The Next Chapter – Week of March 29, 2021

The Next Chapter – Week of March 29, 2021



But he was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The punishment that brought us peace was on him,
And by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to our own way;
And the Lord has laid on him
The iniquity of us all

Isaiah 53:5-6



Have you ever been unhappy to finish a good book? As you move through the pages, you become emotionally invested. Chapters go by until finally, the ending looms and the journey is complete. You are left with only heart-felt memories and an anxious hope that the author will continue the narrative in another volume.

Without a doubt, the Bible is incomparable to other texts with its holy author and divine purpose. But readers can still be emotionally engaged when reading it. It would be difficult to read any verse in Isaiah 53 without being drawn in by the prophet’s description of Jesus. Our text cuts directly to Calvary’s hill in the final moments before Jesus’ death.

We find Jesus bearing God’s judgement all on his own. Jesus was pierced. He was crushed. He was wounded. God laid on him the sins of us all. In Isaiah’s description, our Savior is finishing his work with no one there to help him. Oh, we are present in Isaiah’s account, but our role is not to help Jesus. We could not help Jesus. We are the very reason Jesus is in this circumstance. So, Isaiah rightly compares us to sheep that have gone astray. It is our waywardness that God cannot tolerate. It is, in fact, our punishment that our Great Substitute is accepting.

Further in Isaiah 53 we see that Jesus accomplished his divine mission with his death. Our Great Substitute died. Under normal circumstances, the last chapter would quickly follow. But this is God’s book with God’s words describing God’s plan and promises. God does not close his book here and leave us emotionally spent. If he did, that would surely be our finale as well. No, there is another chapter. Spoiler alert! In that magnificent chapter, God accepts Jesus’ sacrifice and Jesus rises. Jesus is not dead! He is alive!

That leads to the next chapter for us too! His death is our death. His life is our life. Just as Jesus was not left alone on Calvary’s hill, our death will not be the end of our story either. God promised us another chapter in our lives. Because of Jesus, we anxiously wait for our faithful God to deliver that promise of life in heaven. This time though, God will not need to describe it to us. Because of Jesus, he will allow us to experience it for ourselves! What a profound experience that will be!



Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for being our Great Substitute!  Thank you for fulfilling God’s promises so that we can experience the next chapter of our lives- in heaven with you!  Amen!

Questions for Reflection: How do I look forward to my life in heaven that is to come?  How do I help the children in my care look forward to their life with Jesus?

Want to know more?  What is heaven?  From WhatAboutJesus.com



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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The King Entered Jerusalem – Family Devotion – March 29, 2021

Read: Mark 11:1-10

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

The King Entered Jerusalem

 

Family Devotion – March 29, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 11:7-10

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us so much that you entered Jerusalem humbly to die, so that we might enjoy the glory of heaven. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did Jesus want his two disciples to bring him?
  • How did the people react when Jesus entered the city?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

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

Questions for Middle School and Above

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

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

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

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

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Sing Hosanna to Our Savior King – March 29, 2021

Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Mark 11:9,10

Sing Hosanna to Our Savior King


Daily Devotion – March 29, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 11:9,10

See series: Devotions

The crowds in Jerusalem that gathered for the Passover festival were riding a spiritual high. They were singing hosanna, waving palm branches, and acclaiming Jesus as their King and the promised Messiah. But by Monday, they were already starting to slip. By Tuesday, they weren’t so sure anymore about this Jesus fellow. And by Friday morning, many were screaming for his blood. Their Sunday “hosannas” were so quickly forgotten.

“Hosanna” is a Hebrew word which evolved in meaning and usage over time. Originally, hosanna was a kind of prayer, something like “Please save us!” But by the time of Jesus, it was mostly used as a joyful acclamation, like saying, “All hail!” So when the crowd shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” many were caught up in the moment of splendor and nationalistic pride, trying to recapture the glory days of King David.

Hosanna was, in fact, the word that should have been on their lips—not in boastful pride, but rather as a fervent plea by sinners who know they have no way to rescue themselves.

Like the crowd in Jerusalem, we so easily forget what we need Jesus for. It is essential that we understand this if our hosanna is going to last longer than a day. We must understand that the reason Jesus came was because of our sin. He didn’t come just to be worshiped and praised, but we praise, worship, and serve him because he came to die. Humbly laying down his innocent life to pay for our guilt, Jesus opened up heaven to all who repent and believe. When we keep all this in mind, our hosannas will ring truer and remain on our lips longer.

Prayer:
Blessed are you, Jesus, who came in the name of the Lord to save us! Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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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Behold Your King – March 28, 2021

Behold Your King – March 28, 2021


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




Military Devotion – March 28, 2021

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9

See series: Military Devotions

The Roman troops deployed to Jerusalem in the province of Judea did not know that this day would be called Palm Sunday.

They were, however, very aware that the festival of the Passover was approaching. They could expect big crowds to jam city streets. Jews from near and far would come to celebrate the time when Israel broke free from Egypt. Overnight, they went from slavery to freedom.

The story was told that the firstborn in every Egyptian household was found dead in the middle of that night. Soon afterward, its mighty army perished in the Red Sea. It was whispered that the people of Israel were protected by a mysterious force. Their history was filled with amazing stories of divine intervention.

But that was all in the past. The Assyrians had decimated these same people, and those in Judea had been taken as captives of war to Babylon. Since they returned, they had no standing army and no king.

