Bad News, Good News – Family Devotion – April 14, 2021

Read: Acts 3:12-20

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.
Acts 3:19,20

Bad News, Good News

 

Family Devotion – April 14, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 3:19,20

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever had to tell someone bad news? It isn’t very fun. For example, you wouldn’t be overly excited to let your parents know you got in big trouble at school or to tell your best friend you are moving out of town. On the flip side, it is great to share good news. We love telling people about the A we got on our big project or that we made the team or were selected for the lead in the play. In our reading for today, Peter shares some bad news and good news.

Peter was talking to people who had recently shouted for Jesus to be crucified. He spoke the law to these people to show them their sin. By following their leaders, they were guilty of putting Jesus, the Savior of the world, to death. This bad news must have been hard for them to hear.

God’s law is difficult for us to hear as well. It shows us that it was also because of our sins, those times that we have sinful thoughts, speak unkindly to our parents, or hurt others, that Jesus had to die a terrible death. Our sins have ruined our relationship with Jesus.

Peter’s command to those in the crowd is the same for us. Repent! To repent means to feel sorry for our sins, admit them, turn from them, and trust that Jesus has forgiven them. That forgiveness of sins was won for us through Jesus when he died on the cross and rose from the dead.

That was the good news Peter shared with the crowd he was speaking to. It was the message of the gospel which showed the people their Savior. Even though they were guilty of killing Jesus, God used their evil actions to carry out his plan. This plan to was to save them and all people from their sins. We know this plan was successful because on Easter morning Jesus’ tomb was empty. He was alive!

That first Easter was over 2,000 years ago. Yet the message of Easter still remains the best news ever for all people of all time. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can be certain that all of our sins are forgiven. Through the gift of faith, we can be sure that even though we don’t deserve it, we will live forever with Jesus in heaven.

May God give us the confidence of Peter to be honest with ourselves and others about the bad news of sin and the importance of repenting, and then give us the opportunity to point others to the solution to sin, our risen Savior, Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, we have done nothing to deserve the love you showed us by dying on the cross and rising from the dead to save us. Guide us to share this good news 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

  • What is it called when we disobey God’s commands?
  • What event do we celebrate on Easter?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean to repent of your sins?
  • Why is Easter the most important day in the history of the world?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Name two barriers that get in the way of you and your family sharing Jesus with others?
  • Why is it so important that both the law and the gospel are taught?

Hymn: CW 149:1 – Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

“Christ the Lord is ris’n today!”
Saints on earth and angels say;
Raise your joys and triumphs high;
Sing, O heav’ns, and earth reply.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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Prove It – Family Devotion – April 12, 2021

Read: John 20:19-31

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples which are not recorded in this book. But these words are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:29-31

Prove It

 

Family Devotion – April 12, 2021

Devotion based on John 20:29-31

See series: Devotions

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

There are certain things that are hard to believe unless you see it. In December there was a story about Steph Curry making 105 three pointers in a row at practice without missing. If you have ever played basketball, you know how impossible that sounds. With a quick Google search you can actually watch the 5-minute video of him making three after three until he finally misses on his 106th shot.

Three days after Jesus died on the cross, he appeared in person to his disciples. They could barely believe it, and they were surprised to see Jesus in the flesh. One of the disciples, Thomas, was not there that night. The disciples told Thomas they saw Jesus, but he would not believe unless he saw Jesus himself. This is why he is often called doubting Thomas.

A week later, Jesus again visited the disciples, and this time Thomas was there with them. Thomas talked with Jesus and even touched his wounds. After seeing Jesus face-to-face, Thomas stopped doubting and believed.

At times we can be a lot like Thomas. We might doubt if God is real. We might doubt if Jesus could truly forgive us for a horrible thing that we have done. We might doubt if certain parts of the Bible at true. We might doubt that doing good things doesn’t save us. As with Thomas we want God to show us proof.

That is exactly what God does in the Bible. We certainly can’t see Jesus with our own eyes, but in the Bible, we can learn that Jesus did everything needed to save us from our sins. While he was on earth Jesus never sinned once, he gave up his own life for us by dying on the cross, and three days later his tomb was empty because he had risen from the dead. God gave us the Bible so that we might know and believe in Jesus as our Savior.

Each time we read and study the Bible at home or at church, God the Holy Spirit is working to strengthen our faith and trust in Jesus. The next time you find yourself doubting, open up your Bible and read God’s perfect promises. Believe! Trust! Jesus your Savior is truly alive!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, forgive us for the times that we doubt the truth found in your Word. Lead us to study the Bible often and increase our trust in your perfect promises. 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 nickname that people often call Thomas?
  • Where can we learn about Jesus and all that he did to save us from our sins?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • If you were Thomas, do you think that you would have believed the other disciples when they said Jesus appeared to them?
  • What parts of the Bible do you sometimes have doubts about or have trouble understanding?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why do you think so many people today have such a hard time believing the Bible is true?
  • What steps can you take this upcoming week to be more regular in studying God’s Word?

Hymn: CW 165:8 – O Sons and Daughters of the King

Blessed are they that have not seen
And yet whose faith has constant been;
In life eternal they shall reign.
Alleluia!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Christ First, Then Us – Family Devotion – April 9, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:19-26

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23

Christ First, Then Us

 

Family Devotion – April 9, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:6,8

See series: Devotions

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

The summer months are fantastic. Not only do kids have off school and families go on vacations, but it’s also one of the best food times of the year. Yep, you guessed it, it’s time for sweet corn! After months of nourishment and growth and care, when the ears are still firm and the husks still green, farmers begin harvesting for hungry corn lovers everywhere. And perhaps that first batch of sweet corn harvested is the best—because it means there’s lots more to come!

You might call that first batch of corn the firstfruits. That’s what God’s Old Testament people called the very first of their grain harvest every year. And it’s an appropriate name—it was the first of the fruit of the ground, the very first of the wheat or the barley brought in from the fields.

But why, then, does the Bible call Jesus the firstfruits? That’s what the apostle Paul said in our reading: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” What does that mean? Why is Paul comparing Jesus to a plant?

That’s the good news about Easter! Just like the first of the harvest means there’s lots more grain or corn to come, so also the first resurrection—Jesus’ resurrection—means there are more resurrections to come. Or more simply: Jesus’ resurrection means we too will rise from the dead! Jesus is the firstfruits because he’s the first of many, including you and me, to be raised from death!

Think about what that means. On that first Easter, Jesus’ once lifeless body lived again. His eyes that had closed in death only days ago, opened. His voice that had become silent, spoke. His feet that had walked among his followers, stood among them again. His hands that had broken bread with his disciples, shared a meal with them once more. Jesus, once dead, lived!

So shall you and I. On the last day, when our Savior returns to raise all the dead, we too will live again. Our eyes will open. Our voices will speak. Our feet that once ran, jumped, skipped, and danced will run, jump, skip, and dance once more. Only this time, when Jesus raises us it will be forever! Just as Jesus lives and will never die again, so also we will live with Jesus and never die again.

We too will defeat death. Jesus, our firstfruits, is the guarantee. Because he lives, we too will live!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for rising from the dead so that one day my eyes will open, my voice will speak, my ears will hear, and I will live with you forever—never to die again. 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 very first of the harvest called?
  • What happened to Jesus’ body on Easter?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When does Paul say that we will rise from the dead?
  • In this life, we run and get tired, we fall and break bones, we catch a cold and get sick. When we rise, our bodies will be like Jesus’ body. What do you think that will be like?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • The apostle Paul says that Jesus is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Why do you think he calls our death a sleep?
  • Look again at verses 21-22. Why have all people died in Adam? Why will all believers live through Christ?

Hymn: CW 152:7,8 – I Know that My Redeemer Lives

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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Death and Tears Are Gone – Family Devotion – April 7, 2021

Read: Isaiah 25:6-9

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines…
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.
Isaiah 25:6,8

Death and Tears Are Gone

 

Family Devotion – April 7, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:6,8

See series: Devotions

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

Can you see it in your mind? You step into the banquet hall, and the aroma of your favorite foods fills the air. The meal is ready, the drinks are being poured, and dessert (triple chocolate cake with chocolate frosting?) is fresh from the oven. The sound of happy conversation, of laughter, and of joyful praise mingles together. You take a step forward and see your place at the table—reserved there, by name, just for you. And then comes a voice, a familiar voice, the voice of Jesus: “Sit friend, I’ve prepared everything.” And so the feasting begins.

That’s one of the ways the Bible pictures heaven—a great feast, a feast unlike any other. There are people from every place and of every language; every believer in Jesus is gathered together. There’s only the finest food and drink, the tastiest meal to enjoy. And our Savior Jesus is there—the host who’s prepared it all.

But there’s something else that’s special about this feast—something we can’t fully understand: the joy of the feast never ends.

Sure, we experience happy times in life—birthday parties, family get-togethers, celebrations, graduations. But all of these come to an end. The laughter dies out. The smiles fade. The games stop. Eventually everyone goes home. And on top of this, there are plenty of outright sad times in life too! Times when we’re sick, when our feelings are hurt, or when we miss people we love. Times of pain. Times of loneliness. Times of tears.

But when the Bible talks about heaven, it talks about joy that never ends. It talks about Jesus wiping every tear from our eyes. It talks about rejoicing and celebrating and praising that never stops and never gets old. Yes, it talks about life with God forever!

How can this be? Only because of Easter! You see, when Jesus rose from the dead, he didn’t just come back to life—he defeated death, he destroyed it, he swallowed it up forever! And not just death, but all pain and tears and sadness, yours and mine too! That’s the story of Easter. Because Jesus lives, you and I will one day live with him. Because Jesus lives, all our sicknesses, all our hurts, all our loneliness, all our tears—yes, all our pain will end. Because Jesus lives, our place at heaven’s feast is prepared, ready and waiting for us.

Now that’s a reason to rejoice and be glad!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, we praise you for defeating death, pain, and sadness through Jesus’ rising from the dead. Lead us to always trust in your promise to bring us home to 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 your favorite food you’d like to enjoy in heaven?
  • What will happen to sadness and pain when we’re in heaven?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think the Bible calls heaven a “banquet” instead of just a simple meal? What’s the difference?
  • Think of the best party you’ve ever experienced. What made it so great? How will heaven compare to that?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • We all have hurts, we all feel pain, we all shed tears. Is there a hurt that you especially look forward to leaving behind when you go to heaven?
  • What do you think will be the best part of heaven and living forever? Why?

