Jump for Joy! – Family Devotion – November 10, 2021

Read: Malachi 4:1-3

“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty.
Malachi 4:1-3

Jump for Joy!

 

Family Devotion – November 10, 2021

Devotion based on Malachi 4:1-3

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever seen a baby cow, a calf, released from its stall? Those young calves have so much energy! They don’t want to be enclosed behind a gate. When they are well-fed and well-rested, they can’t wait for the gate to be opened. Then, when it finally is, they leap out of the stall and jump around for joy!

In some ways, baby calves are kind of like school kids going outside for recess after lunch. They can’t wait to go and play! It’s always funny that one of the first things young kids do at recess when they go outside is to start running and shout, “Yaaaaay!” They are so happy! They can’t wait to play!

One day soon, every believer will have a moment like this! No, it’s not a special recess time just for Christians. This special moment will be on judgment day when Jesus comes back.

When we first hear the words of God through the prophet Malachi for the devotion today, we might be a little scared. God talks about coming back with judgment and with fire, and everything will be done away with and destroyed. That sounds scary!

But then we hear the good news for believers. God says, “But for you who revere my name [that’s believers], the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.” This verse is talking about Jesus. Like a beautiful sunrise that shines light in the morning, so the Son of God will come back to shine on us with the light of his love. Because he has forgiven all our sins and given to us the victory over death, judgment day will simply be a day for all believers to celebrate. We will finally be able to live with God forever in the joy of heaven. It’s like an eternal recess where we can be happy and rejoice all the time forever and ever.

It’s no wonder that God also says this, “And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.” We sure will! When Jesus comes back for us to give us the final victory and life in heaven, we will run and jump for joy like kids going out to recess . . . like calves released from the stall . . . or even better, like children of God who have just won the victory forever and ever. What a special day when all believers will run and jump for joy!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, help us to be patient as we wait for Jesus to return on judgment day. We can’t wait to celebrate his victory when he returns! 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 might sound scary about judgment day?
  • Why don’t believers need to be scared about judgment day?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The Bible verse today said that Jesus will come back with “healing” on judgment day. Explain what kind of healing that is talking about.
  • What are you looking forward to the most on judgment day?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: Jesus coming back on judgment day will be a surprise to believers. Explain your answer.
  • For those who do not believe, judgment day will actually be a very scary day. Describe how that fact influences the way we live.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Not Guilty?! – Family Devotion – November 8, 2021

Read: John 5:19-24

For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
John 5:21-24

Not Guilty?!

 

Family Devotion – November 8, 2021

Devotion based on John 5:21-24

See series: Devotions

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

The room was silent. Everyone was waiting as they were staring at one person. What would he say next? Then, finally, he spoke just two words. “Not guilty!”

The courtroom was shocked. What? How could this be? The person on trial had done so many bad things! There was a lot of evidence about a lot of crimes committed. And yet the judge declared the person not guilty? But not only that! Could you believe this? The judge then said that the person was not guilty because he, the judge, was going to go to prison and take the criminal’s place. Incredible!

I think you know that this scene would never take place in our world. We expect guilty people to be punished. Likewise, we would never expect a judge to punish himself and take the place of a criminal. That’s not only incredible, it would seem to be impossible. But while this would seem impossible in our world, it is possible in God’s kingdom.

In the words from John 5 today, Jesus is talking about how his Father sent him to this world for all people. Jesus did something truly incredible when he came—he offered himself to take the place of all sinners. He suffered the punishment of death and the prison of hell so that he could give forgiveness, life, and freedom to sinners like you and me.

Someday soon, Jesus will come back again on judgment day, and he will be the judge of all. But Jesus tells us something wonderful today. Even though we are spiritual “criminals” who are guilty of sinning against him, he is going to say something amazing to us in his eternal courtroom on judgment day—“not guilty.” Jesus said it this way, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

You see, Jesus our judge is also Jesus our substitute and Savior. He stepped into our place so that on the Last Day he could declare us innocent. Believers who look to Jesus in faith will receive life in heaven, not death in hell.

What an amazing message! What a reason to give thanks! What a message we have to share with others! Jesus declares us not guilty by his grace through faith in him. Thanks be to God!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for taking my place to suffer and die for me. Because you are my Savior, I know that you will come back on judgment day and declare me not guilty. 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 is the day called when Jesus will come back again?
  • What will happen on judgment day?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean to be guilty of something? Who is guilty in this world?
  • Explain why we already can know with confidence what the verdict will be for us on judgment day.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: God is not really a fair God if he declares sinful people to be innocent. Explain your answer.
  • Describe how judgment day is similar to a courtroom scene using as many parallels as you can think of.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Proclaim the Gospel! – Family Devotion – November 5, 2021

Read: Revelation 14:6-7

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Revelation 14:6-7

Proclaim the Gospel!

 

Family Devotion – November 5, 2021

Devotion based on Revelation 14:6-7

See series: Devotions

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

Little Audrey loved to let her light shine. She was excited about her faith, and she was not afraid to show it. In church on Sunday mornings, Audrey could be heard saying the Lord’s Prayer louder than anyone else. She wasn’t being silly or rude, she was just happy to say that prayer like all the big people in church.

But it wasn’t only at church. Audrey talked about God in the classroom, on the playground, and on her sports teams. She even asked someone on an airplane once, “Do you believe in Jesus?” When they said, “No,” seven-year-old Audrey came right back with, “Well why not?!” Audrey loved Jesus so much that she wanted everyone to know about him and to be in heaven with her one day in the future.

The verses for this devotion are very special. The apostle John saw a vision of an angel flying through the air and proclaiming the gospel to all people. That word gospel means good news, and the good news is that Jesus is our Savior from sin. The Bible helps us to understand that this special vision was a prophecy—a promise about something, or someone, in the future.

We call ourselves Lutherans after the name of a great reformer, Martin Luther. Many people see him as a fulfillment of this vision. God used Martin Luther to help bring back the truth of the gospel, that good news that we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. Martin Luther was a bold witness who helped preserve that message so that people all over the world could hear the good news. He was like the angel flying through the air in these verses.

But while Martin Luther is a part of this special vision, he’s not the only one. God has used many, many people over the years to help preach the gospel’s good news to other people all throughout the world. And you know what? That includes you! That’s right, when you act like little Audrey and talk about our Savior Jesus at school or on the playground, when you share the good news on an airplane or on a bus, or when adults share their faith at work or at the store—these are all examples of people that God is using to proclaim the good news of Jesus to others.

We Christians have heard the greatest news of all time. We believe in a Savior who lived and died for us to take away our sin, and who rose again to life so that we would rise to life in heaven. Now, God wants all people to know this gospel message, and he wants you to share it! So go, fly like an angel through the air to all the corners of the earth and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ!

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, Lord of the Church, you send us out to make disciples of all nations. Help us to faithfully proclaim the truth of the gospel to all people everywhere we go. 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 the word gospel mean?
  • What is the good news that God wants us to share with other people?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What are a couple reasons that people sometimes give for not wanting to share the gospel with others?
  • Describe at least one way that we can overcome the temptation of not sharing the gospel with others.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Not everyone can be a pastor, teacher, or missionary. But what is a way that you can share the gospel with someone?
  • Discuss with your family people you know that have boldly proclaimed the truth of the gospel to you. Discuss a way that you can thank them for preaching the truth of God’s Word.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Fired Up for the Lord! – Family Devotion – November 3, 2021

Read: Daniel 3:16-28

Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”
Daniel 3:28

Fired Up for the Lord!

 

Family Devotion – November 3, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:28

See series: Devotions

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

What would you have done? What a tough situation!

Nebuchadnezzar was the wicked king of the Babylonians. He set up a giant gold idol that was 90 feet high and nine feet wide. Then he gave this command—whenever the signal was given, everyone was to bow down and worship that giant false god. But that’s not all! The command went on to say that whoever did not worship it would be thrown into a blazing furnace of fire and die.

Eventually, the signal was given, and everyone bowed down and worshiped. Well, almost everyone, that is. Three of God’s people named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down. They would not worship any other god besides our one true God.

So King Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into the fiery furnace. But an amazing miracle happened! The Lord protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego so that not only did they not die, but not even a single hair on their heads was burned. Amazing! Nebuchadnezzar was amazed, too. That’s why he spoke the words of the verse for the day. The king praised God for protecting his three people who refused to worship any other God but their own.

It’s pretty unlikely that you will ever have to worry about being thrown into a fiery furnace. No one threatened you with death today because you are a Christian. Praise be to God for the many Christians of the past and in other parts of the world today who boldly trust in God in dangerous situations, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did!

But just because your experiences are different, that doesn’t mean being a Christian is easy. Sometimes unbelievers try to convince us to worship other things—like money or fame or power, and yes, other false gods too. Sometimes friends might make fun of us for believing in Jesus or going to church. And yes, sometimes even family members might give us a hard time for worshiping the one true God.

Today we hear an amazing reminder about our gracious and powerful God. The same Savior God who loved us so much that he came to save us and who had the power to defeat death and the devil—that is the same Savior God who is with us every day. God will be with us and bless us every time our faith is tested. In the toughest moments, God will be there just like he was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And yes, even if we face death, we know that God will rescue us by taking us to life with him in heaven. So be bold, be brave, and worship the one true God knowing his grace and power for you!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, help me to serve and worship you only, always putting you first and before anything else in this 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 was the command that wicked King Nebuchadnezzar gave to the people in his kingdom?
  • How did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego show they loved God more than anything?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • In the United States, there are not many giant statues of false gods that people worship. But think of two things people are often tempted to put ahead of God in their lives.
  • Explain how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego putting God first in their lives was also an opportunity to witness to other people.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: Living in the United States where idols of money, fame, and power tempt us is more dangerous to our faith than if we lived in another country with actual idols to false gods. Explain your answer.
  • Agree/Disagree: Christians are not afraid of death. Explain your answer.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Bold Witnesses – Family Devotion – November 1, 2021

Read: Mark 13:5-11

You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
Mark 13:9-11

Bold Witnesses

 

Family Devotion – November 1, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 13:9-11

See series: Devotions

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

“Church?! Why would you go to church?” Damien asked in disbelief. Aiden froze for a second. He didn’t know what to say. The two soccer teammates had been talking about their practice coming up on Sunday morning. Damien said he might be late to practice because he wanted to sleep in. Aiden chimed in and said he might be late too—but not because of sleep. Aiden said that he would be a little late to practice because he would be coming after church. That’s when Damien asked the tough question, “Church?! Why would you go to church?”