Yet, the soldiers knew that violence could break out at any time—especially at a time like this. There was a group called the Zealots that vowed to kill as many Roman soldiers as possible. They were a standing threat.

Now, a new threat put them on high alert. Among the crowd expected to pour into Jerusalem was a rabbi known as Jesus of Nazareth. He had drawn crowds numbering into the thousands at times. Reports of his miracles had spread. It was said that he even raised the dead. Some even claimed he called himself the Son of God.

More disturbing was the rumor that he was the Jewish Messiah. Some expected the coming Messiah to set himself up as a king. He would drive the hated Romans out of the Promised Land.

To the deployed soldiers, that seemed an empty threat. But any insurrection could turn ugly and dangerous—and arouse the displeasure of those in power back in Rome. Careers could be ruined. Blame could easily be thrown around. The consequences could be painful.

Rebellion was not tolerated by Rome. Those who failed to quickly suppress it were not tolerated either. The troops were on edge.

Word spread quickly when Jesus began to make his entrance into Jerusalem ahead of the Passover. Reports came in that huge crowds were cheering him. Worse, he was arriving the way the old Jewish kings had traveled. He was on a young donkey—just as the ancient writing had predicted the king would come.

The crowds called out “Hosanna!” which was high praise. They were laying down cloaks and branches in his path. They were calling him the “Son of David.”

David had been a famous Jewish king. Were they saying that this Jesus had now come to rule as an heir to his throne?

A prophet had written long ago that the day would come when Jerusalem would break out in celebration. That would be the day on which her powerful king rode into the city.

Roman soldiers were inclined to write the prophecy off as foolish. “Behold your king?” What a joke! If the one riding the donkey claimed to be the king of the Jews, they would easily overpower him. They would make him a laughingstock before his own people.

They did do that. But it wasn’t so easy. In fact, it became a bit frightening. The sun stopped shining at noon on the day of his execution. The words he spoke while dying were strange. He was heard calling out to his Father. He asked his Father to forgive those who were killing him. He wasn’t as much killed as he died by giving up his life into his Father’s hands. Hard to forget!

The centurion in charge of the execution detail was heard to cry out, “Surely, this was the Son of God!”

And then, this Jesus came back from the dead! Soldiers had been there when it happened. They were bribed to keep quiet and tell a lie. But the word spread.

“Behold your king!” The ancient message wasn’t just meant for the Jews.

It also meant, “Roman soldier, behold your King!” For he was.

It also means, “American soldier, behold your King!” For he is.

It’s the voice of God calling out, calling out still: “World, behold you King!” For he surely is.



Prayer: Surely he is the Son of God—my King and my Savior. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.

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. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Transformed – teen devotion – March 28, 2021

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Matthew 27:51

Torn

Torn is not a word we often associate with anything good.

Things that are torn, like paper or clothes, usually get thrown in the trash.

A torn ACL can end a season for a basketball player.

A torn relationship causes hurt feelings, awkwardness, and embarrassment.

A torn relationship, unfortunately, is exactly what we have with God because of our sins. Our sin alienates us from God and makes us his enemies.

Throughout the Old Testament, this torn relationship was pictured quite vividly by the curtain that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place in the temple. The Most Holy Place was where God dwelled. Because of sin, no one was ever allowed to enter there, apart from one person, the high priest. And he entered only once a year in order to make atonement for the sins of God’s people.

But all of that changed when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus willingly but undeservedly allowed himself to be punished on the cross for our sins, and his relationship with his Father was torn for our sake.

At the moment of Jesus’ death, the curtain of the temple was torn in two. The symbol of the torn relationship between God and people was removed. Because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, God’s relationship with all people was restored forever.

Because of Jesus you now have full access to God. You can go to him with anything. He is always near you. Your relationship with him is no longer torn, but eternally secure.

And now, with Jesus’ love and forgiveness, you also have the power and the tools to restore torn relationships with others!

Prayer: Lamb of God, thank you for restoring the torn relationship between us and your Father through the shedding of your holy and precious blood. May your redemptive love work in and through us bless the relationships in our lives. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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See Your King – March 28, 2021

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

See Your King


Daily Devotion – March 28, 2021

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9

See series: Devotions

It was a very strange parade, a one-man procession into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. In today’s reading from the Bible, we view that Palm Sunday parade through the eyes of a prophet who lived five hundred years before the event occurred, yet he writes as though it’s already happening. The prophet Zechariah says, See your king.

We need Zechariah’s encouragement. We would never have put this king first in our hearts. We would have paid attention only to the events and the people who make us feel good about ourselves. We would have done so without ever noticing that our preoccupation with the things of this world is false worship, the worship of created things rather than of the One who created them. We would have dedicated ourselves fully to the here and now, and we would have forfeited the eternity God has in mind for us. Even when we know Jesus, we still struggle to appreciate him.

See! Says, Zechariah. Your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey. The approaching Savior rides a donkey, not a warhorse. He is gentle. He rides into Jerusalem to be betrayed and arrested and sentenced and crucified, all without putting up a fight. At the same time, he is righteous and having salvation. This gentle king is God’s Son from all eternity. With his death, he will take the rap for every sinner who has ever lived. This isn’t just a king on a donkey. This is the King on a donkey. This is the one who holds the universe in his hands, and he is at your service.

