My Baptism Helps Me to Put God First – Family Devotion – July 17, 2020

Read: Romans 6:1b-11

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Romans 6:1-4

My Baptism Helps Me to Put God First


Family Devotion – July 17, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 6:1-4

See series: Devotions

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

Listen carefully to the following:

First, is Joey. Joey peeked around the corner. No one was looking. He quickly grabbed two candy bars and stuffed them into his pockets. “What are you doing?” Sydney asked. “No one saw me,” Joey said, “And it’s OK. God will forgive me anyways.”

Second is Quincy. Quincy knew that his mom wouldn’t be home for another 30 minutes, so he quickly got on the computer to use it for things that were wrong and sinful. “Mom would be so mad . . . but at least God will love me,” he told himself.

Third is Deanna. Deanna just loved to talk about other people. When she was little she always liked to “tell” on her friends at recess. Now in high school, she loved to talk badly about people at lunch or in text messages. One time, a friend said, “But aren’t you a Christian?” Deanna replied, “Yes I am. That means I’m forgiven, and it doesn’t matter.”

Do you see how confused Joey, Quincy, and Deanna are? They think that because God is loving and forgiving, they can do anything they want—including sinful things. Because they thought their actions didn’t matter, they started putting worldly things and sinful desires in front of God in their hearts.

Today the apostle Paul helps us to think clearly about this. He asks, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” In other words, should I keep doing sinful things because God will forgive me anyways? His loud and clear answer is, “By no means!” Absolutely not!

The reason Paul tells us that we don’t live this way is because of something special that has happened. We are baptized! When we were baptized, God connected us to Jesus who lived and died for us. That means all our sins were washed away! But God also connected us to Jesus’s resurrection when we were baptized. That means that just as Jesus rose to life, he gives us a new life as his dear children when we are baptized.

If God loves us this much and has given us so many blessings in Jesus, should we just sin some more and do whatever we want? By no means! Instead, we show thanks to God for his love by living as God’s children. That means we live “a new life,” a life of love for him and for other people. What a joy to be God’s child! He gave his life for me, now I can live my life for him!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I am so thankful that I have been baptized into your name. In love, you made me your own dear child. Now help me to live my life in love for you and for 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

  • As a family, talk about your baptisms. What were they like? What memories do you have? What made them special?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What makes us want to live a life of love for God and for other people?
  • What is it that makes baptism so powerful?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Evaluate this statement: Now that I am forgiven and freed from sin, I can live however I want.
  • Identify all the ways that baptism is similar to or different from the concept of adopting a child into a family.

Hymn: CW 391:1,4,6 – God Loved the World So that He Gave

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

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

Glory to God the Father, Son, And Holy Spirit, Three in One!
To you, O blessed Trinity, Be praise now and eternally!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Blesses Those Who Put him First – Family Devotion – July 15, 2020

Read: Exodus 32:15-29

Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”
Exodus 32:29

God Blesses Those Who Put him First


Family Devotion – July 15, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 32:29

See series: Devotions

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

None of her teammates could understand it. Some of them were even a little angry. “Julia is going to miss another game?” The volleyball team had games on Sunday mornings every now and then. After a couple years together as a team, they found that Julia never came to Sunday games. It’s not that Julia didn’t love her teammates or volleyball. She loved them and volleyball a lot! Julia just loved God more.

For Julia and her family, this was never a hard choice. Where they lived, they didn’t have any other options for church—their church only had one service on Sunday morning. Julia’s family determined that they would never let anything stop them from worshiping the Lord regularly.

Julia did miss out on some fun with friends and volleyball now and then. She even missed a few big games over the years. But what her team didn’t understand was how greatly Julia was blessed in other ways. Every week her faith was strengthened as God came to her in church with the good news of his forgiveness. Every week she was assured in worship how much Jesus loves her. Julia grew in faith, in her knowledge of the Bible, and she grew to be a strong Christian along with her fellow church members. God blessed Julia in many ways because she put him first.

The Israelites did not always do a very good job of putting God first in their hearts. In fact, even after all the miracles that God performed when he led them out of Egypt, they still decided to build a golden calf and worship that idol instead. God was very angry. However, in the story for today we hear about a few Israelites who did put God first in their hearts—yes, even before their own sons and brothers. It was a very difficult choice, but Moses told these people that God was going to bless them so much because of it.

What things do you love? Football, volleyball, or another sport? Video games? School? (Yes, some people actually like school!) Do you love your toys? Your phone? Your family or best friend? God gives many blessings that he allows us to enjoy. It’s good to love these kinds of things—just not more than God.

Think of ways that you can put God first in your heart. Make church a priority for your family. Read your Bible before playing video games or looking at a phone or iPad. Pray before meals and before bed. When you do these things, you are putting God first. And amazingly, God is so good and gracious that he promises he will bless you when you do it!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me find ways to love you and your Word more than anything else. Thank you for blessing me when 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

  • What are things that you love to do or to play with?
  • Why should we love God more than these things?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What is the First Commandment?
  • How can loving things like money or video games or family turn into breaking the First Commandment?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or Disagree: It is sinful to miss church on a weekend because of a sports game. Explain your answer.
  • Evaluate this situation: A family is really busy all the time. They have school, practices, games, and every now and then fun family things. They barely have any free time ever. In order to keep their sanity, the family sleeps in on Sundays about once a month to get some rest.

Hymn: CW 391:1,3 – God Loved the World So that He Gave

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

God would not have the sinner die—His Son with saving grace is nigh.
His Spirit in the Word does teach How we the blessed goal may reach.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Teaches Us to Love him Above all Things – Family Devotion – July 13, 2020

Read: Matthew 10:34-42

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:37-39

Jesus Teaches Us to Love him Above all Things


Family Devotion – July 13, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:37-39

See series: Devotions

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

Silas runs down the hallway, bursts through a doorway, leaps into the air, and lands perfectly on his hands and feet—just like Spiderman would. Silas doesn’t ever want to go to bed without his Spiderman pillow, blanket, and jammies either.

Mom comes in to turn on the night light for Silas and tuck him in tight like a spider in a web. “I love you to the moon and back, my dear. Have a good sleep.” Silas replied, “Mommy, I love you more than anything . . . more than AN-Y-THING . . . I love you more than anything in the whole wide world!”

Is Silas the most adorable mini superhero ever? Quite possibly. But is Silas talking the way Jesus would want us to talk? Not really.

This week we are going to spend some time thinking about how Christians want to put God first in their hearts. That might sound easy. “Of course I love God!” we say. But today Jesus speaks some very difficult words for us to understand. Jesus teaches us that if we truly have God first in our hearts, that means that we will love him more than our parents or grandparents, our children or grandchildren, our best friends, and yes, even more than Spiderman.

Does God want you to love your family and friends? Yes! He does! Does God want people like Silas and his mom to love each other so very much? Absolutely! But God does not want any of those people to come before him.

Take a moment to think about how God has put you first in his heart. All of us have sinned against God in so many ways. Yet God sent his Son Jesus to this world to suffer and die for you. Jesus set aside the glory of heaven for a while so that you could have the glory of heaven. How amazing that “God so loved the world” so much that he would allow us to become his dear children!

Jesus wants you to know that love. And when we know that love of God, what a joy it can be to love him first and best in our hearts. And you know what? When we love God with our whole heart, he will help us to love our family and friends in just the right way. Thank you, Lord for your love!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, you have given me many special people in my life—family and friends. Help me to love them so much, but to love you the most. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Who are the people in this world that you love the most?
  • What do you love about Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When you are older, what might you be tempted to love more than God?
  • Why do you think it is so difficult to love God more than everything else?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Evaluate this common statement by parents about their children: “I just love them so much—they are my whole world!”
  • Explain why your parents, your best friends, your spouse, or your children are the ones Satan might tempt you the most to love more than God.

Hymn: CW 391:1,2 – God Loved the World So that He Gave

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

Christ is the solid rock of faith, Who was made flesh and suffered death.
All who confide in him alone Are built on this chief cornerstone.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Gives Us Courage to Share His Word – Family Devotion – July 10, 2020

Read: Acts 23:1-11

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”
Acts 23:11

Jesus Gives Us Courage to Share His Word


Family Devotion – July 10, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 23:11

See series: Devotions

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

Morgan was so nervous. She was tossing and turning in bed. She tried counting sheep, counting her stuffed animals, even counting to a thousand. Morgan still couldn’t sleep because she knew that the next day was going to be hard!

Some of Morgan’s friends were going to hang out and sleep over that next day. But Morgan determined that it was finally time for them to have a big talk. She was going to tell her friends that she knew they were not making very good choices. They had been doing things that were not very God-pleasing, and Morgan was finally going to tell them that it was wrong. She loved them so much but wanted them to do what God says is right.

But what if they wouldn’t listen? What if they got angry? What if they left the sleepover and never wanted to be friends again?

Sometimes speaking the truth about God’s Word can be very difficult. Even family or friends may not want to hear what God says at times. But because we love others like God loves us, we still want to share the truth with them—even if it may be scary.

Today we have an amazing example in the apostle Paul. He was rejected, beaten, hurt, and put in prison many times. In Acts 23, Paul was boldly preaching about Jesus despite being on trial and in trouble again. However, his own Jewish people didn’t want to listen to him and put him in jail for the night. How frustrating and sad! But that night, Jesus appeared to Paul and told him, “Take courage!” Paul could be brave because Jesus was going to be with him and bless his preaching. They weren’t going to listen to Paul in Jerusalem, but soon he would go and preach far away in Rome!

It is very sad when other people don’t listen to what God has to say. Sometimes it hurts us very much to see loved ones reject Jesus. But even though it can be tough, God also tells us, “Take courage!” We can be bold and brave when we share God’s Word because Jesus will be with us and will bless our message in just the right way.

