Transformed – teen devotion – June 16, 2024

One truth shared: The kingdom grows when the seed is sown. The Word works.

The Parable of the Growing Seed
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.  As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

Mark 4:26-34

Trust the Word

How do you measure progress? Or success? And how do you achieve them? In American culture, progress and success are largely measured by outward results, and the path to achieving progress and success is directly related to the amount of effort one puts in.

Think about it:

  • Sports are measured by wins or championships and success depends heavily on the efforts of the players and coaches.
  • School is measured by grades and test scores, and success is largely driven by how much studying a person does.
  • Companies are driven by profits and revenue and success or failure is directly related to the efforts of the employees and management.

It’s easy to take those same ideas and mistakenly apply them to the kingdom of God – that kingdom progress means more people sitting in church, that if we’re doing a good job sharing the gospel then we’ll see more and more people coming to faith in Jesus right before our very eyes. Based on these ideas we’ll likely feel like our efforts are insignificant and failing, we’ll get discouraged, and we’ll possibly even stop trying to make disciples of others as Jesus commanded us.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus told two short parables about sharing the gospel. He often taught in parables – earthly stories with a spiritual meaning.

In both parables Jesus encourages us to simply share the seed (the gospel or good news of Jesus) with others and trust in God’s promises.
What are God’s promises when we do that? The first parable promises that the power to convert another person to faith is not in us, or in our efforts, but in the gospel itself. Faith will sprout and grow even though we don’t know how. By nature, all people, including you and me, are corrupt and sinful and we reject the grace of God, but God’s Word overcomes our unbelief and brings us to faith.

The second parable reminds us not to judge the growth of God’s kingdom by initial outward appearances or results. God promises that he will grow seemingly small and insignificant beginnings into something greater than we’d ever imagine!

Therefore go, and share God’s Word with comfort and confidence, trusting that the Word will do the work, and leaving the results in the hands of your almighty God.

Prayer:Lord of the Harvest, it’s such a human thing to take credit for success. Forgive me when I do that. Give me confidence, not in myself, but in the power of your Word. Help me share Jesus with someone new this week. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – June 9, 2024

One truth shared: The rest (Sabbath) we need most—from guilt, from worry, from shame, from hopelessness—is graciously given to us by the Lord of the Sabbath.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:8:15

Victory over the Devil

Have you ever heard the story about New Coke? Back in the mid 1980’s Coca-Cola company, one of the most iconic brands in the world, was looking to improve quality and make a splash in the marketplace so they created a new product with a new taste and introduced New Coke. Unfortunately, New Coke was a disaster. Consumers did not take to the new product like Coca-Cola hoped. After incurring a $30 million debt from New Coke, Coca-Cola company eventually scrapped the new version.

As big of a disaster as New Coke was, it was nothing compared to the disaster of the Fall into sin. The devil convinced Adam and Eve that they needed to “improve” their quality of life and make a splash in their world, so they disobeyed God and introduced the ugliness of sin into humanity. The events that immediately followed the Fall are a sad reflection of the brokenness we all experience today in our relationship with God and with others – fear, guilt, shame, conflict, pain, separation, and hostility. This widespread brokenness can lead us to believe that the devil is winning. It can lead us to despair.

Like Coca-Cola, our perfect God could have scrapped the project called “humanity” after the Fall. But God so loved his creation, that includes you and me, that he instead promised a solution – a Savior. This Savior would rise from within humanity and erase mankind’s impossible debt to God. His death on the cross would be a temporary strike to his heel, but his death would fatally crush the devil’s head, and spell victory for humanity.

Sin and brokenness is real and painful. Don’t despair. Genesis 3:15 is God’s promise of victory.  Rejoice in Jesus’ victory that is also your victory! Live at peace with God knowing that his grace covers all your brokenness and that he has forgiven you of all of your sins. Be at peace with yourself. Live at peace with others knowing God’s grace covers their brokenness and sins too.

Prayer: Almighty and Merciful God, when I see the problems in our world and in my life it can really bring me down. It’s worse when I consider my own sinful part in those problems. Thank you for responding to all of this with grace and forgiveness. Thank you for giving me the victory over all of this through Jesus. Help me to live in that victory. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – June 2, 2024

One truth shared: The rest (Sabbath) we need most—from guilt, from worry, from shame, from hopelessness—is graciously given to us by the Lord of the Sabbath.

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
Mark 2:23-3:5

Rest is a Gift, Not Something to Be Earned

It’s easy to see rest as a reward for doing hard work. A vacation is time off that you’ve earned after weeks of long hours on the job. Christmas or summer break is a well-deserved hiatus from school after studying hard for the semester and final exams.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some well-deserved rest and down time after working hard on the job or at school, but it would be a mistake to believe that the spiritual rest that God desires for us is similarly earned through hard work. Unfortunately, we can easily slip into this way of thinking. It’s what many of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought.

God’s Sabbath Day commandment was originally given to Israel as a day of rest, a day to remember all of God’s creating and saving blessings. But the Pharisees piled on many of their own rules and regulations to God’s Sabbath commands. The joy in recalling God’s blessings was smothered by worries about whether one had done or not done something covered by the rules. In time, following the Sabbath rules became a way of earning God’s favor and even earning heaven.

This attitude about the Sabbath was what prompted the Pharisees to confront Jesus on two different occasions. They tried to trap Jesus, claiming that he was violating the Sabbath.
Jesus was deeply distressed by their stubborn and hateful hearts. He responded to their accusations from scripture, not from their interpretation of the law. As Lord of the Sabbath he defined what the Sabbath is and what it’s not.

The Sabbath was not created as a means to earn the grace of God but as God’s gift to us. The spirit of the Sabbath promotes mercy and compassion over ceremony and rules. Most importantly, by rejecting Jesus the Pharisees were forfeiting God’s favor, his heaven and his spiritual rest only found in him.

Do you want to experience true spiritual rest? This summer, you can find it – not because the school year has ended and you’re looking forward to an upcoming vacation. Summer rest is found in Jesus. It’s rest from your sins, guilt and shame through the forgiveness Jesus won for you by his death on the cross. It’s rest you can experience no matter what the circumstances around you may be. It’s a foretaste of the final full eternal rest you’ll have in heaven.

Prayer:Lord of the Sabbath, thank you for giving me true spiritual rest as a gift through Jesus Christ. My soul yearns for that rest in the middle of my busy, sometimes stressful life. Help me to work hard in your kingdom while also enjoying the rest I find in your Word and Sacraments. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – May 26, 2024

One truth shared: Through Jesus Christ we are brought into a unique and blessed relationship with the triune God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory

Romans 8:12-17

Our Triune God Makes Us Blessed Members of His Family

How many of you have seen the musical/movie Annie? Annie is a little orphan girl, living in a pretty dumpy home run by a terrible lady who’s often drunk, and forced to do inappropriate labor. A rich man named Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks selects Annie to live at his home in order to promote his image and political career. For Annie, everything changed on that one day when she was rescued from the orphanage and brought into Daddy Warbuck’s home – her sense of family, self-worth, identity and purpose.