Rejoice greatly! Jesus has done what he came to do. By his death on the cross, Jesus has rescued you.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, by your death and resurrection you have rescued me from sin and death. Lead me to praise you with everything that I am and with everything that I have. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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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Memory Loss – March 27, 2021

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah . . . For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:31,34

Memory Loss


Daily Devotion – March 27, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:31,34

See series: Devotions

Don’t you hate it when you can’t remember something? The car keys you just set down take an hour to find. The purpose for the errand escapes you. The appointment you made last week is missed. Memory loss, no matter what your age, sure can be frustrating!

Isn’t it ironic that while we can forget some things, other events remain crystal clear in our minds? Especially if we have been wronged, abused, or sinned against. These crystal-clear memories can bring resentment, bitterness, and a desire to get even. Imagine if God would keep a record of wrongs against him? What if he would save them in his mind only to eventually lash out in anger against us for them?

Thankfully, that is not what God has done. Instead, God promised, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” The prophet Jeremiah wrote these words to the nation of Israel that had many times sinned against each other and the Lord. As they turned to the Lord in repentance, what comfort it was for them to know the Lord would remember their sins no more! How could he do this? The Bible says that the “Lord has laid on Jesus the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Our record is clean. God’s memory of our sin is gone! What true and lasting comfort we can have as we turn in repentance to the Lord to hear him tell us, “I have forgiven your wickedness and remember your sins no more.”

Prayer:
Thank you, gracious Lord, for forgetting my sins. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Suffered and Became the Source of Our Salvation – Family Devotion – March 26, 2021

Read: Hebrews 5:7-10

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

Jesus Suffered and Became the Source of Our Salvation

 

Family Devotion – March 26, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:8-9

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

Closing Prayer:

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

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

Questions for Younger Children

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

Questions for Elementary Age Children

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

Questions for Middle School and Above

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

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

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

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

 

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

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord . . . “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:33,34

A New Covenant


Daily Devotion – March 26, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:33,34

See series: Devotions

Passover begins at sundown tomorrow. Passover is a commemoration of God rescuing the people of Israel from being enslaved in Egypt. When the people slaughtered a lamb for a meal and put some of the blood of the lamb on their doorframe, the Lord passed over their homes and did not allow death to come to them on the same night that he allowed death to come into the homes of the Egyptians who were enslaving them.

People who observe Passover tomorrow will partake of a meal that includes lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and wine. They will be remembering the old covenant of the Lord. In that old covenant, the Lord had Moses lead them out of Egypt toward the promised land of Israel. The Lord told them to obey his commandments as a way of thanking him for his deliverance.

Sadly, God’s people were never able to keep his commandments.

Anticipating that failure, the Lord provided someone to keep his commandments on behalf of every person who has ever lived. That commandment keeper, Jesus, didn’t just live a perfect life. He also shed his blood to take the punishment for all those lawbreakers.

When Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, he said that shedding his blood was a new covenant—something that had been anticipated by the prophet Jeremiah 600 years earlier. In the new covenant, the Lord would forgive everyone who had ever broken any of his commandments. He would forgive their wickedness and forget their sins.

You are living in the new covenant. The Lord has promised forgiveness for you through faith in Jesus regardless of how well you have kept the commandments. Let this assurance be your motivation for keeping his commandments, thanking him for delivering you from your sins.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your new covenant and for delivering me from my sins. Help me keep your commandments this day. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Superior High Priest – March 25, 2021

Jesus was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:10

A Superior High Priest


Daily Devotion – March 25, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:10

See series: Devotions

The position of high priest in the time before Jesus lived was an important one. The high priest was the one who went to God on behalf of the Jewish people. He was the go-between.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Christians recognized that Jesus is the ultimate high priest. In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is compared to the Old Testament high priests to show all of the ways he is superior to them. For example, Old Testament high priests sacrificed animals, but Jesus sacrificed himself. Also, the previous high priests entered the Most Holy Place in the Temple once a year to sprinkle the blood of an animal ceremonially as payment for the sins of the people. Year after year after year the high priest did this. Jesus, however, shed his blood on the cross once for all the sins of the world.

Aren’t you glad you have a High Priest who gave the ultimate and only necessary sacrifice for your sins? What a comfort to know that those sins weighing heavy on your heart have been forgiven. Revel in that forgiveness today. Praise and thank Jesus, your great High Priest!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice so that I can go to heaven and be with you in that most holy place. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Remembers Our Sins No More – Family Devotion – March 24, 2021

Read: Jeremiah 31:31-34

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

God Remembers Our Sins No More

 

Family Devotion – March 24, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:34

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closing Prayer:

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

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

Questions for Younger Children

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

Questions for Elementary Age Children

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

Questions for Middle School and Above

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

Hymn: CW 387:2,3 – Drawn to the Cross

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

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

 

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

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” [Jesus] said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
John 12:32,33

Lifted Up


Daily Devotion – March 24, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:32,33

See series: Devotions

The Romans weren’t the only people who used crucifixion as a punishment, but they perfected it. The Roman writer Cicero called it the most cruel and hideous of all tortures. Sometimes bodies would be left hanging on crosses for days so that everyone could see them rot. The Romans used crucifixion to force social conformity. The public display was meant to send a message: commit a crime, and the same thing could happen to you. Famously, after the uprising of slaves led by Spartacus, 6,000 crosses lined the highway to Rome.

Jesus was no criminal and had done nothing wrong. But he was crucified publicly for everyone to see. There was no doubt that he was lifted up, nailed by his hands and his feet to a cross. There was no doubt that he died while hanging on a cross.