So Christian friends, keep sharing God’s truth! Some may listen, some may not. But Jesus will always be with us and bless our work, so take courage and boldly share his Word!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, sometimes I’m afraid to share your Word with other people. Help me to be bold and give me courage to share the good news about you with anyone and everyone! Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Do you know someone that doesn’t know Jesus? Discuss together as a family people you might know.
  • Why is it so important for other people to know Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • As you continue to grow older, where are places that you think you could talk to others about Jesus?
  • What made Paul so eager and so brave to share the good news of Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What is the scariest thing about sharing the good news of Jesus? Can you think of promises from God that could help you?
  • How could someone use technology or social media to share about Jesus?

Hymn: CW 542:1,3 – Dear Lord, to Your True Servants Give

Dear Lord, to your true servants give
The grace to you alone to live.
Set free from sin to serve you, Lord,
They go to share your living Word,
The gospel message to proclaim
That all may know your saving name.

When all their labor seems in vain,
Revive their sinking hopes again;
And when success crowns what they do,
Oh, keep them humble, Lord, and true
Until before your judgment seat
They lay their trophies at your feet.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Lord is With Us When We Share His Word – Family Devotion – July 8, 2020

Read: Jeremiah 20:7-13

But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.
Jeremiah 20:11

The Lord is With Us When We Share His Word


Family Devotion – July 8, 2020

Devotion based on Jeremiah 20:11

See series: Devotions

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

Tiny Tony thought he was the best little basketball player in the entire neighborhood. Even though he was in kindergarten, he would run up to much bigger kids and say, “I can beat you! I can beat you all!”

One day Tony went to the park with his dad and got his wish—a basketball game with all the neighborhood big kids. “We’re going to win! I know it!” he boasted. Sure enough, tiny Tony went home that day feeling at the top of his game because his team did win—and they won by a lot!

However, Tony was too young to understand or realize what really had happened. Tony’s dad was tall, strong, and athletic and had played basketball in college. The entire game Tony’s dad was quietly making sure that Tony was going to win, playing great defense and offense for him. Actually, Tony didn’t have much to do with the big win at all. His big, strong dad had done all the work for him!

Today we hear some words from the prophet Jeremiah. He had a very difficult job. He was very young when he started preaching, and every time he preached, he found that he was outnumbered—everyone was against him! In this chapter of Jeremiah, he had even been hurt by others and put in jail!

But just as Jeremiah started to become frustrated, he remembered whose team he was on—God’s! God is not just strong and athletic though. He is the all-powerful and almighty God who made all things and rules over all things. That’s why Jeremiah said that, “The LORD is with me like a mighty warrior.” Jeremiah knew that God was on his side and would fight for him, and that meant Jeremiah would win and his enemies would fail.

Sometimes it may feel like nothing is going our way, or even that everyone is against us as Christians. But remember who is on your team—the mighty God of all! Not only does he rule over all things that he made, but he also crushed in defeat our greatest enemy, the devil. God fought for us on Calvary and won the victory over Satan and this world. This mighty Savior God will be with you just as he was with Jeremiah. And one day, he will bring you from this difficult life to the victory celebration of heaven. What good news! No one can beat us with God on our side because we have already won with Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, when I feel sad or alone, remind me that you are always with me. Give me strength to endure every challenge knowing that you have already given to me the victory 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

  • Why was Jeremiah frustrated and sad about his preaching?
  • How has God shown us that he has more strength than anyone, even the devil?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Can you think of other people in the Bible besides Jeremiah who had difficult times preaching God’s Word?
  • Why do so many people get angry when we simply want to tell them about Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is it a fitting picture to describe God as a mighty warrior?
  • Explain why we can say with Jeremiah that we will always win and our enemies will always fail, even if we may be persecuted or even die for our faith.

Hymn: CW 542:1,2 – Dear Lord, to Your True Servants Give

Dear Lord, to your true servants give
The grace to you alone to live.
Set free from sin to serve you, Lord,
They go to share your living Word,
The gospel message to proclaim
That all may know your saving name.

They gladly go at your command
To spread your Word o’er sea and land.
Be with them, Lord, and make them strong
To heal sin’s ills, to right the wrong.
Your rule is over wind and wave,
And mighty is your arm to save.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Don’t Be Afraid to Share God’s Word – Family Devotion – July 6, 2020

Read: Matthew 10:24-33

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:28-30

Don’t Be Afraid to Share God’s Word


Family Devotion – July 6, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:28-30

See series: Devotions

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

“Leave me alone!” The loud voice came from somewhere inside the house, but Megan couldn’t see anyone. After a few awkward moments, Megan finally saw a man’s eyes peeking through the window blinds. Then she heard the voice again. “Go away and never come back!” the man screamed through the window.

Megan walked away a bit shaken and shocked. She had decided to go out with some of her school friends to help pass out fliers for her church. It seemed like a nice way to enjoy the outdoors and share information about Jesus. This is what he wants us to do anyways, isn’t it? Megan didn’t think everyone would be interested, but she certainly didn’t expect to be screamed at and chased away from a house! She wondered if she should stop and go back home.

Jesus’ disciples were also afraid. Jesus was sending them out to get some practice sharing the good news of God’s love and forgiveness. But what if people wouldn’t listen to them? What if some people got angry and shouted at them? Jesus knew what his disciples were thinking, and he knew that it wouldn’t be easy for them. After all, if some people reject Jesus, they will probably reject Jesus’ disciples, too.

But listen to the precious words that Jesus spoke to his disciples then and to us now. “Do not be afraid,” Jesus said. Some may be angry or upset when we share God’s Word with them. They might even want to hurt our bodies. But no person can ever hurt or harm our soul. That is under God’s watchful care and protection.

Think about it this way: Jesus said that our heavenly Father knows and cares about what happens even to the smallest sparrow or bird. So wouldn’t God also care for you? Aren’t you more valuable than a sparrow?

The answer is most definitely, YES! You are so valuable because Jesus himself gave his life to pay for your sins and give you eternal life in heaven. You are precious to God! But you know what? Jesus died for everyone, and others need to know that too. So be confident in God’s love and care for you, and do not be afraid to share that love with others! God will help you every step of the way!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I am so glad to know that you watch over me and love me so much. Now watch over me and give me courage as I share your love 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

  • Why were the disciples afraid to go out and share God’s Word with others?
  • How do we know that we are loved so much and valuable to our heavenly Father?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What might make sharing God’s Word with others scary at times?
  • Why is it so important for us to be bold and courageous in sharing God’s Word with all people?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Have you been in a situation when you felt uncomfortable letting your light shine with your words or actions? What happened? How did you feel? What could you have done differently?
  • Identify at least five different opportunities, times, or places that you might be able to share God’s Word now or as you grow older.

Hymn: CW 542:1 – Dear Lord, to Your True Servants Give

Dear Lord, to your true servants give
The grace to you alone to live.
Set free from sin to serve you, Lord,
They go to share your living Word,
The gospel message to proclaim
That all may know your saving name.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Love Saves Sinners – Family Devotion – July 3, 2020

Read: Romans 5:6-11

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:6

God’s Love Saves Sinners


Family Devotion – July 3, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 5:6

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever been stranded? Maybe your car went into the ditch on a snowy road, and you had to wait for someone to arrive and pull you out. Maybe a flat tire left you stranded on the shoulder of a busy interstate with no spare. Maybe Dad or Mom forgot to pick you up from practice or a friend’s house. If you’ve ever been stranded, you know it can be a pretty helpless feeling. You might be far from home. You might even be in a bit of danger. There isn’t a whole lot you can do about it but wait for someone to come save you.

We realize what an awesome God we have when we are reminded how helpless we are to save ourselves. Paul writes, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” When we come into this world, by nature we are stuck spiritually speaking. We are stranded and powerless. There isn’t anything we can do to reach out to God.

So God, in his great love, reaches out to us. Into a world so undeserving of his love, God sent Jesus—the One and only One who deserves his love. Jesus himself said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus had all the “tools” necessary to save us. Perfect words, perfect attitudes, perfect kindness, perfect contentment, perfect patience. He did all the work necessary to save us—living, dying, rising, ascending.

But God didn’t stop there. He came to you personally through his Word and baptism to bring you faith. Today he gives people who love you enough to tell you more about God, so that your faith can grow and become even stronger.

When your car is stuck, and you are stranded somewhere at night, it’s a pretty amazing feeling to see the headlights of your “rescue” vehicle pull up behind you. You were stranded. But help has arrived! You are safe. Think of that when you remember Jesus and what he has done. You were stranded. But because of God’s great love for you, help has arrived. In Jesus, you are safe.

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, Helper of the helpless, we’re so glad and thankful that you came to save us. Lead many more to know that you are their help and Savior, 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

  • How might someone feel if they are stuck or stranded?
  • What did Jesus do to help us when we were stuck and helpless spiritually?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain why it could only be grace—undeserved love—that led Jesus to come and save us.
  • Why is it so critical for us to tell other people about Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Evaluate this statement: When we live how God wants, we are paying him back for what he has done for us.
  • Identify three practical ways that you can show thanks to God for his love this week.

Hymn: CW 576:3 – Spread, Oh, Spread the Mighty Word

Tell of our Redeemer’s love,
Who forever does remove
By his holy sacrifice
All the guilt that on us lies.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Love for Sinners is Undeserved – Family Devotion – July 1, 2020

Read: Exodus 19:2-8a

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

God’s Love for Sinners is Undeserved


Family Devotion – July 1, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 19:5

See series: Devotions

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

“Are we there yet?” When was the last time you said that on a family car trip? Did you make it even 15 minutes before you asked? Those long car trips can be great bonding time, providing family memories for years to come. But they can also produce some fighting, complaining, or threats from dad or mom to “turn this car around and head home!”

We might wonder if Moses ever thought of “turning the van around” as he led the children of Israel on the way to the Promised Land. The Bible tells us often how they would grumble and argue and complain. Didn’t they know how wonderful their destination would be? Moses must have been so frustrated!

But if Moses had good reasons to be frustrated, God had even more. He was the one they were grumbling, quarreling, and complaining about. Essentially they were saying that God shouldn’t have brought them out into the wilderness, where they struggled with food and conditions they didn’t like. And they did all this complaining after God delivered them from slavery in Egypt!