What’s true of Annie in that movie, is true for all believers in Christ – but in a much bigger and better way.

All people including you and me are by nature spiritual “orphans” in desperate need of rescue, without a father, with no direction or purpose in life, and no identity. Like Daddy Warbucks, God dramatically changed all that. In an amazing act of love, God sent his Son Jesus to die on a cross, and to rescue us and adopt us into his family.

What does life look like for believers restored to God’s family? Paul describes it as an incredible, beautiful life centered around a relationship with the triune God of the Bible – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

You can call God – the almighty, eternal, supreme God of the universe – your Father! You can call on him at any time, just as you would call on your earthly father, trusting that he hears you and treats you as his beloved child.

You have Jesus, the Son, as your brother. He did everything to secure God’s love and a place for you in God’s family. You are a fellow heir with him in all of God’s blessings including the gift of an eternal home in heaven.

You have the Holy Spirit, living inside of you, strengthening you in your walk of faith, testifying to the Father on your behalf, and giving you a spirit of peace, comfort and contentment.

Through Jesus you have so much more than Annie did. You have someone so much richer and powerful and caring than Daddy Warbucks – you have a heavenly Daddy. One who truly loves you. It’s no political move. It’s no stunt to promote His image. Your heavenly Father truly wants you in his family – and he planned out everything from eternity, and carried it out in time, through His Son Jesus and through the Holy Spirit, for you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for adopting me as a child into your family. Thank you for my Brother Jesus, who paid the price for my adoption. Thank you for the Holy Spirit who brought about my adoption and dwells inside of me so that I might live for you and serve you all my days.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – May 19, 2024

One truth shared: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are active in our lives today. 

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.”

John 15:26

We Are Not Alone

Imagine your typical high school musical. You see the stage. You see the scenery. You hear the music playing. POOF! The spotlight flips on, and there is the lead character. Despite a changing teen voice that occasionally falters, he does a marvelous job in the opening scene. Then the curtain closes. A few moments later the curtain opens again, but this time in a different scene. Another character takes the lead this time. She does an amazing job too! You see, both characters are equally important, but at different times each has a different role to play—sometimes in the lead and sometimes in support.

In a somewhat similar way, God has operated in this world in different phases or stages. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always been equal in power and authority. They are three equal persons in one true God. However, starting with creation, it was God the Father who took more of the center stage as Maker and Preserver of this world. The Son and the Spirit were certainly around and active, but they didn’t take the spotlight.

When Jesus was born, a new scene began. This time he took the lead as our substitute and Savior from sin. The Father and the Spirit were certainly around and active, but they didn’t take the spotlight. Once Jesus ascended back to heaven, the curtain closed on that scene as a new one was about to begin.

That new scene was the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came in a miraculous and marvelous way. He empowered the disciples to be bold witnesses and more than 3,000 people came to faith and were baptized. From that point forward and to the present, the Holy Spirit has had center stage. Now it is the Holy Spirit who is taking a more active role in the life of the Church. The Father and the Son have been and still are certainly around and active, but they aren’t taking the spotlight, so to speak.

This is what Jesus was promising and foretelling in John 15. He talked about the “Advocate” who would come to testify to the truth. An advocate is someone who speaks on behalf of or helps someone else. The Holy Spirit is that Advocate. When we share the good news of Jesus the Son of God, the Father sends the Spirit on his behalf. The Holy Spirit is the one who works people’s hearts. The Holy Spirit is the one who brings people to faith and then strengthens faith. And, the Holy Spirit is the one who fills us with courage and boldness to witness like those first disciples did.

It can be easy to feel alone at times and wonder, “Where is God?” Know that the Father is still our Maker and Preserver. He’s not standing on the sidelines, but actively working to preserve and protect us. Know that the Son is still our Savior. He’s not standing on the sidelines, but actively coming to us through the Gospel in Word and sacraments. Know that the Spirit is still our Advocate and Guide. He’s not standing on the sidelines, but actively working in people’s hearts when the Word and Sacraments are used. Praise be to God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who actively works in our lives!

Prayer:Holy Spirit, fill me with comfort knowing that you are always working and with me. Then fill me with courage to be a bold witness to others confidence to know that you will work through my words. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – May 12, 2024

One truth shared: The Holy Spirit empowers us to be bold witnesses for Jesus. 

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 6:1-9, 7:2a, 51-60

Bold Witnessing

Paige did everything right. She was kind, gentle, and respectful at work. Her Jesus-light was definitely shining brightly for everyone to see. She built good relationships with her coworkers and listened to them as they talked about their personal problems and issues. Everyone seemed to like and trust Paige. Well, at least they used to.

One day Paige was on break with two other teens, talking and relaxing as they often did during those short breaks. The other two girls started talking about the drama in their lives with boys and how hurt they were by their last boyfriends who slept with them and then dumped them. Paige saw this as an opportunity. Using her kindest and most respectful tone she said, “You know I’m a little concerned about what you’re telling me. God intended sex to be for marriage, and I think some of your hurt and pain is coming from relationships based on the wrong thing. Maybe after work sometime, we could talk more. I really think Jesus could make a big difference in your life. I know he does for me!”

Paige had been wanting to witness to these coworkers for weeks. She knew they needed Jesus. She felt so good that she finally had the opportunity to say something privately, respectfully, and lovingly just as she had been taught. But as soon as the words left her lips, things turned bad real fast. Both girls gave Paige the “Who do you think you are?” speech, including making fun of her for being such a judgmental “Jesus-freak.” After an awkward moment, they walked out of the room, ignored her the rest of the week, and blocked her on all social media. How could this be? Didn’t Paige do everything right? She most certainly did, but sadly, there will be times when hardened unbelievers will refuse to listen.

Stephen experienced that. He was a servant in the early days of the Christian church, and he boldly witnessed to Jewish leaders about how they killed Jesus, the promised Messiah. They needed to hear about their sin, and they needed to hear about Jesus as their Savior. It was just what they needed to hear . . . but not what they wanted to hear. So not only did they get angry and refuse to listen, but they dragged Stephen outside and stoned him to death.

There will be times when you share your faith and see incredible blessings spring forth—friends will listen, a coworker will ask lots of questions, a teammate will come to church with you. Praise God for those blessings! But prepare yourself! There will also be times when stubborn, hardened hearts of unbelief will lead unbelievers to reject you (and ultimately God)—and sometimes in very harsh and hurtful ways.

But fear not! Just as Jesus gave Stephen courage and wisdom, he will do the same for you. The Father will work the situation for your good, as promised. Jesus will be with you, as promised. And the Holy Spirit will give you wisdom and words, as promised. So witness boldly friends, and trust that our true God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—will be with you and bless your work and witnessing!