Jesus knew that was the kind of death he was going to die. But he didn’t mind it being public. In fact, he wanted everyone to know about it because his death was for everyone. Jesus took the punishment of death and hell for all people, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but will have eternal life.

Jesus draws all people to himself through faith without regard for nationality, ethnic affiliation, status, age, or gender. No matter what has happened in your life, no matter how good or bad it’s been, Jesus draws you to him.

The Romans meant death on the cross to be shameful. But there’s no need for you to feel ashamed of Jesus Christ. He was lifted up so that you would be drawn to him as your Savior.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, draw us to thee, for then shall we walk in thy steps forever and hasten on where thou art gone to be with thee, dear Savior. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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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Planted to Be Glorified – March 23, 2021

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
John 12:23,24

Planted to Be Glorified


Daily Devotion – March 23, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:23,24

See series: Devotions

Dealing with the death of someone you love is difficult. You know that everyone dies, but even when you know it’s coming, it can be surprisingly difficult.

When the time came for Jesus to die, he knew it would not be easy for the people who loved him. They knew he did not deserve to die. He was human, but he hadn’t done anything wrong. He seemed so young and vibrant—powerful in both word and deed.

So Jesus explained that his dying would be like planting a seed in the ground. It seems a shame to bury a seed, but when you see what happens, you realize that there’s a greater purpose. A seed is meant to go into the ground so that it can grow and produce fruit with many more seeds.

When Jesus died and was buried, it paid the appropriate price for the sin of the world. Jesus suffered hell so that his followers would never have to go there. Instead, they will spend their eternity in heaven. They are the seeds Jesus was referring to. His death meant eternal life for many.

It must have been difficult for Jesus’ friends and family to see him die. But now, how glad they are he did as their souls celebrate with him in heaven.

You can be sure Jesus’ death was for you too. Follow him. Trust in him. And spend your eternity celebrating with him in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for being willing to die so that I might live. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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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Palm Sunday

Jesus Humbly Rides Into Jerusalem to Die

These are the readings for Palm Sunday.

God’s Word for This Week

Our Lord is so different from earthly rulers. On the first Palm Sunday, Jesus was coming to finish history’s most crucial battle, yet he did not enter Jerusalem as a mighty warrior. He had no army. Jesus came on a lowly donkey, with twelve average men following him. Crowds greeted him with words from Psalm 118; words that rang to the heavens then, words still lifted to Jesus today: Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

FIRST LESSON – Zechariah 9:9-10

Zechariah writes 520 years before Christ. What is he prophesying about in verse 9?

Jesus coming as a lowly king into Jerusalem. We now know this as Palm Sunday.

Look at 9:10. What amazing gift would this King riding on a donkey bring?

Salvation—eternal life—for all people.

How does Zechariah give us a picture of the salvation our King would bring in verse 10?

What a picture: There would be no more instruments of war. In Zechariah’s day, the instruments of war were chariots, warhorses, and bows. Today we would say that there would be no more guns, missiles, tanks, bombers, or fighters. Instead, there would be peace throughout the earth and the King (Jesus) would rule over all. This picture finds its fulfillment in heaven, and on the new earth, where sin and war will rage no more for God’s people.

SECOND LESSON – Philippians 2:1-10

As followers of Jesus, what kind of attitude are we to have?

We are to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus, who humbled himself in service to his Father and others.

Why is it such a surprising thing that Jesus humbled himself all the way to the most cursed death, that of a cross?

If we had been in a position of authority over all things, we wouldn’t want to give it up to serve others, let alone die under God’s curse on the cross. Jesus left the glory of heaven to live in a world filled with sin, violence, and death. What great love for sinners!

Because Jesus was willing to endure so much for us, what glory did God the Father give him?

The Father gave the Son back the full use of the position the Son had always had from eternity: equality with the Father in every way. Now when we worship Jesus as Lord, God the Father receives the glory he deserves. Let us do this now and forever!

GOSPEL – Mark 11:1-10

If Jesus knows details about the colt, etc., ahead of time, what else must he know in advance?

If Jesus knew about the colt, etc., Jesus must have known all that would happen in his betrayal, suffering, and crucifixion. What love for us and for the Father he had!

What does the word hosanna mean?

Hosanna literally meant, “Please, save.” It was a plea for deliverance. Because we generally only call for rescue to people great enough to help, over the centuries hosanna became a shout of exclamation or praise to someone great.

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My Hiding Place – Week of March 22, 2021

My Hiding Place – Week of March 22, 2021



Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.

Psalm 143:1-2



Young children are terrible at hiding, aren’t they? Their inability to keep quiet gives them away almost immediately. They hide behind things that are too small to cover their entire body. Little children will even use their own hands to hide. As they chatter away from behind their own fingers, they reason that if their eyes cannot see you, then you cannot see them. This seems irrational to adults. Yet, games of peek-a-boo or hide-and-go-seek are forever entertaining generations of children.

Consider also how many generations of immature, little transgressors have tried to hide from authority in similar ways? Fear launches guilty hearts into instant panic. After a misdeed has been committed eye contact is avoided, a favorite blankie covers the head or a corner of the room is occupied. This all seems irrational to adults because eventually, justice will be delivered.