But after freezing for a second because he was afraid of what to say, Aiden suddenly had words come to mind. Very simply and yet confidently, Aiden said, “Our family goes to church to hear about Jesus’ love for us and to thank and praise him for that. Our pastor always has a great message, and our family never misses a service on Sunday.”

“Oh,” said Damien. (Now he was the one who didn’t know what to say.) But Aiden jumped in again. “Maybe your family should come to church with us some time. I think you would like it.” Damien thought for a moment and replied, “Maybe we will.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus warned his disciples that following him would not always be easy. In fact, sometimes they would be put in difficult situations and have to be his witnesses before important and powerful people like rulers and kings. However, Jesus said that in those tough moments, the Holy Spirit would give them courage, strength, and the right words to talk about him. Sure enough, just as Jesus had foretold, the disciples did in fact become bold witnesses about the amazing news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for us.

Since the time of Jesus, many Christians have been in situations where it was difficult or even scary to talk about Jesus. This week we celebrate the Reformation of the Church. We remember that one of those many, many brave witnesses was Martin Luther. The Holy Spirit gave Martin Luther courage, strength, and the right words to stand before world leaders and speak the truth of being saved by God’s grace alone.

Just like Jesus’ disciples, just like Martin Luther, and just like Aiden, you can be a witness, too! Whether you are talking to a neighbor, a friend, a classmate, or a soccer teammate, be confident! God will give you courage, strength, and the right words to speak as a witness for Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, you have promised to send your Holy Spirit to help us be bold witnesses to tell others about you. Give us courage and strength to share with all people your good news. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Who did Jesus promise would help us share his Word with other people?
  • What is the good news that we should share with others?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does the word witness mean?
  • What are real, practical ways that you can be a witness for the Lord?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What do you think are the most challenging situations for young people to share their faith? Why?
  • What do you think are the most challenging situations for adults to share their faith? Why?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Living for the Lord – Family Devotion – October 29, 2021

Read: Hebrews 4:9-16

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Living for the Lord

 

Family Devotion – October 29, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 4:12

See series: Devotions

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

Zavier was a mess. The tears were streaking down his face and dripping onto his legs. His eyes were red and puffy. His nose was running. His lips were quivering as he took big breaths trying to calm himself down. “I’m sorry . . . I’m . . . just . . . so . . . sorry!” He managed to say while crying.

Zavier had been caught using his dad’s iPad without asking. But not only did he not ask to use the iPad, Zavier made bad choices while using it, and then he lied about the whole thing. His parents found out and told Zavier how upset and disappointed they were because he had sinned against God and against them.

Now Zavier felt terrible and could hardly calm down—that is, until he heard something very special from his parents. “Zavier, this was very wrong. But we love you and we forgive you . . . and so does Jesus.” “Really?” Zavier asked. “You really forgive me?” “Yes, we forgive you, just like Jesus has forgiven all of us.” Zavier cried again, but this time because he was so relieved and thankful.

Zavier experienced the very thing that God describes in the Bible verse for this devotion. God says that his Word is like a double-edged sword. That means that it is powerful and very sharp as it goes to work. One side of God’s Word we call the law. The law shows us our sin as it reminds us how we break God’s commands. Zavier was “cut” by God’s Word when his parents told him how he had sinned against God and against them. He felt guilty and it hurt.

But then Zavier experienced the other powerful side of God’s Word, something we call the gospel. The gospel is the good news that Jesus loves us, forgives us, and is our Savior from sin. Amazingly, this side of the sword of God’s Word doesn’t hurt—but actually comforts and relieves us. Zavier’s parents shared the gospel with him, the good news that Jesus forgave what he had done.

This week the Scripture readings and devotions have focused on having a humble heart of love like Jesus. Part of being a humble Christian is continually going to the powerful Word of God. There we are reminded that we have sinned against God (that’s the law). But there we are also comforted that we are forgiven for Jesus’ sake (that’s the gospel). God’s Word is so powerful when it creates faith in our hearts to humbly trust in our Savior Jesus!

Now we have the opportunity to put the sword of God’s Word to work too. We can share with other people both the law and gospel so that they also know they need a Savior and that they have one in Jesus Christ. God bless us as we humbly share his Word with others!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your Word is so powerful! It shows us our sin, but it also shows us our Savior. Thank you for creating faith in my heart to believe in Jesus. Now fill my heart with courage to share your Word with others too. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • God’s Word is like a two-edged sword. Name the two powerful sharp sides.
  • What are times or places that you can read or hear God’s powerful Word?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain what the law does and what the gospel does in God’s Word.
  • When would you share the law with someone? When would you share the gospel with someone?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: Some people have sinned so much and so badly in life that they don’t deserve to hear the good news of the gospel. Explain your answer.
  • Even though God’s Word is so powerful and effective, why is it that we are often so afraid to share it? How can we overcome that?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Who’s the Greatest? – Family Devotion – October 27, 2021

Read: Isaiah 53:10-12

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin.
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53:10-12

Who’s the Greatest?

 

Family Devotion – October 27, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 53:10-12

See series: Devotions

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

“I am the greatest!” A famous boxer named Muhammed Ali made that statement in 1964 just before one of his big boxing matches. Ever since that day, many Americans hear that phrase and immediately think of that very famous man.

Being “great” is something that a lot of people hope for. Whether its athletes being great at their sports, musicians being great performers, or students being great in school and other activities—all people seem to have a desire to be great.

However, greatness doesn’t last very long. Great athletes get older and slower. Great singers lose their fame to new great singers. Great basketball teams are beaten by other great teams. And finally, every human being eventually dies. Our greatness doesn’t last.

But that’s not the case with Jesus. Jesus is the one and only who can say, “I am the greatest,” something that always has been and always will be true. But he didn’t say it. Jesus set aside his glory and honor in order to give up his life for you and for me. The words that we hear today are a prophecy from the prophet Isaiah spoken about 700 years before Jesus came to earth. The words tell us how Jesus would come to suffer and bear the sins of the world as he gave his life as an offering, or payment for all sin.

Jesus fulfilled this promise and did come to save us. So God the Father says about his Son in verse 12, “Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great.” Jesus has all glory and honor as the greatest—the one and only who lived, died, and rose again to save us from death and hell.

Because Jesus is so great, it is good for us to thank and to praise him. What a joy to worship our great Savior on Sunday! What a blessing to be able to pray to our great Lord and know that he listens to us! What a comfort to be able to put our hope and confidence in our great God! Rejoice that you know the one who actually is the greatest—Jesus Christ our Lord.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, how great and gracious you are, that you came to live and die for me. Now help me to thank and praise you in all that I do! 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 are “great” in this world.
  • Why is Jesus the greatest?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Satan is very powerful and dangerous! How do we know that Jesus is more powerful than Satan?
  • Explain how the greatness of Jesus is so much different than the greatness people in this world think about.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Isaiah spoke these words about Jesus’ suffering and dying 700 years before it happened. Explain why that is something that helps us to know that the Bible is truly God’s Word.
  • We often talk about thanking and praising Jesus for what he has done. Give a real and practical way that you can do that in your life?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You First – Family Devotion – October 25, 2021

Read: Mark 10:35-45

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:41-45

You First

 

Family Devotion – October 25, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 10:41-45

See series: Devotions

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

“I’m the best!” Brayden whispered, pointing at the A+ on his spelling test. Avery looked at him and rolled her eyes. “Oh boy, here we go again!” she thought to herself. You see, all the kids in first grade had been getting used to Brayden saying this. Brayden would get a homerun in kickball and shout, “I’m the best!” as he was rounding the bases. Brayden would finish his math facts sheets before anyone else and tell his friends, “I’m the best at math!” No matter what it was, Brayden always liked to tell everyone how great he thought he was.

Unfortunately, not many of Brayden’s classmates agreed with him. Usually this made the other students so upset that they didn’t even want to play with Brayden at recess or eat with him at lunch. Sadly, the one thing that Brayden actually was the best at was being proud and selfish.

Some of Jesus’ disciples had a similar problem in the story today. The brothers James and John had come to Jesus and asked if they could have a special privilege. They asked if they could sit on his right and left side some day in glory. In a sense, you could say they wanted to be the best in Jesus’ kingdom. When the other ten disciples heard about this, they were very upset. “Why should they be the best? Why can’t we be the best? We want to be treated specially in Jesus’ kingdom, too!”

That’s when Jesus had to bring all his disciples together and teach them something important. Jesus told them that many worldly rulers like to use their power and authority to try to be the best and rule over other people. (Even today we see this same thing sometimes with celebrities, athletes, and political leaders.) But Jesus teaches his disciples both then and now something very strange to this world—whoever wants to be first and best should be like a servant.

For an example of this, we need look no further than Jesus himself. Jesus is the best. He is God. Yet Jesus humbly came not to be served by us as the best. Instead, he came to serve us and treat us like we are the best. Jesus sacrificed himself to be the ransom—the payment—that would pay for our sins and give us the gift of life in heaven. We love and treasure our Savior so much because he served us with such love. The important lesson we learn today is that our joy as Christians is to put others first and love them just as Jesus has loved us.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for humbling yourself to serve us by giving your life to die for us and pay for our sins. Help me to be humble and to put others first in love, just like you did. 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 it mean to be proud? How did the disciples act proud and selfish?
  • What does it mean to be humble? How did Jesus act humbly with love?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think so many people act selfishly today and try to be “the best”?
  • Jesus is true God and actually is “the best.” Explain why Jesus didn’t act like it here in this world.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: It is always wrong to put your own wants or desires before that of others. Explain your answer.
  • Identify two ways that you can be humble and put others first.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Loving Like Jesus – Family Devotion – October 22, 2021

Read: Hebrews 13:1-6

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Hebrews 13:1-3

Loving Like Jesus

 

Family Devotion – October 22, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 13:1-3

See series: Devotions

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

“Wait!” Aiden shouted. “Don’t go yet!” Aiden’s parents looked back at him from the front seat of their van with confused looks. Aiden rolled down the window next to his seat and held one of his cheeseburgers out the window. You see, Aiden saw a homeless man on the sidewalk next to their minivan. Even though he loved McDonalds, he wanted to be sure that this man had something to eat. Aiden’s parents smiled and offered the man something to eat as well.