Hymn: CW 152:3,5 – I Know that My Redeemer Lives

He lives to bless me with his love;
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives, my hungry soul to feed;
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives to silence all my fears;
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart;
He lives all blessings to impart.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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He Has Risen! He Is Not Here! – Family Devotion – April 5, 2021

Read: Mark 16:1-8

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
Mark 16:5,6

He Has Risen! He Is Not Here!

 

Family Devotion – April 5, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 16:5,6

See series: Devotions

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

“Trembling and bewildered.” That’s how the Bible describes the women on that first Easter morning. And if we’d been there with them, we probably would have been a little shaky and confused too.

After all, the past several days weren’t what they had expected. These women came to Jerusalem with Jesus very much alive but watched as he was crucified. They saw him buried. They gathered spices to anoint his lifeless body. That’s not what they expected.

Early that morning, the women made their way to the tomb. They wondered how they’d get in. They asked each other who’d be able to help them. But when they got there, to their surprise, the giant stone had already been rolled away. Jesus’ grave was open. That’s not what they expected.

And when they set foot inside? There was a stranger, a young man in a white robe—an angel! He was sitting there, inside Jesus’ tomb, and he said: “Don’t be scared.” That’s not what they expected!

We can understand why they felt scared, upset, and confused. We would have felt the same way!

But there’s a much more important reason for their surprise and confusion. The angel told them, “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.” What?! This was more shocking than Jesus’ crucifixion, his death, the open grave, or even the angel. The women saw Jesus die. They knew he was buried. And now he wasn’t here? He was alive? That’s not what they expected!

It’s not what we expect, either! When the hero in our favorite book or movie dies, we understand that they’re not coming back to life. When we go to the grave of a friend or loved one, we know their body will be there. And if we were there with the women that morning, we would have been just as shocked to hear that Jesus was alive, to see that his body was not there—because things like this just don’t happen!

Except that’s exactly what happened. Jesus did the unexpected. Jesus did the seemingly impossible. Jesus rose. Yes, he’d died, but death could not hold on to him. Yes, he’d been buried, but the tomb could not contain him. Jesus did what no one else has ever done: he defeated death itself! That’s the bewildering—but amazing and true—story of Easter.

And the best part of all? Jesus did it for you and me.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for the amazing but true news of Easter: you live! Help me to trust this good news and to know that you did it 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

  • What did the women see in Jesus’ tomb?
  • What happened to Jesus on Easter?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Imagine you were with the women when they saw that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb. How would you have felt? What would you have been thinking?
  • What does Jesus’ resurrection from the dead tell you about his power?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Recall one other time when angels brought news about Jesus. Why do you think God used angels to make these announcements?
  • Why do you think the women were afraid and confused, instead of joyful and relieved?

Hymn: CW 152:1,2 – I Know that My Redeemer Lives

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence give!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever-living Head!

He lives triumphant from the grave;
He lives eternally to save.
He lives all glorious in the sky;
He lives exalted there on high.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 King Died for Us – Family Devotion – April 2, 2021

Read: John 19:17-30

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19:30

The King Died for Us

 

Family Devotion – April 2, 2021

Devotion based on John 19:30

See series: Devotions

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

If you’ve never played king of the hill on a snow pile, here’s how it works. You and your friends scramble to the top and, once reached, you do your best to be the last one up there. You grapple (gently!) with others to keep them off, or maybe throw snowballs, or perhaps just sit down to keep anyone from moving you. The stronger or bigger you are the better chance you have at being king.

Our Bible reading today talks about a hill, a place called Golgotha, and about a king, that’s Jesus. But if you were there that day and saw everything that happened, you’d never guess that Jesus was the King. One of the Roman soldiers would be a likelier option; they look strong, with solid armor. Or maybe one of the chief priests of the Jews; they look like important, powerful people. Honestly, you’d expect the king to be almost anyone but Jesus! After all, Jesus had been rejected by his own people—that doesn’t look like a king. And Jesus had to carry his own, heavy cross to that place—that doesn’t look like a king. And Jesus was nailed to that cross, with criminals crucified beside him—that doesn’t look like a king. Even Jesus’ clothing was taken from him and divided among the soldiers—that doesn’t look like a king.

But remember what kind of king Jesus is and why he came to be on that hill. Our King Jesus didn’t come to be waited on by servants; no, he came instead to serve others. Our King Jesus didn’t come to help himself; he came to help others. Our King Jesus didn’t come to boast about his power or knowledge or miracles; he came with a humble heart, to seek and to save those who were lost.

He came to save you.

When we understand what kind of king Jesus is, the scene on that hill makes sense. Jesus our King was rejected by his people because he loved you. Jesus our King carried his cross to Golgotha because he loved you. Jesus our King bled and died there because he loved you. Jesus came to be our King—not by showing his power and flexing his might, but by showing his love and giving his life as payment for my sin and yours.

Truly, Jesus was the King on that hill—your King and mine!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you are truly the King of love. Because of your sacrifice we will live forever. Help us today and always to treasure your saving love. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What’s the name of the place where Jesus was crucified?
  • Why do you want Jesus to be your king?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Think back to the crowds on Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem on the colt. What’s different about this scene?
  • What blessings do you get to enjoy because Jesus died for your sins?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Just before he died, Jesus said: “It is finished.” What is the significance of these words?
  • To those watching, Jesus’ suffering and death looked like defeat. Yet how was Good Friday actually Jesus’ victory?

Hymn: CW 138:1,2 – Oh, Perfect Life of Love

Oh, perfect life of love!
All, all is finished now,
All that he left his throne above
To do for us below.

In perfect love he dies;
For me he dies, for me!
O all-atoning Sacrifice,
You died to make me free!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 King Came as Promised – Family Devotion – March 31, 2021

Read: Zechariah 9:9,10

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9

The King Came as Promised

 

Family Devotion – March 31, 2021

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9

See series: Devotions

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

“I promise.” Those are special words, aren’t they? Those words mean that we can rely on what the person is saying. For example, when Mom or Dad promises that you’re all headed to the movies on Friday, you know it’ll happen. It’s a promise. Or if your teacher promises a field trip to the zoo or museum, you can rely on it. It’s a promise. Or if you promise to clean your room, it’ll definitely happen (right!?). It’s a promise.

Promises are for certain—except when they’re broken. Sometimes a parent plans for family movie Friday, but unexpectedly has to work late. Promise broken. Sometimes a teacher gets everything ready for a field trip, but suddenly school is canceled and everyone stays at home for months. Promise broken. Sometimes you have every intention of picking up your room, but you just forget or lose track of time or are exhausted from practice. Promise broken.

Over the years, God’s people Israel might have wondered, “Will God keep his promise?” God had promised to send a Savior many times, ever since Adam and Eve sinned. Our verses from Zechariah are one of those promises, where God assured his people that their Savior, their King, would come to them. But not long before this, God’s people had been conquered by a foreign nation and taken away to live in a foreign land. His people must have wondered: “Will God keep his promise?”

But we know what happened—the King came! We heard about it in our last devotion. Jesus entered Jerusalem just like Zechariah said he would: “…lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Isn’t that amazing? Jesus, the King, fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy given hundreds of years before—even the part about riding on a donkey! Jesus, the King, came! Which means, God kept his promise!

Yes, God keeps all his promises—because unlike people, God can’t break a promise. And that means we can trust everything God tells us about our King. The King came to save—and he has. His death on the cross has saved you. Promise kept! The King came to bring peace—and he has. Your sins are forgiven. Your guilt is gone. Promise kept! The King came to bring you into his kingdom—and he has, through your baptism. Promise kept!

No matter how things seem or how we may feel, we can always rely on this: God keeps his promises in Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you sending our Savior Jesus, just as you promised. Help us to trust all of your precious promises, because we know you will always keep 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

  • What is a promise?
  • What did the Bible promise King Jesus would ride?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • God kept his promise to send the Savior Jesus. What does that tell you about God’s promise to take you to heaven?
  • What’s different about God’s promises compared to the promises we make?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why might the people of Israel have wondered whether God would keep his promise?
  • Think of an encouraging promise that God has made to you in the Bible. Why is it so special?

Hymn: CW 130:3 – Hosanna, Loud Hosanna

“Hosanna in the highest!” that ancient song we sing,
For Christ is our Redeemer, the Lord of heav’n, our King.
Oh, may we ever praise him with heart and life and voice
And in his royal presence eternally rejoice.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 King Entered Jerusalem – Family Devotion – March 29, 2021

Read: Mark 11:1-10

When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Mark 11:7-10

The King Entered Jerusalem

 

Family Devotion – March 29, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 11:7-10

See series: Devotions

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

If that colt could talk, what do you think it would have said? “Ow, my back hurts!” Probably not. Even though it had never been ridden before, this colt had a strong back and could carry Jesus just fine. Well then maybe the animal was amazed at all the people shouting and cheering and would have wondered, “Are all these people here for me? Are they excited to see me?” But this was an ordinary donkey, and people don’t get so excited about ordinary donkeys, so probably not that either. No, if that donkey could talk, perhaps it only would have asked, “Why me?”

You see, all the excitement and attention wasn’t about the donkey, but about Jesus. The people visiting Jerusalem for Passover had heard about Jesus. They knew he was a powerful teacher and that he could heal diseases. Perhaps they’d heard that Jesus even raised his dead friend Lazarus back to life. It’s no wonder, then, that so many people came out to meet Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. It’s no wonder that they cut off palm branches or took their cloaks and laid them on Jesus’ path. The people knew that Jesus was someone special!

But Jesus was more than just someone special. Jesus was more than just a popular teacher. Jesus was a king! And not just any king—Jesus was, and is, the King! Jesus is the King of all people and all creation. Jesus is the King whom angels serve. Jesus is the King who made all the universe. Jesus is the King worthy of our worship. Jesus is the King!

That colt must have wondered, “Why me?” After all, shouldn’t the King of the universe enter his city with glory—in a beautiful chariot or accompanied by powerful angels or wearing a golden crown? But Jesus didn’t. Instead, he entered Jerusalem humbly on a simple, ordinary donkey. Though King of all, Jesus didn’t come to wear a crown of gold; though Ruler of all, Jesus didn’t come to claim a throne of glory. No, King Jesus came humbly, on a donkey, to wear a crown of thorns. King Jesus came humbly, on a donkey, to claim a cross of suffering. King Jesus came humbly, on a donkey, to save his people. King Jesus came humbly, on a donkey, to save you.

