gives you a statement with a line in it. You have to figure out what goes on the line. For example:

God _______ you.

What do you think fills in the blank? God loves you.

The last two verses of our reading for today could really be fill in the blank. God promises us that he will never stop loving us. He promises us that he will always be with us. He promises that he will make everything in our lives work out for our good.

And that means that nothing can separate us from his love.

The apostle Paul lists all kinds of examples of things that won’t separate you from God’s love—angels, demons, the present, the future, powerful people, scary heights, or dangerous depths. Not even death can separate us from God’s love because when we die, he is going to take us to be with him forever in heaven.

You can be sure of that because not even your sins can separate you from God. The punishment for our sins is that we would be separated from God forever in hell, but Jesus suffered that punishment for us on the cross. You can’t commit a sin that God won’t forgive.

You can put anything in those blanks: “For I am convinced that neither mean kids at school nor unfair teachers, neither getting sick nor getting in trouble with my parents, neither the lies I told nor naughty things I did, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Nothing can separate you from God’s love, not even ____________. How would you fill in the blank? What makes you feel distant from God? Whatever it is, here’s God’s promise: It can’t separate you from his love!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for your amazing love. Help me to trust that nothing in the world could make you stop loving 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

  • Name one scary thing and one hard thing that you have trouble getting over.
  • Why don’t you ever need to be scared?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Verse 31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” What do you think that means?
  • How is Jesus’ death on the cross the greatest proof of God’s love for us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What are the hardest times or situations to trust that God still loves you? Why?
  • You have a friend who is depressed, maybe even to the point that he or she doesn’t want to live anymore. How could today’s devotion help them to find hope?

 

 

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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Tests – February 19, 2024

Read: Genesis 22:1-18

Some time later God tested Abraham.
Genesis 22:1

Tests

Family Devotion – February 19, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 22:1

See series: Devotions

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

Tests come in all shapes and sizes. Some are short, little pop quizzes; others take hours to finish. Some tests are easy; others make your palms sweat.

Most people don’t enjoy taking tests. When a teacher at school announces a test is coming, the kids in the class usually groan. Tests aren’t fun.

Abraham’s test wasn’t fun. Abraham had waited his whole life to have a child. For years, God had been promising him that he would have a son, but Abraham didn’t have his son Isaac until he was 100 years old.

Time passed and Isaac grew. But then one night God appeared to Abraham in a dream. He told him to go to a mountain and sacrifice his son—his only son Isaac—to God. In other words, God told Abraham to kill Isaac.

We know that God wasn’t going to make Abraham kill Isaac, but Abraham didn’t. Abraham didn’t understand. Why would God ask him to kill his son?

God was testing Abraham to see if he loved God even more than his precious son Isaac. Abraham passed God’s test. Even though it was the hardest thing he would ever do, Abraham was willing to give up his son if God asked him to. He trusted God. He loved God even more than his own son.

God tests us every day. He lets the devil tempt us to do things we know are wrong. He allows problems to come into our lives that we don’t fully understand. He lets us get sick or hurt.

When he does, he’s testing us to see if we will trust him. He’s testing us to see if we will love him more than anything or anybody else.

Sometimes we pass the tests God sends, but sometimes we fail. Sometimes we do the bad things we aren’t supposed to. Sometimes we doubt God and worry. Sometimes we complain about the hard things in our lives.

Thankfully, we have a God who sacrificed his own Son for us. God the Father let his Son, Jesus, die on the cross to show us how much he loves us. Because Jesus passed the test, God forgives us for every test we have ever failed.

Are you having a test of faith? Don’t worry! He gives them to bring us closer to him. He provides the answers for them in his Word. Like Abraham, let’s pass God’s tests.

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, I am sorry for the times I have failed the tests you have given me. Thank you for sacrificing your Son so I can be forgiven. Help me to do better. 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

  • Can you give an example of a test God gives you? (Hint: obedience, trust)
  • When God tests you, what can you do to help you pass the test?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • God’s test for Abraham was hard because he loved his son Isaac so much. Name things in your life that you are tempted to love more than God.
  • Why does God deserve to be loved more than anything or anyone else?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Abraham was really old at this time, and his son Isaac was a young man. Isaac could have probably fought back when his dad tied him up. What would you have done? Why do you think Isaac didn’t fight his father? (Hint: Isaac trusted God and his promises just like his dad.)
  • As we get older, the tests in our lives change (and often get harder). Discuss a couple of tests you know you will face as a young adult. How can you begin to prepare now to face them?

 

 

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—Jesus Does! – February 16, 2024

Read: Luke 12:13-32

[Jesus] told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’”
Luke 12:16-20

Money Doesn’t Make You Rich—Jesus Does!

Family Devotion – February 16, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 12:16-20

See series: Devotions

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

When a parent dies, they sometimes give whatever money they have left to their children. That’s called an inheritance. Parents do this because they know that their children and grandchildren will be alive for many years after they die, and they want to help their children with whatever they need, even after they have died. If they have a lot of money, they might also give money to help other family members, their church, or their community. Here’s a really good question for you to think about: What exactly makes someone rich?

Jesus tells a story about a hardworking man who probably worked long hours and had lots of grain (which means he had a lot of money). When he saw that a bumper crop was about to come in, he undertook a massive barn expansion project. From the outside, there’s nothing wrong with working hard and building barns and saving up for the future. His problem was on the inside. His grain was his gold—not God. Instead of thanking God or thinking about how he could help others, he thought only about himself. Notice how many times he used the words “I” or “my” or “myself”! He thought he was going to live for a long time. But he was wrong. God decided that that man would die that night, and all the things that he had were given to someone else.

Do you understand what Jesus is teaching us in this story? If you are living for the things of this life, then every day you live is one day closer to the day when you will lose everything. He’s teaching us that one way or another, we are going to give away everything we have. Either we will give it away on purpose, or God will force us to give it away when we die. The rich farmer thought he was wise. God called him a fool! So, which are you?

Well, someone might think that Jesus is saying that we have to give away everything we have. But that’s not what he’s teaching. He’s teaching that when you think about the things that you have, you think of him because he’s behind everything we have in life… and so much more! Remember how we started this devotion? It was about a parent who dies and leaves behind an inheritance for their children. When Jesus died, he gave us heaven. He gave us the love of God the Father. He gave us eternal life and happiness. He promised us perfect bodies when we rise from death on the Last Day.

We have something so much better than big barns and lots of money. We have Jesus! And when you possess Jesus, you have real treasure!

Closing Prayer:

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of your love. Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold. Take my love; my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee. Amen. (from Christian Worship 695)

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 something that if you lost it, you’d be really sad?
  • What is more important: Having that or being with Jesus forever?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Does money make people happy?
  • How can you be happy, even if you don’t have a lot of money?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Some people say, “More money means more problems.” Is it wrong to be rich?
  • Check your heart: How important are things like name brands and what you own and wear? Discuss the name brand of Jesus. How best can you wear him 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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Repentance is Our First Priority – February 14, 2024

Read: Joel 2:12-19

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Joel 2:12-13

Repentance is Our First Priority

Family Devotion – February 14, 2024

Devotion based on Joel 2:12-13

See series: Devotions

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

Did you hear the first two words we read from Joel? “Even now.” God just told his people that an army was coming to destroy them because they refused to repent of their sins to him. (Repent means to be sorry.) Can you imagine how the people felt after hearing that? “An army is coming to destroy us? We need to fight… or run… or panic!”

Then come those two words, “Even now.” Even while you’re worried about so many things; even as these things are about to happen… even now there is still something else that is important. First, repent. Return.

The way he says it in the Bible is to “fast and weep and mourn” and to “rend (that means to rip) your heart”—all of them are ways to show that a person is sorry for what they did and trust in God to forgive them. When something is really troubling you, do you feel like eating or smiling?

God doesn’t just give a threat: “Repent… or else! Or “You better repent because destruction is coming!” He also gives a promise: “Repent because the LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

See, we repent for two reasons. First, we know that what we do is so rude and nasty to God, it gives him a bad reputation when people see us behaving like that. Sin is never okay and never good. Our sin is bad. So bad, we repent. But second, we also repent because God is gracious and promises to forgive.

When you get in trouble with your parents, if you know that they are going to punish you, you often try your best to hide what you did. If God was only a God who punished us, we would do the same. We would hide from God like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. We would never confess our sins to God. But if you have parents who always forgive you even though there will likely be some consequences, you continue to know they will love you no matter what. That’s why it’s important to tell them the truth no matter what happened because the same is true with God. Our God loves us no matter what, God will never hold our sins against us. Ash Wednesday reminds us why Jesus is so important to us because he suffered our consequences on the cross. Never be afraid to confess your sins because God is gracious, slow to anger, and filled with love for you.