Are we much different than our irrational children? After we commit our sins, whatever they are, do we not try to hide? The devil, our accuser, drags us before our holy judge and points his wicked finger at us. He lays the evidence of our self-centered pursuits, our time-wasting thoughts, our disparaging remarks before God and clicks his malicious tongue at us. Fear kicks in and our irrational reaction is to hide our guilt from the almighty God. We avoid church where we hear his Word and connect with his people. We fill our schedule with business to escape time with him. We cover our sins with pathetic excuses. In the end, we know justice will be delivered.

What a relief that God’s justice was, indeed, delivered! Our Judge has also sent our Savior and accepted his perfect sacrifice for our sins on his cross. God delivered the judgement meant for us onto Jesus. We no longer have to fear our Judge. In Jesus, God actually provided the place for us to hide- in the security of his Son’s cross. In Jesus, the fervent prayer of the psalmist is our prayer- “Hear me! Come to me! Help me!” Our guilty hearts find cover in Jesus!

Now, our accuser cannot convict us! Our guilt cannot shame us! Fear does not compel us to avoid God for he sees us hiding in the very place where he wants us- in the shadow of Jesus’ cross! Praise be to our faithful God for keeping his promises in his Son, Jesus!



Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for being my substitute on the cross.  Thank you for being my hiding place.  Help me draw near to you and your forgiveness in your Holy Word.  Amen!

Questions for Reflection: How do I avoid God in my life?  What is one way I can draw near to him?

Want to know more?  How can I live in the presence of God?  From WhatAboutJesus.com



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Jesus Came to Suffer for Us – Family Devotion – March 22, 2021

Read: John 12:20-33

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

Jesus Came to Suffer for Us

 

Family Devotion – March 22, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:27-28

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

And God is glorious because Jesus suffered for us.

Closing Prayer:

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

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

Questions for Younger Children

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

Questions for Elementary Age Children

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

Questions for Middle School and Above

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

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

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

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

 

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

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”
John 12:20,21

We Would Like to See Jesus


Daily Devotion – March 22, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:20,21

See series: Devotions

I was once invited to preach at a different church. When I went into the pulpit to preach, I saw a message written on a piece of wood, a message that only the preacher could read. “Sir,” it said, “we would like to see Jesus.”

I recognized that the words are from the Gospel of John, chapter 12. Jesus in Jerusalem, just a few days away from dying on a cross. Some Greek people who were visiting Jerusalem found one of Jesus’ disciples. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”

When I saw those words written in the pulpit of that church, I knew why they were there. It’s a tremendous privilege to be asked to preach, and there’s a lot of freedom in what a preacher can say from a pulpit. Lutheran pastors understand that with great freedom comes great responsibility. Lutheran congregations expect Lutheran pastors to preach only the Word of God, and the only way to preach the Word of God correctly is to recognize the Savior at the center of it. “Sir,” say Lutheran listeners, “we would like to see Jesus.”

The Greeks who asked that question did not just want to see Jesus. They wanted to interview him, talk to him, hear him speak, understand him.

They aren’t the only ones. When I see how special Jesus is, when I hear the extraordinary things he did for me, when I understand that he loves me and forgives my sins, I want to get to know him more and more.

I hope that’s the case for you, too. Like those Greek people in Jerusalem that day long ago, may you desire to see Jesus and know him more and more.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for letting me see you and know you in your Word. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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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No! – March 21, 2021

No! – March 22, 2021


O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.
Matthew 23:37




Military Devotion – March 21, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 23:37

See series: Military Devotions

Some parents say the first word their sweet child offered to them was “No!”

It might even have been a determined “No!” made with a vigorous shaking of the head. It mattered little if mom used soothing words to encourage the baby to take just one bite of smashed carrots. It made no difference at all if she first tasted it and said, “Yummy!”

The little one did not care if she said it was good for him. The tyke didn’t even understand what she meant by “good.” He did not know if he did not eat, he would not live.

He just knew that he did not want it. He didn’t like the taste. He was not willing to accept it.

His answer was: “No!”

It reminds us of what Jesus had to say about the people to whom he had come to offer life.

Elsewhere, the Bible’s picture of soaring above our troubles “as on eagles’ wings” offers encouragement. Here, Jesus points to a chicken.

“As a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,” Jesus said. It’s a striking picture.

A hen is not as strong as an eagle. There is a reason why a person not willing to take a risk is called “chicken.” But if the hen senses that her chicks are in danger, she calls out the alarm. Her chicks come running. She lifts her wings. The chicks tuck in underneath. She lowers her wings like shields. She becomes brave.

The attacker must go through her to get at her chicks.

In humans, we call that “self-sacrifice.” We consider it a demonstration of great love.

The best example of that is Jesus. Saint John wrote, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

Jesus, himself, said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).

And what is the typical, the natural, response to his offer?

“No!”

The holy Lord God’s will is that every descendant of Adam and Eve spend eternity safely with him in the new paradise.

Why would anyone not be willing to accept this?

The answer lies deep in the human soul. Ever since becoming infected with sin in Eden, humans see God as the enemy. They are instinctively opposed to him and his ways because they belong to God’s enemy, Satan.

Jesus spelled it out to those rejecting him: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Satan told Eve that knowing evil would be something good.

He lied.

Satan tells the world that God is not needed, that happiness can be found without him.

He lies.

Satan announces to the disheartened, “This is all there is. There is no hereafter. There is no judgment. There is no God. There is no hope.”

He lies.

Jesus says to those that will listen to him: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

The truth is, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Haven’t we heard that before?

Don’t we know that to be true?