God would’ve had every right to leave them in the desert and abandon them. But he didn’t! By his grace, he promised them his love and forgiveness. God told them this: “If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.” We might look at all this and wonder, “Why would God do that? They sure didn’t deserve his kindness!” That’s true, but could we wonder the same thing about ourselves?

God deserves and demands perfect obedience. We grumble, quarrel, and complain too. We deserve nothing from him but eternal abandonment to hell. But God doubles down on his love and care. He not only in grace gives us food and clothes and home and family—he most importantly gives us Jesus, the one who gave us his perfect obedience, paid for our sins, and won us heaven. Today, our God carries us on eagle’s wings. Today, we are his treasured possession. Not because of how awesome we are, but because of how awesome God is!

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, gracious God, for your mercy and undeserved love. Give us grateful hearts that do not complain or quarrel, and help us to show mercy and undeserved love to the people around us as well. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What were some of the miraculous things that God did for the children of Israel when he delivered them from Egypt “on eagles’ wings”?
  • Name some of the undeserved blessings that God gives to you.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Recall a time when you didn’t get treated as you deserved—for example, a time when you deserved to be punished but were shown grace instead. How did you feel afterwards?
  • What kinds of things can we do to show that we are grateful for God’s undeserved love?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Compare and contrast our lives and relationship with God today to that of the children of Israel.
  • Agree or Disagree: Considering what God had done for them, the complaining of the Israelites was worse than our complaining today. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 576:2 – Spread, Oh, Spread the Mighty Word

Tell them how the Father’s will
Made the world and keeps it still,
How his only Son he gave
All from sin and death to save.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Sends Helpers to Proclaim His Love – Family Devotion – June 29, 2020

Read: Matthew 9:35-10:8

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Matthew 10:1

God Sends Helpers to Proclaim His Love


Family Devotion – June 29, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:1

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever had a classroom job? Maybe you were the calendar person who wrote the day and date on the marker board each morning, or maybe it was your job to get everybody’s milk from the milk cooler at snack time. Maybe it was your job to stack the chairs on the tables at the end of the day so that the floors could be cleaned or to be “line leader” when the class headed outside for recess.

Could your teachers have done all those jobs themselves? Sure. They could have written on a marker board or stacked up chairs. So why did they ask for helpers? Well, maybe it was to give them a few less jobs to have to do—teachers have a lot of work! But maybe they also realized that you would gain something from helping. You would learn responsibility and ownership of something valuable—your education. You would get to be a part of something important—making your classroom run smoothly.

Jesus found helpers for himself during his life on this earth, too. You know them as “the disciples.” Peter, James, John, Andrew, Thomas, and all the rest. Could Jesus have done all the work of sharing the good news of God’s love by himself? Sure. (After all, he DID calm storms, change water into wine, and raise people from the dead without help.) If Jesus didn’t need help, why did he send the disciples to share the Word?

It is true that he had a lot of work to do—and a short period of time to do it. There were a lot of people who needed to hear the good news! Jesus knew that the disciples would gain something helping. Jesus’ helpers learned the responsibility of something valuable. They got to be a part of something really important—telling others the good news about the Savior!

Jesus still sends out his helpers to share the good news of his love today. Every time a pastor shares God’s Word with the people at his church, he gets to be one of Jesus’ helpers. Every time a teacher shares a Bible story with the children in her class, she gets to be one of Jesus’ helpers. Every time you invite someone to church or tell a friend that Jesus loves them, you are a helper. Being a helper is not something anyone earns. It’s a special job that Jesus gives us because he is kind and merciful. We can always be thankful that Jesus uses us to bring the good news to others.

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, Jesus, for sending us and others to tell about you. Give us strength for this job and joy in this work. 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

  • There were 12 disciples listed in the reading. How many can you name?
  • Do you think that you could be a pastor or a teacher in a Lutheran school as your job? Why or why not?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What things would make being a pastor or teacher hard? What things would bring joy? (If you’re unsure, maybe you could ask a pastor or teacher!)
  • How can you serve as Jesus’ helper, sharing the good news, even if you are not a pastor or teacher?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Identify three reasons it is a blessing for Jesus to use different people with different backgrounds to share his good news with others.
  • Agree or Disagree: Pastors and teachers have more opportunities to share their faith than lay church members. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 576:1 – Spread, Oh, Spread the Mighty Word

Spread, oh, spread the mighty Word;
Spread the kingdom of the Lord
Ev’rywhere his breath has giv’n
Life to beings meant for heav’n.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Mercy is for Sinners Like Paul and Me – Family Devotion – June 26, 2020

Read: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:15-16

God’s Mercy is for Sinners Like Paul and Me


Family Devotion – June 26, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 1:15-16

See series: Devotions

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

“If you want it, you gotta earn it!”

Maybe that’s what a parent says to get you to clean your room, feed a pet, take out the garbage, or help out around the house. If you help, there will be a reward.

“If you want it, you gotta earn it.” Can you imagine your pastor saying that as he tells you about Jesus’ love, God’s forgiveness, and eternal life in heaven? If you want them, you gotta earn them? I sure hope not! Because that’s definitely not what the Bible says! God does not give us those things because of who we are or what we do. He gives them because of Jesus. He loves us even when we are at our worst. He forgives us even when we find it hard to forgive ourselves or each other. God wants us to be with him in heaven even in the moment we feel a million miles apart from him.

In today’s verse, the apostle Paul points to himself as an example of someone God showed mercy. Listen: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” Paul doesn’t say “I was the worst.” (But now I’m so much better.) He says, “I am the worst!” (Like right now, even today!) Paul understood the bad we all have in our thinking and our talking. They are with us every single day in our hearts. Paul’s right. I am the worst.

Yet, Paul experienced the amazing mercy of God! God used him as an example that:

  • Jesus came to save sinners—like Paul and like you!
  • God’s love is not for sale, but freely offered.
  • Forgiveness is not earned but received through Jesus’ cross.
  • Heaven is really open and really for you!

Even when we are at our worst, God is always at his best. Marvel at the mercy of God for you!

Closing Prayer:

God be merciful to me, a sinner. In thankful response to your mercy in Christ, move me to be patient and kinder to the people around 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

  • Why did Paul say that he was the worst?
  • Who earned God’s love for us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What’s the difference between Paul saying, “I am the worst of sinners” and “I was the worst of sinners”?
  • What are some ways that we can show mercy to the members of our family like God showed mercy to us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Think of examples in life where “you gotta earn it.” How does that mess people up when it comes to being right with God?
  • What are some examples of God’s mercy and grace that we see and hear in church when we worship?

Hymn: CW 596:3 – Let Me Be Yours Forever

O gracious Holy Spirit,
My comforter and guide,
Grant that in Jesus’ merit
I always may confide,
Him to the end confessing
Whom I have known by faith.
Give me your constant blessing
And grant a Christian death.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Mercy is for Sinners Like Moses and Me – Family Devotion – June 24, 2020

Read: Exodus 3:1-15

Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you.”
Exodus 3:11-12

God’s Mercy is for Sinners Like Moses and Me


Family Devotion – June 24, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 3:11-12

See series: Devotions

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

In what ways is your life different from the lives of people who lived in Bible days? You live in a different part of the world, most likely. You speak a different language than they did. Your clothes are different from the clothes they wore. They didn’t eat mac and cheese, pizza, or burgers. They didn’t have electricity—so no Wi-Fi, tablets, or cell phones. No cars, no swing sets, no Little League. It may seem like we have absolutely nothing in common with the people who lived in Bible days.

I bet that you weren’t put in a basket and floated in the reeds of the Nile River when you were a baby, were you? So you might think that you and Moses have nothing in common. But have you ever been scared? Didn’t think you were good enough? Didn’t really want to do the thing that God wanted you to do? You and Moses have something in common after all.

When God called Moses to be the leader of the children of Israel, Moses realized what a big and serious job that was. He was scared and didn’t think he was good enough. He said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He didn’t think he was right man for the job. But the thing is . . . God told Moses that he was the right man for the job. Being scared and hesitant isn’t a sin. But telling God he’s wrong sure is!

At that point God could have crumpled Moses up like a piece of paper and started over with someone else. He could have exploded in rolling black clouds of anger, with thunder and lightning bolts all around. But God didn’t. Instead he showed Moses mercy. He promised to go with him. He gave Moses signs that would show God’s power. He even promised to send Aaron, Moses’ brother, to help him. What a patient and kind God Moses had.

What a patient and kind God we have! Don’t misunderstand. It’s never okay to tell God that he’s wrong, no matter how difficult what he’s asking us to do. God says, “I will be with you.” He holds our hand when we’re scared, and he promises he always will be with us. He sends people to help us do the right thing. He will treat us with patience and mercy, just like he treated Moses.

Closing Prayer:

Your mercies are new every morning, gracious God. Every day we need them. Treat us with patience in our weakness, not because we are worthy, but because of Jesus, your perfect Son, our Savior. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • God told Moses he would be leader of his people. What did Moses answer?
  • Why do you think Moses was scared to do the important work God had for him?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The opposite of being scared is being overly confident in our abilities. Which do you struggle with more—being afraid or being too bold? Why did you answer the way that you did?
  • Moses used excuses like being slow of speech to try to avoid answering God’s call. Come up with three excuses we use when we’re hesitant to do something difficult that God has asked us to do.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Think of a time when you were overwhelmed by task you faced. What promises does God give you to remember in that moment?
  • Think of a time when Jesus was overwhelmed by the task in front of him. How did he handle that situation?

Hymn: CW 596:2 – Let Me Be Yours Forever

Lord Jesus, my salvation,
My light, my life divine,
My only consolation,
To you I all resign,
For you have dearly bought me
With blood and bitter pain.
Let me, since you have sought me,
Eternal life obtain.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Mercy is for Sinners Like Matthew and Me – Family Devotion – June 22, 2020

Read: Matthew 9:10-12

Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
Matthew 9:12

God’s Mercy is for Sinners Like Matthew and Me


Family Devotion – June 22, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 9:12

See series: Devotions

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

Do you have ranidaphobia? That’s a fear of frogs. Maybe you have chronomentrophobia? Fear of clocks. If you suffer from iatrophobia, you have . . . anyone? It’s a fear of going to the doctor.