Closing Prayer:

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can serve you. Amen. (Psalm 130:1-4)

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

  • Are you sometimes scared to tell the truth? Tell of the last time that happened.
  • What makes you brave to tell the truth?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think people lie or try to cover up what they did?
  • Instead of covering up, what does today’s devotion encourage us to do?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Too often, emotions like anger or fear get in the way of how we talk to each other. What might help everyone in your family discuss better what is sometimes difficult to say out loud?
  • Discuss why it is so important to hear the words “I forgive you” after someone says “I’m sorry.”

 

 

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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Keep Listening to Jesus! – February 12, 2024

Read: Mark 9:2-9

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. Peter said to Jesus, “It is good for us to be here. (He did not know what to say.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Mark 9:2,3,5-7

Keep Listening to Jesus!

Family Devotion – February 12, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 9:2,3,5-7

See series: Devotions

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

Has someone tried to tell you something and you just did not understand them? Maybe Mom says, “Hey, would you grab that water glass for me from over there?” That’s confusing! Where is “there”? Is it on the counter? Is it in another room? Then she points directly to where the glass is. Oh good, now you know!

In a way, the same thing happened with Jesus and his disciples. For about three years, Jesus had been showing the disciples that he was the one who had come to die for everyone’s sins, but they still didn’t really get it.

Just a few verses before the section of God’s Word you read from Mark 9, Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah (Mark 8:29), but in our text for today, he shows that he didn’t really understand what that meant. When Peter saw Jesus in his glory on the mountain, he wanted to stay there, but that was not what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah. No, the Messiah had to come down the mountain and go to the cross to die. That’s what it meant to be the Messiah.

All of us are like Peter in some ways. We believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but sometimes we don’t understand (or sometimes forget) what that really means for our lives. We don’t understand that he really will be there for us, that he really wants what is best for us, that he really loves us no matter what, that he will really always forgive us. We might have to suffer now for being a Christian, but a forever time with Jesus is our future.

Meanwhile, look at what God does for Peter and us. He doesn’t scold Peter and say, “Peter, you don’t get it!” God simply points to Jesus and says, “This is my Son, listen to him.”

Let’s do that! Let’s keep listening because this is a very special week. This Wednesday is called Ash Wednesday. Let’s follow Jesus to find out where “here” is. It’s wherever the cross is. Whenever you find yourself at the cross, say, “It’s good, Lord, to be here!”

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, give me wisdom to know you better and to trust you more strongly. Help me follow your lead and listen to what you say so that I may understand how much you love me and what you have planned for 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

  • Do you ever have trouble listening? What do your parents/teachers do to help you listen?
  • Name one thing that would help you better listen to Jesus.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Give an example of why clear instructions are so important.
  • What are the consequences if someone doesn’t listen careful to Jesus’ instructions?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • This week is Ash Wednesday. Why is the season of Lent a good time to double-down on listening?
  • Discuss with your family a commitment to following and listening to Jesus in the coming weeks of Lent.

 

 

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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Jesus Heals and Helps Us – February 9, 2024

Read: Mark 1:29-39

Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
Mark 1:30-32, 35-38

Jesus Heals and Helps Us

Family Devotion – February 9, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:30-32, 35-38

See series: Devotions

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

Sometimes when you’re sick, all you need is a good night’s rest; but sometimes when you’re sick, you’re stuck in bed, and it feels like you’ll never get better. Have you ever been sick like that?

The Bible tells us that Simon’s mother-in-law had a fever, and that was a big deal, because back in Jesus’ time, they didn’t have the same types of medicines we do today to help people who are sick. This wasn’t just about getting some rest in bed… she was so sick, she might die!

Jesus went to her and took her by the hand, and immediately the fever was gone! Can you imagine everyone’s reaction? But Jesus was not done. He stayed at the house, and when people heard what Jesus had done, they brought more and more people that were sick or that Satan was attacking with his demons, and Jesus saved them as well.

But then something really interesting happened. When Jesus’ disciples said, “Everyone is looking for you,” Jesus said, “Let’s go somewhere else so I can preach. That’s why I have come.” What? Don’t you think that with all those people looking for Jesus, he would want to stay? But he doesn’t. He could have stayed and healed people who were sick, but there was something more important for him to do. Jesus wanted to help people who were sick with sin and suffering from it.

When you’re hurt, even if it’s just a little sickness or a little pain, you might think that all you need is some medicine. And while medicine is a gift from God, there is something else you need even more: God’s promises. That’s because someday, no matter how much medicine we have, one of the horrible effects of sin is that people die. That’s why Jesus came to live with us on earth. He is the medicine for all of us who are sick with sin or scared at the thought of dying. He tells us, “Don’t be afraid! Believe in me! Even if you die, you will not stay dead but will come back to life and be with me forever.”

So the next time you’re sick, something is wrong with your life, or the thought of death makes you afraid, go to Jesus and remember, “He has the power to help and heal me! I will only be this way for a little while, but I will be with Jesus forever.”

Closing Prayer:

While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyelids close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee. Amen. (Christian Worship 839:4)

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

  • Talk about the time you were really, really sick. Who took care of you?
  • How did Jesus take care of sick people in today’s devotion?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How does God’s Word keep you healthy?
  • A lot of people are afraid to talk about dying. Why is it so important to start talking about Jesus in that moment?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Simon’s mother-in-law was so sick that she could have died. Why doesn’t Jesus always heal people who are sick today?
  • True or false: Jesus never promised that you would live to be ninety years old.

 

 

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’m in God’s Hands – February 7, 2024

Read: 1 Peter 5:6-11

Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6

I’m in God’s Hands

Family Devotion – February 7, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Peter 5:6

See series: Devotions

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

Take a moment and look at your hands. You can tell a lot about someone just by looking at their hands. Are they rough from work or sports? Is there a Band-Aid on a finger? Do your hands look small when held up next to an adult?

The Bible pictures God as having hands. It describes what his hands are like and what his hands do. What do his hands look like? They kind of look like the hands of a parent who tosses a ball a little higher to train a child to catch better. They are the hands that show a child how to share a toy with someone else or hold back a child from stepping off a curb onto a busy street. They are hands that cook your food and tuck you in to bed. They are hands that are there through the tears and the temper tantrums. Even when it hurts, the hands of parents know what is best for the good of the child.

God’s hands carefully formed you before you were even born. Every day ever since, his hands provide for all of your needs in life. Jesus stretched out his hands on the cross to pay for everything wrong in you—whether you thought it, did it, or said it. Jesus even prayed, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit.”

So what does God want us to do with our hands? Just this: “Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand.” To humble yourself means to simply place yourself into God’s caring hands because he knows what is best for you. Fold your hands and pray to him in good times or bad times. When something happens that makes you wrinkle up your forehead with worry lines, “Cast all your anxiety on him.” Like a hand holding a ball, throw what troubles you in the direction of God. He’ll catch it and work it out because he cares so much for you.

You can tell a lot about someone by looking at their hands. How cool to know we are safe in God’s hands! Ask God to give you humble hands. Thank God for his mighty hands!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I place into your hands all the things that worry me. I humbly ask that you work them out for me, and I know you will, because you care for me so much! 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 has the biggest hands in your family? Is there someone in your life who always makes you feel safe? Why?
  • In today’s devotion, whose hands are the best ones to handle our problems?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • 1 Peter 5:7 says “(Jesus) cares for you.” Name some ways Jesus shows us he cares.
  • Identify two practical ways we as a family can regularly give our worries to Jesus.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is it so easy for us to hold onto our worries and not give them to Jesus?
  • In what ways could we as your parent(s) better learn your worries and help you bring them to 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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I Can’t Do This Anymore! – February 5, 2024

Read: Isaiah 40:27-31

The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
Isaiah 40:28,29,31a

I Can’t Do This Anymore!

Family Devotion – February 5, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 40:28,29,31a

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever tried again and again to get something right, but you couldn’t seem to succeed? Maybe you are struggling with a math problem at school or a basketball shot that never goes in the hoop, maybe you said something to a parent but could tell they weren’t really listening. You get frustrated. Maybe you’ve even said, “I can’t do this anymore” or even worse, “If this is happening, does God really care about me?”

Does it help to know you’re not the only one? In today’s reading, God’s people were feeling the same. Here was their concern, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause disregarded.” That’s Old Testament language for, “Does God even care about me anymore?”