Prayer: God, sometimes the thought of being a witness today is very scary. I know others, like Stephen, have suffered worse than I likely ever will. But the words and actions of others are still mean and hurtful. I don’t always know what to do or what to say. Give me words, give me wisdom, and give me courage to boldly share the message of salvation with everyone. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – May 5, 2024

One truth shared: Remain in Jesus’ love as you love other people.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:9, 12-13

Love Each Other

The story is told of a mother who was walking down the street with her two little girls one day. Each girl held mommy’s hand as they strolled down the sidewalk in their quaint little Alaskan hometown. It was just another day surrounded by beautiful scenery in a beautiful location . . . until they turned the corner. Suddenly a massive grizzly bear charged out of the woods at the three of them. Without hesitation, the mother pushed the girls to the side and took on the bear, knowing she was outmatched and about to be mauled to pieces.

Stories like this are moving. What selfless and self-sacrificing love! We could imagine most parents would do the same for their children. But would you do that? Would you lay down your life for someone else? Maybe a family member or someone you deeply love. But what about the classmate who spread rumors about you on social media last week . . . what about the school bully . . . what about a criminal who did evil things and now is in jail for life? Would you die for any of them?

Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The remarkable fact of God’s love is that Jesus died for all people of all time—even the worst of sinners, which includes you and me.

In John 15, Jesus is talking about that incredible, selfless, self-sacrificing love that he has for us. He gives multiple examples of that love in these verses as he spoke to his disciples. These words also describe how Jesus loves us. Jesus laid down his life for us. Jesus calls us his friends, even though he is true God and we are mere humans. We didn’t choose him, but he chose us. All of these things reveal the extraordinary love that Jesus has for us, even though we are sinners!

Jesus’ love is not just a one-time thing of the past though. His love is life changing! Two repeated phrases tell us what Jesus wants us to do next: remain in his love and love each other. Jesus wants nothing more than for us to stay inside the protecting bubble of his love, constantly reassured of his forgiveness and care for us. And then, Jesus wants us to love other people in the same way that he has loved us.

This week, look for ways you can “remain in his love.” Don’t miss opportunities for Bible reading, devotions, prayer, and worship. Then, look for specific ways and specific people that you can show the love of Jesus’ too. His love has been life changing for us, and it certainly will be life changing for others!

Prayer: Loving Savior, your love for me is beyond what I can comprehend, but it means everything to me. Help me to remain in your love and to appreciate it with a glad and joyful heart. Then help your love to spill over in me in the ways that I love other people. Amen.  


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

Transformed – teen devotion – April 28, 2024

One truth shared: Jesus wants us to stay connected to him as branches to the vine. 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:1-8

Dear Teen, Stay Connected

Something was off. Cody could tell that something wasn’t right, but he didn’t know what it was. School seemed to be going OK. His grades were fairly stable. There was no friend drama going on—at least at this time. He hadn’t fought with his parents in a while. He even had a somewhat tolerable job with some chill coworkers. So how could Cody have all these good things going and still not feel right?

It was hard for Cody to explain. He got decent grades and made good money at work, but he still felt like he had nothing. Even though things were good with friends and family, he still felt alone. Even though he had so much going for him and filling up his time, he still felt empty and hollow on the inside. He didn’t know what it was, but something was definitely off.

Then one day Cody discovered something. He was digging around in his closet for a pack of batteries for a remote control when he found something in the back corner of the closet. It was a picture frame. He pulled it out and blew off the dust. Suddenly he had his answer. He knew what was wrong.

Inside the picture frame was Cody’s baptism certificate from when he was little. For years it had hung on his wall as a reminder of that special moment when he was made a child of God. But when Cody redecorated his room, he put it off to the side so it wouldn’t break. It had been sitting there in his closet for over a year. Cody started to recognize that just as he had forgotten about this important reminder of the past, he had been forgetting about his relationship with Jesus.

Cody had so many things going on that he rarely found time to pray or read the Bible. He was so tired on the weekends that sleep became a priority over worship. His friends at school always wanted to do things so he rarely hung out with the teen group from church anymore. It was almost as if Cody’s faith life had been hiding in the closet with his baptism certificate. And that’s what was wrong.

Jesus reminds us today how important it is to stay connected to him. He is the vine, and we are the branches. When we are connected to him, we are fed and nourished with his love and forgiveness, his strength, and his comfort. When we are connected to him, Jesus says that we will bear much fruit. But apart from him, no matter how many good worldly things we have going on, we can do nothing.

Cody was reminded that he needed to strengthen his connection to Jesus, the vine. How about you? How strong is your connection? How much are you being fed? How much fruit are you bearing? Today might be a good day for you to do some reflection. Jesus, the vine, graciously wants to feed and nourish you as a branch that grows and bears much fruit. Take some time to think today about how you can better stay connected to Jesus. Think about some plans you can make to help you do that. Make it a priority. Then wait and watch how you will grow and flourish when you stay connected!

Prayer: Jesus, I am so thankful to be connected to you. You are my everything. But there are so many things in this world that want to cut me off from you. Feed me with your Word and sacraments. Strengthen my faith. Help me always remain connected to you. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – April 21, 2024

One truth shared: Jesus wants us to use his Word to test the teachings we hear. 

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirt of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

1 John 4:1-6

Dear Teen, Test Carefully

How many science tests do you think you have done in all your school years? You probably started out with some simple tests learning about chemical reactions, gravity, or energy. Perhaps your teacher made “elephant toothpaste” erupt out of a beaker. Maybe you dropped wrapped-up eggs off the roof or designed popsicle stick bridges. As you got older you likely learned to test liquids with litmus paper to see if they were acids, neutrals, or bases. Maybe by now you’ve done some more complex tests in biology, chemistry, or physics classes.

Some students love doing these tests, others find them a bore or dread them. No matter what you feel about the scientific method and tests, you are learning important life skills. It is essential to be able to think about things with a critical and analytical mind, carefully using logic and deduction to make wise and appropriate decisions. It’s also pretty cool to be able to know how God’s awesome creation works! The ability to test something is an important life skill.

However, “testing” is an even more critical spiritual-life skill. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, blesses his Church by giving pastors and teachers who serve as under-shepherds that preach and teach to Jesus’ flock and sheep. But there are a LOT of pastors and teachers out there in a LOT of different churches! In addition, there are endless videos, blogs, and articles online to sort through. How are you supposed to know which one to listen to? This is where your testing skills come in!

The apostle John warns us with this advice: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” John’s encouragement is to become very good at testing. Because there are many false teachers in the world, we should test what they teach. So how do we do that? With God’s Word! The Bible is the litmus paper we must use to test whether someone’s teachings are accurate or true.

This is a big challenge! Don’t get pulled into believing everything you see or hear online, or from the next church down the street that has something fancy or looks cool. Just like in school, do your homework! Listen to what they are saying. Look for statements of faith on websites. Find out what people really believe, and then compare that with the Bible. Be a student of the Word who uses it to carefully test what is right and wrong. So, stay connected to Jesus, study up in the Word, and put all your testing experience and careful thinking to good use!