Clearly Aiden had been learning from his parents. It was very common for their family to show love and kindness to other people. The family had guests at their home all the time. They even had students from other countries stay with them during the school year. The family donated used clothes to those who needed them, and they went a few times a year to serve food at a homeless shelter. Showing love to others was important to them. Aiden was learning to do the same.

Jesus has shown love to people who need it too—people like you and me! We needed his love after all the many sins we have committed. So Jesus showed us love in the most amazing way! Jesus gave himself to be the payment for our sins. His life and death won for us the gift of life with him in heaven, too. We didn’t earn this love. We don’t deserve it. But Jesus showed us love anyways.

Because Jesus has loved us so much, it is our privilege to show that kind of love to other people, just like Aiden and his family do. The Bible verses for today offer some ideas for how to do that. We can welcome people into our homes or show kindness to those in prison or in need. But there are so many more ways you can show love! You can share your lunch at school with someone who forgot theirs! You can help a classmate with an assignment they don’t get. You can donate toys or clothes or food to people in need. You can give offerings at church that will help spread God’s Word to those in need.

God has shown us so much love, and we can show so much love to others too! Look for opportunities in your regular everyday life to show love to others. When you do, you aren’t just showing your love, but you are showing the love of Jesus as well. So go! Live! Love! And let your light shine!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me to reflect your love to others in all that I think, say, and do. Help me to see opportunities for showing love to others. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name one way you can show the love of Jesus to someone in your house or at school.
  • Name one way you can show the love of Jesus to someone in your church.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Agree/Disagree: If you don’t have money to give, there aren’t many ways to show love for people in need. Explain your answer.
  • Explain why showing love for someone else is also showing love for God.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • As a family, discuss ways that you could show love to people who are in need.
  • Explain why helping someone in need might be a great way for a door to open so you can share God’s Word with them.

Hymn: CW 421:1,5 – All Depends on Our Possessing

All depends on our possessing God’s abundant grace and blessing,
Though all earthly wealth depart.
They who trust with faith unshaken In their God are not forsaken
And e’er keep a dauntless heart.

If on earth my days he lengthen, He my weary soul will strengthen;
All my trust in him I place.
Earthly wealth is not abiding, Like a stream away is gliding;
Safe I anchor in his grace.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Which One Are You? – Family Devotion – October 20, 2021

Read: 2 Kings 5:14-27

Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.
2 Kings 5:15-16

Which One Are You?

 

Family Devotion – October 20, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Kings 5:15-16

See series: Devotions

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

The two men couldn’t have been any more different! One was named Naaman. Naaman was from a different country that was an enemy to Israel. Naaman had a big problem—he had leprosy. Leprosy was a very bad and contagious skin disease. A kind young girl from Israel suggested that Naaman go ask one of God’s prophets for help. So Naaman found Elisha, Elisha told him to go and wash in the river, and Naaman was healed by the Lord in a great miracle!

Naaman was so thankful! He expressed it in today’s Bible verses. Now he knew that the Lord was the one true God. He wanted to thank God and his prophet Elisha, so he offered a very kind and very big gift to Elisha. But the prophet Elisha did not take it. He didn’t need any gifts for doing the Lord’s work.

But Gehazi was a very different person. Gehazi was Elisha’s helper. When he saw how big the gift was that Naaman had offered, he was greedy and wanted it. So Gehazi ran to Naaman and lied to him in order to take the big gift for himself. God was not pleased with Gehazi’s sin, and Gehazi ended up getting the leprosy that Naaman had.

These two men were very different. Which one are you like? Are you thankful for God’s grace and blessings like Naaman? Or are you greedy and selfish, wanting lots of things for yourself like Gehazi?

When we see things that we want on TV, in stores, or online, it can be very easy for us to be like Gehazi. Sinful hearts want us to love things of this world. Before we know it, Satan can lead us to be greedy and selfish like Gehazi.

It is important for us to remember that we were just like Naaman. We have a disease, too. Not leprosy. Our disease is called sin, and it’s even more dangerous because it can send us to hell. Thanks be to God that he has healed us of this disease! Jesus is the cure! He washed us clean, not in a river but in his own blood! What a miracle!

Like Naaman, we can now look for opportunities to show our thanks to God and to other people. How we use our time, our talents, and our treasures shows how thankful we are to God for all that he has done. May God give us thankful hearts that are happy to serve him every day!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, thank you for the many blessings you have given to me. But best of all, you have healed me of the disease of sin by forgiving me through your Son, Jesus. Now help me to show my thanks in the way that I live. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why was Naaman, the man from another country, so thankful to God and to Elisha?
  • Why can we be so thankful to God?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is being greedy a dangerous sin?
  • Explain why being greedy and selfish also breaks the First Commandment.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree. It is sinful to want new or nice things. Explain your answer.
  • Describe how Christians can learn to be happier and more content in life.

Hymn: CW 421:1,3-4 – All Depends on Our Possessing

All depends on our possessing God’s abundant grace and blessing,
Though all earthly wealth depart.
They who trust with faith unshaken In their God are not forsaken
And e’er keep a dauntless heart.

Many spend their lives in fretting Over trifles and in getting
Things that have no solid ground.
I shall strive to win a treasure That will bring me lasting pleasure
And that now is seldom found.

Well he knows what best to grant me; All the longing hopes that haunt me,
Joy and sorrow, have their day.
I shall doubt his wisdom never—As God wills, so be it ever—
I to him commit my way.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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What’s Number One? – Family Devotion – October 18, 2021

Read: Mark 10:17-27

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
Mark 10:17-23

What’s Number One?

 

Family Devotion – October 18, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 10:17-23

See series: Devotions

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

The living room was a mess! The floor was covered with bows and ribbons and crumpled up wrapping paper. Empty boxes were everywhere. In the middle of it all, Hayden was sitting in a chair, surrounded by gifts, and she had a great big smile on her face. It had been a great birthday party! She got so many cool new things!

Two days later, it was almost like her birthday never happened. Some of the new gifts were shoved under her bed. Two of them were broken already. The rest of the gifts were piled up in the corner of her bedroom. Meanwhile, Hayden gave out a big gasp of frustration, “Ugh! Mooomm! I have nothing to do! I’m so bored! Can we go to the store to get a new toy?”

Has this ever happened to you? Maybe you get so excited for all kinds of presents at Christmas or on your birthday, and before you know it you want something new or better. Or maybe someone in your family gets the newest iPhone or iPad or the newest game system . . . but soon enough they want the next bigger and better one. It is so easy for us to fall in love with money and possessions, and then to want more!

We hear today why this is so dangerous. A man came to Jesus and wanted to know what he needed to do to go to heaven. He thought he had done all kinds of good things and had obeyed God. Other people probably even thought he was a pretty good person. There was one big problem though—God wasn’t first in his heart. That’s why Jesus challenged him to go and sell all of his things and then come follow him. But the man couldn’t do it. He went away sad because he loved his money and possessions too much.

Watch out for the love of money and “things”—like toys or tools or technology. Quickly they can become number one in our hearts and lead us away from God. That’s why Jesus said it can be hard for rich people to enter heaven. Not always, but sometimes people who have lots of money start to love their money and possessions more than God.

Take a moment to think about how much God has given to you. Certainly he has given you many wonderful earthly blessings. But best of all, God has given you his own Son, Jesus, who won for us the greatest treasure of all—life in heaven. What a joy that we can put such a loving God as number one in our hearts.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, forgive us for loving worldly things so much. Help us always to put you first in our hearts. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is something new that you would really love to have?
  • What can be dangerous about always wanting new toys, games, and technology?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why was the man so sad when Jesus told him to sell everything he had?
  • What things in your life might Satan tempt you to put as number one in your heart instead of God?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: It is better for Christians to be poor and not have much money. Explain your answer.
  • Describe the proper way for Christians to live with their money and possessions. What is their attitude? How do they act? What kinds of things do they do?

Hymn: CW 421:1-2 – All Depends on Our Possessing

All depends on our possessing God’s abundant grace and blessing,
Though all earthly wealth depart.
They who trust with faith unshaken In their God are not forsaken
And e’er keep a dauntless heart.

He who to this day has fed me And to many joys has led me
Is and ever shall be mine.
He who ever gently schools me, He who daily guides and rules me,
Will remain my help divine.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Dancing Together – Family Devotion – October 15, 2021

Read: Ephesians 5:21-6:4

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:22-25

Dancing Together

 

Family Devotion – October 15, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:22-25

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever seen professional dancers? Maybe you’ve seen some on TV shows like America’s Got Talent or Dancing with the Stars. Wow, are they good! Some of the couples do amazing things! Can you picture them dancing together? Their feet move so quickly as they twirl and spin around. The very strong man lifts up the woman who is so graceful and elegant. She trusts him completely to hold her up in the air. At the same time, while the man is showing off his strength, the woman gets the spotlight for her dancing skills, too. Together, they make an incredible team.

What would happen though if they didn’t work as a team? What if the man wanted to lead in one direction, but the woman wanted to dance in a different direction? They would bump into each other or step on each other’s toes! Ouch! Or what if the man wanted to steal the spotlight and only show off his skills? That would be pretty mean to the woman who is also so good at dancing! Or, what if the man just stood in the corner and decided not to dance at all? That would be lazy, and the team would be a total failure.

In many ways, God designed marriage to be like one of these beautiful dancing teams. One partner is facing forward while the other has their back to the direction of travel. The forward partner takes the lead for the benefit of the dance. The apostle Paul says in the Scripture for today that the husband is the head, or leader, of the marriage. But that doesn’t mean he is the boss or the king of the wife. Paul says he is a leader like Jesus. That means husbands should be loving, humble, and gentle for the benefit of the marriage. They should be so loving that they want to serve and help their wives in every way—even to the point of being willing to die for their wives like Jesus did for us.