Isn’t God our Father? Isn’t Jesus our Savior?

Isn’t that why we should run to him in every time of need?

The answer is “Yes!”

Never “No!”



Prayer: Jesus, open your arms to embrace us. Open our hearts to trust you. Draw us to your side. Deliver us from evil. May your will be done. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.

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. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Transformed – teen devotion – March 21, 2021

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Matthew 27:45-46

Forsaken

As a child, did you ever get left somewhere accidentally? It’s a sickening feeling, “Did my parents forget about me?”

Some children experience something more serious than that. They were given up for adoption when they were young and may wonder, “Did my parents not want me anymore? Why did they give me up?”

One of our greatest human needs is to feel loved and accepted. The thought of being abandoned or rejected by our parents can shatter that sense of feeling loved and accepted. Rejection by loved ones, or even by friends can leave us feeling unloved, unaccepted, and forsaken.

Have you ever felt rejected? Maybe you’re experiencing those feelings today. If you are, God your Heavenly Father wants you to hear something, something very important. He has NOT forsaken you, and he never will.

How do we know? Because Jesus was forsaken for us.

While all of us at times have been or felt rejected or forsaken by others (perhaps some of us quite seriously), no human being will ever fully understand or appreciate the depth of rejection and abandonment that Jesus experienced in our place. From eternity, Jesus enjoyed the perfect love of his father. While hanging on the cross however, Jesus endured the full brunt of his father’s abandonment, rejection, and condemnation as payment for our sins. That is why he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

All of us deserve to be abandoned and forsaken by God for our sins, but in an act of amazing unconditional love, God abandoned his Son Jesus in our place. Jesus experienced that hell so that we never would.

Therefore, we can rest secure in God’s love for us. Even if we feel abandoned or rejected in our human relationships, we will never be abandoned or rejected by him. That gives us peace, hope, and joy.

Prayer: Dearest Jesus, how can I ever thank you for being forsaken by your Father so that I never will? Your love for me never ceases to amaze me. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Know It All – March 21, 2021

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Matthew 11:25-27

Know It All


Daily Devotion – March 21, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 11:25-27

See series: Devotions

Do you know someone who is a “know-it-all”—the person who usually doesn’t accept your ideas or plans but thinks that he knows better and pursues his own way? That can be frustrating for you, and it may lead you to stop discussing your thoughts with that person who thinks that he is wiser than you are.

In a way, that’s the kind of situation that Jesus is talking about in these verses. God, his Father, hides his truths of salvation from those who have rejected him and think that they know better. In their wisdom, they regard God’s Word as unimportant for their lives. They reject God’s plan of salvation through Jesus because it doesn’t make sense to their learned minds.

Jesus warns us not to be “know-it-alls” when it comes to the truth of salvation that God gives us in his Word. Be like little children who hear and believe. The Word we have is from God; the plan of salvation is revealed to us from “the Lord of heaven and earth.” Who are we to think that we know better! We are not so wise to know the way to the Father on our own, and it is impossible for us to find him and please him no matter how learned we strive to be. So God came to us; the true God in the form of a man—Jesus! “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In the Bible, God has revealed his love for us through Jesus, to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

How greatly God loves us to open up our minds to know him and our hearts to believe in Jesus as our Savior!

Prayer:
Thank you, heavenly Father, for revealing yourself to me through Jesus. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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 That Is Real – March 20, 2021

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Love That Is Real


Daily Devotion – March 20, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 5:8

See series: Devotions

Do you feel loved by God? Do you feel close to him? Do you feel as if his arms are embracing you, carrying you through this day or this night? Do you feel safe, secure, protected? Do you feel as if God is focusing every fiber of his attention on you?

Perhaps you do. But chances are good that you don’t. After all, think about everything going on in your life that can keep that feeling away from you. Perhaps it’s the uncertain economy or trouble at work. Perhaps it’s heartache at home, your finances, your health, or a relationship that’s gone sour. Perhaps it’s the death of someone close. Perhaps at this point in your life, you simply find yourself in a place where you feel empty, isolated, misunderstood, forgotten. But you definitely do not feel loved by God.

But you know what? That’s okay. Think about it: Would you really want to live in a world where God’s love was there for you only when you really felt it? You see, God’s love for you in Jesus Christ is far more dependable, far more certain, far more real than any temporary emotion. In this broken-down world, bad things are going to happen, and those bad things are going to rough up our emotions once in a while. And when that happens, we are not going to feel very loved.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this,” the apostle Paul says. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And so there it is. It’s okay if our frail emotions don’t always feel God’s love. We don’t have to depend on our feelings to know God’s love is real. Instead, we can place our certainty on the One who sent his Son to wash us clean of our every sin.

Prayer:
Holy Father, your love for me in Jesus Christ is real. Forgive me when I’ve trusted my emotions instead of trusting you. In my difficult moments, empower me to rest in you alone. Amen.

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

Read: Ephesians 2:4-10

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

Rejoice that We Are Saved by Grace

 

Family Devotion – March 19, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:8-9

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closing Prayer:

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

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

Questions for Younger Children

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

Questions for Elementary Age Children

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

Questions for Middle School and Above

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

Hymn: CW 384:1,2 – By Grace I’m Saved

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

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

 

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

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

The Result


Daily Devotion – March 19, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

“Hell on earth.” That’s how the husband described the invitation to go Black Friday shopping with his wife. We may chuckle at the hyperbole. But do you ever notice how often “hell” makes its way into conversations? “War is hell.” “Hell, no!” “It’s hotter than hell.” “To hell and back.” “H-E-double-hockey sticks.” “Hell’s Kitchen.”