Prayer: Good Shepherd, thank you for giving so many shepherds to serve as preachers and teachers of your truth. But there are also many false teachers who are wolves in shepherd’s clothing. Help me to grow in faith and knowledge so I can carefully test all teachings and remain faithful to the truth of your Word. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – April 14, 2024

One truth shared: Jesus is the Savior of all people from all sins.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 1:5 – 2:2

A Savior for All

Trey and Tyler had become good friends over time. They had been working together, flipping fries side-by-side, for almost seven months. They usually were scheduled on the same days, and they had a lot of fun. They called it T2 Tuesdays when they worked together on that day. Silly, but that’s the kind of fun they had. That is, until Tyler started acting funny.

Trey wasn’t sure what it was, but he could tell Tyler was off. His head and shoulders seemed to droop. He acted and talked like he was distracted. His big belly laughs became few and far between. After noticing this getting worse over a couple of shifts, Trey finally asked Tyler, “Hey, are you alright man? You seem like you’ve been off lately.”

Trey was shocked to see tears welling up in the eyes of Tyler, a normally fun-loving yet tough football player. What he didn’t know was that he was actually the first person to notice and say something to Tyler. Sputtering out words that he seemed to have been holding back for weeks, Tyler said, “Nah man. I’m not. I’m not good right now.”

In a vulnerable moment, Tyler went on to share that he had not been making many good choices lately. He got caught up in drinking and smoking with some friends, and then he got caught doing it, too. He was in big trouble with his parents. He was going to be suspended for the first two games of the next season. And worst of all, among all the people he let down, it hurt to know that he let himself down. Tyler didn’t know what to do or if he could ever forgive himself.

It was definitely a blessing from God that the two had developed a friendship over the last months, because Trey felt comfortable enough to tell Tyler exactly what he needed to hear. He shared some of the verses above from 1 John. Trey reminded Tyler that there is a lot of sinful darkness in the world, and that he too falls into sin. But then he reminded Tyler that Jesus came as the Light of the world to shine brightly in the darkness with his love and forgiveness. What a comfort to know that, “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” The two were busy at work, so they didn’t have a lot of time to talk. But Trey could tell his words about Jesus and his forgiveness made Tyler feel a little better. He invited him to church to hear more about Jesus.

The joy of knowing that Jesus is alive and that we have peace is the greatest joy of all. What can be better than knowing that not only your worst sins, but all your sins, have been paid for by Jesus! Too few in this world don’t know that message. So be bold and courageous and shine brightly in this world. Let the world know that there is a Savior for our sins, “not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, I’m so thankful that you came to save me from my many sins. You have rescued me from the darkness of death and hell. Help me to shine with the brightness of your light and love into this dark world. Use me to spread the good news that you are the Savior of all. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – April 7, 2024

One truth shared: Jesus gives us proof and peace.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:19-20, 29-31

Proof and Peace

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” says each player on the team to their coach who promises an “easy” practice for once.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” says the struggling student to the chemistry teacher who promises the next test will be as easy as H2O.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” says the parent to the teen who guarantees a clean room by the end of the day.

We live in a world that loves proof. We want to hear facts, see video clips, and learn about the evidence before we believe anything. In a time filled with fraud, phishing, and fake news, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. At the same time, we also live in a sinful world where sinners often break their promises. Perhaps you’ve been lied to so often or heard empty words so many times that it’s hard for you to believe anyone anymore.

But can you trust Jesus? Easter Sunday tells us the answer. Absolutely, without a doubt, most certainly—YES—we can trust Jesus!

Listen to John’s eyewitness account today. The disciples were gathered together filled with fear and uncertainty when suddenly Jesus appeared among them alive! Then he showed them his hands and his side as even more proof. He really was crucified and died. He really did pay for sin. He really did rise in victory. He did everything just as he had said. That’s why Jesus could greet them by saying, “Peace be with you.” The disciples could have peace knowing that they could trust Jesus and all of his promises. The disciples could have peace knowing their Savior’s victory gave them life now and forever.

One of them though was not there—Thomas. Thomas essentially said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” But sure enough, Jesus appeared again the following week to give Thomas the same comforts of proof and peace.

It’s easy to be like Thomas today. Our world wants proof of everything, and we haven’t seen Jesus face-to-face. How are we supposed to believe in him?

Look again at John’s words in verse 31. John was an eyewitness of what happened. He, and others, wrote their eyewitness accounts of what Jesus did so that we can believe. This isn’t fake news, a fable, or a fairy tale. These are real, factual events that really and actually happened. The apostles saw it and then wrote it for us to know and believe.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We haven’t personally seen Jesus or touched his wounds ourselves. But others have! Jesus really did live and die for us. Jesus really did rise from the dead. Jesus really is our Savior! How blessed we are to know and believe that we have proof and peace that Jesus is alive.

Prayer: Lord, my heart is often filled with fears and doubts. Help me to read with confidence the eyewitness accounts in your Word and to trust that you really are my living Savior. Let the proof of your victory fill my heart with peace and joy. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – March 31, 2024

One truth shared: Jesus gives hope even amid suffering.

Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
Job 19:23-27

Having everything when you have nothing

Has anyone ever suffered more? It would be hard for anyone to compare their pain or loss with Job. In one day Job lost all of his wealth and all ten of his children. Yes, that’s right, all ten in one day. Just like that—POOF!—everything valuable, near, and dear to him was gone. As if that was not enough, Job was afflicted with painful sores on his skin from head to toe, so painful that he tried to find relief by scraping his skin with broken pieces of pottery. And to top it all off, soon his friends and his wife turned on him saying this was probably his fault and he should just curse God and die.

Who could ever imagine Job’s hurt? Who could ever know his pain? The physical and emotional turmoil is beyond comprehension. And yet . . . that doesn’t mean you don’t know pain.

You may not have suffered as deeply as Job, but you certainly have still suffered. You probably know loss from a boyfriend or girlfriend you broke up with, a friend who betrayed you, or maybe even a loved one who has passed away. You probably know hurt from mean words and gossip about you, or disappointment in school, or turmoil in your own family. And you most certainly know fear. What will happen next? What will you do after school? What will your future look like? Will you make the right or wrong decisions?

We aren’t living in a comparison game, as if I shouldn’t feel bad because my life isn’t as bad as Job’s was. No, the reality is that all of us live as sinners in a world that’s broken by sin. That means that all of us suffer hurt, pain, and loss in varying degrees. And any and all suffering can quickly make us feel helpless and hopeless.

Yet even though he suffered greatly, Job wrote a confession of faith that puts everything in perspective for us. “I know that my redeemer lives,” Job said. Though everything else was failing and dying, Job knew that he had a redeemer, a Savior who was winning and living. Moreover, Job knew that one day he himself would see that living Savior face to face in heaven—a place with no hurt, no pain, no loss, and no tears. How his heart yearned for that day!