Sometimes people are afraid of going to the doctor. But it’s important that we do, especially when we’re sick. The doctor can tell us what’s wrong. He can prescribe medicine that will help us feel better.

Did you know Jesus was a doctor? Not a doctor with a white lab coat and a stethoscope. Jesus is a doctor for our souls. That’s what he says in God’s Word for us today.

One of the things the Bible teaches us is that we are all sick. Not “body sick” but soul sick with a disease called sin. What are its symptoms? Getting angry and throwing a fit when it’s not appropriate. Sassing mom or dad. Saying bad things about our classmates.

While hearing the news that you’re sick is not usually a good thing, in this case it is. People who are soul sick are exactly the ones Jesus is looking for. He’s not only the doctor. He’s also the medicine that cures us. His holy precious blood seeks out our sin, finds it, and erases it once and for all in God’s sight.

It’s pretty awesome that the doctor, Jesus, wants to see and hear from us! Matthew and his friends were not a very popular group. Others looked down on them and tried to keep them at a distance. But Jesus didn’t run away from them. Jesus shows mercy to the outcasts, the losers, and the spiritually sick. He shows mercy to you and me. There are many things in this world that make us afraid. But we do not need to be afraid to stand before God on Judgment Day. Why? Because Jesus stands there with us.

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, Great Physician, for providing a cure for all my sins. Help me to be kind and show mercy to everyone. 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 were the Pharisees upset?
  • How did Jesus show love and mercy to Matthew and his friends?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How can you tell when you are sin-sick?
  • How is Jesus both the doctor and the cure for sin?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Someone might be afraid to go see a doctor. Why do you think someone might be afraid to go see Jesus, our spiritual doctor?
  • The Pharisees were respected and popular people. While popularity by itself isn’t a bad thing, name three ways that popularity might be bad for our spiritual health. (Examples: We may only listen to our own thoughts but ignore Jesus’ words. A popular person doesn’t automatically make him/her a truthful person. Even popular people can be spiritually sick . . . they just might not know it because they don’t know Jesus. Scary!)

Hymn: CW 596:1 – Let Me Be Yours Forever

Let me be yours forever,
My faithful God and Lord;
Let me forsake you never
Nor wander from your Word.
Lord, do not let me waver
But give me steadfastness,
And for such grace and favor
Your holy name I’ll bless.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Proclaim the Truth about Sin and Grace – Family Devotion – June 19, 2020

Read: Romans 3:21-25a, 27-28

There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:22b-24

We Proclaim the Truth about Sin and Grace


Family Devotion – June 19, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 3:22b-24

See series: Devotions

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

In so many ways, we are all different. We live in different places. We have different families. We have different gifts and abilities. We have different likes and dislikes. We like or dislike different foods. We have different backgrounds, different cultures, different schools. We even look different. But the apostle Paul begins our devotion like this, “There is no difference . . .”

Why would Paul say that if we are all different in so many ways? Paul explains, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . .”? All have sinned? All have fallen short? Yes, all of us have disobeyed God. None of us have been perfect. None of us have perfectly listened to our parents or teachers. None of us have perfectly loved our brothers, sisters, friends, classmates, or neighbors. God tells us in his Word that we must be as perfect as he is. The problem is, we aren’t perfect all the time. All of us have fallen short, from the newest newborn to the oldest adult. No matter who we are, where we come from, or what we look like, none of us have been that perfect.

That means we all deserve punishment for our sins, eternal, forever punishment. Yet God loved us with a love that none of us deserved. We call that “grace”—God’s undeserved love that caused him to send Jesus to be our Savior. Paul describes it this way. We “are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

“Justified” and “redemption” are big words but really important. He “redeemed” us. He bought us back by facing our punishment in our place. By doing that, we are “justified.” Like a judge in a courtroom, God has declared us “not guilty” because Jesus suffered in our place. That becomes ours through faith in Jesus. Now God looks at you and me “just as if we had never sinned,” all because of Jesus.

We are all different in so many ways, but we are all more alike than we think. We have all sinned. We have all fallen short of being holy like God. Yet we are all loved by our God, who sent his Son to rescue us. We can all rejoice in this: Christ has paid for all the sins of all!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, your love for me led you to take my place. Thank you for living perfectly for me. Thank you for dying for me. Help me to live each day as your redeemed child. 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 are we all different? How are we all alike?
  • What is God’s grace?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean to be “justified freely by his grace”?
  • Define redemption.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How does knowing that we have all sinned help you to understand yourself and other people around you?
  • How does knowing that Jesus has paid for the sins of all people impact how you look at other people no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they look like?

Hymn: CW 382:1,4 – My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare to make no other claim but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

When he shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in him be found,
Clothed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before his throne.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Are Blessed When We Focus on the Word – Family Devotion – June 17, 2020

Read: Deuteronomy 11:18-21, 26-28

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds.
Deuteronomy 11:18a

We Are Blessed When We Focus on the Word


Family Devotion – June 17, 2020

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 11:18a

See series: Devotions

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

“Does anyone know where the remote is?” It was family movie night, and no one could find the remote control. They searched high and low. They checked between the cushions of the couch. They checked underneath everything and behind furniture. The family checked everywhere, but no one could find the remote control.

While Mom and Dad tried to figure out how to show the movie without the remote, Grace went into the kitchen to dish up ice cream for everyone. She opened the freezer and . . . found the remote! What was it doing in there? Someone had had accidentally left it in the freezer without thinking. Now their remote control was as frozen as the ice cream!

Sometimes we do things without thinking. We leave toys, keys, or remote controls in strange places. We fail to pay attention when someone is talking to us. We forget the important instructions they gave us. We fail to pay attention when we need to focus.

Do we sometimes do that with God’s Word? The Lord has important instructions and information that we need to hear. He tells us what he wants us to do and not do. He tells us how we have disobeyed him, how we have failed to obey him perfectly, and how we need a Savior. He tells us how Jesus lived the perfect life we could not and faced the punishment we deserve for our sins. Yet do we always listen? Are you listening right now?

A long time ago in the Old Testament, God instructed moms and dads to help their children focus on his Word, “to fix these words of mine on your hearts and minds.” To do that, the Lord encouraged his people to have reminders of God and his Word around their house. Above all, he wanted them to talk about God their Savior any chance they got—while they relaxed at home or sat around the dinner table, when they traveled, when they went to bed and when they got up. The Lord wanted parents to keep their kids focused on him so he could richly bless them.

The Lord blesses us when we focus on his Word too. God’s Word is such good news that we need to have reminders every day. Maybe you have a picture of Jesus or a cross in your home. Maybe you wear a necklace that reminds you of a special Bible passage. We hear God’s Word in worship. We hear in devotions like this. Then we talk about what God has done for us. Why? Through his Word, God strengthens our faith. He forgives our sins. He assures us that someday we will join him in heaven—and that will be unforgettable!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, forgive me for those times when I have not listened to you. It is so easy to get distracted. Help me to focus on what is most important—you and your Word. In your mercy, bless me through your Word. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name one thing in your home that reminds you of Jesus or his Word.
  • Who can help you learn more about Jesus and his Word?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How do you get distracted from focusing on God’s Word?
  • Why does God care so much that we have daily reminders and conversations about him and his Word?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In the rest of verse 18 it says, “Tie [these words] as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” How can you give yourself a reminder of God’s Word that you can take with you throughout the day?
  • The Lord wants families to talk about him and his Word. Share your favorite Bible passage with your family and explain why it means so much to you.

Hymn: CW 382:1,2 – My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare to make no other claim but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on his unchanging grace;
In ev’ry high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Stand on the Truth of God’s Word – Family Devotion – June 15, 2020

Read: Matthew 7:15-29

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
Matthew 7:24-27

We Stand on the Truth of God’s Word


Family Devotion – June 15, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 7:24-27

See series: Devotions

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

What is the most important part of your home? The roof keeps rain and snow out, while also providing shade. Walls offer protection from the outside and divide rooms on the inside. Windows and doors allow you to look or go outside. Furnaces, air conditioners, and all kinds of appliances serve a good purpose inside your home, but what about what is underneath your feet?

The floor and the foundation are very important. Every home needs a strong foundation, because the foundation holds up your entire house. If the foundation is weak or poorly made, it can ruin the entire building. Just as important is where the foundation is laid. Build the house in a swamp, and it could sink. Build the house on a sandy beach, and a violent storm could wash it away. Build the house on firm soil or even rock, and that house is not going anywhere.

In our reading, Jesus tells us a story about two men who built very similar houses. Both built beautiful houses, but there was one big difference. One man built his house on rock. The other built his house in a dry, sandy riverbed. When violent storms came up, where they built their houses proved to be the difference between survival and destruction.

When the rains came down and the streams flooded up, as the winds blew and beat against the house built on rock, nothing happened. The house was fine, because it had a foundation built on unmoving rock. When the rains came down and the streams flooded up, as the winds blew and beat against the house built on sand, that house was destroyed. Why? That house had a foundation built on sand that shifts, moves, and washes away.

What is Jesus teaching us here? Jesus wants us to understand that as believers, the only way we can have a strong foundation is by listening to him in his Word. If we try to depend on our own wisdom or our own abilities, they may fail us when life gets tough, scary, or uncertain. At times like that, we need Jesus and his Word to be our foundation. Right now, there are a lot of “storms” raging around us, a lot of things that might frighten us or make us feel nervous. Yet in his Word, we find Jesus standing firm for us. He holds on to us and holds us up. He is our Rock. He is our foundation. On Jesus and his Word, we can stand safe and secure, no matter how scary the storms of life might be.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, the storms of life can make me and people I love afraid. Help me to listen to your Word and live according to your will, because you are my firm foundation. 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 the foundation so important for a house?
  • Why is it wise to listen to God’s Word?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain what makes a Christian “wise” in God’s eyes.
  • Explain what can happen to a person if their “foundation” is not built on Christ.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Identify three dangers—physical or spiritual—that threaten your “foundation.”
  • Identify three ways that listening to God’s Word helps to strengthen your “foundation.”