Paul then says that wives “submit” to their husbands. But this doesn’t mean that they are less important or just cook and clean all the time. Definitely not! This means that wives should love and honor their husbands just like we Christians love and honor our leader, Jesus. Wives are equally important partners and team members in the marriage.

When husbands and wives follow God’s plans, it looks like a beautiful dancing couple. They work together. Both get the spotlight as sometimes the husband has his gifts and abilities on display, and sometimes the wife does. Neither selfishly does whatever they want. Neither is lazy, doing nothing. Instead, like a dancing couple, they work hard and work together to have a beautiful relationship just like God planned.

Just like doing a special dance is difficult, so is marriage. It takes a lot of work and practice. Thanks to Jesus, there is forgiveness for the times the dance of marriage doesn’t look so pretty. And thanks to Jesus, he offers strength to help husbands and wives continue their beautiful dance together.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, you bless husbands and wives with a beautiful partnership in marriage. Help all husbands and wives to honor and respect each other as they work together in 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 is a marriage like working together on a team?
  • Name two or three ways that husbands and wives can work together in a marriage?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How is marriage like two people dancing together? How is it different?
  • God says that husbands are to lead in a marriage like Christ. What are ways husbands do that?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Many people wrongfully think that wives are less important in marriage. Explain how God designed wives to be different yet equal in a marriage.
  • Explain how our relationship with Jesus is similar to the relationship of a husband and wife. Explain how it is different.

Hymn: CW 506:1,5 – Oh, Blest the House Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Then here will I and mine today
A solemn promise make and say:
Though all the world forsake his Word,
I and my house will serve the Lord!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Special Gift and Design – Family Devotion – October 13, 2021

Read: Genesis 2:18-24

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Genesis 2:18-24

God’s Special Gift and Design

 

Family Devotion – October 13, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 2:18-24

See series: Devotions

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

“Just leave me alone!” Bryson was so angry and upset. He missed a shot that could have won the game for his team. When he got home, he didn’t want to see or talk to anybody. All he kept saying was, “Leave me alone! Leave me alooone!” as he stormed off to his bedroom.

But even though Bryson was upset and frustrated, his room was so boring! After about 45 minutes, he came out again. Bryson realized that he needed that hug his mom offered him and the encouraging words his dad always spoke to him. It wasn’t good to be alone.

Adam realized the same thing in the Garden of Eden. God gave him the special task of naming all the animals. But when Adam saw Mr. and Mrs. Cheetah and Mrs. and Mrs. Kangaroo, he realized that he didn’t have anyone. Adam then understood what God said in verse 18, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

So God caused Adam to fall asleep. He took one of his ribs and used his mighty power to make a woman—Eve. God then blessed Adam and Eve as he created marriage. Ever since, a man and a woman can leave their own families and come together in marriage to start a new family. Since that time in the Garden of Eden, billions of people have been married throughout time and throughout the world.

God’s brilliant design was that husbands and wives would enjoy all kinds of amazing blessings. They love and support each other. They encourage and help each other. They have families with children together. In this amazing plan, whether you are young or old or married or single, you would always have somebody to love you and be with you so that you are not alone. May God bless all marriages and families so that they can enjoy the blessings he first designed!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, thank you for your gift of marriage. It is a blessing for husbands, wives, and children. Help us to cherish this gift and to honor your designs for marriage. 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 help Adam to recognize that he was alone?
  • Why is it not good for us to be alone in life?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Describe in your own words how God made Eve.
  • Names as many blessings as you can that God planned for husbands and wives to have in marriage.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • God could have made Eve in any way he wanted—by snapping his fingers, or from the petals of flowers, or even from Adam’s pinky toe. Why do you think God specifically chose to make Eve from the rib of Adam? What message might God be communicating? (Hint: What’s the closest thing to your heart?)
  • Marriages are not very successful in our world these days. Describe a way that Christians can grow in their understanding and appreciation of God’s special gift of marriage.

Hymn: CW 506:1,3-4 – Oh, Blest the House Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Oh, blest the parents who give heed
Unto their children’s foremost need
And weary not of care or cost.
May none to them and heav’n be lost!

Blest such a house; it prospers well.
In peace and joy the parents dwell,
And in their children’s lives is shown
How richly God can bless his own.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Original Plan – Family Devotion – October 11, 2021

Read: Mark 10:2-16

“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Mark 10:5-9

The Original Plan

 

Family Devotion – October 11, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 10:5-9

See series: Devotions

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

All the adults were playing cards, laughing, and having a great time. What a fun party! Suddenly, they paused their fun game and asked an important question. “Where are the kids?” The adults had been having fun, but the kids were quiet—too quiet. The experienced parents knew that this often meant trouble with their four and five-year-olds.

The parents left the dining room and went to the playroom. What they saw made them burst out loud in laughter. One of the little girls had a sparkly white summer dress on and she was holding two dandelions they picked from outside. One of the little boys was wearing his dad’s suit coat. It was so big it touched all the way down to the floor. Another boy was standing in front of those two with a white sheet wrapped around him like a pastor’s robe. The kids explained to their parents what they were doing. They were playing “wedding.”

Getting married is something that many young people dream of. What will the wedding day be like? What will your husband or wife be like? To be married is a wonderful blessing that God gives to a man and woman. But sadly, the devil always likes to try and ruin God’s beautiful blessings. This is certainly true with marriage.

Some leaders once came and tried to trick Jesus about this. They asked Jesus if it was okay for a marriage to end, and then they asked him why so many marriages ended. Jesus knew just how to answer them—with God’s Word. Jesus spoke to them the words for the devotion today as he told them that since the very beginning with Adam and Eve, God had planned for a man and a woman to be married and enjoy their love until death.

God planned that the special love that husbands and wives have for each other could be just a little picture of the love that he has for us. You see, as a husband and wife love and honor each other, so God loves us even more. He loved us so much that he was willing to die on a cross for us. In response, we love and honor God.

Thank God for marriage! It is a wonderful gift and a beautiful picture of how God loves us. And when marriage doesn’t go as God planned, thank God for his forgiveness! Jesus forgives every sin and gives us opportunity to live in his love once again. God help us then to honor and treasure the beautiful gift he has given in marriage!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, you have blessed this world with a wonderful gift called marriage. Help husbands and wives to love and honor each other in a way that is pleasing 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

  • Who first started the idea of marriage? When?
  • Who were the first married people?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why does Satan always want to ruin the blessings that God gives to us (like marriage and many other things)?
  • Do you ever think about being married some day? What do you think that will be like?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Name two things in the world today that go against what God planned and designed for marriage?
  • Sadly, not all marriages last and not every family has a married husband and wife in it. Explain why Jesus’ grace and love are so important and so comforting for these situations.

Hymn: CW 506:1-2 – Oh, Blest the House Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Oh, blest that house where faith you find
And all within have set their mind
To trust their God and serve him still
And do in all his holy will.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Rejoicing Always – Family Devotion – October 8, 2021

Read: Philippians 1:12-18

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.
Philippians 1:18

Rejoicing Always

 

Family Devotion – October 8, 2021

Devotion based on Philippians 1:18

See series: Devotions

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

The apostle Paul had a lot of bad things happen to him. People had lied about him, said bad things about him, and put him in jail—all because he wanted to preach about Jesus to other people. Now that he was in jail in the city of Rome he couldn’t go out and share Jesus with others! As if that wasn’t hard enough, there were also some people who were preaching about Jesus for the wrong reasons. Instead of sharing Jesus out of love, they wanted to get rich or famous by preaching.

After all those bad things what would Paul say? Would he be really angry? Would he be mad at all those people and say mean things about them? Would he be angry at God for letting all those things happen? No! Not all! Actually, after writing about those bad things, the very next thing Paul says is the verse for consideration today, “Yes and I will continue to rejoice.”

Why would Paul rejoice and be happy after all that? First of all, he humbly trusted in God’s plans. Even though he was in jail, Paul talked to some of the guards about Jesus—and they became believers, too! Also, Paul noticed that when he went to jail, other Christians became bold and preached about Jesus more. And what about those selfish preachers? Paul was happy that even though they were selfish, at least Jesus was being shared with other people—and that was a good thing. You see, Paul trusted that God was working all things in his life for good. That gave him reason to rejoice … all the time.

This is what our gracious God does. He worked all things in history so that at just the right time he sent his Son Jesus. He worked through all the evil people who hated Jesus and crucified him so that Jesus would pay for our sins on the cross. He worked through Jesus’ death so that he would rise again and give us the gift of life in heaven. Even when things don’t seem to be going well, God is able to work amazing blessings because of his power, wisdom, and love.

You can probably think of some things that aren’t going very well in your life. Maybe you are having trouble at school or with some friends. Maybe someone has been sick in your family. Perhaps someone you know has recently died. Even when these bad things in happen in our lives, we can be like Paul and put our trust in God. If God loved us enough to keep his promise and send his Son to save us, surely God loves us enough to keep his promise to work all things for our good. That means that no matter what happens, we can also be like Paul and continue to rejoice … all the time! Thanks be to God!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for working all things for our good. In your power and wisdom you are able to work even bad things for our good. Help us to trust your loving plans and to rejoice in every situation. 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 it mean to rejoice?
  • What are times in life when people find it difficult to rejoice?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain why Christians can rejoice in every situation, no matter what happens.
  • Why should we believe God when he says he will work all things for our good? What proof do we have that he will keep this promise?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Can you give an example from the Bible of people who experienced very bad things, but God was able to work it out for blessing and for good?
  • Discuss with your family times when God may have used difficult times and troubles and worked them for good and for blessings.

Hymn: CW 462:1,4 – Oh, that the Lord Would Guide My Ways

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep his statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do his will!

Make me to walk in your commands—
’Tis a delightful road—
Nor let my head or heart or hands
Offend against my God.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Are You Jealous? – Family Devotion – October 6, 2021

Read: Numbers 11:16,24-29

However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”

But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
Numbers 11:26-29

Are You Jealous?

 

Family Devotion – October 6, 2021

Devotion based on Numbers 11:26-29

See series: Devotions

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

Nora loved attention. During classes when teachers would ask questions, she would be the one to raise her hand and do the, “Ooh ooh ooh! Look at me, me, me!” thing. At lunch she talked and told jokes non-stop. In gymnastics, she loved to pose on the podium when she won medals (and she loved to tell her classmates later how many she won). Nora loved attention so much that it started to become a problem.