Here is God’s answer: “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” That means that God knows better. He knows know you feel. And he knows what’s better for you at home, at school, or wherever you are.

It’s okay to admit that you are weaker than God. You might be strong, but God loves showing his power when you’re feeling weakest. Think about it like a game off tug-of-war. If God is pulling in one direction, and you’re pulling against him, you will lose every time! But God loves to be on your side and pull for you especially in the times you feel most frustrated. It doesn’t mean you won’t still face problems, but they will not be torture. In fact, it might even be as easy as gliding like an eagle in the sky!

The next time you’re frustrated and want to give up saying, “I can’t do it!” remember to “hope in the Lord” (verse 31). Hope isn’t just wishing things were good (like “hoping the weather is good tomorrow”). God never gets tired of helping you. You can trust him to pull you in the right direction.

Closing Prayer:

God, humble me to see your ways as better than my ways. Remove all the things that are not pleasing to you from my life and renew my strength from my hope in you alone. 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

  • Talk about the last time you walked or ran so far that you got tired and needed someone to carry you.
  • It’s okay to get tired or frustrated. How can God “carry” you during those times?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The Bible talks about soaring like an eagle when we trust in God. Describe the difference between how an eagle soars and other birds who flap their wings.
  • Why would God say that we will soar like eagles when we trust in him?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In verse 28 the author asked, “Do you not know? Have you not heard?” This assumes that we should already know and have already heard what he’s going to say next. But he still says it again. Why do you think we need to hear these promises of God again and again?
  • What’s a place in your life where you sometimes think God doesn’t care about you? How does today’s Word of God answer your worry?

 

 

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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There’s Power When Jesus Speaks – February 2, 2024

Read: Mark 1:21-28

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
Mark 1:21-28

There’s Power When Jesus Speaks

Family Devotion – February 2, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:21-28

See series: Devotions

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

Seven-year-old Lucas took his dog Skipper for a walk. Skipper was a big dog. In fact, Skipper was twice as big as Lucas! As they were walking on the sidewalk in front of his house, a rabbit suddenly ran out from underneath a shrub. “Uh-oh,” Lucas thought, “This is trouble.” He immediately took a deep breath and said as loudly as he could, “STAY BOY!” Amazingly, Skipper stayed. Skipper stood still, looked up at Lucas, and began to wag his tail. Lucas knelt down next to him, wrapped his arms around him, and praised Skipper. “Good boy,” he said over and over. Then Skipper gave Lucas a great big sloppy kiss on the cheek.

If Skipper hadn’t listened and took off after the rabbit, what do you think would have happened to Lucas? You’re right, he would have been dragged behind him. Skipper was much stronger than the boy. But he had also been trained to listen to that one command, “STAY!”

There is no way you can take the devil for a walk on a leash. He is so much more powerful than we are. Too often, we can’t even control ourselves. We think that if we just try hard enough we will never sin again. But the devil loves to tug us toward temptation. Sin has a powerful pull on us. It is so hard to control.

But when Jesus speaks, the devil and his evil spirit must listen. Today’s Bible reading proves it! And when Jesus speaks about you, he says that you are a child of God. That means something coming from Jesus. It is a promise that has power behind it. Even the devil himself has to listen and submit. He cannot do anything to take you away from Jesus.

Oh yes, the devil will try to tug you away from Jesus. He will shriek and holler and tell lies. He will try to get you to believe that you don’t need Jesus or his Word in your life. Don’t listen to him! Listen to Jesus and his Word. He can command, “Be quiet!” or “Come out!” or “Go away!” and evil has no choice but to obey him.

When Jesus speaks to us today, all the authority of God has been given to him. When Jesus speaks, the devil and his armies fall in terror. When Jesus speaks, his sheep listen to his voice and know they are safe.

Don’t ever stop listening to Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, Jesus, for speaking powerfully to us in your Word. 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

  • Where can we still hear Jesus speak to us today?
  • God is omnipotent, which means he is all-powerful. Make a list of at least three things that God has power over. How do you feel knowing that God is in charge of all things?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Jesus demonstrated power over an evil spirit by simply speaking. What does that tell us about the power of God’s Word we have in the Bible?
  • Think of a problem you are facing in your life right now. How does this Bible reading help remind you of God’s ability to help you in any situation?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Jesus came to earth to defeat sin, death, and the devil. In this reading, Jesus demonstrated his authority over an impure spirit from the devil. Where did Jesus also show his power over sin and death during his ministry on earth?
  • Apply today’s Bible story to your life. Think of something bad or evil that you feel powerless to change. With it in mind, pray the Lord’s Prayer and especially keep in mind the petition, “Deliver us from evil.”

 

 

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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Jesus Builds Your House – January 31, 2024

Read: Hebrews 3:1-6

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
Hebrews 3:1-6

Jesus Builds Your House

Family Devotion – January 31, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrews 3:1-6

See series: Devotions

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

When builders build a house, there are many questions they ask. How many bedrooms and bathrooms will the house have? Will it have a garage? Will it have a big kitchen? Will it have a basement, a fireplace, a pool, or a front porch? Then they then have to plan how all of those pieces will fit together. Where will the rooms be? How will electricity and water run safely through the house? Will the walls be able to support the weight of the roof? The details are almost countless.

Today, God pictures his Church as a house. God’s people throughout the history of the world have all been built together to form one unit. Even though there are many pieces and many different ways history could have gone, God made sure it went one way.

What is the way God made sure everything went? It all points to Jesus. Everything in the Old Testament, even though it was written long before Jesus lived, points to Jesus. Everything in the New Testament, even the things that happened after Jesus died and rose again, all points to Jesus.

The same is true for you and me. Everything that we do points to Jesus. After all, God says we are part of his house. And Jesus is over his house. This is why the church preaches Jesus every time you attend worship. This is why God has placed you where you are right now. You can say to yourself, “I was put here by God to point to Jesus.” Then live in such a way that gives honor to Jesus as the one who built the church.

There are lots of ways you do this. You start by going to a church which faithfully preaches Jesus. You also try at all times to avoid sin. And when you fail, you turn to Jesus. He doesn’t kick you out of his house. Instead, he forgives you so you can always remain in his house. When people ask you why you live the way you do, tell them that you are not any more special than they are. But you are part of a very special house—Jesus’ house!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me to live a life that always points to you as my hope. 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

  • List some of the people who live in your house. The Bible tells us that we are part of another family of believers in Christ. Who are some of the other people in this family?
  • In today’s devotion, who is in charge of the house? How do you know?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • List some of the tools and materials that a builder needs to build a house. How does God build his “house” of believers?
  • How does Jesus give us confidence and hope that we are part of his house?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Moses was a faithful believer who led God’s people, the Israelites, out of Egypt and to the land promised them by God. Moses was a prophet who spoke from God to the people. How was Jesus like Moses? How is Jesus greater than Moses?
  • “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.” Describe in your own words what that’s saying. Then give one way you can do that.

 

 

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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Nothing but the Truth – January 29, 2024

Read: Deuteronomy 18:15-20

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”

The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Nothing but the Truth

Family Devotion – January 29, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 18:15-20

See series: Devotions

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

The movie Raiders of the Lost Ark ends with the bad guys opening the lost Ark of the Covenant and seeing the glory of God. At least, that’s what the movie wants you to imagine. Of course, a movie could never capture the glory of God. Yet, this movie did demonstrate this truth: Seeing God’s glory is terrifying.

In today’s devotion, the people of Israel experienced the presence of God in the wilderness. They listened to the prophet, Moses, as he shared with them the very words God gave him. The Israelites didn’t have to guess what God wanted them to do. He told them. When they heard his commands and saw him display his awesome power, they were scared.

God is still powerful and awesome. And he still has given us commands to follow. In the Bible, he tells us exactly what to do. And if we don’t obey him, he says we will die. Make no mistake, God will treat us that way if we reject him and if we don’t listen to his word. That’s scary, isn’t it?

Thankfully, that is not what he wants to do—scare you into obeying him. God wants us to know everything about him. He wants us to know that he was totally committed to the people of Israel. He protected them and led them to the land he promised them. That what it means to be faithful. God is faithful. And he promises to be faithful to us, too.

The best way he showed his faithfulness was giving us a prophet even greater than Moses. Jesus is a better prophet than Moses because he not only tells us what to do, he tells us what he has already done. He has kept God’s commands perfectly in our place. He listened to everything the Lord our God said. Jesus also says to us that we need only listen to him.