Hymn: CW 382:1,3 – My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare to make no other claim but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, his covenant and blood support me in the raging flood;
When ev’ry earthly prop gives way, he then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Triune God Blesses Us – Family Devotion – June 12, 2020

Read: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14

The Triune God Blesses Us


Family Devotion – June 12, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 13:14

See series: Devotions

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

The pastor stands up in the front of church. He looks out at the people. They look back at him. The worship service has come to an end. The time has come for the pastor to bless God’s people. He makes the sign of the cross as he says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” The people respond, “Amen.”

Why does the pastor bless the people at the end of a worship service? Is it just a nice, churchy way to say “We’re done! Time to go home!”? Not quite. Perhaps to answer that question we need to ask why the apostle Paul wrote the words of this blessing to end his second letter to a group of Christians living in a city called Corinth.

These believers were having lots of troubles. Some thought they were better than others. They often acted before thinking. Rather than show love for one another, they fought and argued with each other. After teaching and guiding them back to Jesus throughout his letter, Paul prayed that Jesus, the Son of God, would bless them with his grace—his love-in-action that moved him to rescue sinful people like them. Paul prayed that God the Father would bless them with his love—that love that moved him to give up his Son for a world full of sinful people, even though they did nothing to deserve it. Paul prayed that God the Holy Spirit would bless them with his fellowship—that they would live as members of God’s family and as brothers and sisters made holy in Jesus.

Those blessings that Paul wanted for his fellow believers 2,000 years ago are the same blessings that God wants you to take home every time you come to worship. The triune God wants to bless us, even though he knows we all have our own troubles. You think you are better than others. You act or speak before thinking. You fight and argue with people you know and love. You do not always listen when God’s Word is preached or taught or read.

Yet God still loves you with a love far greater than what any of us deserve. It’s a love that moved him to rescue you from the punishment we all deserve for our sins. With the kind of grace that expected nothing from you, Jesus took the punishment for you. He even died for you so you could be his brother or sister in his holy family again. So the next time your pastor stands up to bless the people at the end of a worship service, know that the triune God is blessing you with his grace, his love, and his fellowship now and forever.

Closing Prayer:

O triune God, bless me with your overwhelming grace. Bless me with your self-sacrificing love even for a sinner like me. Bless me with your fellowship and keep me as a holy member of your family always. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is one blessing the pastor gives at the end of a worship service?
  • You and I both struggle with sin. When we hear that God gives us his grace, what does that mean?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why did Paul ask for God’s blessing on the people?
  • What does it mean to have “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit”?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Identify what “grace,” “love,” and “fellowship” tell us about each person of the triune God.
  • Explain why it is significant that God wants you to enjoy his “grace,” “love,” and “fellowship.”

Hymn: CW 194:1,4,5 – Oh, that I Had a Thousand Voices

Oh, that I had a thousand voices to praise my God with thousand tongues!
My heart, which in the Lord rejoices, would then proclaim in grateful songs
To all, wherever I might be, what great things God has done for me.

Glory and praise, still onward reaching, be yours, O Spirit of all grace,
Whose holy pow’r and faithful teaching give me among your saints a place.
Whatever good by me is done is worked by grace divine alone.

Shall I not then be filled with gladness? Shall I not praise you evermore
And triumph over fear and sadness, although my cup of woe runs o’er?
Though heav’n and earth shall disappear, your endless love is ever near.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Triune God Created All Things – Family Devotion – June 10, 2020

Read: Genesis 1:1-2:3

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

The Triune God Created All Things


Family Devotion – June 10, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 1:1

See series: Devotions

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

“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who lived in a tower…”
“Once upon a time, there was a brave boy who traveled into a dark forest…”

For centuries, storytellers have started out fairy tales, folk tales, or adventure stories with those famous words, “Once upon a time…” Something amazing or unbelievable, breathtaking or terrifying happened long ago “once upon a time.” The storyteller captures our attention with those familiar words as he or she tells an ancient tale of good and evil, fear and courage, love and adventure. We love stories like that, but we know that they are just made up stories. In fact, those words “Once upon a time…” make us think that the story we are about to hear is just a fairy tale.

The very first verse of the Bible does not start out with “Once upon a time…” Instead, it starts out with “In the beginning…” Sadly, many people still think that what they are about to read is as much a fairy tale as any imaginary princess or adventure story. They think there is no way that God could have created the universe in six days.

If you take a closer look at the first chapter of Genesis, you will see some of the reasons why this account is no fairy tale. What we find is the history of how God did something amazing. He created the universe for his greatest creation—people. See God the Father at work, using his unlimited power to create light and day, sky, land and seas, plants and trees. See God create the sun, moon, planets, and stars. See God create all the sea creatures and every animal that flies. See God create all the animals that live on the land. Then see God create man and woman with the greatest care. Why? God has loved us from the very beginning, not as the greatest animals, but as his most precious creation.

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit was there, so was God the Son. How? The apostle John tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… Through him all things were made…” (1:1,3) When John speaks of “the Word,” he means Jesus. Jesus was there “in the beginning,” giving life where before it did not exist. The triune God was there “in the beginning,” creating the heavens and the earth. The triune God has graciously given us life. We are God’s special creations, carefully created and dearly loved. Praise God that there is nothing imaginary about that!

Closing Prayer:

O triune God, how amazing is the universe that you have created! How even more amazing to know that you care even about me! Use your Word to guide me to trust in you and all that you have done for me. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did God use to create the universe?
  • What do you love most about God’s creation? Why?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What are the differences between “Once upon a time” and “In the beginning?”
  • What makes us God’s special creation unlike all the plants and animals?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this verse that speaks about the creation of the universe: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)
  • If you know that you and everyone around you are God’s special creation, how will that change the way you interact with other people?

Hymn: CW 194:1,2 – Oh, that I Had a Thousand Voices

Oh, that I had a thousand voices to praise my God with thousand tongues!
My heart, which in the Lord rejoices, would then proclaim in grateful songs
To all, wherever I might be, what great things God has done for me.

Dear Father, endless praise I render for soul and body, nobly joined;
I praise you, Guardian kind and tender, for all the daily joys I find
So richly spread on ev’ry side and freely for my use supplied.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Preach and Teach the Triune God to All People – Family Devotion – June 8, 2020

Read: Matthew 28:16-20

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Matthew 28:19-20

We Preach and Teach the Triune God to All People


Family Devotion – June 8, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 28:19-20

See series: Devotions

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

Everyone has a name. Does your name have a story? Did Mom or Dad simply like your name or was your name specially chosen? Did they name you after a family member like your grandma or grandpa? Perhaps your name comes from the Bible or from someone famous. Maybe your name comes from someone special in the life of your parents. Maybe your name is an important reminder of where your family came from. A name can say so much about a person and even about that person’s family or family history.

Did you know that God has also given you his name? Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he gave his followers a mission. They were to go out into the world and make other followers of Jesus. How? They would take the good news of Jesus out to the people of our world. They would also baptize people from “all nations”—no matter where they came from, what they looked like, or who their parents were.

By doing that, God was going to place his name on people from “all nations.” They were to be “baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” At Baptism, the name of the triune God is placed on you, not the name of three gods, but one God who reveals himself as three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is not easy to understand, but that is how God reveals himself in his Word.

So what is so special about having God’s name? That name reminds you of how much God loves you and all that he has done for you. God the Father created you and cares for you as his precious son or daughter. In fact, God loves you so much that he sent his Son Jesus to rescue you when you disobeyed his holy commands and failed to do the good things he wants you to do. Jesus rescued you by perfectly obeying his Father’s will, dying on a cross, and rising from the dead. Then the Holy Spirit came to plant faith in Jesus in your heart. How? He used someone to share with you the good news about the love and work of the triune God for you and for all people. Through that good news, God made you his own child. Through that good news and the waters of Baptism, he gave you his name as a member of his family—a family made up of people from all nations.

Closing Prayer:

O triune God, no matter where I come from, no matter what I look like, no matter who I am, remind me that you have given me your name and made me part of your family. Help me to see others as people you love and people who need to hear about your 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 is special about your name?
  • What was the mission that Jesus gave to his disciples?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How would you have felt if you were one of those disciples who had received Jesus’ mission to go out into the world? Why would you feel that way?
  • Jesus sends us out to people of “all nations.” Why is that important?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain what it means to be “baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
  • Read Matthew 28:16 and 28:20. How do Jesus’ promises in these verses help us to carry out his mission to all people?

Hymn: CW 194:1,3 – Oh, that I Had a Thousand Voices

Oh, that I had a thousand voices to praise my God with thousand tongues!
My heart, which in the Lord rejoices, would then proclaim in grateful songs
To all, wherever I might be, what great things God has done for me.

I praise you, Savior, whose compassion has brought you down to ransom me.
Your pitying heart sought my salvation; You bore the cross triumphantly,
Brought me from bondage full release, made me your own, and gave me peace.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Holy Spirit Comes and Changes Lives – Family Devotion – June 5, 2020

Read: Acts 2:1-21

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”
Acts 2:5-8, 11b

The Holy Spirit Comes and Changes Lives


Family Devotion – June 5, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:5-8, 11b

See series: Devotions

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

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell said to his co-worker Thomas Watson, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” That may not sound like a big deal, but it was. Those were the first words ever spoken on the telephone Mr. Bell had just invented.

The telephone has changed our lives! How many people in your family carry around a cell phone today? You can use your phone to make calls, send text messages, have video chats, and play games. We can talk to our friends or family whenever we want and no matter where they live. Can you imagine what your life would be like without one?

When Jesus was on earth, he promised to send someone to change people’s lives. That promise came true. On the day of Pentecost, God the Holy Spirit arrived in a dramatic way. There was the sound of a blowing wind, tongues of fire appeared on people’s heads, and Jesus’ apostles spoke in different languages! The Holy Spirit came to change hearts and lives. He would work through the words the apostles spoke to bring repentance and saving faith into people’s hearts. Now they could have Jesus’ forgiveness and the promise of eternal life. Talk about life-changing!