Easter Sunday proves that Job’s hopes were not in vain. His redeemer, our redeemer, Jesus, does live. He crushed Satan at the cross as he paid for sin, and he conquered death and hell when he rose from the grave. Jesus promises that, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). Because Jesus rose back to life, we will rise to life with him in heaven.

You will suffer in this broken world. You will have hurt, pain, and loss. Sometimes even in extraordinary and awful ways like Job. But you also have Jesus. That means that when you feel like you have nothing, you actually have everything. You have hope. You have peace. You have a perfect life in heaven waiting for you. Oh, how our hearts yearn within us!

Prayer: Risen Savior, sometimes I have so much hurt and pain. Sometimes I suffer so much. But you also suffered and died for me, and then rose from the dead in victory. Continue to comfort me with the peace of knowing that one day I will see you face to face in the joys of heaven, and lead me safely there. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – March 24, 2024

One truth shared: Jesus shows real strength on our behalf leading us to leave sin and focus on him.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

Keep life in focus, Jesus is our strength

If you are going to run a race, how do you prepare? Even if you are not the running type, I think you know. Equipment like shoes, running shorts, and a good T-shirt are very important. You’d want to map the course online, if possible, even walk the course beforehand. You would need to decide on a strategy for the course. For example, where are the hills, and what are the difficult spots? What pace should you set? There are also things you’d need to eliminate. You wouldn’t wear your winter gear like a bulky jacket, a school backpack, Chromebook, maybe even your phone. You’d need to replay the map in your mind as you’re running the course. And when you hear steps of other runners behind you, you need to remind yourself to just keep looking forward.

Running a race is a lot like going through the daily grind of life.

It’s easy in life to get wrapped up in digital distractions and be overwhelmed with people drama. God snaps his fingers and says, “Hey, stay focused!” Focus on what Jesus has done for you. Remember how and why he persevered, even enduring the cross. He carried out his mission, as hard as it was, by keeping focused on the joy that was to come. The joy set down before him is all about you. He followed his Father’s plan to save you. He went through it all so you would be with him. He longed for eternity with you.

Life takes a lot of endurance like running a race. Each day has its own temptations and challenges. But don’t lose heart! Don’t give up! Jesus is your strength. He runs with you. He runs ahead of you. He even promises to carry you.

Prayer: Dear Lord, when the road of life gets rugged and I feel overwhelmed, remind me of your love and sacrifice. You suffered so much because in your eyes, I’m worth it to you. Help me lay down my sin at your feet and live my life at peace with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – March 17, 2024

One truth shared: Sometimes it doesn’t feel like God is listening or cares, but he shows complete commitment in his salvation plan.

“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.”
John 12:27

God’s timing is always on time

Have you ever wondered, “God what are you waiting for?” You’re not the first:

  • Jesus’ mother said, “They have no more wine.” … “My hour has not yet come.” Jesus replied. (John 2:4)
  • Jesus said, “You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” (John 7:8)
  • Now there were some Greeks… with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” … Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. (John 12:20-23)

It seems like just the right time to see the miracle or at the very least experience something good. But then you wait, and wait, and wait. Trusting God and waiting is not always easy. Sometimes you wonder, “God, what are you waiting for?”

There is a promise that believers had been waiting on for a long time, literally from the beginning. God promised someone who would be struck on the heel but would in turn crush the devil’s head. The pages of the Old Testament provide more and more detail on this promised Messiah. Generation after generation longed for his arrival but never saw that promise fulfilled in their lifetime. After so much time, people must have wondered, “God, what are you waiting for? Will you come to save your people?”

Thousands of years passed. More and more detailed prophecy was shared. Finally, when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son to redeem those under the law. Jesus the Messiah came. Early in Jesus’ ministry it is odd to hear him say, “My time has not yet come.” So many had already waited for so long. But Jesus waited a little bit longer. Until… some Greeks wanted to see Jesus. Now is the Son of Man glorified. This is a great example of God’s love and his timing. Jesus wanted his message to reach not just the people of Israel, but every nation, and in time, to come to you with this message. Our Lord has meticulous planning and enduring patience to save us. God’s commitment to his people is solid and trustworthy.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for always listening and always providing what is best for my soul and those around me. I’m sorry when doubts creep into my heart. I know that no promise from you will ever fail. Thank you for sticking to your plan and your purpose which meant going to the cross for me. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – March 10, 2024

One truth shared: Our reason says, “I must get better for God to love me,” but Jesus shows us love first in his sacrifice.

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 21:9

Look out, look up

Imagine that heaven is like a city and religion is the road in and out of it. If people got to design heaven, they would get to devise the way to get there. If God created heaven (and he did), he determines how to get there. It might make sense or feel better to check items off a list of difficult things to do to get right before God… but somehow, we find ourselves always lacking. When we look inside ourselves for a solution to missing the mark (sin), there is no satisfaction.

Today’s Bible reading is an example of God creating a way to get right with him. The people of Israel had bitterly complained about God. Now they were dying from poisonous snake bites and realized they needed to be saved. There were normal treatments for snake bites. A cold compress to help with the fever, tie off the affected area so the poison doesn’t spread, suck out the venom… but God told Moses, “Put a bronze snake on a pole. Tell the people if they look at it, they will live.” Look to this hanging, cold, lifeless thing and trust that God saves. It defies logic. Without any contribution on my part, just look up and trust that God saves.

Salvation can seem extremely complicated because it’s so simple. We would like to contribute and deserve forgiveness. But God takes full responsibility for our salvation so we would know it is complete and good. Don’t overthink this one, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:14,15). Lift your eyes from what you’ve done or failed to do and trust that Jesus has you covered, forgiven, completely. You have peace with God.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I wish I could tell you all the good things I’ve done and changed, but sin still echoes through my mind. Thank you for forgiving these sins. Thank you for moving my focus off my sin to focus on your sacrifice. Your grace is enough. I’ll lift my head up and trust that your payment is enough. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – March 3, 2024

One truth shared: Jesus refocuses our attention in worship to the Father.

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
John 2:17

Secret Shopper – How’s your worship life?

Have you ever heard of the Secret Shopper program? A person gets a gift card, maybe a free meal in exchange for feedback on their experience at a nice restaurant. The secret shopper provides an honest look at things going well… and areas that need improvement.

In our reading today, Jesus makes a not-so-subtle visit to the house of the Lord. It was during the sacred festival of Passover. God’s people were celebrating the rescue God provided from slavery in Egypt and the rescue from death by the death of a lamb. Well, they were supposed to be… but the focus had shifted. The Father’s house was turned into a market! Jesus called out the distractions and cleared it out.

What has Jesus seen in your worship life lately? Does it seem boring, empty, a check-list-type activity? What distractions might Jesus clear out of the temple of your heart over the weekend? Let’s clear the air and refocus our worship. Worship is not focused on me, although I will benefit. Worship is not about people, but I will gather with others. Worship is celebration of all God does for us and collectively responding to his gifts with thanks and adoration. God works in worship when we are there in body, mind, and spirit. Refocus, hear the Word of the Lord.