What a comforting message! When someone says that you have to work harder for God to love you more, listen to Jesus. He says he has done everything we need and promises to always tell the truth. And here’s the truth for today: Because of Jesus, God’s glory isn’t scary anymore. So go to Jesus. Listen to him! Pay attention to what he says and enjoy the best news you’ll ever hear. It’s God’s undeserved love is for you!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me fix my eyes always on you for my hope and my salvation. 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

  • Today’s devotion talked about God’s glory and how scared God’s people were of it. Explain why you don’t have to be scared of it.
  • The name of Jesus wasn’t in today’s Scripture reading, but it did talk about him with a special word, what was it? (Hint: “I will raise up for them a prophet ….”)

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Prophets were people who spoke from God to his people, the Israelites. How is Jesus a better prophet than any other one (like Moses)?
  • God warned about false prophets who don’t tell the truth about him. Why is God serious about the teaching of his Word?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Later in the Bible, Jesus warns that many false teachers will appear before end times and lead people away from the truth of God’s Word. According to the reading above, how can we separate truth from false teachings?
  • Describe how you would want to react if you heard someone teaching contrary to God’s Word. Why is important to watch our reactions?

 

 

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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Faithful Fishermen – January 26, 2024

Read: Mark 1:14-20

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Mark 1:14-20

Faithful Fishermen

Family Devotion – January 26, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:14-20

See series: Devotions

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

Do you like fishing? Would you like to do it for a living? Before you answer, know this: Being a fisherman is not easy. There are times that they don’t catch many fish even though they spend an entire day and night on the water. A professional fisherman can tell you how hard and dirty the work is. Their hands smell of worms and fish. It gets hot, and they sweat. It gets cold, and they shiver. They often get tired and angry. Many fishermen quit.

Here’s another question: Do you like being a Christian? Before you answer, know this: Being a Christian can be a lot like being a fisherman. Sometimes it is really hard because it doesn’t seem like anything you do works. God tells you to be honest. But when you are honest, you get in trouble with other people. God tells you to love people even when they are mean to you. But when you do, they are still mean to you. God tells you to share the good news about Jesus with people so that they can believe, too. But when you do, someone might ignore you or maybe even make fun of you. You become tired. You become frustrated. You may want to yell, “I quit!”

In the Bible reading today, Jesus calls fishermen to be his first disciples. In the years that followed, the work they did was hard and dirty. Many of them were beaten and killed. And yet these disciples did what Jesus told them to do.

Why would anyone live this life of a fisherman for Jesus? Listen to Jesus’ answer: “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” The good news is that Jesus has “caught” you and me. He has put people in your life who have shared God’s Word with you. They are the fishermen Jesus used to catch you. They are your parents, your pastors, and all your Christian friends.

Jesus has made you a fisherman, too. He has called you to a life that sometimes feels hard and dirty because of the sin that surrounds us and lives in us. Don’t give up! Instead, keep faithfully living your faith according to God’s Word. Keep faithfully sharing your faith with people. Who knows? God may already have a fish he wants you to catch!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, thank you for the many people you have put in my life who share God’s Word with me. Please help me also to share your Word with others. 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

  • Fishing requires bait to catch fish. What good news does God give us to “catch” people?
  • Simon, Andrew, James, and John left their jobs as fishermen to follow Jesus. Who does God want to be the most important person in our lives?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What tools does a fisherman or woman use to catch fish? What is the only “tool” that you need to fish for people?
  • Agree or disagree. The only way we can obey Jesus’ command, “Come, follow me!” is by becoming a pastor or teacher.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • “Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus said. How does that message prepare you for your calling to fish for people?
  • Make a list of the important things in your life (family, friends, activities this week, etc.). Then place “following Jesus” at the top of the list. What are ways to make sure that following Jesus remains your top priority?

 

 

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 Hired! – January 24, 2024

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21

You’re Hired!

Family Devotion – January 24, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever heard of an ambassador? An ambassador is someone who is sent to speak for someone else. The words an ambassador uses are not his or her own words. The person who hires the ambassador chooses the words to say. When a company or a country hires an ambassador, they choose someone who likes the person he or she works for and is good at communicating what needs to be said.

God tells you in today’s reading that you are Christ’s ambassador. In other words, Jesus has “hired” you to speak his words. But the way God has done this is different from the way a company or country would hire an ambassador.

You see, Jesus doesn’t choose the people who are the best for the job. We are not always good at communicating what God wants people to know. We sometimes don’t even like the things God wants people to know.

We need to be reconciled. That is a big word! It means that our relationship with God was broken because of sin. We were enemies of God because of sin. But Jesus fixes our relationship with God. Our sins were counted against Jesus instead of against us. He reconciled us to God.

God now tells us that since we are reconciled, we are also ambassadors. We have to be! We get to be! We get to tell people that Jesus has fixed what was broken. He has hired you to tell people his words.

Are you the best person for the job? Are you good at communicating these words to others? God actually says that you are! Because you are reconciled to God by Jesus, he has made you the right person for the job. Even if you feel like someone else could do it better, God has chosen you.

Trust him. Just like you trust him to forgive your sins, trust that he has made you an ambassador who has to speak his words to others. He hired you to do this!

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, thank you for reconciling me to God. Help me to be your ambassador so that many more people can know and believe 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

  • A word in today’s devotion was ambassador. What’s an ambassador?
  • God gives each of his children an important job of being an ambassador. What does God want you to do with the good news he shares with us in the Bible?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Reconciliation means to restore peace to a relationship that was broken. How did our relationship with God get broken? Then explain how God solved that problem for us.
  • A country chooses an ambassador to represent their home country’s interests in a foreign land. A company might hire an ambassador to promote its products. God calls you Christ’s ambassador. What do you envision yourself doing in your role?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In your own words, define the message of reconciliation described in the reading. (It might help to read it again.) What comfort does that give you?
  • Today’s reading said, “From now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” Explain what it means to think of others from a “worldly point of view.” The reading goes on to talk of a better view. What is it? And how does that affect how we view others?

 

 

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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God Is All About Forgiveness – January 22, 2024

Read: Jonah 3:1-5,10

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 3:1-5,10

God Is All About Forgiveness

Family Devotion – January 22, 2024

Devotion based on Jonah 3:1-5,10

See series: Devotions

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

When you think about the story of Jonah from the Bible, what is the first thing you think of? Probably a big fish, right? God miraculously saved Jonah from drowning by sending a fish to swallow him. Jonah was in the belly of that fish for three days and three nights. And then God saved Jonah again by making the fish spit Jonah onto dry ground.

God had a plan for Jonah. His plan was all about love. Love for Jonah. And love for an entire city. Neither Jonah nor the city of Nineveh deserved love. After all, Jonah ran away from God. Nineveh was filled with wicked people who didn’t love God.

But God is all about love and forgiveness. He loved Jonah so much that he gave him a second chance to do what God had commanded him to do: go preach to the city of Nineveh. He loved the people of Nineveh so much that he sent Jonah to them to call them to repent of their sin.

God has a plan for your life too. When you think about the story of your own life, what is the first thing you think of? Maybe you think about your friends, or your family, or sports that you play, or an instrument you are good at. Or maybe you think about how you fall short—you’re not the perfect child or student. You make mistakes as a teammate or musician. Maybe you think of how you fall short of what God commands you to do. God says this failure means you do not deserve his love and forgiveness.

But remember, God is all about love and forgiveness. He gives you his Word to remind you of how he forgives sin because of Jesus’ work of salvation. He gives you pastors to proclaim this forgiveness to you. And then he calls you to turn away from that sin and do what he commands.

One of the greatest things he commands you to do is share his love and forgiveness with others. Sometimes this means telling people first that they are sinners. As scary as that can be, you have a promise from God that he is with you. His words are powerful. Some words warn while other words forgive. Together, they change hearts and lives. You will get to see it, too. And when you do, you will get to share with people the God of second chances.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, give me the courage to share your words with others. Fill me with joy because of your love and forgiveness. 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

  • Give an example of a time you said you were sorry to someone. What did they then say to you? When we tell God that we are sorry for our sins, what does he say to us?
  • God gave Jonah the job of preaching God’s Word to the people of Nineveh. Who are the people in your life that tell you about Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Share a time that you repented of a sin and received forgiveness. How does it make you feel when you are forgiven?
  • The Bible tells us that the people of Nineveh were very wicked. Would you have wanted to be in Jonah’s position to point out their sins? Why was it so important for the people of Nineveh that Jonah obeyed God’s command?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Jonah attempted to run away from God when he first charged Jonah with proclaiming repentance to the people in Nineveh, but God gave him another chance. Why does God give people like us such important work of sharing his Word when he knows we might run away from it?
  • Think of someone you know who does not know the saving message of God’s Word. How can you be like Jonah in their 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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Come and see! – January 19, 2024

Read: John 1:43-51

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
John 1:45-46

Come and see!