Ever since that day, the Holy Spirit has been changing lives. That includes your life too! There was a time when you and I did not believe in God. We were helpless to please God. God had no reason to love us. To go through life without God’s love is the scariest thing in the world.

That all changed when the Holy Spirit changed your life. When you were baptized, the Holy Spirit filled your heart and gave you a special gift: he made it possible for you to believe in Jesus. Now your sins are forgiven! You are God’s child! Someday, you will be with him in heaven. Until then, the Holy Spirit helps us do what pleases God. He inspires kindness, goodness, gentleness, patience, love, and self-control. He makes us eager to love others and serve God.

Can you imagine what life would be like without the Holy Spirit? Praise be to God, the Holy Spirit has changed your life forever!

Closing Prayer:

God the Holy Spirit, thank you for changing my life. You brought me to faith and connected me to my Savior. Preserve that faith in my heart until the day I am able to see my Savior face-to-face in heaven. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did the people see or hear on the day of Pentecost that told them the Holy Spirit had arrived?
  • What did God want the apostles to do when the Holy Spirit came to them? What does he want you to do?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How has the Holy Spirit changed your life? Name as many ways as you can.
  • Why did we need the Holy Spirit to change our lives?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Discuss with your parents how the Holy Spirit changed someone’s life that you know. Explain, if you can, what they were like before they came to faith in God and what they were like after.
  • The Holy Spirit changed my life by forgiving all my sins and giving me saving faith in Jesus. I am now God’s child! This means that I want to… _______________________. (Fill in the blank as many ways as you can.)

Hymn: CW 184:3 – O Holy Spirit, Enter In

O mighty Rock, O Source of life,
Let your dear Word, in doubt and strife,
In us be strongly burning
That we be faithful unto death
And live in love and holy faith,
From you true wisdom learning.
Your grace and peace
On us shower; by your power Christ confessing,
Let us see our Savior’s blessing.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Promises the Coming of the Spirit – Family Devotion – June 3, 2020

Read: John 16:5-11

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
John 16:7

Jesus Promises the Coming of the Spirit


Family Devotion – June 3, 2020

Devotion based on John 16:7

See series: Devotions

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

Ellie had recently been blessed with a baby brother, and she absolutely adored him. She gave him hugs, called him “my little buddy”, and brought him toys for playtime. When Mom or Dad needed her to grab something for baby brother, she did it proudly. When there was a dirty diaper, she happily took it to the trash all on her own.

One day Ellie’s grandma came over and saw the many things she did for her baby brother. “Wow, Ellie, you sure do a lot for your baby brother. What a big helper you are!”

“I’m the helper,” Ellie exclaimed as she beamed. Ellie loved to help her brother when he was a baby and even as he grew older.

Jesus sent a helper for us. This helper does even more than what Ellie did for her brother. This helper brings spiritual blessings such as saving faith in Jesus and the forgiveness of sins, blessings we would not have without his help and power.

The helper Jesus sent is the Holy Spirit. He is the third person of the Trinity. The Spirit works in our hearts through God’s Word to show us our inability to do what pleases God. He works through the Gospel to resurrect us and give us saving faith. The Holy Spirit does everything that we need to bring us into God’s family for all eternity. He doesn’t help us do it, he does it for us. It is done!

The Holy Spirit continues to help us for the rest of our lives. When we are in trouble or danger, lost or scared, filled with guilt, or do not even know what to pray, the Holy Spirit helps us. He prays for us every day. He is our constant companion throughout our life to work things out for our good. He helps us in our walk of faith. He forms and molds us to be more like Christ. The Holy Spirit uses difficulties in our life to bring us closer to God’s Word and strengthen our faith.

And that only scratches the surface of what the Holy Spirit does for us. Wow! What a helper!

Closing Prayer:

O Holy Spirit, fill my heart with your love and presence. When I am in trouble, pray for me. When I stray, bring me back to my Savior with your forgiveness. Change me every day to live and talk more like my Savior. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is one-way Ellie helped her little brother?
  • Name one way the Holy Spirit helps you.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The Holy Spirit gave you your faith in Jesus. Why do you need faith in Jesus?
  • Why do we need the Holy Spirit’s help every day?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • The Holy Spirit helps us by praying for us every day. List three reasons that is important. (See Romans 8:26-30 for some help.)
  • The Holy Spirit gives us many spiritual blessings. Name as many as you can in 30 seconds. Then decide which one you appreciate the most.

Hymn: CW 184:1 – O Holy Spirit, Enter In

O Holy Spirit, enter in
And in our hearts your work begin,
Your dwelling place now make us.
Sun of the soul, O Light divine,
Around and in us brightly shine,
To joy and gladness wake us
That we may be
Truly living, to you giving Prayer unceasing
And in love be still increasing.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Foretells the Coming of the Spirit – Family Devotion – June 1, 2020

Read: Joel 2:28-29

And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
Joel 2:28-29

God Foretells the Coming of the Spirit


Family Devotion – June 1, 2020

Devotion based on Joel 2:28-29

See series: Devotions

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

Who do you want to be like when you grow up? A famous athlete or actor? Your favorite teacher? Maybe you just want to be like your mom or dad.

Why do you want to be like that person? More than likely it is because they can do something you want to do! For instance, you want to be like LeBron James or Alex Morgan because you want to be excellent at sports. Or you want to be like your dad, because he is good at fixing things or your mom because she is the kindest person you know.

Did you know there are people who wanted to be just like you? It’s true! Thousands of years ago, even before Jesus lived, there was a man of God named Joel who shared God’s Word with the people of Israel. Sometimes God spoke directly to Joel with his Word, but most often he shared the Word of God in the Bible. Joel was one of a few people who shared God’s Word because he was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Then God came to Joel and told him that in the future, all of God’s people would be sharing the Word. Some of the apostles of Jesus would hear from God directly and write God’s Word. The rest of God’s people would share the Word in the Bible. Joel promised the Holy Spirit would fill all believers. That means you too!

Imagine how the people in Joel’s day wished they could be like you and speak God’s Word! It’s so exciting that we get to share God’s Word! How amazing it is that we can share God’s Word personally or even on social media! Should we forget to, God forgives us and still gives us the Holy Spirit who encourages us to share God’s Word. You are so special because you are God’s witness here on earth! Do not forget the wonderful privilege to share God’s Word with our family, friends, and neighbors. God even planned this for you to do a long time ago!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you promised that we would be filled with your Spirit and sent out to share your Word. Help us to see the opportunities around us to share your Word. Support those who share the Word full time. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is your favorite Bible story?
  • Think of someone you could share that Bible story with. How would this story encourage this person?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What special privilege and opportunity did God give to all his believers, including you?
  • What does it mean to you that God chose you to share his Word?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: Only pastors and teachers are qualified to share God’s Word, so we should just leave the work to them. Make sure to defend your answer.
  • Come up with one or two practical ways you can use a social media account (if you have one) to spread the good news about Jesus.

Hymn: CW 184:2 – O Holy Spirit, Enter In

Give to your Word impressive pow’r
That in our hearts from this good hour
As fire it may be glowing,
That in true Christian unity
We faithful witnesses may be,
Your glory ever showing.
Hear us, Cheer us by your teaching;
Let our preaching and our labor
Praise you, Lord, and serve our neighbor.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Have Hope for Future Glory – Family Devotion – May 29, 2020

Read: 1 Peter 4:12-17; 5:6-11

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

We Have Hope for Future Glory


Family Devotion – May 29, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 5:7

See series: Devotions

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

What brings you worry or stress in life? Stress can be caused by any number of things: homelife, homework, job, our future, whether a friend likes you or not, something you did wrong, confusion, sadness . . . the list goes on and on.

How do you get rid of worry and stress? That’s a tough thing to do, isn’t it? We can try to forget about it or not deal with it, but it is still there.

Peter gives the solution for worry. Think about what he says this way. When you are sick and your parents can’t help you, who do they call? A doctor! When you have a clogged pipe or broken sink that no one can fix, who do you call? A plumber! When you can’t fix something, you turn to an expert to fix it.

When you have spiritual problems, like worry, anxiety, or stress, who do you turn to? You need an expert, and the expert is Jesus. Jesus is the expert at removing worry and stress. He removed the stress when you sin and feel guilty. How could you ever pay for them all? You can’t, but Jesus did! Sin’s stress and anxiety was on him, not you! That’s why you need not worry. Jesus fixed it by his death and guaranteed heaven by his resurrection.

Jesus showed just how much he cares for you Now, Jesus wants you to come to him with any worry or stress you may have in life. He promises you can leave them all with him. He will take care of them.

If you are worried about your future, trust Jesus’ promise that he has a plan for you. If you worry about your friends and whether they care for you, trust Jesus’ promise that he is your best friend no matter what. If you worry about anything in life, Jesus invites you to give them all to him. Then go and live your life in peace. Jesus has it under control because he cares for you, and he’s the expert.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, here and now I am giving you all these things I worry about. (Encourage everyone listening to share what they’re worried about out loud or silently). I humbly ask you to deal them for me and I know you will, because you care for me so much!

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is something that worries you?
  • Why can you give Jesus that worry?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

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

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is it so easy for us to hold onto our worries and not give them to Jesus?
  • In what ways could we as your parent(s) better learn your worries and help you bring them to Jesus?

Hymn: CW 173:3 – On Christ’s Ascension I Now Build

Oh, grant, dear Lord, this grace to me, recalling your ascension,
That I may serve you faithfully, adorning your redemption;
And then, when all my days will cease, let me depart in joy and peace
In answer to my pleading.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Have Hope Through the Word – Family Devotion – May 27, 2020

Read: John 17:1-11

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
John 17:3-5

We Have Hope Through the Word


Family Devotion – May 27, 2020

Devotion based on John 17:3-5

See series: Devotions

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

We all like attention from important people in our lives:

  • “Mom, watch this!” the little girl yelled as she jumped into the water.
  • “James is our 6th grade class president,” his teacher announced. When James heard that, he sat up taller, grinning from ear-to-ear.