That year the school was going to do Frozen for their annual school musical. Of course, Nora wanted to be Anna in the musical. The problem is, she didn’t get the part. She didn’t get the part of Elsa, either. Carly and Heidi were going to be Anna and Elsa. Nora was going to be Olaf. Nora thought, “What? Olaf? A dumb snowman? How come Carly and Heidi got to be Anna and Elsa? They aren’t even that good at singing! I’m waaaay better! This isn’t fair!” Nora was so angry because she was jealous. In fact, she was so jealous that she didn’t even think to be happy for her friends (who were actually very good singers and actresses)!

In today’s reading, we hear about another story of jealousy. Certain people had been blessed by God to be leaders and to prophesy—to speak God’s words. Two men named Eldad and Medad didn’t follow all of God’s directions—and yet they were still leaders and still prophesying (speaking God’s words). Joshua, who was Moses’ helper, was so jealous that he told Moses to stop them at once!

But Moses teaches Joshua and us an important lesson. Moses was happy for Eldad and Medad. He was glad that God had blessed them to be leaders and to speak his words, too. By doing this, Moses showed that he was humble. He thought of others and cared for others before he cared for himself. That’s something that Nora struggled with, and something we do, too.

Moses was a very humble and caring person, but Jesus is the most humble and loving of all. Jesus lovingly thought of others so much that he humbled himself to take our place and die on a cross. By doing that he won forgiveness for us, even though we don’t deserve it. We will get to be in heaven with him even though we haven’t earned it. But this doesn’t make Jesus jealous, it makes him so happy!

Knowing how Jesus humbly put us first and loved us, let’s live like Jesus and show that same kind of love to others!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help me to be humble and to love others like Jesus did. Help me also to be happy for others when they receive blessings from you. Protect my heart from being jealous, and fill it instead with 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 does it mean to be jealous?
  • Have you ever been jealous of someone else?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think it is so difficult to be happy for other people when they are successful or receive blessings from God?
  • The Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Explain how that verse can help us to be more humble.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Think of one good example of people in the Bible who were humble and loving (besides Jesus) and one bad example of people who were not.
  • Agree or Disagree: People who are jealous aren’t upset with the other person, they are actually upset with God. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 462:1,3 – Oh, that the Lord Would Guide My Ways

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep his statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do his will!

Assist my soul, too apt to stray,
A stricter watch to keep;
And should I e’er forget your way,
Restore your wand’ring sheep.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Whatever It Takes – Family Devotion – October 4, 2021

Read: Mark 9:38-48

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”
Mark 9:42-50

Whatever It Takes

 

Family Devotion – October 4, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:42-50

See series: Devotions

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

Some athletes would do almost anything to win and get better. One all-star baseball player used to practice batting all day when he was younger. He would hit baseballs until his hands started to bleed! Hall of fame basketball player Magic Johnson used to shovel his driveway of snow in winter just so he could shoot a few more shots. NFL quarterback Russell Wilson spends over a million dollars per year on his body. He has personal trainers, a personal chef, and all the best equipment to help him get better.

Wow! You can say that for many athletes, they are willing to do whatever it takes to get better and try to win championships. It doesn’t matter how much hard work and pain they have to go through—they are willing to do it because they know how much they want to achieve their goals.

Today we hear some very strong words from the Lord. Jesus said that if your hand or foot causes you to sin, you should cut if off, or if your eye causes you to sin you should poke it out. Ouch! Does Jesus really mean that? Well . . . yes, and no.

Jesus wants us to understand how serious and dangerous sin is. That’s why Jesus said it would be better to lose your hand or foot if it means you stop sinning and then don’t go to hell. But please, please don’t try this at home! If your one hand or eye was gone, obviously your other hand or eye would sin too. Jesus’ words aren’t really about body parts. Jesus is talking about our hearts. Our hearts lead us into sin. So why does Jesus speak such sharp words? Jesus wants us to have the attitude that we do whatever it takes to avoid sin and hell and protect your eternity.

Thanks be to God that Jesus himself is the eternal answer to our problem! First, Jesus is our Savior who has erased all our sins so that we don’t need to worry about them or about hell. Jesus has set us free from hell and given us heaven! But secondly, Jesus, who conquered sin and death, is the one who will give us the strength to fight against temptations and to stay strong in our faith. Are you concerned about sin? Then listen to your Savior and stay close to him! His forgiveness and strength will help you to battle against Satan and win!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, sin is so dangerous! It leads us away from you! Help us to resist temptation and do what is right in your sight. 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 want us to try so hard to avoid?
  • Why is sin so dangerous?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What exactly is hell?
  • How and when did Jesus suffer hell in our place?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Think of at least one way that Christians do “whatever it takes” to avoid sin in their lives.
  • Agree/Disagree: Pastors should talk less about sin and hell in church. If they did, more people would come to church. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 462:1-2 – Oh, that the Lord Would Guide My Ways

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep his statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do his will!

Order my footsteps by your Word,
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Living for the Lord – Family Devotion – October 1, 2021

Read: James 3:13-18

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
James 3:17

Living for the Lord

 

Family Devotion – October 1, 2021

Devotion based on James 3:17

See series: Devotions

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

There was something very different about Kyle. He didn’t act like the other kids at his school. Whenever there was an argument at recess during kickball, Kyle was the one who helped figure out a solution. After lunch, Kyle was the one who stayed longer and helped clean up the lunchroom. When a classmate was struggling with math, Kyle would spend his free time helping with the problems instead of playing on the classroom computer.

Kyle was different because he was a Christian. His parents, his pastor, his Sunday School teacher—they all taught him about Jesus and how much he has loved us. They also taught Kyle about how to show that kind of love to other people. Kyle was not trying to win any special awards or treats at school by being nice. He simply loved other people because he loved Jesus.

In the Bible verses for today, James tells us that this is the way all Christians can act when they have “wisdom that comes from heaven.” This means Christians can make good choices that are God-pleasing when God is guiding them. When we make these God-pleasing choices, James says that we will have pure thoughts and words (not sinful or dirty). We will love peace (instead of arguing or fighting). We will be considerate and submissive as we put others before ourselves. We will be full of mercy and good fruit as we do good things in love, and we will be sincere (which means to be fair and genuinely kind).

That’s a lot of things to think about and a lot of things to do! But not to worry! Jesus did all these things perfectly and forgives all your sins. He is the one who gives you the strength to live such a godly life. His love and his power are just what we need to help us do good things for others.

When we show this kind of love for other people—whether at school or on sports teams or at the store or anywhere—we will look different. We will stand out as people who live in love. And this is very important! Why? Well, when Christians stand out as different because we love other people, that points them to Jesus who loves other people. One Bible verse says this, “We love because he first loved us.” Our great motivation is to love other people because God has shown us love first in Jesus. Now go out into the world and show love to others so that they can see the love of Jesus too!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, thank you for so loving the world that you sent your one and only Son. Fill me with your love so that I can show that same kind of love to other people. 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 would Christians want to do nice and loving things for other people?
  • Name two good things that you can do for other people that would make God happy.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What makes it challenging for us to show love to other people in the ways we heard described today?
  • Identify a way that you can become a more loving person toward others.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How would you show love to someone who tells you they don’t believe in Jesus and thinks the Bible is dumb?
  • Some people say that they are Christians, but they don’t live like it or show it. Why is that dangerous both for them and their relationships with other people?

Hymn: CW 484:1,3 – Brothers, Sisters, Let Us Gladly

Brothers, sisters, let us gladly
Give to God our all, our best—
Service hearty, thorough, honest,
With a living love impressed.
All our duty, all our striving,
All our time to him belong;
Praise him, then, with true devotion;
Come before him with a song.

Gracious Lord, accept our service
For the sake of Christ, your Son;
Lo, our hope abides now only
In the righteousness he won.
Bless and save us; help and guide us;
Watch to comfort and restore
Till in heav’n we rest rejoicing,
Praising you forevermore.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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I Forgive You – Family Devotion – September 29, 2021

Read: Numbers 12:1-15

When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease, and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed.”

So Moses cried out to the Lord, “Please, God, heal her!”
Numbers 12:10,11,13

I Forgive You

 

Family Devotion – September 29, 2021

Devotion based on Numbers 12:10,11,13

See series: Devotions

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

Isabel had tears running down her cheeks as she sank into the arms of her grandmother. “Abuela (Grandma), he ruined my quinceañera party! All my friends came to celebrate my fifteenth birthday! I had a beautiful dress! Everything was perfect! But Jose told everyone bad things about me. They were all laughing at me. It ruined my party! How could he? Él es mi hermano! He’s my brother!”

Even though Isabel was hurt so much by what her brother had done, the next time she saw him, she said the most incredible thing. “Jose, te perdono . . . I forgive you.”

Sometimes the people we are the closest with can hurt us the most. Brothers and sisters argue and fight. Children are sassy with their parents. Parents are too hard on their children. Husbands and wives say mean things to each other. The devil loves this. Satan wants to get in between people who should love each other and cause them to hurt each other. And not only does he want us to hurt each other, Satan wants us to hate each other and refuse to offer forgiveness.

One time Satan caused problems in a famous family of the Bible. Aaron and Miriam were the brother and sister of Moses. Once, Aaron and Miriam started to get jealous of Moses because he was the leader of the Israelites and the one that God spoke to so often. Aaron and Miriam started to say bad things about Moses. God was not happy about this, so he allowed Miriam to have a serious (and gross) skin disease.

Moses could have fallen into the temptation to be happy about this. He could have been so angry with his brother and sister and let them suffer because they deserved it. But Moses didn’t do that. Instead, he reacted with love and forgiveness. Moses immediately prayed for his sister Miriam, “Please God, heal her!”

It’s not easy to forgive other people when they are mean or hurt us, especially when it’s someone close to us like a family member. But then we remember how much God has forgiven us. We have hurt him so often with our many sins, but Jesus died on the cross for every single one of them. God forgives us every time for every sin because of Jesus! Now we pray that God will fill us with that love of Jesus that we can forgive others when they sin against us, too!