While “hell” is used to describe many situations on earth, to really savor the sweetness of John 3:16, we need to come to grips with the reality of hell. John 3:16 describes hell as “perishing.” At its most basic definition, hell is separation from God and all of his blessings. Hell is suffering. Hell is rejection. Hell is anger, pain, and sorrow. And hell is where we were headed. But…

That’s what this sweet Bible passage is all about… “but.” In Jesus, God’s one and only Son, we find a “but” to our prescribed destination. “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Just as hell is real, so is heaven. Heaven is seeing God face-to-face. Heaven is being the recipient of every blessing God gives. Heaven is joy, contentment, acceptance, peace. And heaven is what God promises to every person who trusts that Jesus is the Savior they need. Savor the sweet truth that in Jesus, you have life now and forever.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, work faith in my heart that I may receive the gift of eternal life that is mine through God’s one and only Son. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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 Gift – March 18, 2021

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

The Gift


Daily Devotion – March 18, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

My grandparents grew up as neighbors. In fact, my grandfather remembered the day that Grandma was born. They dated for seven years as they couldn’t afford to get married during the Depression. They were married for 68 years. The only night they slept in separate beds was when one was in the hospital. When Grandma died, Grandpa felt every pillow at the funeral home to see if it was soft enough for his bride. Shortly after, Grandpa died of a broken heart—shared experiences cement relationships.

Consider the shared experiences between God the Father and God the Son. Together they conferred before creation, “Let us make mankind in our image” (Genesis 1:26). Together they could reminisce how they rescued Noah and his family during the flood. Together they delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. Together, together, together. Imagine how close that relationship was and is. And yet, at just the right time, God the Father sent his Son into the world. God the Father so loved the world that he gave “his one and only Son.”

We can’t even fathom what a tremendous gift this was! It’s so easy to go through life and look at what we don’t have. Or we look at the gifts that God has given us with a bit of disappointment. “That’s it, Lord? Isn’t there something more?” But when we take a step back and look at the gift that God has given us, when we consider that God gave us “his one and only Son,” we realize a little more what it means that God so loved the world. And I pray, we will never say, “That’s it?” again. Savor the sweetness of this indescribable gift.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to never take you for granted. Open my eyes to see what a testimony you are of the Father’s love for me. Amen.

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

Read: Numbers 21:4-9

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

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

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

Numbers 21:4b-9

Rejoice and Look to Jesus in Faith

 

Family Devotion – March 17, 2021

Devotion based on Numbers 21:4b-9

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closing Prayer:

Lord, thank you for your lifesaving promise to take us to heaven. Help us trust in Jesus today and always. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What bad thing happened to the Israelites?
  • What did God do to save them?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

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

Questions for Middle School and Above

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Recipient


Daily Devotion – March 17, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” Many Christians grew up learning this as their first song. But it doesn’t take long before we realize we’re not so lovable. Our classmates don’t include us at the lunch table. Our teenage crush dumps us. Our adult neighbor avoids talking to us at the mailbox. And worst of all, the person in the mirror doesn’t even like us.

Why? It’s not just a difference of personalities. When it comes to the person in the mirror, it’s often what’s on the inside that makes us feel ugly and unlovable. We see our thoughts. We see our disappointments and how we’ve disappointed. We see our guilt. And we soon change the lyrics from, “Jesus loves me. This I know,” to “Jesus loves me? I don’t know.”

When that mis-sung lyric rings loud in your heart, savor the sweetness of John 3:16—God so loved the world. As a pastor, I have often directed people to those words. To the one who confessed adultery, “Are you part of the world? Then what does that mean? God loves you.” To the woman plagued by an abortion from a decade earlier, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” To the Christian fighting homosexual desires, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” To the one who tried to take their own life, not once but twice, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” To the one sitting reading this devotion, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done; you are the recipient of God’s love. Savor the sweetness of that truth.

Prayer:
Lord, when I feel unlovable, turn my eyes to the truth of your Word which assures me of your universal love. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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 Giver – March 16, 2021

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

The Giver


Daily Devotion – March 16, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

Recently, I read an article titled, “What To Do When Someone Gives You a Gift and You Didn’t Get Them One.” The unexpected gift can be extremely awkward. Granted, some say that we live in an era of entitlement, so maybe we expect gifts. But a gift from God? That’s what our Bible passage for today tells us. God gave us a gift.

The title “God” is so common, showing up more than 4,500 times in the Bible. When something or someone is so common, we can take it for granted, even when it comes to gift-giving. On our birthday, we expect a gift from our spouse or significant other. At Christmas, we expect gifts from the person who has our name in the name exchange. But what if you came home today and Amazon delivered a gift to your doorstep that said, “To: Me, From: The President,” or, “To: Me, From: Your Favorite Celebrity.” No matter what the gift was, you would think, “Wow, I got a gift from so-and-so.” You would feel special. But John 3:16 says that God has given you a gift! God doesn’t just govern a country; he governs the world. God isn’t just a celebrity on the big screen, he’s made himself known through the skies themselves (Psalm 19:1). And yet, he has given you a gift. He wrapped up the gift of his Son and said, “To: You, From: God.” Wow!