Worship in God’s house is still special. For all the trials and fears we face throughout the week, worship brings us into the presence of God. It allows us to gather with fellow Christians and leave our sins at the foot of his cross. God speaks to us through the message of the songs, readings, and sermon to announce forgiveness and life. This is worth getting excited about, longing for, and sharing with others.

Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for the opportunity to gather for worship every week at church. Seeing Jesus’ zeal for your house, I see how far too often my worship life lacks focus. Worship is about what you have done and continue to do. You are the one who promised a lamb to be offered in our place. You are the one who sent your Son, your only Son, who you love to shed his blood for me. Thank you, Lord. You are worthy. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – February 25, 2024

One truth shared: Jesus confronts our deepest issues to provide confidence in following him boldly.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Mark 8:33

What Really Matters to God

As you get older, adults will start to open up to you more. When they do, you realize the people you looked up to are just as human as anyone else. They have their own hopes, dreams, weaknesses, frailties, and fears. It is a bit unnerving, especially when they start to talk about matters of life and death, their own mortality. It is scary and sad to think about a time when those adults closest to you will no longer be around. Wouldn’t it be better if they stayed with you on this earth forever?

Jesus spent every day with his disciples. He was their teacher, friend, and family. Then Jesus began to explain to them that he had to suffer, be rejected, be killed, and rise again. Peter heard all the negative and rebuked Jesus. He didn’t want anything to happen to Jesus. Peter wanted Jesus to stay forever right there with them. Peter missed the mention of “rising again” from the dead. Peter’s concerns were short term and missed the magnitude of Jesus’ purpose.

Jesus rebuked Peter because he was emotionally intertwined with only human concerns. Jesus directs Peter and us to the mind of God. People can’t save themselves. People on their own will wander and die eternally. Jesus’ sacrifice would bring life and immortality to life. The suffering would be worth it.

Jesus knows what is better than what we want. Our hope of the resurrection provides confidence to have some of those difficult conversations on deep matters. We know following Jesus isn’t easy but there is victory over sin, death and the devil that will carry us through.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you for facing the consequences of my sin willingly and without fear. There are times I’d rather shrink back from talking about all you’ve done. Please embolden my faith. Bless me with confidence in you. Thank you for providing what I need when I need it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – February 18, 2024

One truth shared: Painful trials in life are time to hold God’s promises even closer.

Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Genesis 22:14

God, this really hurts, and I still trust you.

Her alarm clock didn’t go off on time. It was his turn to bring donuts. They were stuck in a traffic jam. She spilled coffee on her clothes and had to go home to change. Their car just wouldn’t start. A man had new shoes and got a blister and stopped for a Band-Aid. These people suffered that morning and then survived the attacks of September 11, 2001. They were blessed with more time on this world through a moment of “unbearable” discomfort and frustration that God provided them. Think about what God does through the tests of life.

It was a huge ask God gave to Abraham. A test to top every other test he had lived through. And God didn’t tell him it was a test beforehand. “Go sacrifice your son, your only son, the one you love.” Abraham didn’t respond how we often do in trials… he didn’t complain, yell, procrastinate, curse, or rebel. He held on to something God had taught him through every other moment of his life, “The Lord Will Provide.” And that is exactly what happened at the very moment Abraham needed it the most. The Lord provided a ram as a sacrifice instead of his son. Abraham named the place where God spared his son Isaac that very promise he shares with you today, “The Lord Will Provide.”

When God allows trials and tests in life, don’t get angry or upset. Hold onto the promises of the God who provides his only Son, our Savior. His promises are strong enough to lead us through.

Are you having a test of faith? Don’t worry! God will provide the answers for your faith!

Prayer: Dear Lord, it’s really easy to get lost in the moment when things are not going my way and I suffer things not going the way I’d like. I’m glad you love me and never leave me. Strengthen my trust that you are the God who provides the best for my life and my soul. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – February 11, 2024

One truth shared: On the mountain, a transfigured Jesus assures us of who he is shortly before suffering a horrific death for our sins.

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

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

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Mark 9:2-9

A Glimpse of His True Glory

The series of this Epiphany set of Transformed devotions has been “From the River to the Mountain.” We saw Jesus officially kick off his public ministry at the Jordan River. Today we watch him reveal even more about his glory on the mountain as he is transfigured (changed in appearance) before his disciples, giving them a glimpse of his divinity.

I’m guessing this is a day the disciples would never forget—Jesus in all his glory; Elijah and Moses making guest star appearances; the Father proudly testifying, “Yep, that’s my Son, and I’m so proud of how he is carrying out his work!” The disciples were overwhelmed. They were amazed.

And then we read, “As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.” Our Epiphany King—Jesus Christ, Lord of all—gave a quick glimpse as to who he never stopped being… the almighty Lord of all.

As they descended the mountain, though, Christ’s suffering was near. The Father who attested to his Son’s perfect work would soon turn his back on him in order to pay for our sin. The almighty Son of God would be crucified as the worst of sinners—the shedding of his blood being the price paid to assure us a place in heaven.

What a glimpse of Christ’s true glory we receive on this transfiguration mountain, dear friends. That is what causes us to marvel at the depth of his love for us. It’s a love which left the comforts of heaven and came to earth as the sacrifice for our sins. Today and always, we praise him for his love. Today and always, we look to him in all things, knowing that he loves us and calls us his own.

Prayer: I praise you, Lord God, for sending your Son to this earth for me. He alone is my Savior, my Lord, and my friend. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – February 4, 2024

One truth shared: Our battles with Satan throughout this life are victorious in Christ alone.

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

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-11

The Devil’s Work Undone

“Stop fighting” is a phrase that most of us heard as children at least a few times… and sometimes many more. It can be a passionate command shouted from a teacher, a parent, or a coach.

In our reading for today, though, the apostle Paul tells Christians of all time and place something very different. He reminds us that a very real battle is being waged throughout our time on this earth. A fierce battle. A battle in which someone wins, and someone loses.

That, though, is why Peter’s encouragement gives us so much comfort, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Truth is, Satan hates you, dear Christian. He is a sore loser and will do anything and everything in attempt to drag you away from God’s goodness and mercy. He will use the influences all around you to try to get you to forsake your blood-bought relationship with Jesus our Savior and to distance yourself from worshiping him alone.

And that’s why we fight. That’s why we confidently hear Peter’s command to “Resist (Satan).” Not only do we resist him, though. Christ stands beside us to bolster our resistance. What an amazing assurance Peter shares with us—an assurance for today; an assurance for eternity—“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” What an amazing promise that in Christ, we will triumph.

We are in the Epiphany season of the church year. The Epiphany King who reveals himself in so many ways during our lives also fights for us, dear warriors. In him there is strength. In him there is victory. In him there is peace. That’s why Peter ends this section of Scripture—and we end this devotion—with a resounding, “To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Prayer: Keep me close to you, Lord Jesus, by the power of your Word and sacrament. Empower me for the battles ahead, knowing that my home is with you in heaven. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – January 28, 2024

One truth shared: Christ Jesus has absolute authority in every aspect of our lives as his children on earth.