Because that’s the kind of King Jesus is—our Savior King.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us so much that you entered Jerusalem humbly to die, so that we might enjoy the glory 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 did Jesus want his two disciples to bring him?
  • How did the people react when Jesus entered the city?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Imagine what powerful kings look like—their clothing, their crowns, their palaces. How is King Jesus different?
  • Though he could have acted like a king, how did Jesus reveal a humble servant heart?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Imagine you were there that day, seeing Jesus enter Jerusalem. What’s most surprising to you about that scene?
  • Why is Jesus’ heart of humility so important for the story of salvation?

Hymn: CW 133:1,2 – Ride On, Ride On in Majesty

Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Hark! All the tribes hosanna cry.
O Savior meek, pursue your road,
With palms and scattered garments strowed.

Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die.
O Christ, your triumphs now begin
O’er captive death and conquered sin.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Suffered and Became the Source of Our Salvation – Family Devotion – March 26, 2021

Read: Hebrews 5:7-10

Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Hebrews 5:8-9

Jesus Suffered and Became the Source of Our Salvation

 

Family Devotion – March 26, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:8-9

See series: Devotions

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

It was 1925 in Alaska, and Leonhard Seppala was driving a sled pulled by dogs. They ran for 260 miles—five times as long as an average sled dog ride. While Mr. Seppala and his dogs were driving their sled, the temperature was −85 °F (−65 °C). They went through a lot of pain and danger, but they reached their goal. They made it to their hometown of Nome, Alaska. What motivated them to do that? They weren’t they racing to win a trophy. They weren’t trying to get bragging rights. Their motivation was people who needed them. Many children in Nome were sick, and Mr. Seppala carried medicine for their sickness. After he made it home, any children who came to him could get better.

Jesus also endured a lot of pain. Picture him in your imagination, kneeling on the ground and praying to his Father in heaven. In one more day, he will suffer and die on the cross. Because Jesus is God, he knows exactly what will happen to him. He will get hurt, and his heavenly Father will abandon him. Jesus will experience hell, and then he will die. What motivated Jesus to do all that? You. You motivated him.

The Bible says, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:8-9) When it says he was “made perfect,” it doesn’t mean that Jesus became less sinful. He never sinned at all. “Made perfect” is the Bible’s way of saying that Jesus made it to his goal. And his goal was to save you. When his body was hurting, you motivated him to keep going. When he felt all alone, he thought of you to inspire him. Jesus knew that you were much sicker than those children in Alaska. All people are sick with sin, and Jesus’ big goal was to save us so we could be with him in heaven. He did.

Now that Jesus accomplished his goal, any sinner can go to Jesus and be forgiven. Jesus suffered to become the source of our salvation.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for suffering for us. Help us to go to you for all our needs, especially the forgiveness of our sins. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did Jesus do to save us?
  • Who can go to Jesus to be saved?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean that Jesus was made perfect?
  • What motivated Jesus through his suffering?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • As true God, Jesus knew the future. As true man, Jesus had human feelings. How would both of those truths make his suffering difficult?
  • Describe an example of how Jesus’ obedience for you could motivate your obedience for him?

Hymn: CW 110:1,2 – My Song is Love Unknown

My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me,
Love to the loveless shown
That they might lovely be.
Oh, who am I
That for my sake,
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die.

He came from his blest throne
Salvation to bestow,
But such disdain! So few
The longed for Christ would know!
But oh, my friend,
My friend indeed,
Who at my need
His life did spend!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Remembers Our Sins No More – Family Devotion – March 24, 2021

Read: Jeremiah 31:31-34

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
Jeremiah 31:34

God Remembers Our Sins No More

 

Family Devotion – March 24, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:34

See series: Devotions

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

One of the most powerful superheroes in the X-Men series is Professor Xavier. He doesn’t have big muscles, but he has a powerful brain. Professor X can even make people forget things they know.

If you had that superpower, how would you use it? You could confuse your friends so that you always win at games. You could make everyone forget your bedtime so you can stay up all night. You could have a lot of fun playing with people’s memory.

Maybe you’d want to do something a little more important. You could make your family forget the mean words you said to them. You could make a friend forget something that hurt their feelings. You could undo a lot of sad things if you could make people forget.

That’s what God did. God has a super powerful mind. He knows all things, which means that he knows all the nice things every person has ever done. He also knows all the bad stuff. Even when nobody else is watching, God is. Even if you can hide your sins from some people, God knows about them. Every single sin makes God angry. Just think how mad he would be if he thought about all the sins of the world. It sure would be nice if we could erase God’s memory.

But here’s the good news: God chose to forget your sins. He said, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).

God knows what you have done, but he chooses to forget about all the bad things. He didn’t erase that memory by using a superpower. Instead, he used his Son, Jesus. Your sins didn’t magically disappear; Jesus took them from you. God got angry at Jesus instead of you. He punished Jesus instead of you. He killed Jesus instead of you. When Jesus died on the cross, he used his super-powerful death to wash from God’s memory every one of your sins.

Imagining Jesus on the cross can make us sad because we know our sins made him suffer. But imagining Jesus on the cross can make us happy too. Christians gave a happy name to the day when Jesus died; it’s called Good Friday. It is good that Jesus erased God’s memory of your sins. By the power of Jesus, God remembers your sins no more.

Closing Prayer:

Lord, please forget our sins. You sent Jesus to take our sins away. Help us to trust that you love us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does God know?
  • How did God get rid of our sins?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What are some examples of things God knows about us?
  • What are some reasons why Jesus’ death would make us feel bad? What are some reasons it would make us feel good?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain how God can know everything and still “remember our sins no more.”
  • How does Jesus erasing your sins from God’s memory affect the way you feel about God?

Hymn: CW 387:2,3 – Drawn to the Cross

How well you know my grief and fears,
Your grace abused, my misspent years;
So now to you with contrite tears,
Christ crucified, I come.

Wash me and take away each stain;
Let nothing of my sin remain.
For cleansing through your cross and pain,
Christ crucified, I come.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Came to Suffer for Us – Family Devotion – March 22, 2021

Read: John 12:20-33

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
John 12:27-28

Jesus Came to Suffer for Us

 

Family Devotion – March 22, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:27-28

See series: Devotions

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

A humongous basketball player laid on the court and folded his arms under his head like a pillow. LeBron James was ready for a nap. He had just finished playing game three of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference finals, and he was exhausted. The television announcer praised LeBron for playing so hard, but it wasn’t easy.

Some people think LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time. When they try to convince others that LeBron is the best, they don’t say, “He is the best because he makes the tastiest tacos.” They don’t say, “He’s the best because he has a beautiful singing voice.” No, the best thing about LeBron is his basketball skills. He scores a lot of points, wins a lot of games, and plays very hard. That’s what makes him tired, and that’s what makes him famous.

Jesus got tired too. It wasn’t from running or jumping. It was because his body was going to be punched, whipped, and then nailed to a cross. Jesus’ friends would run away from him, and he would feel guilty in his heart because of all the things that other people did wrong. Jesus didn’t suffer for sins that he committed, but for sins that you and I committed. And worst of all, Jesus’ Father in heaven would ignore him when he was on the cross. You can see why he was going to be so tired. His suffering would take a lot out of his body and soul.

Before Jesus suffered, he was nervous. Suffering would tire him out, but he was determined to do it for you. Jesus felt guilt, so you don’t have to. God abandoned Jesus so that you will never be abandoned. That’s how much Jesus loves you.

And that’s why Jesus is famous. LeBron James might be the best basketball player, but Jesus is the glorious person of all time. Not because he was smart—and he was brilliant. Not because he was kind—and he was the most thoughtful. No, the best thing about Jesus is that he suffered and died for you, even though it was hard. He said, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

And God is glorious because Jesus suffered for us.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for suffering in my place. Help me appreciate your love and glorify 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

  • What made Jesus tired?
  • What is the best thing about Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What did it mean when Jesus said, “My soul is troubled”?
  • For what reason did Jesus come from heaven to earth?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How could you respond to someone who says Jesus was a wise teacher, but not our Savior?
  • Explain how Jesus’ most humiliating experiences were also his most glorious accomplishments.

Hymn: CW 100:1,2 – A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,
Our guilt and evil bearing
And laden with the sins of earth,
None else the burden sharing.
Goes patient on, grows weak and faint,
To slaughter led without complaint
That spotless life to offer,
Bears shame and stripes and wounds and death,
Anguish and mockery and says,
“Willing all this I suffer.”

This Lamb is Christ, the soul’s great friend.
The Lamb of God, our Savior;
Him God the Father chose to send
To gain for us his favor.
“Go forth, my Son,” the Father said,
“And free my children from their dread
Of guilt and condemnation.
The wrath and stripes are hard to bear,
But by your passion, they will share
The fruit of your salvation.”

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Rejoice that We Are Saved by Grace – Family Devotion – March 19, 2021

Read: Ephesians 2:4-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Rejoice that We Are Saved by Grace

 

Family Devotion – March 19, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:8-9

See series: Devotions

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

Why does a grandma cook for a grumpy grandchild?
Why does a mom sing lullabies to her baby who is screaming in her ear?
Why does a dad give a hug to a teenager who crashed the family car?
Why does a friend play with a person who spoke mean words yesterday?
And why does God give you family and friends who love you?

Why do you get to hear birds singing on days when you feel like crying?
Why does a puppy come to sit by you when you’re feeling all alone?
Why does your favorite food make you smile when your whole day has made you frown?
Why does your best friend make you laugh when you were bored?
And why does God let us smile while we live in this world?

Why did God imagine your life before the world began and choose you to be in heaven?
Why did Jesus scrub your sins away with his blood when he died on the cross?
Why did the Holy Spirit ignite faith in your heart when you heard the story of Jesus?
Why did God save you from hell and put you on the highway to heaven?

You can answer all those questions with one word: GRACE. Here’s a simple definition: Grace is why you get good things that you don’t deserve. Grace is essential when you realize you’ve messed up. If your family only took care of you when you behaved well, you would not make it very long in this life. If God only allowed you to smile when you worked hard enough to smile, you’d have a very frowny life. And if God only rescued people who earned his love by doing good works, nobody would go to heaven. If God weren’t gracious, we would all be worried.