Family Devotion – January 19, 2024

Devotion based on John 1:45-46

See series: Devotions

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

Addie was so excited. She worked so hard on her art project. She spent hours painting a picture of a sunset. Bright reds and oranges flared out from a golden sun descending beneath a darkening blue sky. You could even see the first twinkly stars appearing faintly in the heavens. It was a beautiful picture… and Addie wanted everyone to see it! “Come and see!” Addie practically dragged her parents by the hand to see her masterpiece. “Come and see!”

Philip couldn’t believe his ears. Jesus of Nazareth had just invited Philip to follow him as one of his disciples, but it wasn’t that opportunity that got Philip excited. It was learning that Jesus was more than just a really cool teacher. Philip discovered that Jesus was the long-promised Messiah, the Savior promised to save Philip and everyone else from sin and death. That day changed Philip’s life forever… and he just had to tell somebody!

So Philip found his friend Nathanael. Philip was so excited to tell Nathanael about Jesus. “He’s the one long promised! He’s the one that Moses and all of God’s prophets wrote about way back in the Old Testament. Jesus of Nazareth!” Nathanael stood there. He wasn’t excited. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” he asked. The thought of Nazareth seemed boring. How can someone exciting come from such a boring place? Nathanael wasn’t so sure, but Philip was convinced. “Come and see!” he told Nathanael. Practically dragging him by the hand, Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus. For the first time, Nathanael met Jesus and believed in him as his Savior too.

“Come and see!” is a call that encourages you to be a friend to someone. True friends are more than someone you get along with and can giggle or play games with. A true friend is someone who wants to see you heaven with them someday. Can you be a true friend to someone and share good news that just might change their lives? Telling someone about Jesus might sound scary—what if they ask questions you’re not sure how to answer? Then tell them why Jesus is so important to you. If they are curious, invite them to come with you to church. Say, “Come and see!”

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, through your Word, you called us to faith in Jesus. Give us opportunities to invite our friends and family to “come and see” Jesus. Make us bold to share that invitation and bless it that they may come to know 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 did Philip do right after he met Jesus?
  • When Nathanael wasn’t so sure, what did Philip tell him?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why was Nathanael not so sure about Philip’s claim about Jesus?
  • Who is someone you could invite to “come and see” Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is an invitation to “come and see” Jesus sometimes the best approach to responding to someone who objects to the gospel?
  • How can bringing your loved one to “come and see” Jesus change their lives forever?

 

 

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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Called to Glory – January 17, 2024

Read: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:14

Called to Glory

Family Devotion – January 17, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:14

See series: Devotions

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

“Time for dinner!” Mom called her family to help with the final preparations. Dad helped Ruth pour the drinks. Grace put the plates out, and Andrew put the food on the table. This was going to be a tasty meal. Mom didn’t just call them for a nutritious meal that would benefit their bodies, but it would taste good too! This was one of the family’s favorite meals! They would love every morsel! Mom, Dad, and the kids gathered around the table to dig in.

It’s nice to be called to something that really gets you excited. Something like a meal that doesn’t just benefit your body, but your taste buds too. Something like a recess where you will have fun with your friends. Or like a movie you can’t wait to see!

In writing to a group of Christians, the apostle Paul tells them why he gives thanks to God day after day. He gives thanks for the saving faith in Jesus that God worked in their hearts through hearing the gospel—that is, the good news of how Jesus saved us. At one time Paul himself shared that gospel with them. The Lord used Paul to call them to faith through their preaching of the gospel, so Paul had even more reason to give thanks.

But do you know what caused Paul to give thanks most of all? It had something to do with the reason the Lord called them to faith through their gospel. Yes, they had saving faith in Jesus. Yes, they had become children of God, but God had even more blessing for them! “He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Through faith in Jesus, they would get to enjoy Christ’s glory. They would get to enjoy eternal life with him in the glories of heaven someday. The thought of it made the apostle Paul so happy! He was excited for them!

God does the same thing for us. Through hearing the gospel, we too are called to faith in Jesus. We too are called to be children of God. Yet we are also called to “share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Think of those two words that are yours: eternal life. A time when you will be with Jesus in the glories of heaven.

May the thought of it fill you with happiness and keep you excited!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you call us to faith in you through the gospel. Guide us to look forward to the day when we will enjoy eternal life with you in the glories of 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

  • What is the one favorite meal that gets you excited?
  • What exciting news did you hear in today’s devotion?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean that God has “called us to glory”?
  • List one of the reasons why the apostle Paul gave thanks for the Thessalonian Christians.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: No gospel, no faith. Know the gospel. Know faith.
  • Identify someone in your life who would benefit from hearing two words: eternal life. Pray that the Lord will bless your sharing and call them to share in his glory.

 

 

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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Are you listening? – January 15, 2024

Read: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
1 Samuel 3:8-10

Are you listening?

Family Devotion – January 15, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 3:8-10

See series: Devotions

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

“Why don’t you listen?”

Parents wonder about it all the time. So do teachers. Sometimes friends wonder about it themselves. Parents tell their kids to clean their room or do the dishes. Teachers tell their kids to do their schoolwork or be kind to each other. Friends tell friends about something really important that just happened in their life, but what happens? The room goes unclean. The dishes are left dirty. The schoolwork goes unfinished. Arguments happen on the playground. Big, important events get ignored. Why? Someone wasn’t listening.

How well do you listen? Even if you think you’re a good listener, how would Mom or Dad or your teacher or a friend answer that question about you? It’s true. There are times when we all struggle to listen. Maybe we’re excited. Maybe we’re anxious. Maybe we’re so wrapped up in our own thoughts that someone has to ask, “Hey! Are you listening?”

When young Samuel was a boy living and serving in God’s house, the Lord wanted him to listen to what he had to say. The Lord had a message for him to share with others. The Lord wanted to make Samuel one of his prophets. One night, God came to Samuel in the most unexpected of ways. Samuel didn’t know what to do. Three times the Lord called him, “Samuel!” Each time Samuel went running to Eli the priest ready to do whatever job Eli had for him. Eventually, Eli realized that he needed to help Samuel listen. “If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” That’s exactly what Samuel did, and the Lord gave him that special message to share.

Do you listen when God speaks? God doesn’t come to us in dreams or visions or appear to us as he did with Samuel so long ago. Instead, God comes to us through his Word. There in his Word, we learn how God sent Jesus to be our Savior. There in his Word, God shares with us his promises. There in his Word, God speaks to us as his holy, forgiven child whom he loves so dearly.

So when you hear God speak, are you listening? He has a beautiful message to share with you—the message of his love through your Savior Jesus Christ. When you hear God speak through his Word, answer like Samuel. “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.

Closing Prayer:

O Lord, you speak to me through your Word. Open my ears to listen to your beautiful promises and your rock-solid truth. Then help me to share your message with others. 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

  • Where was Samuel living when God came to speak with him?
  • Where does God speak to us today?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why was Samuel so confused when God was calling him?
  • Samuel listened to God speak. Which of the ten commandments encourages us to do the same?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Give at least two honest reasons you find it so hard to listen when God speaks in his Word? Pray that God would help you with that struggle this week.
  • Explain this statement: If you’re looking for God, look no further than his 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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And So It Begins – January 12, 2024

Read: Mark 1:4-11

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Mark 1:9-11

And So It Begins

Family Devotion – January 12, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:9-11

See series: Devotions

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

Every great story, every great adventure, every great journey has to have a beginning. Whether you are Bilbo Baggins walking out your front gate in The Hobbit or you and your family are pulling out of the driveway for a vacation, you have to start somewhere. The same was true for Jesus when he began his public ministry.

John the Baptist was preparing for all of this. God sent him to prepare the way for the coming Lord. He was sent to call people to turn away from their sins and live as forgiven children of God. He baptized people, young and old, in the waters of the Jordan River. John knew that he was preparing the way for the coming Lord, but he didn’t realize how humbly Jesus would come to him.

One day, Jesus came to John and asked to be baptized, even though Jesus was holy and perfect. He had no need to receive forgiveness through the waters of Baptism. Yet Jesus was there to put himself in our place under the same waters of Baptism connected with God’s Word that change our lives and bring us God’s forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus’s baptism looked like anyone else’s with water poured over his head and the Word spoken by God’s servant, but what happened next was very different!

“Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” What a sight! The heavens torn open. The Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove. What a sound! The voice of God the Father speaking from heaven and pointing out Jesus as his chosen Servant sent to carry out the work of saving us and all people.