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

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

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

Absolute Authority

Even the demons knew who Jesus was and had to admit his absolute authority! How amazing.

Jesus shows up with his disciples at the Capernaum synagogue on the Sabbath Day. Already well known, he is invited to speak to the assembled crowd. His wisdom about Scripture and the manner in which he applies it to the people’s lives does not go unnoticed. The crowd is in awe as he “taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.”

This wasn’t limited authority, though. A teacher has authority over a classroom. A mayor has authority over a city. The owner of a sports franchise has authority over every aspect of his team, and a governor has authority only over his state. Not Jesus, though. He not only taught as one who had authority over the Scriptures, but exhibits with the man possessed by an evil spirit that he had power over much more than that. This Jesus of Nazareth was God become man. He had absolute authority in any and every situation.

What a comfort that gives us, dear friends. When life seems to be spiraling out of control, Jesus has got us. Divine authority must be factored in. When no one else seems to understand, our Savior does. Not only does he have the want and desire to help, though. He’s got the power and authority to help us through any and every situation as well.

Throughout this Epiphany season, we see Jesus revealing himself as the true Son of God and Savior of the entire world. We see little glimpses of his divinity, all the while marveling at his humility which led him through life and to the cross. As we look at our reading today, no wonder “news about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.” Let it be today’s headline for your life! Jesus still is the authority of what’s best for your life. He will continue to work faith in people’s hearts and strengthen us for life today and life eternal in heaven.

Prayer: Lord God, Heavenly Father, you alone are worthy of my worship and praise. I look to you for all things and ask you to never leave me. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – January 21, 2024

One truth shared: Jesus gives us the truth of the Gospel to not keep to ourselves, but rather share with others.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Committed to a Lofty Charge

What is the best news you’ve ever received? Maybe you passed a class you thought you might have failed. Maybe you received a scholarship of some kind to college? Maybe, just maybe, Mom and Dad shared great news of a new baby in the family, a vacation of a lifetime, or plans to move to a nicer house.

Great news causes us joy. It also causes us to want to share it with others. We read in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians that Christ’s love for us “compels us”! It changes our priorities. It clarifies our focus. It gives us purpose in this life—not only to rejoice in Jesus our Epiphany Savior but to share him with others.

Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden brought about devastating consequences: some of them immediate; all of them deadly. Only Christ Jesus can undo the pain and consequence that sin brings. And he did just that through his death on the cross and victory over the grave. Christ’s victory is our victory.

What a joy, then, we have to serve as his “ambassadors,” joining in the work of sharing Jesus with this world, announcing the good news of salvation by grace alone, and basking in the timeless truth that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (verse 21).

Teenagers are often told in life to “be quiet” or “settle down” when it comes to expressing their excitement over something. Not this good news of Jesus, though, fellow ambassadors. Share it! Loudly! Proudly! Never keep the “best news ever” that burns in your heart to yourself. Proclaim it to friends and family and everyone in between. Jesus is our Savior and our Lord. Pass it on!

Prayer: This Epiphany season, dear Lord, your Son is revealed to us as the Lord of all things and the Savior of the entire world. Work this truth deeply into my heart that I may share it with those near and far. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – January 14, 2024

One truth shared: We marvel at the kindness our Savior shows sinners and the exciting work he gives us to do.

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
John 1:43

The Kindness in His Calling

How many selfies do you take before settling on one? Studies find that today’s teens can take up to five or more selfies of themselves before posting on social media. And why? Largely because perfection is what people are after. We don’t want our blemishes showing. We want the lighting to be perfect. Before anyone else out there in cyberworld sees the finished product, we want to hide our imperfections so that no one sees them.

Obviously, this is not achievable in this world so ravaged by sin. We fail. All the time. In so many ways. We do the things we know are bad for us. We stay away from the things which will strengthen us and bring us closer to God. We can try, try, and try again… and yet nothing can change the fact that we have failed.

And yet Jesus loves us. He calls us his own. He did what we could not do—and so much more—so that we do not get as our sins deserve and instead get the gift of an eternity with him in heaven.

We get even more than that. Jesus uses dirty, rotten sinners of all shapes and sizes to serve him in this life and to proclaim his glorious mercy to those around us. He did so at the beginning of his ministry as he called unworthy men to follow him. He does so today as he looks at our faults, knows our weaknesses, and still has room for us in his kingdom and plenty of work for us to join in on this earth.

Jesus loves you, fellow sinner. Never forget that. Always remember your worth to him every day of life.

Prayer: Thank you for loving me despite myself, dear God. Your mercy humbles me and gives me joy each day. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – January 7, 2024

One truth shared: Our baptisms connect us to Jesus our Savior and empower us to live to serve him alone.

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

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 1:1-11

It Begins With Baptism

“I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!” These words, which are spoken every time there is a baptism in Christian churches, are filled with the very power of God and backed by the supremacy of his Holy Word. What a blessing it is to watch the Holy Spirit at work in baptism as water combines with the Word to create saving faith in someone, assuring them that they are God’s and he is theirs.

The Epiphany season is one in which Christ reveals himself throughout his ministry on earth as the true Son of God and the Savior of the entire world. That “revealing” begins in earnest with his baptism in the Jordan River.

Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River not only allows us to better understand who he really is, it gives us an opportunity to cherish who we really are in him alone. Our baptisms are the beginning of a new life—connected to Christ and children of the Most High. This connection equips us to say NO to the sin that threatens us at every juncture and empowers us to say YES to following our Lord in life. This connection strengthens us to live to his glory, assured that we will be in heaven with him some day.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth was not just some good dude who lived a humble life, served a lot of people, and did some noble things. He is so much more! He is the almighty Lord of all things and the Savior of our souls. Remember that this Epiphany season. Live that truth always as you seek to serve only him.

Prayer: Thank you, Almighty God, for cleansing me of my sin and calling me your own. Remind me of my baptism daily and help me seek to serve you alone in all I think, say, and do. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – December 31, 2023

One truth shared: God has opened our eyes to see the true peace he brings at Christmas.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Luke 2:25-32

There Is Peace on Earth

The title of this devotion may be deceiving. If you pay attention to the news or follow any newsfeed on the internet, what you hear about is anything but peace. Nations are fighting against other nations. People are being arrested for violent crimes. Families are being torn apart for any number of reasons. There seems to be everything but peace in our world. Many hope the Christmas season might bring a change to all of this. They hope for the miracle of Christmas to bring an earthly peace to this world.