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, in your love and kindness you have forgiven all of my sins. Help me now to forgive others when they sin against 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

  • Recall a mean thing that someone did to you at home or at school.
  • How do we know for sure that God has forgiven us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What makes it so difficult to forgive others who sin against us?
  • When do you find it the most difficult time to forgive other people? Why?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Describe in your own words how Jesus teaches us about forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Agree/Disagree: There is never a time when you would not forgive someone.

Hymn: CW 484:1-2 – Brothers, Sisters, Let Us Gladly

Brothers, sisters, let us gladly
Give to God our all, our best—
Service hearty, thorough, honest,
With a living love impressed.
All our duty, all our striving,
All our time to him belong;
Praise him, then, with true devotion;
Come before him with a song.

By his mercy, by his bounty,
By the gift of Christ, his Son,
What great goodness he has shown us,
What high marvels he has done!
Let us to him promptly, freely,
Yield our bodies and our souls,
Thankful that his love protects us,
That his wisdom all controls.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Me First!? – Family Devotion – September 27, 2021

Read: Mark 9:30-37

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Mark 9:30-34

Me First!?

 

Family Devotion – September 27, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:30-34

See series: Devotions

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

“It’s my turn.” “No, it’s not. It’s my turn to pick.” “That’s not fair, you just had a turn.” “Fine, you can pick this time, but then I get the next three times.” “What? That’s crazy!”

Gabe and Owen argued like this nearly every day. The brothers got so upset, they even started pushing each other before their father finally stepped in. What were they arguing about, you ask? Emptying the dishwasher. That’s right, they fought about the dishwasher because each boy wanted to pick the top part to empty since it had less dishes. In other words, they were arguing about who would do less work.

That’s not all though. Gabe and Owen often argued about who did more chores on Saturday, who got the last glass of chocolate milk, whose turn it was to sit in the front seat of the car, and so much more.

Does any of this happen at your house? Sometimes we get love totally backwards! Instead of loving other people like our siblings or our parents or our friends, we act selfishly and put ourselves first. When we should be loving others or loving God first, we are so quick to think of ourselves first!

The disciples did the same thing in the story today. Jesus was trying to teach them about his great love—how he would suffer and die for them and for all people. But they didn’t understand what he was saying. Why not? Because they were too busy arguing about who was the greatest! Their selfishness kept them from seeing who really is the greatest of all—Jesus, who loves us so much.

May God forgive us for all the times we selfishly love ourselves more than we love other people or more than we love God. Thank God that Jesus suffered and died to take away those sins! May that humble love of Jesus help us to love each other just like he loved us!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to love you and to love others with the same kind of selfless love that you have shown to us. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does it mean to be selfish?
  • Can you think of the most recent time that you have been selfish?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Identify a way that people show a “me first” attitude at home, at school, or at their jobs.
  • Identify as many ways as you can that Jesus showed a “you first” attitude during his life and ministry.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Explain what that means in your own words.
  • Explain this statement: Being humble is not thinking less of yourself, but rather thinking of yourself less.

Hymn: CW 484:1 – Brothers, Sisters, Let Us Gladly

Brothers, sisters, let us gladly
Give to God our all, our best—
Service hearty, thorough, honest,
With a living love impressed.
All our duty, all our striving,
All our time to him belong;
Praise him, then, with true devotion;
Come before him with a song.

 

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

Read: 1 Peter 4:12-19

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

Endure the Test(s)

 

Family Devotion – September 24, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Peter 4:12-13

See series: Devotions

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

“Guess what, class!” The students looked at Mr. Daniels with big, wide eyes. They learned that when Mr. Daniels said those words, it could be either really good news or really bad news. They were all hoping for extra recess time on this day. “Guess what, class! We are going to have a test today—right now!” Ugh! So much for recess!

The students were not very ready for this test, but they were used to it. Mr. Daniels challenged them all the time in school. They played games to review facts about the presidents. They always did one minute math fact sheets. And yes, they unfortunately had quizzes and tests all the time.

Many years later when those students were in high school, they thought about their classes with Mr. Daniels. And you know what? They were thankful! They were thankful for all the times Mr. Daniels pushed them to learn more. Yes, they were even thankful for the tests. The students all realized that they were better students and high school was easier because of the way that Mr. Daniels tested them.

Students shouldn’t be surprised when they get tested, and neither should Christians. The tests for Christians have nothing to do with math or reading. Sometimes Christians are tested by our friends. When everyone else is doing something wrong and sinful, will we join them, or will we do what is right? Sometimes Christians are tested when life is tough. When bad things happen in the world, will we trust that God will help us? When someone is sick or dying, will we put trust in Jesus our Savior and his promise of heaven?

Peter reminds us today that we shouldn’t be surprised by tests in our lives, as if something strange is happening to us. Difficult things will happen in a sinful world! If Jesus suffered in a sinful world, we certainly will too.

However, we can also rejoice when we are tested in this life because we know what will happen after all these tests—we will be in heaven! Some day soon we will be with Jesus in the place where there are no sicknesses or diseases, no tears or sadness, no suffering or dying. Just as Jesus suffered, died, and rose in glory, so will we suffer in this life, die, and then rise to glory in heaven. It may not be easy to do at first, but rejoice when life is difficult because soon you will rejoice in the peace and glory of heaven!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, sometimes this life is very difficult. Remind me that just as you suffered, so will I suffer. But even more, remind me always that you have given me the gift of heaven where there will never be any suffering or pain. Thank you for this! 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

  • Think of two bad things that make people suffer in this world.
  • Why do we look forward to heaven so much?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When you pray about your suffering and struggles, explain why Jesus is able to understand you so well.
  • How does Jesus help us with our suffering and struggles?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Describe what you think life is like for a person who suffers without the hope of heaven.
  • When life is difficult, it can be easy to lose focus on what Jesus promises to us in heaven. Think of one way you can stay more focused on the hope of eternal life.

Hymn: CW 465:1,4 – Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow you.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, You on earth once suffered, too.
Perish ev’ry fond ambition, All I’ve ever hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heav’n are still my own.

Haste, my soul, from grace to glory, Armed by faith and winged by prayer.
All but heav’n is transitory; God’s own hand shall guide you there.
Soon shall end this earthly story; Swift shall pass the pilgrim days,
Hope soon change to heav’nly glory, Faith to sight and prayer to praise.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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His Victory, My Victory – Family Devotion – September 22, 2021

Read: Isaiah 50:4-10

The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.
Isaiah 50:5-7

His Victory, My Victory

 

Family Devotion – September 22, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 50:5-7

See series: Devotions

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

Could anything be more awful? Could anyone be more angry, mean, or full of hatred? Jesus, our loving Savior, was beaten and bruised and bloodied by his enemies. They made fun of him. They spit on him. They nailed him to a cross! How terrible! How sad! How awful!

The words that we hear from Isaiah today are a prophecy. That means these words predict the future. They are very special words about the future. These are words of Jesus himself describing how he would suffer and die about 700 years before it actually happened.

Yet even worse than the pain of being beaten and hated, Jesus also suffered the pain of the sin and guilt of all people. He took all of your sins and all of my sins onto his own shoulders at the cross. He died to pay for what you have done and what I have done.

But the wonderful news of God’s love and grace is that there is a happy ending to the story. Jesus crushed Satan at the cross and forgave us all those sins. Jesus then rose from the dead in victory, and because he lives, we will live with him in heaven. Isaiah foretold this too when he said, “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.”

In the first devotion this week, Jesus reminded us that sometimes we still struggle in our lives. We have many temptations and sins to fight against. Sometimes there will be people who don’t like us, just like they didn’t like Jesus. It may feel like we are alone as we suffer in this world.

But not to worry, Christian friends! Jesus is on our side. The one who suffered, died, and rose in victory is now with us. Jesus is with us in everything that we do in life. When we struggle, he gives us strength. When we suffer, he gives us peace. When we sin, he gives us forgiveness. And when we die, he will give us heaven.

The beautiful truth of today is that the words of Jesus that Isaiah spoke are now our words. We can say that “The Sovereign Lord helps me.” We can say that “his victory is my victory.”

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you know my pain and my hurt because you suffered too. Give me strength to get through this life until I enjoy the victory you have prepared for me in the next life. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Describe something painful that Jesus suffered.
  • What was the worst suffering and pain that Jesus experienced? Why?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How was it possible that Isaiah was able to predict the future about Jesus?
  • How do we know for sure that Jesus won the victory of sin, death, and hell?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: Jesus rising from the dead is the greatest miracle of all time. Explain your answer.
  • “His victory is my victory.” Explain why that little phrase about Jesus is something that can change your life.

Hymn: CW 465:1-2 – Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow you.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, You on earth once suffered, too.
Perish ev’ry fond ambition, All I’ve ever hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heav’n are still my own.

Let the world despise and leave me; They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me; You are not, like them, untrue.
And since you have smiled upon me, God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends may shun me—Show your face, and all is bright.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Take Up Your Cross – Family Devotion – September 20, 2021

Read: Mark 8:27-35

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. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Mark 8:34-35

Take Up Your Cross

 

Family Devotion – September 20, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:34-35

See series: Devotions

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

Do you have a favorite sports team? Is it a professional team near where you live? Maybe a college team? Is it a team that has your favorite player? Or maybe you like individual athletes like the famous Olympic gymnast Simone Biles?

All of these athletes have something in common. They all want to be great, and they want to win. Whether that’s a gold medal or a tournament or a championship—they all want to achieve their greatest goals.

Could you imagine if your favorite team never practiced? What if they showed up at the game and didn’t prepare or learn any plays? Could you imagine if your favorite athlete sat on the couch eating Doritos and watching Netflix all day? That would be crazy! Everyone knows that it takes hard work and effort to reach your goals. The hard work may be difficult, but the end result is totally worth it.

Following Jesus is very much the same. It takes hard work and effort! Not in the being saved and going to heaven part. That’s easy. Jesus took care of that by paying for our sins and giving us heaven by his loving grace. However, on the journey of life to heaven, it can be very difficult!

Peter was very confused about this once. He had just spoken some amazing words of faith, confessing that Jesus is the Savior and the Son of God. But as soon as Jesus talked about suffering and dying, Peter tried to stop Jesus because he only wanted easy and nice things. So Jesus told Peter he was wrong because he had in mind earthly things and not heavenly things.