The point is, we appreciate when someone notices us or pays attention to what we are doing or saying.

Did you know Jesus wants YOUR attention? He loves to be noticed, watched, and listened to. Why? It’s not because Jesus feels ignored by his Father or because he doesn’t have any friends. No, Jesus wants your attention because he has a very important gift to give you: eternal life.

The night Jesus was betrayed and arrested; he said a special prayer. It’s called his High Priestly Prayer. In that prayer, he prayed for himself, his disciples and for you. But even when praying for himself, it really was a prayer for you! Everything Jesus had been doing was everything his Father asked of him to win an important gift— the salvation for the world. Now, that work was almost complete. Just one thing remained. He needed to give up his life on the cross.

Jesus prayed the Father would allow him to continue this plan all the way to the cross so he would have everyone’s attention. That’s what he means by the word glory. Jesus wants your attention because he gives the eternal life you and I need.

We weren’t born with the built-in right to eternal life We were born separate from God and under his condemnation. God did not want that to happen, so he sent his Son to die and rise from the dead to win eternal life for you. Jesus did exactly that! Does he have your attention now?

He most certainly does. Give Jesus and his Word all your attention. They give eternal life! You don’t want to miss out on that!

Closing Prayer:

Ascended Lord and Savior Jesus, may I never lose my focus on you. Draw my attention to your Word where I can see your glorious promises and comfort that I am your child and will be with you in heaven forever. 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 does Jesus want our attention?
  • How could we say thank you to Jesus for giving us eternal life?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What things in life distract you from paying attention to Jesus?
  • Why is it so important that to pay attention to Jesus and our faith?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • It is not always bad to get people’s attention. How could you use your faith in Jesus in a good way to gain people’s attention for him?
  • Read John chapter 17 on your own. We learn a lot about prayer from Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. How does hearing Jesus prayed for you motivate how you pray and for what you pray?

Hymn: CW 173:2 – On Christ’s Ascension I Now Build

Since Christ returned to claim his throne, great gifts for me obtaining,
My heart shall rest in him alone, no other rest remaining,
For where my treasure went before, there all my thoughts shall ever soar
To still their deepest yearning.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Hope for Jesus’ Return – Family Devotion – May 25, 2020

Read: Acts 1:1-11

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:9-11

We Hope for Jesus’ Return


Family Devotion – May 25, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:9-11

See series: Devotions

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

Kendall and Ryan watched in sadness as their mother brought her suitcase to the front door. It was a business trip. Kendall had experienced these before, but Ryan, who was only 4, didn’t like them at all. He worried his mom wouldn’t come home.

“Mom don’t leave! How do I know you will come home?” Ryan sobbed.

Ryan’s mom gave him a big hug and said, “I promise I will be back.” Then she handed him a box. Inside were five presents. “I want you to open one of these presents each day I’m gone, because each one will remind you how much I love you. The day you open the last one is the day I will be back.”

So Ryan opened a present each day to find a picture or reminder of his mom. After he had opened the last present on Friday, he sat at the living room window all day, waiting for his mom to come home.

Are you looking forward to Jesus’ coming back like Ryan waiting for his mom? Or, are you worried he is not going to come back? Or, maybe you haven’t even thought about it. We can get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that Jesus’ return is not even on our radar.

Jesus will come back because he has one piece of unfinished business: He needs you in heaven! That is why he came to earth the first time, to live, die, and rise from the dead so you could be in heaven. The only thing left is for Jesus to come back and bring you to heaven. When Jesus makes a promise, he keeps it.

He left you his Word, filled with all sorts of reminders of his love for you. He will be back, soon. You can count on it.

Closing Prayer:

Ascended Lord and Savior Jesus, you promised to return and take us to heaven. Fill us with greater trust in your promise to return so that we eagerly wait for you to return. 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 do you think will be the best part about heaven?
  • Why do you know that you will be in heaven with Jesus someday?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What special tasks did Jesus give us to do on earth while we wait for his return? (Hint: Read Acts 1:8)
  • How can you make sure you are ready for Jesus’ return?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Jesus is coming back soon! Does that excite you? Or, haven’t you really thought about it? Why or why not?
  • What gets in the way of staying focused on being in heaven someday? Consider ways to better stay alert.

Hymn: CW 173:1 – On Christ’s Ascension I Now Build

On Christ’s ascension I now build the hope of my ascension.
This hope alone has always stilled all doubt and apprehension;
For where the head is, there as well I know his members are to dwell
When Christ shall come and call them.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Love Avoids Temptation – Family Devotion – May 22, 2020

Read: Genesis 4:1-16

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Genesis 4:6-7

Love Avoids Temptation


Family Devotion – May 22, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 4:6-7

See series: Devotions

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

Remember Cain and Abel? Their parents were Adam and Eve. Cain was the older of the two brothers. Cain, a farmer, gave some of his crops to God in a sacrifice. Abel, a shepherd, gave an animal from his flock. God was pleased with Abel’s gift, but not the gift from Cain. So Cain was jealous of Abel and killed his brother in anger. Cain lied about his actions to God and was punished by wandering for the rest of his life. What a sad ending.

The story of Cain and Abel is an important warning if you get angry easily. Long before anger lashes out, you can find it crouching at the door to our hearts. Cain made his sacrifice only because “I had to.” You know that dark feeling too. Someone (a parent or teacher) tells you to stop what you’re playing and help them. You do it because you were made to, not because you wanted to. Cain’s jealousy turned into anger. He couldn’t control it. He didn’t want to. Cain’s anger turned him into a murderer, a liar, and an excuse-maker who only worried about himself.

Cain’s anger separated him from God’s love—not because he felt angry (we all do)—but because he hung on to his anger even after God confronted him about it. He wanted Cain to repent of his sin and see his promised Savior. He even protected Cain when he worried that he might be murdered!

Where do we find the kind of love to help us when we are angry? It is found in another son God promised Adam and Eve who would be our perfect brother. Jesus let all our angry thoughts, words, and actions crush him on the cross. God’s love is so powerful, nothing can separate us from it! It can even crush any anger that tries hiding in your heart!

The next time you feel angry, remember the story of Cain and Abel. Ask God to help you to stop being so angry. Jesus’ power is ready to free your heart from it. Jesus promises to replace it with something far better—love. May his love put a smile back your face today!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, you taught us to pray “lead us not into temptation.” Help us to avoid temptation, flee when it comes our way, and turn to you as our Savior when it overcomes 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 did Cain do because he was so angry?
  • Why is it important to remember Jesus when we get angry?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Agree or Disagree. God liked Abel’s offering more because he sacrificed an animal when Cain only gave fruits and vegetables.
  • Make a list of things that make you angry. Evaluate how aligning yourself with Jesus’ love changes your view of them.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Give several reasons why God would protect the life of a murderer like Cain.
  • Which is more important—that we avoid being angry or that we trust that Jesus has forgiven our sin of anger? Why do you answer the way that you do?

Hymn: CW 497:1,4 – This is My Will

“This is my will, my one command,
That love should dwell among you all.
This is my will, that you should love
As I have shown that I love you.

“You chose not me, but I chose you,
That you should go and bear much fruit.
I chose you out that you in me
Should bear much fruit that will abide.”

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Love in Action – Family Devotion – May 20, 2020

Read: 1 John 3:14-18

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:16-18

Love in Action


Family Devotion – May 20, 2020

Devotion based on 1 John 3:16-18

See series: Devotions

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

Meet Bill. He’s a teacher. Bill has the amazing ability to see creative opportunities in his classroom no one else sees. He sees problems long before they even happen. He notices when a struggling student needs encouragement or extra attention.

But what good is Bill’s ability to see opportunities if he doesn’t do something? Or, if he sees the problems, but offers no solutions? Or if he notices when his students are up or down, but does nothing about it?

Today’s devotion is a lesson on love from someone who loved the most people, the most often, with the most passion. If you really want to know what love is, don’t look at Bill. Don’t even look at yourself. We know what love is. But it’s not always easy to show love, is it? What’s harder: to say, “I love you,” or, to live up to those words? What’s easier: to say, “That’s mine,” or, to let others be first before you? Loving the way God wants us to love is so hard—not because we can’t, but because too often we won’t.

God’s Word today urges, “Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” The only way we truly know that kind of love is to see it in action. But don’t look at Bill. Don’t look at yourself. Look at Jesus. He laid down his life for all of our failures to love. Then he picked his life back up to keep showing his love for you every day. Jesus inspires us to keep loving others every day!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, give us your heart of love for others so that we always see their needs and use our gifts to help them. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Can you find someone you love and say, “I love you”?
  • What could you do for the person you just said, “I love you” to that would show that you love them?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Can you recall a time you felt unloved because of what someone said or did to you?
  • Think of some common needs people have. What are some ways we can love our brothers and sisters in those needs?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Give several examples of Christians “loving” with “words or speech” but not “with actions and in truth.”
  • Talk through specifics: how did Jesus practice what John preaches in verse 15, 17, and 18?

Hymn: CW 497:1,5 – This is My Will

“This is my will, my one command,
That love should dwell among you all.
This is my will, that you should love
As I have shown that I love you.

All that you ask my Father dear
For my name’s sake you shall receive.
This is my will, my one command,
That love should dwell in each, in all.”

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Love for God – Family Devotion – May 18, 2020

Read: John 14:15-21

If you love me, keep my commands … I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
John 14:15,18-19

Love for God


Family Devotion – May 18, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:15,18-19

See series: Devotions

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

It did not sound good. My dad turned the key, and the car only groaned. He turned the key again, and it only whimpered. He turned the key once more, and . . . nothing. “You gotta be kidding me,” Dad muttered in frustration. I grabbed the battery tester off the workbench, walked over to the car, and touched the red to the positive and the black to the negative. Nothing. “Battery’s dead, Dad.” A car without juice will not work.

Did you know that you also were born with a dead battery? When a mom gives birth to a baby, that baby can breathe, cry, and move right away. She is alive—physically! But that same baby is also born with a spiritual defect. She cannot love God or do what God wants. She is dead—spiritually. As a matter fact, she would not want to love God or do what God says. Like a car with a dead battery, a human being without faith in Jesus will not obey God’s commandments or love him. A dead battery is worthless. It’s not worth keeping. God already knows this to be true.