But that is crazy talk. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast“ (Ephesians 2:8-9). You see God’s grace in all the good things you don’t deserve—from your family to your happy days, and even the forgiveness of your sins and your eternal life in heaven. God gives you good things just because he’s nice. So don’t worry. Rejoice that we are saved by grace!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you love us and bless us because you are so kind, even when we are not. Make us happy to receive your grace so that we can focus less on ourselves and more on you. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is the one word that explains all the good things God does for you?
  • How would you feel if God only saved people who earned his love?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Can you list five examples of grace?
  • If people are saved by grace and not based on their behavior, predict what different types of people you might meet in heaven.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain how God’s grace can stop you from becoming proud and braggy.
  • Explain how God’s grace can stop you from becoming guilt-stricken and hopeless.

Hymn: CW 384:1,2 – By Grace I’m Saved

By grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless;
My soul, believe and doubt it not.
Why waver at this word of promise?
Has Scripture ever falsehood taught?
So then this word must true remain:
By grace you, too, shall heav’n obtain.

By grace! Oh, mark this word of promise
When you are by your sins oppressed,
When Satan plagues your troubled conscience,
And when your heart is seeking rest.
What reason cannot comprehend
God by his grace to you did send.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Rejoice and Look to Jesus in Faith – Family Devotion – March 17, 2021

Read: Numbers 21:4-9

But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

Numbers 21:4b-9

Rejoice and Look to Jesus in Faith

 

Family Devotion – March 17, 2021

Devotion based on Numbers 21:4b-9

See series: Devotions

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

Did you know that a one-dollar bill does not cost one dollar? The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (or B.E.P. for short) makes one-dollar bills in Texas and Washington D.C. The workers at the B.E.P. weave linen and cotton into paper. Then they use special ink to color the paper, so it looks like a dollar bill. If you add up the cost of the linen, the cost of the cotton, and the cost of the ink, can you guess how much it costs? A one-dollar bill costs 7.7 cents.

Of course, if you take a one-dollar bill to the store you can buy more than 7 cents worth of candy. That’s because a dollar is worth more than the paper and ink that are used to make it. A one-dollar bill is a promise. It says, “I promise you can trade this paper for one dollar’s worth of something you want.”

Imagine somebody who doesn’t believe that promise. He might say, “This is only worth seven cents. I’ll throw it away.” That would be crazy! He would miss out on some good things.

A dollar bill is like what God did for the Israelites one time. God loved the Israelites as his special people. But they began to complain about God. The Lord sent venomous snakes into their land so they would learn to not complain. God’s lesson worked. The people stopped complaining and asked for help. So God made a promise. He told them to make a statue of a snake and hang it from a pole. Then God promised, “anyone who is bitten can look at it and live” (Numbers 21:8). A metal statue cannot heal a snake bite. But just like a one-dollar bill, the snake wasn’t important because of what it was made of. The snake was important because of God’s promise. People who looked at the snake were trusting God’s promise. “Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived” (Numbers 21:9).

God saved your life with a promise too. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Money and statues can’t save sinners, but Jesus can! That’s God’s promise. Rejoice, and look to Jesus in faith.

Closing Prayer:

Lord, thank you for your lifesaving promise to take us to heaven. Help us trust in Jesus today and always. 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 bad thing happened to the Israelites?
  • What did God do to save them?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What was God teaching the Israelites when he told them to look at a bronze snake?
  • What are some ways that Jesus is like the bronze snake? What are some ways he is different?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How can God use bad things, like snakes, to help people trust him? List some modern-day examples.
  • Explain this statement: Christian faith trusts God’s promise even when it doesn’t make sense.

Hymn: CWS 747:1,2 – There Is a Redeemer

There is a Redeemer, Jesus God’s own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.
Thank you, O my Father, for giving us your Son
and leaving your Spirit till the work on earth is done.

Jesus, my Redeemer, Name above all names,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Hope for sinners slain.
Thank you, O my Father, for giving us your Son
and leaving your Spirit till the work on earth is done.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Rejoice that God So Loved the World – Family Devotion – March 15, 2021

Read: John 3:14-21

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Rejoice that God So Loved the World

 

Family Devotion – March 15, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

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

Ella sat with a full heart, surrounded by torn wrapping paper and two lovely birthday gifts. Her uncle bought her a pricy present, something everyone wanted—brand new wireless earbuds. When Ella thanked her uncle, he didn’t say, “You’re welcome.” Instead he said, “I love you.” Then she remembered what her parents gave her—cute earrings in the shape of a dolphin with Ella’s name etched into the silver. It was as if they were specially made just for a dolphin lover like Ella. With her arms around her mother, Ella whispered, “Thank you.” Mom breathed back, “I love you.” So Ella sat with a heart full of love, and she did a little birthday dance.

Maybe you’ve received a Christmas gift so expensive that any person would love it. That kind of gift says, “I love you so much!” Perhaps you’ve received a birthday present that was picked out special just for you. That kind of gift says, “I love you—unique, precious you.”

God gave you both kinds of gifts when he sent Jesus. You may get some expensive gifts, but none as expensive as the one God sent you. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” Even people who spend lots of money on presents would never give up their son or daughter. But God did. When Jesus came to live as a human, it cost God his Son. When Jesus took away your sins on the cross, it cost him his life. Why did God give us so much? He did it to say, “I love you so much!”

God’s gift is also unique, just for you. God wants you to be in heaven with him. You were Jesus’ motivation when he came to earth. Hanging on the cross, he pictured you. There will be a party in heaven when you arrive. Jesus is precisely the right gift for you. But there’s one more gift with your name on it—God gave you faith to believe in Jesus. “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Why did God give those things to you? He wanted to say, “I love you, exactly you.”

Jesus is the kind of gift that makes you want to do an eternal life dance and rejoice in God’s love.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, you have given us the best gift ever. Put joy in our hearts and praise on our lips because of your love for 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 gift did God give to the world?
  • What blessings will you have because you believe in Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How expensive was it when God gave his Son to the world?
  • What are some ways that you express joy when you remember God’s love?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • List some reasons why it is surprising that God would love the world.
  • What are some differences between someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus and someone who does?

Hymn: CW 391:1,4 – God Loved the World So that He Gave

God loved the world so that he gave
His only Son the lost to save
That all who would in him believe
Should everlasting life receive.

Be of good cheer, for God’s own Son
Forgives the sins that you have done.
You’re justified by Jesus’ blood.
Baptized, you are a child of God.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Spirit Helps Us Live in Obedience – Family Devotion – March 12, 2021

Read: Romans 8:1-10

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:5-6

The Spirit Helps Us Live in Obedience

 

Family Devotion – March 12, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:5-6

See series: Devotions

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

As you grow up, you need help. You need help eating. You need help with changing your diapers. You need help getting dressed. You need help learning to crawl and then walk. You need help to cross a street. You need lots of help. We all do as we grow up, so who provides that help? Mom or Dad, grandmas or grandpas, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers—they all help us learn what we need to do every day as we grow up and live our lives.

There’s one more thing you need help with. You need help to live as God wants you to live. You need help to obey and serve him. You see, from the moment our lives begin, we are all hostile toward God.

It means we are like a rebellious child that wants his freedom and hates the rules. If God says, “Go right,” he will go left. If God says, “Talk nice,” he will reply with sarcasm.

We need help. Thankfully, help is on the way! Like Mom or Dad helping us learn how to move or get dressed or eat, God sends help for us. He sends the Holy Spirit to help us. Now the Holy Spirit doesn’t come to help us in a dream or through our imagination. No, he comes to help us through God’s Word, through the waters of Baptism, and through the bread and wine of Holy Communion. He creates faith in our hearts as we hear and learn about Jesus our Savior who came to help us with the problem of our sin by forgiving us of all our sins. Through that faith, he makes us holy and gives us life with Jesus that lasts forever.

Now through faith in Jesus, God’s Holy Spirit works in us a new way of thinking. He helps us love to obey God’s will. He helps us want to obey God’s will. He helps us be able to obey God’s will at home, at school, in the neighborhood, at church, at work, everywhere. We could never do any of that on our own, but every day through faith, the Holy Spirit helps us live in thankful, willing obedience to our God.

Closing Prayer:

O Holy Spirit, strengthen our faith in Jesus every day. Help us to love God. Help us to want to obey his will, and help us to be able to obey his will all our lives. 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 people who help you every day.
  • Who does God send to help you do what God wants you to do?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is it impossible for any of us to obey God’s will on our own?
  • What does the Holy Spirit use to create and strengthen faith in your heart?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How do you respond to someone who says, “People are basically good and will do the right thing”?
  • What does the apostle Paul mean when he writes, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace?”

Hymn: CW 185:1,2 – O Holy Spirit, Grant Us Grace

O Holy Spirit, grant us grace that we our Lord and Savior
In faith and fervent love embrace and truly serve him ever,
So that when death is near at hand
We at his cross may firmly stand and there find our salvation.

Help us that we your saving Word in faithful hearts may treasure;
Let e’er that bread of life afford new grace in richest measure.
Make us to die to ev’ry sin;
Each day create us new within that fruits of faith may flourish.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Wants Us to Keep his Commandments – Family Devotion – March 10, 2021

Read: Exodus 20:1-17

I the LORD your God am a jealous God. I follow up on the guilt of the fathers with their children, their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren, if they also hate me. But I show mercy to thousands who love me and keep my commandments.
Exodus 20:5-6 EHV

God Wants Us to Keep his Commandments

 

Family Devotion – March 10, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 20:5-6 EHV

See series: Devotions

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

“Do I have to??” Ruth whined. The kitchen counter was covered in dirty dishes. Mom had asked Ruth to load the dishwasher. “But why?? That’s not fair!! Why can’t Jacob and Ellie do it?” Ruth’s older brother had homework to do, and Ellie was cleaning her room. Mom made it clear that Ruth was to load the dishwasher. There was no getting out of it.

“Do I have to??” So often we complain when we have to do something we don’t want to do. Yet it’s not just the assignments or chores that make us whine. We complain about the every-day tasks that God gives to us.

God tells us, “Always put me first in your life above everything and everyone. Don’t misuse my holy, saving name, but instead use it for prayer and praise. Spend time with me in my Word and give it the respect that it deserves. Listen to your parents and teachers. Don’t have hateful, dirty, or greedy thoughts. Don’t speak poorly about others, but rather speak well of them and defend them. Recognize that what I have given to your neighbor is not yours, but my gift to them.”