So, how do you react to such an unexpected gift? The magazine article reference earlier strictly warned, “Don’t pretend you have a present for them and that you just forgot it. Rather, understand that people are excited to show their love by giving gifts.” That’s some good advice. God’s love language is gift-giving. Instead of pretending you can offer anything in return, be humbled and show your genuine appreciation by savoring the sweetness of the Giver. Savor the sweetness that God thought of you. Savor the sweetness of his love.

Prayer:
God, you are big and powerful, and yet you thought of me. Thank you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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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Fifth Sunday in Lent

Jesus Is Our High Priest Who Offers Himself

These are the readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent.

God’s Word for This Week

Before Jesus was born, believers had to regularly offer up sacrifices for sin. Only the high priest could go before God with the blood and prayers of the people. These sacrifices would go on and on for the entire life of the Old Testament believer as a vivid reminder that God would send a Savior who would be sacrificed on the behalf of all people. Today the Word of God shows that Jesus, our High Priest, would sacrifice himself and bring a new covenant of life that would last forever.

FIRST LESSON – Jeremiah 31:31-34

What is the old covenant that the Lord had made with Israel when he took them out of Egypt?

The old covenant the Lord revealed to the children of Israel in the desert was a covenant that regulated everything the children of Israel did. They had laws of what to eat, how to clean, what to touch and not touch. They had Sabbath laws. God required animal sacrifices for many reasons; some happened daily.

What would be the new covenant that the Lord would make?

The Lord said the new covenant “will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers.” It would not contain any laws, rules, or regulations that must be kept or symbolic repeated sacrifices. Jesus would fulfill all of God’s demands. Jesus would keep all the laws and rules for all people. Jesus’ death would be the only sacrifice that would finally pay for the sins of the whole world. Jesus’ death would open the way to God; the veil in the temple was torn in two. Instead of a covenant of “You must do this and not do that,” Jesus’ new covenant comes through the assurance, “It is finished.” All of Jesus’ work is bestowed to us as the Holy Spirit uses the Word and sacraments to create and sustain faith in our hearts.

SECOND LESSON – Hebrews 5:7-10

How did Jesus show “reverent submission” when he prayed with “loud cries and tears”?

Jesus’ “reverent submission” is seen clearly in the agony of his prayers in Gethsemane the night before his death. There he said, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Does verse nine mean that only those who perfectly obey Jesus can be saved?

No. The apostle John writes, “We obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 3:22-23). Faith is obedience to God and is worked in the individual by God’s grace through the Word and sacraments.

GOSPEL – John 12:20-33

How would the death of Jesus be judgment for the world?

Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world at the cross. Those who reject this truth will be judged and condemned. Those through faith, who believe Jesus’ sacrifice was good for all eternity, will enjoy heavenly bliss for all eternity.

Who is the prince of the world that would be driven out of his position of power?

Satan is the prince of the world. Jesus defeated him by apparent surrender to death.

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Rejoice that God So Loved the World – Family Devotion – March 15, 2021

Read: John 3:14-21

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

Rejoice that God So Loved the World

 

Family Devotion – March 15, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closing Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, you have given us the best gift ever. Put joy in our hearts and praise on our lips because of your love for the world. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What gift did God give to the world?
  • What blessings will you have because you believe in Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

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

Questions for Middle School and Above

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

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

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

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

 

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

Our Spiritual Spring – Week of March 15, 2021



Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:4-5



I love spring!  After a frigid winter with only brown grass, dried up stalks in the fields and skeletal trees on the horizon, seeing skinny, green shoots and plump, colorful buds appear is comforting!  The lawns change color.  Trees fill out.  Gardens and fields become promising again.  What a relief we are not stuck in the season of winter forever!  Life comes again- full of purpose and activity!

Our text for this week talks about our spiritual spring.  “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our sin.”  We were dead.  In reality, we were even more barren than our winter gardens.  Our sinful hearts, even more withered than a December tree.  Our spiritual potential was even more depleted than a field of expired stalks.  We were dead!  Mired in only our own filthy sins.  No potential.  No purpose.  No activity.

We would have certainly stayed that way too if God’s merciful love had not given us life.  Though we did not earn or deserve it, God loved us!  As we lay wasted, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ!  Yes, even while we were still ensnared in our own sin, God changed our direction completely!  Now, through Jesus, we have a spiritual springtime! In Christ, our sins are forgiven, and our dead hearts are now alive!  Jesus melts our winter into life.  Life produces.  Life has purpose and identity.  Life is beautiful!

Because of Jesus, our new hearts produce thankfulness that honors God by serving others around us.  It might be that our service calls us to be patient as we work with children and assist our families in their training.  Because of Jesus, our new lives have purpose.  What an honor to be called, “teacher” as our daily activities prepare little hearts and hands and voices to know their Savior.  Because of Jesus, our identity has been transformed.  Faith in our Savior now identifies us as a child of God, and we work tirelessly with the littlest in his family.  Because of Jesus, our life is stunningly beautiful and only becomes more so as our faith grows!

Our spring has come!  Grow by hearing his Word.  Shake off your winter and welcome the opportunities God puts before you to love others.  Serve them in Jesus’ name.  New life in Jesus is beautiful!



Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for giving my life purpose and identity.  Help me to use my life to honor you.  Amen!

Question for Reflection: How do I use my daily activities to serve God and others?

Want to know more?  What is my purpose in life?  From WhatAboutJesus.com



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
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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