Then Jesus spoke the words you just heard. Jesus said that whoever follows him must, “deny themselves and take up their cross.” What Jesus means is that just as he suffered, so will we. Part of living in a sinful world is the hard work of putting God first in our hearts and putting sin behind us. It also means that sometimes people won’t like us because we are Christians, just like they didn’t like Jesus.

But not to worry! Jesus will give us strength to do these difficult things, or to carry these crosses as he said. And even better, the end goal is totally worth it! As Jesus helps us walk through this difficult life, one day soon we will win the ultimate championship because of him—life in heaven! What a victory is ours in Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, when life is difficult and challenging, give us strength to endure it and patience to wait for your gift of eternal life. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name two things that are really hard in life.
  • Explain why going to heaven is easy and not difficult.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does Jesus mean when he says that we should “deny ourselves”?
  • Name a temptation in the world that is especially difficult to deny and resist these days.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: If God loved us more, he wouldn’t allow us to suffer so much. Explain your answer.
  • Agree/Disagree: Suffering in this life is something to be thankful for. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 465:1 – Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow you.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, You on earth once suffered, too.
Perish ev’ry fond ambition, All I’ve ever hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heav’n are still my own.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Powerful Words for You – Family Devotion – September 17, 2021

Read: Acts 3:1-10

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
Acts 3:6-8

Powerful Words for You

 

Family Devotion – September 17, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 3:6-8

See series: Devotions

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

“Touch your nose and jump on one foot,” Lauren said. No one moved . . . except Zach. Zach did just what Lauren said—he touched his nose and jumped on one foot. Everyone started laughing. Zach joined them in laughing because he realized what he did wrong. Lauren didn’t say the magic words, “Simon says.”

Do you like playing “Simon says”? Are you good at playing that game? It’s very easy to play. When the leader speaks those special words, “Simon says,” then you do whatever they say. If the leader doesn’t say, “Simon says,” then you’re not supposed to do what they say. It can be very funny to watch a group of kids do all sorts of crazy and silly things when the leader speaks those special words.

Peter spoke some special words in the story today. Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Then amazingly, a man who was not able to walk his entire life suddenly got up and walked around. He was so filled with joy that he went near God’s house, the temple, and was walking, jumping, and praising God!

What Peter did wasn’t magic or part of a game. It wasn’t done by his own power either. Peter healed the man with the power of Jesus. The same Jesus who healed people himself and who healed us from our sins gave Peter the power to speak these words and heal this man. This miracle helped to prove to other people how powerful Jesus is.

Jesus gives us powerful words to speak, too. We have his Word to share with other people. So when you tell someone that Jesus is our Savior and they believe it, God used the message that you spoke to work faith in their heart. When someone is mean to you and you say “I forgive you,” that person is forgiven just as much as if Jesus himself would say it. That’s powerful! When a pastor baptizes someone and says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” then God washes that person clean and welcomes them into his family. That’s powerful!

The words of Jesus are always powerful. That means the Bible is something for us to love and treasure. It also means that we can boldly share his words with others. When we do these things, we can trust that God will always be at work powerfully within us!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to treasure your Word and to trust its mighty power. Help me also to be boldly share the good news of Jesus 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 was wrong with the man that Peter healed one day?
  • How was Peter able to do this miracle?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How does God’s Word still work powerfully today?
  • Why is knowing that God’s Word is powerful comforting to us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • If God’s Word is so powerful, why are some people still unbelievers?
  • Describe what a Christian who is a bold witness for Jesus might do.

Hymn: CW 353:1,3 – Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness

Praise the one who breaks the darkness With a liberating light;
Praise the one who frees the pris’ners, Turning blindness into sight.
Praise the one who preached the gospel, Healing ev’ry dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands With the Father’s word of peace.

Let us praise the Word incarnate, Christ, who suffered in our place;
Jesus died and rose victorious That we may know God by grace.
Let us sing for joy and gladness, Seeing what our God has done;
Let us praise the true Redeemer, Praise the one who makes us one.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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He’s Coming! He Came! – Family Devotion – September 15, 2021

Read: Isaiah 35:4-7

Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come,
he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Isaiah 35:4-6

He’s Coming! He Came!

 

Family Devotion – September 15, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 35:4-6

See series: Devotions

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

“He’s coming! He’s coming!” Little Quincy and Nyah ran down the steps in their pj’s. They woke up extra early because they were so excited that their oldest cousin Jayden was coming to visit. Jayden was so much fun! Quincy and Nyah knew that the day would be filled with games and play-wrestling matches and lots of laughs.

For an hour the brother and sister sat by the window, waiting and watching. Any time a red car turned the corner they shouted, “He’s here! He’s here!” (They knew to look for a red car, but they didn’t know what kind.) After so much waiting, Quincy and Nyah gave up looking for a while and started playing video games. When Jayden finally arrived in his cool red car, their mom said, “He’s here!” The two dropped their controllers and ran out the door to jump into Jayden’s arms. After a long wait, he was finally there!

The Israelites had been waiting too—for a really long time. God had promised to send a Messiah who would save them. Over and over again he sent prophets, like Isaiah and others, who said, “He’s coming! He’s coming!” Isaiah even told the people about some things to watch for when the Messiah came. No, he wasn’t coming in a red car. Isaiah said that when he came, he would come with power and would heal people. Best of all, when God finally came, he would save his people.

In the first devotion this week, we heard about how Jesus fulfilled these words of Isaiah. Jesus did in fact heal a man who couldn’t hear or speak. We know that Jesus healed many other people, too. Most importantly, we also know that Jesus came to save us. God kept his many promises by sending Jesus to be the Messiah, our Savior from sin. Jesus lived for us and died for us to rescue us from sin. He also rose from the dead to prove that we will rise to life in heaven.

Sadly, just like Quincy and Nyah who got distracted waiting for their cousin, so did many of the Jewish people. They were so focused on worldly or sinful things that even when Jesus was standing right in front of them and doing the very things that God had promised (like healing people or dying on a cross) they still didn’t believe he was the Savior.

May God give to us eyes that clearly see and hearts that firmly believe that Jesus is the Savior we need. May we always keep our focus on him. Finally, may God give us patience as we wait for Jesus to arrive one last time on judgment day to take us home.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, thank you for keeping your promises and sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior from sin. Help us to keep our focus on him all our days. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Who were the special people God sent to tell others that the Savior was going to be coming?
  • What is the greatest promise that God has made to us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What did the prophet Isaiah say the promised Messiah would do?
  • Can you think of other prophecies (or promises) that Jesus fulfilled?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Evaluate this statement: Because Jesus fulfilled the words of prophets (like Isaiah), the Bible is more special than any other book.
  • How did the miracles of Jesus help to prove that he is the promised Messiah?

Hymn: CW 353:1-2 – Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness

Praise the one who breaks the darkness With a liberating light;
Praise the one who frees the pris’ners, Turning blindness into sight.
Praise the one who preached the gospel, Healing ev’ry dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands With the Father’s word of peace.

Praise the one who blessed the children With a strong, yet gentle, word;
Praise the one who drove out demons With the piercing, two-edged sword.
Praise the one who brings cool water To the desert’s burning sand;
From this well comes living water, Quenching thirst in ev’ry land.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Words of Power – Family Devotion – September 13, 2021

Read: Mark 7:31-37

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Mark 7:31-37

Words of Power

 

Family Devotion – September 13, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 7:31-37

See series: Devotions

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

“Quiet, please!” the teacher said. Suddenly all the talking in the classroom stopped. “Attention!” barked the army sergeant, and all the troops stopped what they were doing and stood perfectly still like statues. “Stop!” said the police officer who was directing traffic. All the people waited at the corner for cars to pass by and for the command to walk across the street.

There are a lot of people who have power and authority in their words. When they speak, people listen. When they say something, things happen. The coach tells her team what play to run. The teacher tells his students what they should do next. We respect and listen to people who are leaders because we know that their words are important.

This is even more true with Jesus! Did you hear his power today? Jesus said one word in his language—Ephphatha—and a man who couldn’t hear or speak suddenly was healed. Incredible!

But we shouldn’t be too surprised! This is what our God has always done. God simply spoke in the beginning, and he created the heavens and the earth. He spoke his promises, and they were always fulfilled. Then God came here in human flesh, and Jesus did the same. He spoke, and he calmed a storm. He spoke, and he healed people. He spoke, and he raised people from the dead. And best of all, Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross, and all our sins were paid for and the gates of heaven were opened for us. When God speaks, amazing things happen!

Since God’s words are powerful, true, and trustworthy, it is our joy as Christians to simply listen to God speak in his Word. We may have troubles and difficult things happen in our lives, but just like the man in the story, God comes to us and speaks words of power, love, and forgiveness. Trust God and his words. They are always powerful and always true!

Closing Prayer:

God, you have the power to heal both body and soul. Help me to trust what you say in your mighty Word. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did Jesus use his words to do in the story today?
  • Think of at least two amazing things has God done simply by speaking?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How do we know for sure that God’s Word is powerful?
  • If God’s Word is so powerful, what does that mean for our time in devotions, Bible studies, or church?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why doesn’t God need to perform miracles today like he did in this story?
  • God’s Word is more powerful than your words. Explain why that is comforting for Christians when we share our faith with other people.

Hymn: CW 353:1 – Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness

Praise the one who breaks the darkness With a liberating light;
Praise the one who frees the pris’ners, Turning blindness into sight.
Praise the one who preached the gospel, Healing ev’ry dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands With the Father’s word of peace.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Living for the Lord – Family Devotion – September 10, 2021

Read: Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:10,13-17

Living for the Lord

 

Family Devotion – September 10, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 6:10,13-17

See series: Devotions

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

What would Batman be without all of his cool tools and vehicles? What would Thor be without his hammer or Captain America without his shield? What would the Hulk be without his super size and super strength? What would Superman be without his powers? What would Iron Man be without his special suit? I think the answer to each question is pretty easy. What would they be? In trouble!

If superheroes or Avengers didn’t have their special powers, weapons, or protective armor, how could they fight against the bad guys? They wouldn’t have anything to fight with, and they wouldn’t have anything to protect themselves with. That would be dangerous and big trouble!