God tells us to do them and we think, “Do I have to??” “Do I really have to put you first, Lord? Do I always have to listen to your Word when we have devotions or when I go to church? Do I always have to listen to my parents? What about that person who made fun of me? Or what about that toy or that game that I really, really want?” Yes, God wants us to keep his commandments, but we fail. When we disobey, we deserve consequences that last forever in hell.

That might not seem fair, but our God is a holy God. He is serious about wanting us to keep everyone of his commands. So what can we do? First, shiver a bit. Because we can’t keep all of God’s commands perfectly all the time, it’s okay to be afraid (like you are when a parent punishes you). Second, say, “I’m sorry.” We are sinful in God’s eyes. But third, be relieved. We also have a Savior who kept all of those commands perfectly in our place. Just think about that! Jesus kept every single one of God’s commandments perfectly for you and me. Then Jesus suffered the punishment that we all deserve. Because Jesus did all that for us, we now live to serve our God and our neighbor in love.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, your will is holy. You want me to keep your commandments each and every day, but I am a sinner. For Jesus’ sake, forgive me for disobeying your will and help me to live for you. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name two commands that God has given us.
  • Why are we not able to keep God’s commandments perfectly?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain this statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • How does God give us the ability to keep his commands even though we are sinful?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How is loving my neighbor also loving God?
  • How can the Ten Commandments be summarized with the word love?

Hymn: CW 287:1,2 – The Law of God Is Good and Wise

The law of God is good and wise;
It sets his will before our eyes,
Shows us the way of righteousness,
But dooms to death when we transgress.

To Jesus we for refuge flee,
Who from the curse has set us free,
And humbly worship at his throne,
Saved by his grace through faith alone.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Deeply Desires We Keep his Word – Family Devotion – March 8, 2021

Read: John 2:13-22

In the temple courts [Jesus] found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
John 2:14-17

Jesus Deeply Desires We Keep his Word

 

Family Devotion – March 8, 2021

Devotion based on John 2:14-17

See series: Devotions

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

Why was Jesus so angry? Why would Jesus get so angry that he forced sheep, cattle, and the people who were selling them to run away from the temple courts? Why would Jesus get so angry that he even flipped tables over, knocking coins all over the ground? Is Jesus throwing a temper tantrum like a little two-year-old who didn’t get his way?

The simple answer is no, but why was Jesus so angry? Well, Jesus actually had a very good reason. Remember who he is. When you think of Jesus, what comes to mind? A powerful Lord who calms storms, heals the sick, and raises the dead? A Savior who blesses the little children? How about Jesus as the holy God, who is King of kings and ruler over all things—time, space, creation, and people?

Jesus is our holy God, who deeply wants us all to keep his Word. Unfortunately, we all fail to do that on our own. In his Word, God tells us what he wants us to do and not to do, but we do what we want. We go our own way rather than God’s way. We need Jesus to help us. That’s why Jesus came into our world. He cares so deeply about each of us that he became a human being like us. He perfectly kept God’s holy will in our place, even dying on a cross for us. We learn all about that in his Word.

So why was Jesus so angry in the temple? There was nothing wrong with selling animals or exchanging money, but that’s not why God gave his Word or the church where we hear that Word. The temple, like church, was meant to be a place where people could worship and offer prayers to God. There they learned God’s Word. The last thing Jesus wanted to see in his Father’s house was people arguing over prices and purchases rather than hearing his Word and worshiping his heavenly Father. So, in holy love for his Word, Jesus cleared the temple that day.

Do we love God’s Word like Jesus? Do we get angry when something gets in the way of hearing it? Do we love learning about Jesus and what he has done for us? Jesus passionately desires that we love his Word. In that Word, we learn about him. With his help, we will see how important it is to spend time with Jesus in his Word. With his help, we will love his Word as we learn how deeply our Savior loves us. With his help, we will keep that Word as we live each day, serving Jesus, our Savior-God.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you are our Savior and our God. Forgive us for not giving your Word the respect it deserves. Help us to gladly learn and keep your Word all the days of our lives. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Describe what happened when Jesus went into the temple.
  • Name two places where you can listen to God’s Word.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why was Jesus so angry in the temple?
  • Why do we need God’s Word?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: Studying God’s Word is time spent with Jesus.
  • How do you respond to someone who tells you that attending worship and Bible study is not that important?

Hymn: CW 282:1-3 – Lord, Open Now My Heart to Hear

Lord, open no my heart to hear, and through your Word to me draw near.
Let me your Word e’er pure retain; let me your child and heir remain.

Your Word inspires my heart within; your Word grants healing from my sin.
Your Word has pow’r to guide and bless; your Word brings peace and happiness.

To God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, Three in One,
Shall glory, praise, and honor be now and throughout eternity.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Mercifully Works Suffering for Good – Family Devotion – March 5, 2021

Romans 5:1-11

Not only this, but we also rejoice confidently in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces patient endurance, and patient endurance produces tested character, and tested character produces hope. And hope will not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us…. But God shows his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:3-5,8 EHV

God Mercifully Works Suffering for Good

 

Family Devotion – March 5, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 5:3-5,8 EHV

See series: Devotions

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

Do you like illusions? Illusions can be fun or frustrating. They trick your brain. For example, your brain thinks your eyes are seeing one image, when in reality, you are looking at the very opposite. It’s a trick. One image may actually be two images. Or, what looks big may actually be little. Or, what looks little may actually be big. The illusion gets your brain to think the opposite of what you are seeing. Would you find that frustrating or fun?

When you hear the word suffering, does that sound like fun or would that be frustrating? Suffering hurts. Suffering is hard, not enjoyable or fun. Yet in God’s Word, Paul tells us something that almost seems like an illusion. He says that suffering can be a blessing and that God can make suffering into a blessing.

How is that possible?! How can something bad, hard, or painful turn out to be something that helps us grow closer to Jesus? How can something bad, hard, or painful turn out to be something that helps us stay on the path to heaven? It all starts with Jesus. Jesus faced suffering, even though he did not deserve it. Jesus was innocent because he is the holy God. Yet Jesus faced suffering and even death for your sins and mine. It was no illusion. His suffering on the cross turned out to be our greatest blessing. Why? God loves each of us so very much that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Sometimes God allows us to suffer. Maybe your family is going through a tough time. Or someone becomes very sick or loses a job. Maybe we lose a loved one. Maybe someone made fun of you and made you feel miserable. Even in those times of suffering, God works a blessing. Jesus helps us to patiently endure that tough time. Jesus helps us to grow closer to him and others. Jesus helps us to put our trust and hope in him. Jesus turns our suffering into blessing. Why? Because he loves us so much. His own suffering turned out to be our greatest blessing. Surely Jesus can turn even our toughest times into times of blessing for us as he guides us on the way to heaven—and that is no illusion.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, when times are tough and I face suffering as your child, help me to trust that you will turn my suffering into blessing either in this life or in heaven with you. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name one way that God has shown his love for you today.
  • Name one way that Jesus’ suffering on the cross was a blessing for you.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How can God make suffering into a blessing?
  • In 5:3, we are told that “suffering produces patient endurance.” What does that mean?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain what makes Christ dying for us so impossibly rare.
  • Knowing that God turns suffering into blessing for us, how does that impact your life as a child of God?

Hymn: CW 428:3,4 – Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me

God gives me my days of gladness,
And I will Trust him still When he sends me sadness.
God is good; his love attends me
Day by day, Come what may, Guides me and defends me.

Since I know God never fails me,
In his voice I’ll rejoice When grim death assails me.
Trusting in my Savior’s merit,
Safe at last, Troubles past, I shall heav’n inherit.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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Taking Up the Cross Means Denying Yourself – Family Devotion – March 3, 2021

Genesis 28:10-17

The Lord said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac… All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go… I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Genesis 28:13-15

Taking Up the Cross Means Denying Yourself

 

Family Devotion – March 3, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 28:13-15

See series: Devotions

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

“I can do it myself!” The little boy declares to his mom as he tries to put his shirt on himself. But the more he tries, the more tangled his arms and head become. Finally he cries out, “Help!!” Mom comes to his rescue, helping her little boy get his head and arms back where they need to go.

Do you ever think “I can do it myself” when it comes to following Jesus? A man named Jacob had a lot of trouble with that. God promised that the Savior would come from his family. But Jacob’s father wanted to give that promise to his twin brother Esau. Jacob tried to get that promise for himself. He deceived his father to get the promise. Unfortunately, Jacob’s attempt to “do it himself” made his brother so angry, Jacob fled for his life.

Jacob got himself into a tangled mess. What was he going to do? He needed help, even though it may seem he did not deserve help. Yet the Lord still loved him. One night while Jacob was running away, he slept under the stars with a rock as his pillow. God gave him the most amazing dream. Jacob saw angels going up and down a stairway to heaven. At the top, the Lord made promise after promise to Jacob. Even though Jacob did not deserve it, the Lord would still send the Savior through Jacob’s family. The Lord would still watch over him and never leave him.

Sometimes you might think you can follow Jesus yourself. Yet how often don’t we find ourselves tangled up in temptation, hurting with guilt, or lost and confused? In moments like that, we need help, even though we do not deserve it. Jesus comes to our rescue. He untangles us from temptation, heals our hurt, and helps us follow him once again on the journey to heaven. Why? He loves us. Remember that Savior is with you. He watches over you. He forgives you, and he will bless you.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, so often I get myself tangled in temptation because I don’t think I need your help. Forgive me and help me with your mercy and love. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why did Jacob run away from home?
  • Describe something amazing from Jacob’s dream.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why did the Lord make promises to Jacob even though he did not deserve them?
  • List ways that Jesus “did it all for me” when I could not save myself.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Recount a time when you were so mad, you wanted to run away from home.
  • How can you use the story of God’s love for a runaway Jacob to encourage someone whose life seems all tangled up at the moment?

Hymn: CW 429:1,2 – What God Ordains Is Always Good

What God ordains is always good; His will is just and holy.
As he directs my life for me, I follow meek and lowly.
My God indeed In ev’ry need
Knows well how he will shield me; To him, then, I will yield me.