And so it began. Jesus’ great journey would take him through temptation and suffering, miracles performed, and the Word of God proclaimed. In time, that journey would take Jesus to the cross to die and a tomb for when he was dead. But the journey would end with us saved from sin and death. But today we remember where it began, with baptismal waters poured over Jesus’ head. And we remember the story of our salvation began exactly the same as Jesus’ ministry.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for putting yourself in our place, even under the waters of Baptism. Forgive our sins and guide us on this great journey that will eventually bring us to you 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

  • Ask your parent or grandparent to remember what happened at your baptism.
  • Recall one of the wonderful things that happened at Jesus’ baptism.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Reread Mark 1:9-11. How do we see God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at Jesus’ baptism?
  • Why did Jesus need to be baptized? Why do we need to be baptized?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Read Romans 6:3-4. What is the connection between our baptism and Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection?
  • Explain what God the Father meant when he said to Jesus: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

 

 

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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God Has Bigger Plans – January 10, 2024

Read: Isaiah 49:1-6

The LORD said: It is too small a thing that you should just be my servant to raise up only the tribes of Jacob and to restore the ones I have preserved in Israel, so I will appoint you to be a light for the nations, so that my salvation will be known to the end of the earth.
Isaiah 49:6 (EHV)

God Has Bigger Plans

Family Devotion – January 10, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:6 (EHV)

See series: Devotions

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

Today’s Bible verse almost sounds like the happy ending of a movie. The Servant of the Lord arrived to deliver God’s people who turned away from the Lord. They needed his rescue and help. So God specially chose this Servant to carry out the important work of saving God’s people. But there was a problem. It was hard work, sad work, even painful work. The Lord’s Servant would suffer so much. He would be lonely. He would face rejection and attacks from his enemies. He would even face death for all those who rejected him. His work would seem empty and unsuccessful.

But God had bigger plans. Through that hard, sad, painful work, the Lord’s Servant would rescue the people of ancient Israel. He would save them from their sins and from death, but God had even bigger plans! The Lord’s Servant wouldn’t just restore God’s Old Testament people, but he would reveal God’s glory to people all around the world, even to you where you live! “I will appoint you to be a light for the nations, so that my salvation will be known to the end of the earth.” The good news of God’s salvation wouldn’t just be for one group, but for all people.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Who is this Servant of the Lord who is going to do these incredible things?” Isaiah is hinting, “It’s Jesus!” Jesus’ calling was to be a servant. A servant-baby. A servant-Savior. Saving an entire planet of human beings is the dirtiest, hardest, most back-breaking, thorn-crowning, nail-driving work. Jesus would suffer. His work would seem empty and unsuccessful, but the Servant would triumph! Now we can live in joy and triumph. Like a small boy at a football game who jumps up and down shouting, “We’ve won, we’ve won!”—even though all he did was watch—we too can shout, “We’ve won!” over the victory that Jesus won for us.

But God has even bigger plans! Jesus is “a light for the nations.” The big plan is for Jesus to be God’s light to everyone still in the dark about him. He wants to save everyone! And Jesus carried out that plan perfectly. Now that’s a happy ending!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, through your Son, our Savior Jesus, shine the light of your salvation in our lives, in the lives of the people we love, and in the lives of people around the world. 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 happy ending in a book or movie?
  • What’s the happy ending if Jesus is a “light for the nations”?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • In your own words, describe God’s “bigger plans” (Read verse 6 again.)
  • Name at least one way God shines the light of his salvation into your life.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why was it “too small a thing” for God to just save the people of Israel?
  • It’s important for us to understand that God sent Jesus to be “a light for the nations.” How does that impact how you look at people who are different from you in some way?

 

 

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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Where’s the Baby? – January 8, 2024

Read: Matthew 2:1-12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, when Herod was king, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:1-2 (EHV)

Where’s the Baby?

Family Devotion – January 8, 2024

Devotion based on Matthew 2:1-2 (EHV)

See series: Devotions

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

Little Ellie rolled along in her stroller. Different family members took turns pushing her stroller as they walked down the street. It was a beautiful day. Shops had their doors open. People were out and about, but Ellie was tired of sitting in her stroller. She wanted to have fun with the big kids. She held their hand as they went from one shop after another.

In one shop, Ellie found a fuzzy stuffed horse that was just her size and very huggable. The family was ready to visit another store, but Ellie wanted that horse. As they left the store pushing her stroller, no one noticed Ellie slip back into the shop to hug that horse. About a block later, the grown-ups suddenly realized, “Where’s the baby?!?” With heart racing, Dad retraced their steps back to the shop. With a huge sigh of relief, he found Ellie by the toys still hugging that horse.

When Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem, they were looking for a baby, but he wasn’t lost. They were looking for a baby whose birth was promised long ago. How did those Wise Men find out about this special baby? A couple years before, they saw a unique star in the heavens. They discovered ancient promises recorded in the Bible that looked forward to the time when a King would come who would save his people—and nations—from sin and death. The Wise Men realized that the special star in the sky was announcing the arrival of this Savior, so they went looking for the baby—not in panic or fear, but in faith that God would keep his promise.

So where can you find that baby named Jesus? With Christmas now over and decorations put away, does Jesus get packed away too? Do we stop thinking about the Christ Child because the new year just started and it’s time to move on? Don’t lose sight of that baby who came into our world to be our King and save us from sin and death! Find that baby when you hear God’s Word in this devotion or when you go to church. See that he’s really been there in his Word all this time for us to find in love, mercy, and grace. With joy, like the Wise Men, we find him and worship our Savior-King!

Closing Prayer:

O Jesus Christ, you came as a little child to save us. Help us to find you, not in a manger, but in your Word today and every day. In 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

  • Who was the baby that the Wise Men hoped to find?
  • What was so special about him?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Where do we find Jesus today?
  • Why is it easy to “lose” the baby Jesus after Christmas?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: Only the wise can find Jesus.
  • When the Wise Men found Jesus, they presented him with rich gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. As we find Jesus in his Word, list two ways that we can respond to finding him.

 

 

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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Meet the newborn Jesus, your Savior – January 5, 2024

Read: Luke 2:22-40

When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God.

There was also a prophet, Anna… She was very old… Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Luke 2:22,25-28,36,38

Meet the newborn Jesus, your Savior

Family Devotion – January 5, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 2:22,25-28,36,38

See series: Devotions

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

When babies are born, we love to show them off. We’re so happy to be blessed with a child that we want everyone to see it. Maybe we post pictures online. We have friends and families over to visit. We take the child out to meet people.

When Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph took him out, too. They took him to the temple to show him to God. There was a law in the Old Testament that when a baby was born, his parents needed to offer a “sacrifice of purification.” It was a way of saying “thank you” to God for the baby, and a way of showing that God’s love washed away that baby’s sin and made him part of God’s family. Since we’re all born in sin, God commanded that every parent do this for their child. Maybe it seems like a “little detail” that Mary and Joseph did this for Jesus, but it’s not. Jesus came to save us from our sins by obeying God’s laws perfectly (since you and I haven’t!), and by suffering the punishment that sins earn by suffering hell in our place (so that you and I don’t need to). From the very beginning of his life as his parents brought him to the temple, Jesus obeyed God’s law perfectly. How God must have rejoiced to see that!

While Mary and Joseph were at the temple, God made sure to show Jesus to other people. This wasn’t just showing off a beautiful new baby. This was showing the world its savior. Two people at the temple—a believer named Simeon and an old prophet named Anna—were so happy to see Jesus, too. The Holy Spirit let them know that this was the Savior at the very beginning of his work. They praised God for the peace he brought to them, and they told other people about the wonderful gift God had given the world.

At Christmas, we got to “meet baby Jesus” and be amazed all over again. We are so happy to see our Savior who came to bring us peace. Now let’s take our happiness and share this Savior with others!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, from the time you were a little baby, you were keeping God’s law in my place. That brought joy to your Father in heaven and joy to people who saw you. Help me remember that no matter how I’ve broken God’s law, you’ve kept it in my place to forgive my sins. Give me peace like Simeon had and joy in sharing your good news like Anna. 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

  • Where did Mary and Joseph take Jesus when he was a baby?
  • How did Simeon and Anna respond when they saw him?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The Bible doesn’t tell us anything about Simeon’s age, but people often assume he was a very old man. Why do you think they assume that?
  • After Anna saw Jesus and gave thanks to God, what did she do next?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Simeon said something strange to Mary, that “a sword” would “pierce” Mary’s soul, because of Jesus. When do you think that happened?
  • From the very beginning of his life, Jesus was following all of God’s law. Why was it so important he kept God’s law perfectly?