Yet, listen to Jesus. He does not look at us in frustration and mutter, “You gotta be kidding me.” He says, “I will not leave you. I will come to you. I live so that you also will live.” God understands the problem in us. He gave Jesus as the answer. At Easter, Jesus came out of his grave and announced, “I live!” Then he immediately looked at you and declared, “You also will live!” He did it by removing our dead batteries. Then he replaced them with one filled with the power of his love and life. Now, we have power for life now and forever in heaven!

Do you remember when God gave your new battery? Think again of a baby. What a blessing when God comes through his promises in the waters of baptism whether young or old! There he made you a child of God, gave you life, and gave you the “juice”—a heart that so loves and trusts God, it inspires us to keeps his commandments!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, you know our struggle with sin. Thank you for your forgiveness. Give us your Spirit and faith in you so that we can live lives of thanksgiving and obedience that show our love for God. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why didn’t the car start?
  • Why is it hard for us to do the good things God wants?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The Bible describes us as spiritually dead. What are some other Biblical pictures of our spiritual problem that comes from our sin? Try to connect the beautiful ways the gospel answers those spiritual problems.
  • When Jesus says, “Because I live, you also will live,” is he talking about our spiritual life now that follows God or eternal life in heaven? (Hint: The answer is found in second to last paragraph.)

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • A friend asks you, “Why does God give us commandments that he knows we can’t keep on our own?” What would you say to him?
  • How does the hope of the resurrection inspire us to love God and keep his commandments?

Hymn: CW 497:1,2 – This is My Will

“This is my will, my one command,
That love should dwell among you all.
This is my will, that you should love
As I have shown that I love you.

No greater love can any have
Than that one die to save his friends.
You are my friends if you obey
What I command that you should do.”

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s People Share the Way – Family Devotion – May 15, 2020

Read: Acts 17:1-12

As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. But other Jews were jealous.
Acts 17:2-5a

God’s People Share the Way


Family Devotion – May 15, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 17:2-5a

See series: Devotions

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

It was the day after Easter. Derek was already a bummed-out zombie when he heard, “Jesus is still dead and in the grave.” His jaw hit the ground, especially when he realized the voice behind those words was his Nana’s. Nana was the most Christian person Derek knew. She was always sending him Bible passages. Her walls were decorated with crosses. She was “really old” and still teaching Sunday School. She sang in the choir. Her brother was a Lutheran pastor. “What gives, Nana?”

“Well, with the way you are walking around all mopey, all day long, I figured something horrible must have happened. The only thing I could think of that could be that bad to make such a long face is that Jesus must still be dead.”

“I’m just bummed because we are all cooped up in the house and so many people are losing their jobs.”

“True. That is sad. But, let’s never forget—Christ is risen!”

It’s natural to experience moments of sadness. That’s why Jesus’ resurrection is so important to remember in those moments. When you feel everything is going wrong, the joy of knowing, “Christ is risen!” reminds us what is going right and will never change! It puts a smile on our hearts that no sadness can overcome. It puts an encouraging message on our lips that cannot be silenced.

Jesus’ resurrection was a message the early Christians were excited to share. The apostle Paul went from town to town and synagogue to synagogue with one message: Jesus, the promised Messiah, has risen from the dead! It proves that our guilt is paid for, that our death is dead, and that our accuser, Satan, has no more claim on us.

This good news puts us on the way to heaven. This good news gives us reason to thank Jesus. Finally, this good news is our hope to share. Like Paul and the early Christians, we can tell our friends, family, and neighbors about Jesus Christ—the Way, the Truth and the Life—with the same joy he has given us!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, fill our hearts with the joy of the gospel so that our lips overflow with your praise as we share the way with others in our 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

  • What was making Derek sad?
  • How did Derek’s Nana cheer him up?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What would you say are the main teachings of the Bible?
  • Why could a Christian argue that the resurrection of Jesus is the most important message of the Bible?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What are some things Paul might have said from Scripture to “prove” that the Messiah (Jesus) had to suffer and die?
  • Sadly, not everyone believed the good news Paul shared. It says that some were “jealous” and others even worked to have Paul arrested or booted out of town. Give several, loving ways you can respond to a person who reacts to the good news of the gospel with rejection or skepticism.

Hymn: CW 422:1,4 – Jesus, Lead Us On

Jesus, lead us on
Till our rest is won;
And although the way be cheerless,
We will follow, calm and fearless.
Guide us by your hand
To our fatherland.

Jesus, still lead on
Till our rest is won.
Heav’nly Leader, still direct us;
Still support, console, protect us
Till we safely stand
In our fatherland.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s People Rejoice in the Way – Family Devotion – May 13, 2020

Read: 1 Peter 2:4-10

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10

God’s People Rejoice in the Way


Family Devotion – May 13, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 2:9-10

See series: Devotions

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

The young man was trapped. Heat and smoke filled the air. Flames engulfed every door and window. Total darkness blanketed his eyes. Escape was not an option. All seemed hopeless. All seemed lost until, bursting through the wall, encircled by an angelic glow, an axe-wielding firefighter cried out, “I’m here to rescue you!”

Clearly confused, the young man politely responded, “Thanks, but I was hoping for a different way out of this deadly fire than you!”

How ridiculous! When it is life or death and there is only one way out, we do not look for other options. We do not complain about that way. We do not drop our shoulders and sigh, “I guess. If I have to.” We rejoice! We grab hold of that firefighter as if our lives depended on it—because they do! We cannot stop thanking this hero for risking his life for us.

Jesus is our hero. He is the way, the only way to heaven. The Bible is clear: there is no other hero. We cannot save ourselves, we are the problem. It is our sin that got us into this hellish danger in the first place! Jesus, however, is the hero and his rescue mission on the cross is complete. Heaven is your home.

Thank him! Praise him! Rejoice! You are not alone. On the safe side of your rescue is a whole company of angels praising God that you have repented and trusted in this hero, Jesus. On the safe side of your rescue is a whole crowd of fellow believers who have also been rescued by Jesus. He has come save us all! That guarantees this: he has come to save you! Just as he burst out of that tomb on the third day, he has burst into your life through the gospel and rescued you from your sin, death, and Satan. Rejoice in Jesus your hero—the way, the truth, and the life!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, help us to understand that our sins are serious and to appreciate the joy of salvation in the way you rescued 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 are some frightening situations you have been in?
  • How does this devotion about our hero Jesus help you when you are afraid?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Look at the specific names Peter calls us in verses 9 and 10. Explain two or three of them.
  • Describe different ways we can declare the praises of Jesus who rescued us from the darkness. Why would we do it?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Imagine a friend is struggling to believe that Jesus came to rescue her/him. How would you try to reassure your friend it’s true?
  • Use some of the word pictures of verses 9-10 to encourage a Christian who says, “I don’t find any joy in my faith anymore.”

Hymn: CW 422:1,3 – Jesus, Lead Us On

Jesus, lead us on
Till our rest is won;
And although the way be cheerless,
We will follow, calm and fearless.
Guide us by your hand
To our fatherland.

When we seek relief
From a long-felt grief,
When temptations come alluring,
Make us patient and enduring;
Show us that bright shore
Where we weep no more.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s People Know the Way – Family Devotion – May 11, 2020

Read: John 14:1-10

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6

God’s People Know the Way


Family Devotion – May 11, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:6

See series: Devotions

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

“Detour,” the sign says. “Ugh,” says the driver. Dad has toothpicks in his eyes to keep them open after eight hours of driving. “This detour takes us way past our hotel,” groans the co-pilot. Mom’s mood will not tolerate any last-second adjustments. It was already a long road trip, but the destination is worth it: Disney World!

Any map app on a phone can instantly calculate a completely new route to your final destination whenever a detour rears its ugly head. It may be longer, but you will still get there.

When it comes to heaven, there are no detours or other ways. Jesus tell us, “I am the way.” Jesus is the way. No one comes to the Father in heaven except through him.

At first, this might seem a little bit nitpicky on Jesus’ part. After all, dad’s phone map app can find another route to Disney World! The truth is, without Jesus, we sinners would have no way out of this sinful world to heaven. The truth is that Jesus is the gracious way of God that freely gives us life eternal! The truth is that Satan, temptation, sin, and our own guilt try to lead us on every sort of detour—only these detours never end at heaven. They lead us away from heaven to a dead end called hell. Beware of detours!

Listen to the clear voice of Jesus: “I am the way.” Faith watches Jesus walk the path we could never walk to the cross, through death, and out the door of his now-empty tomb—all for us. When we face deadly threats along the way, faith hears the voice of Jesus promise, “Because I live, you also will live,” and our hearts are encouraged. When we feel lost along the way, faith hears the voice of Jesus promise, “I am going to prepare a place for you in my Father’s house,” and our course is corrected. When the way grows dim, faith hears the voice of Jesus promise, “I will come back to bring you there to be with me,” and our hope is renewed.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, thank you for opening wide the doorway of heaven to us through your perfect life, innocent suffering, and glorious resurrection. Give us faith to always stay on the way. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What are some promises God makes to you when you go on a trip?
  • What does God promise is waiting for you at the end of your journey in this life?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What are some specific “detours” Satan tries to throw in front of us to lead us off the way?
  • List some reasons why the destination of heaven will be far greater than the destination of any earthly vacation.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain some ways the world tries to argue that there are many different paths to heaven.
  • Jesus is the only way to heaven. How could a Christian also show that Jesus’ way, the way the Bible teaches, is unique and far better than the ways offered by other religions?

Hymn: CW 422:1-2 – Jesus, Lead Us On

Jesus, lead us on
Till our rest is won;
And although the way be cheerless,
We will follow, calm and fearless.
Guide us by your hand
To our fatherland.

If the way be drear,
If the foe be near,
Let not faithless fears o’ertake us;
Let not faith and hope forsake us,
For through many a woe
To our home we go.

 

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