What God ordains is always good; He never will deceive me.
He leads me in his righteous way And never will he leave me.
I take content What he has sent;
His hand that sends me sadness Will turn my tears to gladness.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Took Up the Cross So We Can Take Up the Cross – Family Devotion – March 1, 2021

Mark 8:31-38

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Mark 8:34

Jesus Took Up the Cross So We Can Take Up the Cross

 

Family Devotion – March 1, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:34

See series: Devotions

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

Crosses are heavy. You might not think that when you see a cross hanging on your wall… and the wall is not collapsing. You might not think that when a cross hangs from a necklace around your neck… and you are not falling over under its weight. You might not think that when you see a cross on top of your church… and the roof is not caving in. Yet crosses can be heavy and even painful.

Back in Jesus’ day, criminals had to carry their crosses. A cross was made of solid pieces of heavy wood. That wood would be rough and full of splinters. Even more painful was what happened as a person’s hands and feet were nailed to the cross. Crosses were heavy and painful. If you lived in Jesus’s day, a cross was the last thing you would ever want to carry.

Jesus told his disciples that he would soon suffer and die on a cross, but they did not want to hear that. They loved Jesus very much. They did not want him to suffer such a painful death, but Jesus knew he had to take up that cross. You see, Jesus had to suffer and die on a cross for you and me. Jesus needed to suffer and die on a cross because we love ourselves more than we love God.

“I want to do what I want! I want to get what I want! I want… I want… I want…” Every one of us is selfish, no matter how young, no matter how old. We are all selfish, but Jesus was selfless for us. He willingly took up his cross to suffer and die for our selfish sins. Why? Because he loves you. He loves every one of us with a love that cares more about us than himself.

Out of amazing love for us, Jesus took up his heavy, painful cross. Now we follow him by taking up our crosses—not made of wood, but rather the “cross” of saying “No” to our selfish desires in order to honor Jesus with our lives. That is not easy. In fact, it can be painful. Still, we follow Jesus and carry our cross, because he carried his cross, until we join him in heaven someday.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, following you isn’t easy. Support me to carry my cross because you carried yours 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

  • Count how many crosses you see in your home.
  • How does a cross help you think about Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain the difference between being selfish and selfless.
  • Why did Jesus have to take up his cross?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: Following Jesus can be a heavy, painful cross.
  • Why is it necessary for a Christian to deny themselves and take up their cross if he or she is going to follow Jesus?

Hymn: CW 428:1,2 – Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me

Why should cross and trial grieve me?
Christ is near With his cheer; Never will he leave me.
Who can rob me of the heaven
That God’s Son For me won When his life was given?

When life’s troubles rise to meet me,
Though their weight May be great, They will not defeat me.
God, my loving Savior, sees them;
He who knows All my woes Knows how best to end them.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Are Champions – Family Devotion – February 26, 2021

Romans 8:31-39

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:31-32,37

We Are Champions

 

Family Devotion – February 26, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:31-32,37

See series: Devotions

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

Sometimes there are people who are so great at sports that their teams feel like they will never lose. Lakers fans think, “We have LeBron James now. We’ll win every championship.” In the past, Chicago fans used to think the same about Michael Jordan. Some football fans have thought, “We have Tom Brady… We have Aaron Rodgers; how can we lose?” And U.S. Olympic fans have good reason to believe, “We have Simone Biles. We will win every gymnastics gold medal.”

While it is true that some athletes are so great that they help their teams win a lot, no athlete is perfect. Sometimes they miss shots, throw interceptions, or fall off the balance beam. As great as they are, sometimes they lose and leave their fans disappointed.

Thanks be to God that Jesus is nothing like those worldly athletes. Jesus’ record is perfect! He never failed to defeat a single temptation from Satan. He won the ultimate and eternal championship when he crushed Satan at the cross. Jesus is Victor, Champion, and King of all! We will never ever be disappointed with Jesus on our side!

The apostle Paul reminds us of this with beautiful words today from Romans 8. Paul asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” In other words, if God is on our side, who can possibly defeat us and keep us out of heaven? You know the answer: No one! With God on our side, we can be confident and trust that we will win the victory of eternal life!

This is such comforting news! No matter what happens at school; no matter what disaster might happen like an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane; no matter what sickness or disease someone gets; nothing can separate us from God’s love. That’s right—not one person, not one problem, not Satan, and not even death itself can ever separate us from the love of God we have in Christ Jesus. We are conquerors! We are champions! We are winners forever in Jesus! Praise the Lord!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, you showed us your power over all things at your cross and your empty tomb. You also showed us your great love and forgiveness. Give us confidence and courage knowing that nothing will ever separate us from your power and love. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • How has Jesus shown to us that he has power over all things?
  • How has Jesus shown to us that he loves us so much?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What things in this world do you think make people the most afraid?
  • Explain why not even death can separate us from God’s love.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How does Satan use bad things in our lives to try and lead us away from God?
  • What are ways that we can grow more confident in our trust in God’s love?

Hymn: CW 200:1,4 – A Mighty Fortress is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from ev’ry need That has us now o’ertaken.
The old evil foe Now means deadly woe;
Deep guile and great might Are his dread arms in fight;
On earth is not his equal.

The Word they still shall let remain, Nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain With his good gifts and Spirit.
And do what they will—Hate, steal, hurt, or kill—
Though all may be gone, Our victory is won;
The kingdom’s ours forever!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Test – Family Devotion – February 24, 2021

Genesis 22:1-18

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Genesis 22:2

A Test

 

Family Devotion – February 24, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 22:2

See series: Devotions

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

It’s a word that is dreaded by almost all students. Everyone knows it’s coming eventually, but no one ever likes to hear the word come off the teacher’s lips—test. “Whaaat??? Nooooo!” It’s funny how kids act surprised, upset, or frustrated when the teacher announces a test. But no matter what class you are in and no matter how old you are, eventually there will be a test. And if the teacher is any good, there will likely be lots of tests.

That’s right. You heard me correctly. Good teachers give lots of tests. Now before you end this devotion and run away angry, consider this: Good teachers want you to be better students. They want you to gain knowledge and experience. They want you to show that you can handle things. They also want you to know where you could improve a little bit. Tests help with this. So can we agree maybe tests aren’t that bad?

In a very similar way, God tests us, his people. God doesn’t do bad things to us, and God doesn’t want us to sin. However, God does allow us to have difficult things in our lives… to test us. These tests help us to grow stronger in our faith and to remember how much we need God in our lives.

Today we heard about one of these tests—and it was a big one! Abraham was tested by God when he was asked to sacrifice his one and only son whom he loved, Isaac. God was testing Abraham to see if he would come up with excuses, refuse to obey, or do anything else to get out of it. But by faith and with God’s strength, Abraham passed this test. He was about to sacrifice his son when God finally stopped him and provided a ram to take Isaac’s place as the sacrifice.

But Abraham didn’t always pass his tests. Sometimes he failed and sinned. The same is true for us. When God allows us to be tempted or tested, sometimes we fail the test and sin too. Thank God that, just like Isaac, we have a substitute who took our place. It was the one and only Son whom God loved, Jesus. Jesus is our perfect substitute who never failed a test or fell into temptation, and Jesus is also the perfect sacrifice who paid for all the times that we have failed. Because of Jesus and his forgiveness, God looks at us now like we have straight A’s in his gradebook. We are now God’s perfect children through Jesus!

When you have difficult things come up in life (yes, even tests in school), or when you face temptations, know that God is allowing you to be tested. But don’t worry! You have God’s strength, God’s love, and God’s forgiveness every step of the way. In Jesus, we can pass each test just like Abraham!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, we thank you for allowing us to be tested by things in life. We know that you use these things to teach us, to help us grow in faith, and to help us grow closer to 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

  • How did God test Abraham?
  • Why was this test so difficult for Abraham?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What difficult things does God allow in your life to test you?
  • Even though they might not be fun, what things could God be teaching you through these difficult things?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or Disagree: God proves he loves us when he allows us to be tested. Explain your answer.
  • Ask your parent(s) what has been the greatest test or challenge to their faith so far in life.

Hymn: CW 200:1,2 – A Mighty Fortress is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from ev’ry need That has us now o’ertaken.
The old evil foe Now means deadly woe;
Deep guile and great might Are his dread arms in fight;
On earth is not his equal.

With might of ours can naught be done; Soon were our loss effected.
But for us fights the valiant one Whom God himself elected.
You ask, “Who is this?” Jesus Christ it is,
The almighty Lord. And there’s no other God;
He holds the field forever.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Ready? Repent! – Family Devotion – February 22, 2021

Mark 1:12-15

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

After John was put in prison, 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!”
Mark 1:12-15

Ready? Repent!

 

Family Devotion – February 22, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:12-15

See series: Devotions

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

“Kids! We have to get ready! We have guests coming over tonight!” Jose and Gabriella looked at each other, rolled their eyes, and did one big sigh at the same time—“Ugh, really?” They knew exactly what was about to happen. Jose and Gabriella would have to do a whole pile of house chores—empty the dishwasher, vacuum, clean their rooms, and more. They also knew they would need to shower and change into nicer clothes. After all, their Abuela was coming over, and everyone knew how picky their grandmother would be. She always pointed out every speck of dirt or dust!

What things do you have to do when guests come to your house? Cleaning and chores like Jose and Gabriella? Do you need to help make food or set the table? Maybe something else? Have you also noticed that when there is an extra special event with guests, there’s always more you have to prepare?

Here’s one more question to consider today: How much have you prepared for one other special guest . . . for Jesus? We heard today that Jesus preached the message that the kingdom of God has come near. That’s still true today. God’s kingdom is near us because God comes to us in his Word in Baptism and in Communion. We also know that Jesus will be coming back soon on judgment day with his eternal kingdom.

Whenever Jesus comes to us, he’s looking for more than just dirt or dust. Jesus sees every dirty speck of sin in our lives. That could be scary! How am I supposed to prepare for Jesus when I struggle to fight temptations and I sin so often?

Take comfort in God’s Word for today about Jesus’ temptation by Satan. Remember that Jesus fought Satan and won. Jesus resisted all temptations and sin. And then, Jesus took away all our sins on the cross. He washed us squeaky clean in his blood so that there are no more sin-stains on us! So how can we be ready for Jesus? You heard what he said today, “Repent!” Be sorry for your sins, turn away from them, and find forgiveness in Jesus. He alone will make you ready and prepared for him as your special guest.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Savior, thank you for defeating Satan with your life and death. I know that your power alone will help me to resist temptation and avoid sin. Help me with this every day. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • How did Jesus show his power over Satan?
  • What are good choices around the house that Jesus can help you to make instead of sinning?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • In what special ways does Jesus come to us now? (Hint: There were three mentioned in the devotion.)
  • Name two big temptations that Satan brings to children your age.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: Jesus defeated Satan with his life and death.
  • What are ways that you can grow stronger in faith and resist temptation and sin?