Christians are in danger when they don’t use their powers, weapons, or armor, too. No, you haven’t been secretly added to the Avengers or the Justice League. You are part of a bigger army—the army of God’s people. But watch out! Our enemy is more dangerous than any bad guy on TV or in the movies. The devil is our enemy, and he wants to steal you away from God and send you to hell forever.

But not to worry! The power, weapons, and armor we have can beat Satan any day! Did you hear what the verses for today said? We have the full armor of God! That means that we have all of God’s strength and power on our side! Remember that our God crushed Satan when he died for our sins on the cross. Remember that our God conquered death and hell when he rose from the dead. Jesus is the ultimate champion and superhero!

So what kinds of weapons and protection do we have from our awesome Savior God? The verses today told us. We have the truth of God’s Word close to us, like a belt around our waist. We have God’s righteousness and perfection like armor protecting our chest. We have our feet fitted and ready with the peace of Jesus that we can run and share with others. We have the shield of faith in Jesus to protect us from Satan’s attacks. We have the protective helmet of salvation, which is the knowledge that God has saved us from death. And, we have the powerful sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God to protect us and fight against Satan every day.

It may be a dangerous battle with the devil, but you are more ready than any superhero. You have God on your side! He will help you to stand firm and to be strong. He already won the battle at the cross and now he gives you his armor to protect you. Have no fear! God is on your side!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, you have already defeated sin, death, and the devil. Now protect me and keep me safe by your mighty power. 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 defeat the devil?
  • How does God keep us safe?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • If someone asked you to prove that sin, death, and the devil were defeated by Jesus, what would you say?
  • Name two ways you can use the armor of God in your life.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: Christians are not afraid of anything in this world. Explain your answer.
  • Describe times in your life when these verses might be comforting to you.

Hymn: CW 376:5-6 – Jesus, Your Blood and Righteousness

When from the dust of death I rise To claim my mansion in the skies,
E’en then this shall be all my plea: Jesus has lived and died for me.

Jesus, be worshiped endlessly! Your boundless mercy has for me,
For me and all your hands have made, An everlasting ransom paid.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Listen! – Family Devotion – September 8, 2021

Read: Deuteronomy 4:1,2,6-9

Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you. Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Deuteronomy 4:1,2,9

Listen!

 

Family Devotion – September 8, 2021

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 4:1,2,9

See series: Devotions

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

Henry was not happy. He lowered his head at his desk and was holding back the tears. He couldn’t believe what he saw on his history test—a big, red F. Meanwhile, Harriet next to him was nearly bouncing out of her chair. She couldn’t believe it either! Her test had a big, red A+ and a smiley face on it. They both sat through all the same classes together, but their grades were so different. What happened?

Well, Henry did not take history very seriously. Every day he drew silly pictures while the teacher talked instead of taking good notes. He heard what the teacher said, but he didn’t really listen to the teacher. Because he didn’t listen carefully, Henry remembered nothing on the test. He ended up leaving out some important information, and he even added some wrong things to the questions about Abraham Lincoln.

But Harriet did just the opposite. She knew that history class was very important. She listened very carefully and took notes so she would remember everything. She even reviewed and studied a little bit every day so that she would be ready for the test. Sure enough, Harriet passed the test easily because she listened, she was careful, and she remembered.

When it comes to God’s Word, are you more like Henry or more like Harriet?

Just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses gave them one final speech. He wanted to teach them to be like Harriet—to listen to God’s Word, to be careful, and to remember. Sadly, most of the Israelites were more like Henry. They heard what Moses said, but they didn’t really listen to him. They forgot many of God’s commands. They left out things in his Word and they added some of their own things. When it came to temptations and tests, they failed miserably and sinned. Many failed so badly they even fell away from God.

We can learn from the Israelites. It’s so important for us to hear God’s Word and listen carefully. That means that we listen to God’s commands, we talk about them, and we work on remembering to keep them. That means that we listen to the good news of God’s forgiveness for all of our sins, we talk about it regularly, and we encourage each other with that good news. Moses was right! It’s important to treasure God’s Word every day, and it’s important for parents to teach it to their children. When God’s Word is the center of your life, many blessings will follow! May God help us to hear his Word and to listen to it carefully.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, always open my ears to hear your Word and then open my heart and mind to listen to what you have to say. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • When are times that you can hear God’s Word?
  • Why do we want to listen carefully to God’s Word?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Describe the attitudes and behaviors of people who don’t listen to God’s Word.
  • Describe two ways that you can be a better listener to what God says.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: It’s not a big deal to miss going to church for a week or two here or there. Explain your answer.
  • When you grow older in life, how will you make God’s Word a regular part of your life?

Hymn: CW 376:3-4 – Jesus, Your Blood and Righteousness

Lord, I believe your precious blood, Which at the very throne of God
Forever will for sinners plead, For me—e’en for my soul—was shed.

Lord, I believe were sinners more Than sands upon the ocean shore,
You have for all a ransom paid, For all a full atonement made.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Clean in Christ – Family Devotion – September 6, 2021

Read: Mark 7:1-8,14,15,21-23

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”

He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Mark 7:14,15,20-23

Clean in Christ

 

Family Devotion – September 6, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 7:14,15,20-23

See series: Devotions

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

You know what’s gross? When people don’t wash their hands! Eww! Sometimes you might use chalk or paint or glitter and your fingers start to turn different colors. Other times hands get really dirty, like when you’re playing outside and you get mud everywhere, even under your fingernails. Could you imagine someone coming to dinner with hands like this—dirty, slimy, muddy hands—and then digging into a big bowl of watermelon without washing their hands? Eww!

It’s not just mud or paint that makes your hands dirty. Sometimes you can’t see what makes your hands dirty because they’re filled with germs. Imagine someone sneezing right into their hand and then wanting to shake your hand. Gross! Or how about a sick student coughing all over their hands and then touching everything at school—the desks, the books, the doors. Yuck! Bleh! Gross!

Some of the Jews in Jesus’ time were very serious about washing hands and other things. They weren’t really concerned about germs though. They did these things because they thought it made them more holy. They thought God would love them more because they did these special washings.

One day, when they asked Jesus why his disciples didn’t do this kind of special hand washing, Jesus told them how wrong they were. Jesus told them it is not dirt and mud that defiles a person (that means to make them dirty or unclean). Instead, it is what comes from the inside that makes a person unclean. It’s sin in us that makes us dirty in God’s sight. Our anger, our greed, our hatred, our mean words, our pride, and so much more—all of these make us so dirty that no water or soap could ever clean us.

Thankfully, Jesus could—and did! Jesus washed us clean himself. But he didn’t use soap or hand sanitizer. Jesus washed us clean with his own blood that he shed on the cross. He washed away every stain of sin and made us clean and pure in God’s sight. Even better, one day we will be with Jesus in heaven where we will be clean and holy forever! What a joy that will be!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for washing us clean in your own blood. Help me now to live a life that is pure and God-pleasing in your sight. 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 makes us dirty in God’s sight?
  • How do we become clean in God’s sight?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain what Jesus meant when he said that what is inside of us makes us dirty.
  • Explain the difference between having a dirty body and a dirty soul. Which is worse? Why?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why was it so dangerous for the Jews to be obsessed with the laws about hand washing? What were they missing?
  • When someone founds out that they are clean in Jesus, how might their life change and be different?

Hymn: CW 376:1-2 – Jesus, Your Blood and Righteousness

Jesus, your blood and righteousness My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Mid flaming worlds, in these arrayed, With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in that great day—Who can a word against me say?
Fully through you absolved I am From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Worth More than Anything – Family Devotion – September 3, 2021

Read: Hebrews 11:24-28

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
Hebrews 11:24-26

Worth More than Anything

 

Family Devotion – September 3, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:24-26

See series: Devotions

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

If you could have anything and everything you ever wanted, would you take it? What if you had so much money you could buy anything you want—like big screen TVs and every game system, or a new bike every day, or even your own personal llama! What if you could do anything you want at any time, and no one could ever stop you? Would that be amazingly awesome? Or maybe, possibly, do you think that could be amazingly awful?

If you could have anything you want or do anything you want, do you think you might become greedy? Is it possible that your heart would love money and possessions too much? Do you think you might do some sinful things? Is it possible that you might be led away from God?

This might seem like an impossible situation for us, but this was a real-life situation for Moses. Moses had been adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Moses could have bought anything he ever wanted. He could have done anything he ever wanted. No one could stop him because he was in the king’s palace. He could have been rich and powerful. And yet, Moses chose not to take all of that. Instead, he chose to be treated badly along with his fellow Israelite people.

Why would Moses do that? The Bible writer to the Hebrews gives us two reasons. First, he says that Moses chose to be with God’s people instead of all the pleasures of sin. All that money and power would have led him away from God, not closer to God. Then the writer says this, “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” This means that Moses understood that God had something better to offer. The treasures that God offers are much better than king’s clothing or a king’s palace or riches and power. God offers the riches of his love as our heavenly Father. God offers all of his power as he protects us and provides for us. God offers us the riches of eternal life in heaven. What could ever be better than all that?

It might be very easy to look at all the things of the world around us and to wish that we had what other people have. “If only I had more money . . . If only I was famous,” we might think. But today we learn a valuable lesson from the Bible and from Moses. God gave us the greatest treasure of all—Jesus our Savior. Through Jesus we have endless spiritual riches here and in heaven. And that is worth more than anything!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to stay away from the sins of this world. Instead, lead me to follow you. Fill me with your love that I may 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

  • Why could Moses have had anything or done anything if he wanted?
  • What did Moses consider to be more valuable than worldly things?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do money and possessions often lead people away from God?
  • Explain why Jesus is more valuable than anything here in this world.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What things in this world do you think Satan might use try and lead you away from Jesus? Explain your answers.
  • If God blesses you with children one day, how would you teach them that Jesus is more important than worldly things?

Hymn: CW 506:1,4-5 – Oh, Bless the House, Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Blest such a house; it prospers well.
In peace and joy the parents dwell,
And in their children’s lives is shown
How richly God can bless his own.

Then here will I and mine today
A solemn promise make and say:
Though all the world forsake his Word,
I and my house will serve the Lord!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email