 

 

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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Wear your best Christmas clothes – January 3, 2024

Read: Colossians 3:12-17

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:12-14

Wear your best Christmas clothes

Family Devotion – January 3, 2024

Devotion based on Colossians 3:12-14

See series: Devotions

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

Michael hated his Christmas sweater. It was a red sweater with green cuffs and a green collar. And it was itchy. Every time he moved his head, he felt it scratching against his neck. But his parents made him wear it to church on Christmas for a reason. The red and green were Christmas colors. The sweater actually looked nice. So Michael thought to himself, “If we are going to church to celebrate God giving us his Son as a gift of his love, I can wear this sweater that ‘fits’ the reason we’re going.”

God’s gift to you this new year are new clothes to wear every day. Because Jesus came as our Savior, God calls you his “chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” That’s his gift to you—you didn’t earn it, ask for it, or deserve it; it was a gift of his love. Since God has made you his child, it’s only fitting that we “dress” like his children. He tells us to put on “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,” almost like we’re putting on clothes. How do you dress like God’s child? Here are three encouragements God gives us.

First, he tells us to forgive people and treat them with patience. That’s not easy, and it doesn’t come naturally to us. Sometimes that will feel just like that itchy Christmas sweater Michael had to wear. Sometimes Michael just wanted to rip it off! But the more you “put on” forgiveness and patience, the more you’ll realize how perfectly they fit God’s children.

Second, he tells us to fill up with God’s Word. The more we hear about God’s love for us, the more God’s love will live in us and change us. He tells us to do this “richly.” That means more than going to church. It means reading our Bibles at home, having devotions with our family, and talking to each other about God.

Third, he tells us to be with God’s people. We’re to teach each other and admonish each other (that means correct each other when we get something wrong). We can’t do this on our own; we need other Christians to help us.

Michael didn’t like his Christmas sweater growing up, but it was right to wear it. Sometimes living as a child of God can feel a little uncomfortable. But remember the love God has shown you and who he’s made you to be, and more and more you’ll see it’s a perfect fit!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, you’ve made me God’s holy, loved child and dressed me with your beautiful clothes. Help me to live as God’s child every day as I show your love to others. 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

  • Today’s devotion talked about wearing kindness like clothing. Who can you think of who needs your kindness or gentleness right now? How could you show it to them?
  • God tells us to fill up with his word by singing to each other. What’s one of your favorite songs to sing from church?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think God compares the Christian characteristics of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience to clothes?
  • Which ones from this list are hardest for you to “put on”?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • God says the way we are to act flows from what he’s done for us. What are some things he says he’s done for you in today’s passage?
  • How does knowing you’re forgiven help you to forgive others?

 

 

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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God built a beautiful church – January 1, 2024

Read: 1 Kings 8:6-13

The priests then brought the ark of the LORD’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.

Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.”
1 Kings 8:6-13

God built a beautiful church

Family Devotion – January 1, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Kings 8:6-13

See series: Devotions

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

Don’t you love the way churches look at Christmas? There is a beautiful Christmas tree covered with lights and ornaments, an Advent wreath with real candles on it, and a manger scene set up near the front of church for everyone to see. Red poinsettia flowers are placed all around the front of the church and beautiful white and gold cloths are placed on the altar. On Christmas Eve, the lights are turned off, and the church goes dark as everyone holds lit candles and sings “Silent Night.” How beautiful! But the most beautiful thing about church and Christmas is that we hear about Jesus.

King Solomon lived a thousand years before Jesus. He built a temple (like a church today) for God, and it was one of the most beautiful buildings ever made. It was made of white stones that gleamed in the sunlight. The inside was covered with expensive wood and overlaid with pure gold and silver. There were carvings of cherubim (a word for angels) as decorations. But that’s not really what made it beautiful. It was beautiful because God made his dwelling place there. But that created a problem: when God filled the temple with a cloud of his holiness, the priests had to leave! It was a beautiful place, but people couldn’t come near it.

On the night Jesus was born, shepherds came to see him. What did they see? They saw a baby who didn’t seem too holy to get near or too scary to be around. And that’s the point: In Jesus, God came to be with his people. The same God who is so awesome and holy that people couldn’t approach him in the temple came to us in a way that’s so gentle and loving that everyone throughout his life could come to him, listen to him, and find peace with him. And do you know what we call that, when people are together with a loving and gracious God? We call that a beautiful church.

And that’s what he’s making right now. As you read God’s Word together, as you hear about the love of your Savior, as you say your prayers to God, he’s with you right now. You don’t have to run in fear; it’s okay if you’re not dressed up in a fancy way or singing beautiful songs. You’re hearing the Word of Jesus, and God is with you, among you and living in your hearts to forgive your sins and give you peace. Right here, right now, God’s built a beautiful church with you.

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for making your home here in our home. Help us end this year with your Word and go into the new year resolved to read our Bibles together, to pray together, and to remind each other that you’re always with 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

  • Name your favorite Christmas decoration in your house or at church.
  • How does it help remind you about Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How would you define what a “church” is?
  • What are some ways we can remind each other that our home is really a church, too?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Today’s devotion reminded us that God made a “covenant” with his people at Mt. Sinai. What’s a covenant?
  • What are some promises that God’s given to you through 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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The Voice and Lights of Christmas – December 29, 2023

Read: John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:1-5, 9-12

The Voice and Lights of Christmas

Family Devotion – December 29, 2023

Devotion based on John 1:1-5, 9-12

See series: Devotions

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

Imagine you’re in the dark. It’s scary and you’re afraid. You can’t see who or what is around you. But then, you hear a familiar, friendly voice. The voice tells you that you aren’t alone, that you aren’t in danger, that everything is going to be okay. That would be a comfort, wouldn’t it?

And then imagine that a light starts to shine. And it helps you to see the room around you the right way. You see how to avoid bumping into furniture and see the door that would lead you out to safety. The light would take away your fear, wouldn’t it?

All because of a voice and a light.

That’s the way God describes Jesus. He calls him “the Word.” He is how God speaks to us and tells us the most important things. And God calls Jesus “the light of all mankind.” He shows us God’s love that tells us that everything will be okay, that our sins are forgiven, and that heaven is our home. And not just ours: Jesus is the light that shines for everyone.

That’s what happened on the first Christmas. God’s Word and God’s light came into the darkness of our world, gift-wrapped up as the baby Jesus—the greatest present God could ever give. You’d hope that present would be received with happiness by everyone! Sadly, he wasn’t. A lot of his own people didn’t believe in him. They were so opposed to him that they persecuted him, arrested him, nailed him to a cross, and killed him.

But they didn’t overcome him. When Jesus died, he was doing exactly what he was born to do. He gave God the greatest gift: You! A child of God, washed free from every sin. And he gave you the right to call yourself God’s child.

The world can still be dark, but you’ll never be alone. Even if you feel like you’re in the darkness, Jesus is God’s Word, speaking to you. He’s God’s light, shining for you.

Now you know who God is, and you know the gift he’s given you. Merry Christmas!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, of all the gifts we receive at Christmas, you are the best! Thank you for being God’s Word, telling me everything God wants me to know. Thank you for being God’s light, showing me everything God wants me to see. Thank you for teaching me to know God himself. 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

  • Jesus is called “the light.” What does light help us do?
  • What does Jesus the “light” help us see about God?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • People opposed Jesus when he was on earth. How do people still fight against Jesus’ message today?
  • What are some things you see that help remind you that “the darkness” still hasn’t “overcome” Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • If someone asked “What is God like?” you could start telling them stories about Jesus. Which stories would you tell first?
  • Even though you haven’t seen God, name something you see that tells you God exists. (Hint: verses 1-3)

 

 

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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Christmas is the perfect time to be God’s child – December 27, 2023

Read: Galatians 4:4-7

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
Galatians 4:4,5

Christmas is the perfect time to be God’s child

Family Devotion – December 27, 2023

Devotion based on Galatians 4:4,5

See series: Devotions

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

Christmas can sometimes feel like it comes at the worst time. Students can be worn out from tests and all the activities. Depending on where you live, you might have to drive through bad weather to get to church or visit your family over the holidays. Parents can get really stressed out too. Sometimes getting together with other family members reminds us of hurts and problems that divide us. And we’re supposed to be filled with good news of great joy? It seems like the worst time for it.