Hymn: CW 200:1,3 – A Mighty Fortress is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from ev’ry need That has us now o’ertaken.
The old evil foe Now means deadly woe;
Deep guile and great might Are his dread arms in fight;
On earth is not his equal.

Though devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us,
We tremble not, we fear no ill; They shall not overpow’r us.
This world’s prince may still Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none. He’s judged; the deed is done!
One little word can fell him.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Are the Man – Family Devotion – February 19, 2021

2 Samuel 12:1-13

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.
2 Samuel 12:5-7,13

You Are the Man

 

Family Devotion – February 19, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 12:5-7,13

See series: Devotions

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

“I don’t know. Maybe it was Kylah,” Caleb said. His heart was racing so fast you could almost see it beating through his Spider Man T-shirt. Caleb couldn’t even look at his father as he was talking to him. He felt terrible.

You see, Caleb’s father was very upset when he came home from work and noticed that every single light switch in the entire house had been circled with a black Sharpie permanent marker. He had been asking Caleb for five minutes about it, but Caleb kept insisting, “It was Kylah! She should be punished!” One problem though… Kylah was a baby and couldn’t even walk yet!

“No, Caleb, it was you. You did it.” Caleb couldn’t take it anymore. He felt too guilty. Finally he said, “Yes, dad. I did it.”

Have you been in a situation like that before? Sometimes when we sin, the last thing we want to do is admit it. We make up excuses. We blame other people. We even lie at times.

King David found himself in that situation. He had done some very sinful things. He took another person’s wife for himself, he had that man killed, he lied about it, and he hid his sins. Finally the prophet Nathan came and told David a story about a man who had done something wrong, too. David was angry and said the man should be punished and die! That’s when Nathan said the famous words, “You are the man!” David finally realized his sins and repented, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

During this time of the year we call Lent, we remember what we have done. We have done so much wrong by what we think, say, and do. We need to join David in saying, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

But dear friends, do not worry! God is merciful and gracious and compassionate. During Lent we also remember that Jesus came to take our sin onto himself. He paid for our sin at the cross and has washed us clean in God’s sight. Because of our Savior Jesus, what the prophet Nathan said to David is the good news that we can rejoice in every day, “The LORD has taken away your sin.” Thanks be to God for his forgiveness for every sin!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I have sinned so many times in my life. I am so sorry. Thank you for washing me clean in your blood and forgiving all I have done. 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 the story today, why did Caleb blame his sister for what he did?
  • When we do sinful things, why shouldn’t we lie to others about it?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean that someone feels guilty?
  • How did Jesus make us to be not guilty in God’s sight?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Describe how people feel on the inside when they hide and lie about their sins like David did.
  • What are ways that we respond to the good news of God’s forgiveness when we are at church?

Hymn: CW 304:1,6,7 – Jesus Sinners Does Receive

Jesus sinners does receive; Oh, may all this saying ponder
Who in sin’s delusions live And from God and heaven wander.
Here is hope for all who grieve—Jesus sinners does receive.

Oh, how blest is it to know, Were as scarlet my transgression,
It shall be as white as snow By your blood and bitter passion,
For these words I do believe—Jesus sinners does receive.

Jesus sinners does receive. Even I have been forgiven.
And when I this earth must leave, I shall find an open heaven.
Dying, still to him I cleave—Jesus sinners does receive.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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Ash Wednesday – Family Devotion – February 17, 2021

Luke 18:9-14

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 18:10-14

Ash Wednesday

 

Family Devotion – February 17, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 18:10-14

See series: Devotions

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

You couldn’t find two people who were more different than these two guys. One was a Pharisee. The Pharisees were a group of people who set themselves apart as special by doing extra things for God. They thought God would love them more when they did these extra things. This man in particular really thought he was special. He even bragged and boasted out loud in front of other people that he was so great—that he gave so much money to God and that he wasn’t as bad as other “sinners.”

The other man was a tax collector. This means that he collected tax money from his own Jewish people and gave it to the Romans. While many didn’t like this, the bad part was that most tax collectors cheated people and stole some of the money for themselves. This particular tax collector felt terrible about all his sins. He felt so guilty that he couldn’t even look up to heaven. Instead, he bowed his head and begged and pleaded, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

So . . . which guy are you?

That may sound strange, but remember that Jesus told this story to teach us something. Jesus wants us to understand that sometimes we sin by being proud and boastful, by thinking that we don’t sin much and that we are better than other people—just like the Pharisee. But other times we are like the tax collector and feel so bad and guilty about all that we have done! So which guy am I? I am both! Sometimes I’m a proud Pharisee and sometimes I’m a guilty tax collector.

Now here’s the most important question—which of the two in the story had a good relationship with God? Or in other words, which sinner did God forgive? Jesus tells us that God forgave the tax collector. Why? Because the tax collector repented. He was sorry for his sins, asked God for forgiveness, and wanted to make a change in his life.

This week includes Ash Wednesday, the first day of the church season we call Lent. Lent is a time for us to be like the tax collector. We remember our many sins, and we repent—we turn to God for forgiveness. But friends, rejoice! During Lent we will follow Jesus to the cross where he paid for all our sins so that we can be forgiven just like the tax collector. God bless our journey with Jesus to the cross this year!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, have mercy on us. We are sorry for our sins. We look to you for forgiveness, and we rejoice that you have paid for all we have done at the cross. Thank 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 made the Pharisee so proud that he would brag to others?
  • Why did the tax collector feel so guilty and sad?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain how people sometimes act like the Pharisee in this story.
  • Explain how people sometimes act like the tax collector in this story.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • The word repent literally means to change your mind or to turn around. Explain in your own words then what it means for us to repent of our sins.
  • Agree or Disagree: God will not forgive any sin unless you first repent of it. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 304:1,4,5 – Jesus Sinners Does Receive

Jesus sinners does receive; Oh, may all this saying ponder
Who in sin’s delusions live And from God and heaven wander.
Here is hope for all who grieve—Jesus sinners does receive.

Come, O sinners, one and all, Come, accept his invitation.
Come, obey his gracious call; Come and take his free salvation!
Firmly in these words believe—Jesus sinners does receive.

I, a sinner, come to you With a penitent confession.
Savior, show me mercy, too; Grant for all my sins remission.
Let these words my soul relieve—Jesus sinners does receive.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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Best Place Ever – Family Devotion – February 15, 2021

Mark 9:2-9

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

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 9:5-7

Best Place Ever

 

Family Devotion – February 15, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:5-7

See series: Devotions

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

What is the coolest place you have ever been to? Have you traveled to another country? Have you been to a national park? How about an insanely awesome water park with super cool slides? Disney World? Some other place?

Most people have been somewhere that they think is absolutely amazing. The place is so fun, so relaxing, or so beautiful that they never want to leave. If they could just stay at that place forever and never go home, they would be totally happy. Why leave the best and coolest place ever?

Peter, James, and John experienced an absolutely amazing place. Jesus took them to a mountaintop, but it wasn’t the beautiful view that was so amazing. There, atop that mountain, Jesus transfigured before them. That’s a fancy word that means to be changed. Suddenly Jesus was shining brightly, and his clothes appeared whiter than snow. Then, Moses and Elijah appeared and were talking with Jesus, too. Incredible!

The disciples were so amazed and afraid at the same time that they didn’t know what to do. But they knew it was awesome! Peter suggested that they put up some tents and stay there. After all, why leave the best and coolest place ever? That may have sounded like a good idea at first, but it shows that Peter didn’t really understand why Jesus came to earth in the first place.

Then suddenly a cloud appeared over them. God the Father spoke from the heavens just as he did at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Those words help to remind us why Jesus really came. Jesus did not come to give us a really cool and awesome place to hang out here in this world. He came to give us something better than that. The beloved Son of God came so that we could be children whom God loves, too. How would he do that? Jesus had to come down this Mount of Transfiguration so he could go up another mount called Calvary. On Mount Calvary, Jesus would die for all our sins and bring us God’s forgiveness and love. By his death and resurrection, Jesus won for us an eternal life in heaven. Peter, James, and John saw just a little bit of Jesus’ glory for a little while. But in heaven, we will live with Jesus in his glory forever. Now that will be the best place ever!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, by grace you have called us to be your disciples and to follow you. Help us to put you first in all we think, say, and do as we serve you in our lives. 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 when Peter, James, and John were with Jesus on this special mountaintop?
  • Who were the two people that appeared with Jesus that day?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why was it foolish for Peter to want to stay on that mountaintop with Jesus? What didn’t he understand?
  • Explain why heaven will be the best place ever.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain how the Mount of Transfiguration was a sneak peek preview of heaven.
  • What do you look forward to the most about heaven? Why?

Hymn: CW 97:1,4,5 – Down from the Mount of Glory

Down from the mount of glory Came Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Recall the wondrous story, Rich gem in sacred Word.
Again your faith will view him In double glory here;
The greater homage due him Will in your life appear.

Strange how his journey ended! In love that is his fame
Our Lord again ascended A mount—the hill of shame.
Upon the cross he proffered Himself to agony;
His holy soul he offered To set the guilty free.

Then hail the double glory Of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
And let the wondrous story Full peace and joy afford!
The holy mount acclaims him The majesty divine;
Mount Calvary proclaims him Redeemer—yours and mine.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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All Part of the Plan – Family Devotion – February 12, 2021

Romans 8:28-30

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

All Part of the Plan

 

Family Devotion – February 12, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:28

See series: Devotions

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

Have you read a good book or watched a good movie recently? Good stories are ones that have lots of twists, turns, and adventures. Sometimes there are big problems in those stories, but somehow the main characters get through it, and by the end of the story everything works out for a happy ending.

Imagine being a character in that book or that movie. With each new chapter or scene, you never know what is going to happen next. Sometimes the story makes no sense to you. But when the story is over, you are glad that everything worked out for good in the end.

On the other hand, imagine that you are the author of the book or the director of the movie. You know everything that’s going to happen. You know the beginning of the story, the problems of the story, and the happy ending. After all, because you wrote the story, you know how everything works together for good.

Sometimes in life there are things that do not make sense to us at all. Why is my friend being so mean to me? Why did we have to lose that big game? Why did mom lose her job? Why did my loved one have to die so soon? These problems are confusing and frustrating, and sometimes make us very sad.