It must have seemed that way to Jesus’ mother Mary, too. Put yourself in her shoes. God caused her to be pregnant with Jesus before she was married. Wow, talk about bad timing! And now, when it was almost time for her to give birth, the government said everyone had to travel to their hometown. That meant a ninety-mile trip for a very pregnant woman, walking or riding on a donkey. And when she went into labor, there wasn’t a hotel for her to stay in, just a barn. It seemed like the worst time!

It can seem that way to us, but God reminds us that his timing is perfect. God chose just the right time for his Son to be born. The nation of Israel was in rough shape, but that meant there were people who were looking to God for an answer. The Roman government controlling Israel was cruel, but God was planning on using them to put Jesus to death to win salvation. It all happened at a time when there were finally roads connecting the empire so the good news could be spread quickly. God’s timing was just right.

And it still is. Maybe it’s hard to focus on Jesus at Christmas. All the extra busyness can cause problems and fights. Or maybe it’s just something going on with you that makes you feel like not hearing God’s Word. Maybe you struggle with doubt; maybe you feel very angry or hurt by someone.

That makes it the perfect time to hear what God has done for you. Problems are real—Mary and Joseph faced them. But God promises you that he’s adopted you as his child. That means he loves you, he forgives you, and he wants you to pray to him about your problems. You’re not alone; God’s there to help.

In the times when it seems everything’s going wrong, it’s the perfect time to know that God has made you his child.

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, God, for picking just the right time to send Jesus to make us your children. Remind me that when other people are going through difficult things, it’s the perfect time for me to share your good news with them. 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 things you know your parents will do for you because you’re their child.
  • God says you’re his child now, too. What are two things God will do for you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is it sometimes hard to focus on Jesus at Christmastime?
  • What are some things that you can do with your family to keep your focus on Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Share a time when you didn’t feel “ready” for someone to remind you about something the Bible says. Why might that have actually been the perfect time?
  • List a problem or challenge that you’d like your family to pray about for you. Your Father in heaven is listening!

 

 

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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Christmas brings happy, noisy peace! – December 25, 2023

Read: Micah 5:2-5a

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel… He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God… And he will be our peace.”
Micah 5:2,4,5

Christmas brings happy, noisy peace!

Family Devotion – December 25, 2023

Devotion based on Micah 5:2,4,5

See series: Devotions

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

“Peace and quiet.” Ever hear an adult complain that’s what they want? Have you found peace and quiet as you celebrate Christmas? Maybe the most peaceful part of it in your mind is when all the worshipers at church are holding lit candles and listening to the account of Jesus’ birth, or that moment when the wrapping paper is all cleaned up and everyone falls asleep in their beds. Peace and quiet.

But peace isn’t always quiet. The word God uses for peace is “shalom.” It’s a Hebrew word that means that everything is in its right place—just the way it should be. That’s why Jesus came, stepping out of his world and entering our world. That’s why he was born as a small child in one of the smallest towns, so that he could live the life God demands from us, pay the price for our sins and bring us back to him. That’s peace—but it’s not always quiet.

It’s like a shepherd standing in front of his flock. They’re safe and happy and eager for his voice. Do you hear him calling them to cool waters? Do you hear the joyful bleating and baa-ing of the sheep?

It’s like a mighty King protecting his people. The air rings with his promises that everything will be okay. Your whole body shakes with their clapping and cheering as they rejoice in his care.

And it’s like you. Maybe you had a “noisy” Christmas, filled with relatives and friends and crowded parties. Maybe it was noisy with problems and fights. Or maybe it was a bit quieter, and you didn’t have many people to celebrate it with.

But Jesus was there. The God who gave his life for you is still living with you. He’ll be with you when your home is filled with celebrating (or squabbling) loved ones, and he’ll be with you on the days you’re all alone. Sometimes it’ll be peaceful and sometimes noisy, but when Jesus is there as your Savior, you’ll always have peace.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, when you fill my life with people and busyness, help me proclaim your good news to them. When you fill my life with quiet times or loneliness, help me remember you’re there with me. But above all, fill me with your peace. 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 is the loudest, noisiest person in your family? Is it a big person or a small person?
  • God promised Jesus would be born in a small town called Bethlehem. What is a “big thing” God can do through “little you”?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Jesus is described as a shepherd here. How is Jesus like a shepherd?
  • How did Jesus bring us peace?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What makes it more difficult for you to feel close to God—the loud, busy times or the quiet and lonely times?
  • What do you think it means that Jesus’ origins “were from of old”?

 

 

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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Hark! Am I a Herald? – December 22, 2023

Read: John 1:6-8,19-28

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
John 1:6-8

Hark! Am I a Herald?

Family Devotion – December 22, 2023

Devotion based on John 1:6-8

See series: Devotions

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

Have you heard the word “herald” before? Do you know what a “herald” is? (Maybe think of the Christmas song, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”)

A herald is someone who carries or proclaims important news, a messenger. The person we heard in our Bible reading was a “herald.” John was a herald. His nickname was John the Baptist, and he had some important news to tell people. He was excited to tell people that the Savior that God had promised to send was coming! Finally, it was time! John made sure people didn’t think he was the Savior—he was just the herald. He was the messenger telling people that the Savior was on his way!

People had been waiting for a long time for the Savior to come. For thousands of years, God told and promised his people that he was going to send someone who was going to fix all the wrong things people do (even the wrong things you and I do and say and think). God was going to send someone who was going to fight against the devil and win. God was going to send someone who was going to undo all the pain and sadness that death brings to us.

John announced, “The Savior is coming! So come out of sin, out of the world, and out from darkness! Come into the light of your salvation! If you are weary or carrying something heavy in your heart, come to him and he will give you rest!”

Do you think you can be a herald? Do you think you can share that amazing news? Then you can be a herald too! You can tell people about Jesus and everything he has done for them because you know and believe he has done it for you.

Closing Prayer:

God, you have called me in my young age to be a herald. You have given me this important news about Jesus to share with others. Be with me and help me to be a faithful herald and proclaimer of this great news! 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

  • In today’s devotion, what was the name of someone who announced important news?
  • How can you be a herald this Christmas?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Think of the song “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” (Look up the words if you need to.) What good news were they a herald or messenger of?
  • Why might it had been difficult for people to believe John when he announced the good news of a coming?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Since God has called you to be a herald or a messenger of this good news of Jesus, can you think of some promises God gives you that will help you carry out this job?
  • John’s job as a herald was hard work. People regularly opposed him. How will the promises you just thought of help you when your job as a herald is hard?

 

 

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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Always Joyful – December 20, 2023

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18,23-24

Always Joyful

Family Devotion – December 20, 2023

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18,23-24

See series: Devotions

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

Savaya was thinking about what she had just heard her pastor say: “Rejoice always.”

That word “always” bothered her. Always? All the time? She was supposed to always be joyful?

Savaya could think of times when she had not been all that happy—like when her friends had been mean to her and had talked about her behind her back. It really hurt her. She felt mad and sad all at the same time. On top of it, she didn’t feel happy about her grades at school. She didn’t want to go home and be told what to do.

Rejoice always? Sometimes, maybe. Always? What reason did she have to rejoice always?

Then Savaya heard her pastor give a sermon she would never forget. He explained how there is a difference between joy and being happy, between joyfulness and happiness. Happiness is a word used to describe an emotion, like how we would use anger or sadness to talk about how we feel. Feeling happy is affected by what is going on in your life. When good things happen, it is easy to be happy. When difficult or hard things happen, there is no happiness. Instead, there may be a different emotion, like anger or sadness.

Savaya’s pastor then said this, “It’s impossible to always feel the emotion of happiness. But God always makes it possible for you to have joy.” Joyfulness might be described as a condition of our heart. The joy and joyfulness that Paul talked about today comes from knowing all that God has done for us. It is the result of Jesus coming and assuring you, “I will always love you. I will always want to forgive you. I will always have a home ready for you with me in heaven.” Those things are true no matter what happens in life. Those promises are there to comfort and encourage you when times are good or when times are bad.

Savaya began to understand what her pastor was saying. We may not always be happy. The feeling of happiness can quickly come and go. But we can always be joyful because our joy is based on all the things God has done for us and promised us. Savaya found her joy—in Jesus! So, with Savaya, rejoice always!

Closing Prayer:

Lord, thank you for assuring me of your love, your forgiveness, and my home with you in heaven. This good news makes my heart joyful. Along with Savaya, help me to remember all that you have done for me when things in life make me unhappy and try to take my joy away. 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 happened that made Savaya so unhappy?
  • Where did Savaya find her joy?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain the difference between joy and happiness.
  • Name three things that make you happy. Name three things that make you joyful.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What circumstances of your life is the devil trying to use to rob you of joy?
  • Why is it important to keep in mind the difference between joy and 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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