But today the apostle Paul encourages us with some very special words. He reminds us that, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Even though we may not understand things that are happening in our lives, God does. God is like the author of a story. He knows the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story of our lives. He knows how everything will fit together and he knows how he will work it out for good.

So that friend being mean to you? Maybe God will bring a new and better friend into your life! Mom lost her job? Maybe God will lead her to a better job, or maybe God will teach your family to trust and rely on him more! That loved one who passed away so soon? Not only does God bring all believers to heaven, but he also reminds us when people die how special heaven is and that we want to be there, too.

You see, in each and every chapter of our lives, God is working all things for our good. We may not know how at the time, but we can trust that our mighty God is doing what he promises is for our good. After all, if God loved us enough to give us his own Son to save us, we can definitely trust that God will work in love in all things for our good. Best of all, God is working in all things to lead you to life with him in heaven, and that’s the happiest ending any story could ever have!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to trust that you work all things, even bad things, for good in our lives. We may not know how or why, but we trust that you do. We thank you for loving us 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

  • What are some bad things that happen to people sometimes in this world?
  • Explain what it means that God will work something out for your good.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is it comforting to know that God knows every moment of your life—the past, the present, and the future?
  • How can you learn to trust in God and his promises more?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Give examples of things that happen in life where people might say, “There is no way this could be for my good.”
  • Next, give examples of how God might work through those things for good.

Hymn: CW 93:1,4 – Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, Great David’s greater Son!
Hail, in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, To set the captive free,
To take away transgression, And rule in equity.

O’er ev’ry foe victorious, He on his throne shall rest,
From age to age more glorious, All blessing and all-blest.
The tide of time shall never His covenant remove;
His name shall stand forever—That name to us is Love.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 God – Family Devotion – February 10, 2021

Read: Job 7:1-7

When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’
The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn.
My body is clothed with worms and scabs,
my skin is broken and festering.

“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
and they come to an end without hope.
Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath;
my eyes will never see happiness again.
Job 7:4-7

Why God?

 

Family Devotion – February 10, 2021

Devotion based on Job 7:4-7

See series: Devotions

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

Worst. Year. Ever! A lot of people said those words about the year 2020. There were so many problems that it sometimes seemed like we only heard bad news every day. And we can’t forget the Coronavirus pandemic that has changed so much of our lives! But for all of our problems last year or even right now, I’m not sure any of us have ever suffered as much as a man from the Bible named Job. Do you remember his story?

Job was very blessed. He had 10 children, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 donkeys, and many, many servants. However, on one day Job lost it all. His animals and possessions were destroyed or stolen. His servants were killed by enemies. Then worst of all, a great wind collapsed a house with all ten of his children inside, and they all died. This all happened on the same day! As if that wasn’t enough, then Job got sick himself. You heard the disgusting description today of how he had scabs and worms on his skin that was broken and blistering.

Such horrible suffering! Such awful pains! Such terrible sadness! Job was confused, frustrated, sad, and so much more. But do you know what Job did? He prayed. These words we heard today are part of a prayer to God begging for help and comfort. Why did God let this happen? Why was he suffering so much? When was God going to do something to help him?

And you know what? That’s okay. It was okay for Job to pray like this. It was okay for Job to be on his knees begging God for help, healing, comfort, and strength. It’s okay for you to do that too!

The year 2020 was very difficult for many. And you may be struggling with school. And you may know someone you love who is very sick. And you may have many other problems. These things make us confused. frustrated, sad. But do you know what you can do? Go to God! You have a God who so loved you that he saved you through his Son Jesus. He loves you like a dear Father loves a dear child. So be like Job and go to your heavenly Father! Take your hurt, pain, and sadness of this life to him! We don’t always know why God allows certain problems in our lives, but he certainly uses them to remind us, like he reminded Job, how much we need our Father in heaven. Best of all, when we turn to God for help, healing, comfort, and strength, we will be reminded that because of Jesus, one day soon we will be in heaven with him where we will never have a problem or pain again! May God lead us safely home to heaven soon!

Closing Prayer:

Lord, we have a lot of suffering and sadness in our lives. Sometimes things are so difficult for us! Help us to remember to go to you in your prayer, remember your love, and trust in your promise of life 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

  • What were some of the problems that Job had in his life?
  • What are some of the problems that you or your family has right now?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain how God might use something that seems bad for our good.
  • Can you think of an example from the Bible of someone who experienced something bad, but God later worked it out for good?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Identify specific ways that God has used some of the bad things in the past year to bring blessings to people.
  • Children ask your parent(s) about things they remember from when they were younger that seemed bad at first but that God later worked for good.

Hymn: CW 93:1,3 – Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, Great David’s greater Son!
Hail, in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, To set the captive free,
To take away transgression, And rule in equity.

Kings shall bow down before him And gold and incense bring;
All nations shall adore him; His praise all people sing.
To him shall prayer unceasing And daily vows ascend,
His kingdom still increasing, A kingdom without end.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Need Help – Family Devotion – February 8, 2021

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. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
Mark 1:30-34

I Need Help

 

Family Devotion – February 8, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:30-34

See series: Devotions

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

“I need help!” Those are words that parents get to know very well. Their children say them more times than anyone could ever count. “I need help tying my shoes!… I need help cutting the pizza… I need help pouring milk… I need help with my math.” Even though they hear it a lot, parents are glad to help their children and to teach them what to do.

However, sometimes children are a little bit stubborn (okay, sometimes really stubborn), and they think they can do things without help. That’s when problems happen. They try to pour the full gallon of milk onto their cereal, and milk ends up everywhere. They try tying shoes without first learning, and they trip and fall over the laces. They try that tricky math problem they don’t understand without any help, and they get a bad grade in the class. It’s good to admit you need help and to get help from someone who loves you!

Sometimes we act like this with Jesus, too. We have so many problems in our lives, but sometimes we think we can take care of them on our own. But whether you are sick, in trouble, sad, or lonely—there is no problem we can take care of in our lives without God helping us in some way.

Jesus’ disciples found that out very quickly. Soon after Jesus called them to be his disciples, they saw Jesus perform all kinds of miracles. In today’s devotion we heard about just some of the people who were in great need. People had diseases, demons, and sicknesses—even Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Yet all of those people learned through their problems that they needed the Lord’s help and that he did have the power to help them.

If we need help with our physical problems in life like sicknesses and diseases, how much more is this true with our spiritual problems! We need Jesus’ help with our sins! The one who can take away all our sickness is also the one who took away all our sins! The one who conquers diseases also conquered death! Today we remember that we need Jesus’ help, and that he has the power to help us. We also thank God that Jesus helped us with our greatest problem by taking away our sin and giving us life in heaven.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me to remember how much I need you in my life. I need you with every worldly problem, but I also need you as my Savior. Thank you for being the answer to my every need. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What were some of the problems that people had in the Bible story today?
  • Where did Jesus get all his power to help and to heal people?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What are some of the problems in your family that you would like to ask Jesus to help with?
  • Why can we be so confident that Jesus has the power to help us? What proof do we have?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • If Jesus has the power to help us with every worldly problem, why doesn’t he fix all of them for us?
  • Agree or Disagree: Jesus healed people to show that he loves them. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 93:1,2 – Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, Great David’s greater Son!
Hail, in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, To set the captive free,
To take away transgression, And rule in equity.

He comes with rescue speedy To those who suffer wrong,
To help the poor and needy And bid the weak be strong,
To give them songs for sighing, Their darkness turn to light
Whose souls, condemned and dying, Are precious in his sight.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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 Greatest of All – Family Devotion – February 5, 2021

Read: Hebrews 3:1-6

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 3:3-6

The Greatest of All

 

Family Devotion – February 5, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 3:3-6

See series: Devotions

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

Who is your greatest hero of all time? Is it Spider Man or Super Man? Captain America or Captain Marvel? Maybe it’s a real person like LeBron James, Martin Luther King Jr., or Abraham Lincoln. Maybe a parent, grandparent, pastor, or teacher?

What about in the Bible? Who is the greatest hero of faith that you look up to in the Bible? Is it Abraham, David, Peter, Paul, Ruth, or Mary? There are so many to choose from as great examples of faith!

If you were an ancient Israelite, a Jew at the time of Jesus, or even a Jewish person today, there is one person that almost always is at the very top of the list of heroes—Moses. The Jews loved and respected Moses as the leader who led them out of Egypt and the one who received the Ten Commandments and laws of God. He was a great leader and prophet! But sadly, many took this too far. So many Jews put all their hope and trust in Moses and not Jesus.

One Bible writer wrote a special book called Hebrews about this very thing. The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is superior (which means better and more powerful) than angels, priests in the temple, and yes, even better than Moses. The verses for today remind us that while Moses was a faithful servant, Jesus was the servant of God who saved us. Moses did great things by faith, but Jesus died for our sins to bring us forgiveness and rose to life to guarantee us a life in heaven. Jesus brings us into his family, into God’s house, and gives us confident hope in our eternal life.

There is nothing wrong with looking up to people as heroes in our lives. God blesses us with many special people who make a difference in this world, who help us, and who love us. It can be fun to look up to make-believe heroes like the Avengers, but soldiers, doctors, nurses, pastors, teachers, parents, and so many more make a huge difference in our lives. Thank God for them!

And yet, may God help us to remember that greater than any hero, better than any person in our lives or in the Bible is Jesus our great and powerful Savior. He is the best and greatest of all! Praise the Lord!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you have proven to us that you are King of kings and Lord of lords. You are the best and greatest of all because you are true man, true God, and truly our Savior. We thank and praise you always!

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 your greatest hero that you look up to (besides Jesus)?
  • How has Jesus shown to us that he is greater than any worldly or make-believe hero?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How does knowing that Jesus is the greatest and best of all comfort you in your life?
  • What are ways that we show Jesus is best and greatest of all when we are at church?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why do you think humans are so fascinated and obsessed with real-life and make-believe heroes?
  • Agree or Disagree: It is way harder to show that Jesus is the most important to you than it is to say that he is the most important to you. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 556:1,4 – Rise, Shine, You People

Rise, shine, you people! Christ the Lord has entered
Our human story; God in him is centered.
He comes to us, by death and sin surrounded,
With grace unbounded.

Tell how the Father sent his Son to save us.
Tell of the Son, who life and freedom gave us.
Tell how the Spirit calls from ev’ry nation
His new creation.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email