The problem is that they miss completely what peace God brings to them through Christmas. God made two promises to Simeon. One is the promise he made to all of Israel: he would send a Messiah to rescue them from their sin. The second promise was specific to Simeon: He would not die until he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes. What a promise from God that he granted to Simeon at Jesus’ circumcision! He saw with his own eyes the Savior whom God had promised would come to rescue him from his sin! With a trusting heart, Simeon saw not just a baby but the one who would bring the salvation that God promised to his people. Simeon could now live the rest of his life in peace because he had seen the one who had come to conquer death and open heaven to him and all believers. He could live in the peace of knowing God kept his promise—his sins would be forgiven, and he would live with God for the rest of eternity.

What a joy to know that we too see what Simeon saw! Through the eyes of faith, the Holy Spirit allows us to see in Jesus our Savior. At our baptism, God opened our eyes of faith to see the salvation Jesus brings to us. There at the water of baptism, God washed our sins away because of Jesus and promised that we are his children who will live with him forever. Through that wonderful promise, God gives to us the same peace as Simeon. This is not an earthly peace like so many in our world hope for. It is a spiritual peace. It is the peace of sins forgiven and the peace of being right before Almighty God. Through faith, God gives us the peace that while we might face troubles and difficulties here, we can live in peace because we know the heaven that is to come.

As we wait to see heaven with our own eyes, we wait patiently with hope in the peace only God can bring. We, too, one day will see the salvation of God! What a day that will be!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, through the troubles and difficulties of the world, remind us that with us always is the peace that you alone give: the peace of sins forgiven. Calm our troubled hearts as we face the trials of this world with the confidence of a peaceful life with you that awaits in heaven. Help us to persevere as we keep our eyes focused on the eternal that will come in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – December 24, 2023

One truth shared: The message of the angels is what brings us such great joy at Christmas!

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:10-12

A Savior Has Been Born

It was an interesting message the angels brought. To some it might be so familiar that they really don’t stop to think much about it. For example, “the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’” The angels talked about great joy that first Christmas night. There are many things that might bring people joy at Christmas: getting presents, decorating the tree or cookies, putting up the lights, gathering with family and the like. But the great joy the angel was talking about was different. No, the “good news” from the angels that would bring “great joy” would come from the message they had to bring: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you.”

To find that kind of great joy means you need to first acknowledge your need for a Savior. Note how personal God wants this to be: a Savior has been born… to you! God sent his son… for you! There isn’t one of us to whom this doesn’t apply because:

  • We know the jagged edges which come from knowing you are the one who hurt others with your selfishness.
  • We are so familiar with the broken feeling of standing before almighty God knowing that no matter how good you have tried to be and how hard you have worked that you couldn’t possibly meet the standard of perfection which he demands from you.

Our jagged edges and inner brokenness are symptoms of what’s wrong with us—we are sinners. We can try to earn worth through performance. But all it gives is an unstable sense of worth that constantly fluctuates with each performance you give. It’s a roller coaster that isn’t worth riding. It’ll steal your joy.

“Do not be afraid,” the angel said. Here’s Christmas joy: Jesus comes to bring peace to broken people like you and me. This is the peace of knowing that all is right between you and God—not because you did what needed to be done, but because Jesus did fully and perfectly everything that needed to be done for your salvation and gives that perfection to you as a free gift of his grace through faith.

God made us emotional beings, and he gave us a broad range of emotions to feel. You can’t have all “good” ones unless you are willing to also have the “bad” ones. They all come in the same package. But it’s Christmas! God desires for you only peace and joy! “Today, a Savior has been born to you!”

Prayer: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! Take away all anger, sadness, or anxiety and fill me with the great joy that comes from knowing a Savior is born for me. Keep me in your peace. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – December 17, 2023

One truth shared: Especially when we’re struggling, God desires to bring us perfect joy through the gift of Jesus!

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11

He is Bringing Perfect Joy

A talk radio host made an astounding comment, “There’s a lot of pain and fear in the people of our country…. So many people are not happy right now.”

Is that you?

Young people all over our country are experiencing a great deal of anxiety along with a variety of other mental health issues. This is supposed to be a festive time of the year with Christmas parties and gatherings all around us. When you are hurting and in pain or full of anxiety, it isn’t easy to watch people around you celebrate. How can you find joy and celebrate this time of year when you constantly live under such a heavy burden?

Here’s an idea: Let’s announce next year to be a “Year of Jubilee.” That’s what Isaiah talks when he announces the “year of the LORD’s favor.” This is a reference to an actual Jewish historical event called the Year of Jubilee. Every 50 years when the jubilee year came, all debts were forgiven, all slaves were freed, and all inheritance land was returned to its original owner. The past was forgiven and forgotten, the slate was wiped clean, and everyone was given a new beginning!

At Christmas, we celebrate God sending Jesus into this world to give unhappy people a new beginning and bring relief to the beggars, the brokenhearted, the enslaved, the prisoners, the people who lost their inheritance—to those crushed with sin and helpless to do anything about their desperate situation. Christmas celebrates God taking action and doing what we could never do. He ushered in our Year of Jubilee. Our debt of sin has been canceled, the prison door of death has been opened, our inheritance in heaven has been restored, and we have a new beginning!

What a difference having a Messiah makes in our lives, especially when we approach our God. When we came to God before, we were completely out of place. We were people who had only the torn and stained rags of their sinful lies covering them. Dressed like that, we had no right to stand in God’s holy presence. But now we stand before our God looking like a bride dressed beautifully on her wedding day—pure and white in the garments of holiness God’s own Son has selected for us.

“So many people are not happy right now.” But it doesn’t have to be you! With the perfection of Christ covering us through faith, we have favor with God. The trumpet of joy is sounding in our hearts as we reflect on the change Jesus has made in our lives. So rejoice, my friends! God gives you perfect joy!

Prayer: Almighty and eternal God, fill my heart with thoughts of jubilee! Though I might be weighed down with problems, troubles, worries, and anxieties, in Jesus I have reason to celebrate! This festive season, focus my attention on the good news of freedom and the holy clothing I wear because of my Savior. In his name I ask this. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – December 10, 2023

One truth shared: It is essential that we stay prepared and ready to meet Jesus at all times!

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
2 Peter 3:8-14

Prepare to Meet Him

“How come it takes so long?” That depends on what are you waiting for. To get picked up by your ride? For the food you ordered to get done? Because your parents won’t stop talking and you just want to get home?

The season of Advent focuses our attention forward to the coming of our Savior back to this earth. Christmas is coming… and so is Christmas break! We are tempted to ask, “How come it takes so long?” You aren’t alone. The apostle Peter wrote today’s words to some of his impatient friends who felt God was slow in returning on judgment day. “Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Peter encouraged them to just be ready for when Jesus returns. Why it is so important? “The day of the Lord will come like a thief.” Imagine a thief is planning to break into your house. Will he call you up earlier in the day and say, “Hey, I just want to give you a heads-up that I’ll be over tonight… midnight-ish.” That’s ridiculous! Here’s the point: If you know it’s a real possibility for a thief to break in on any night, then be prepared for it. Lock the doors. Turn on outdoor lights.

That’s the season of Advent. It focuses our attention forward to the coming of our Savior back to this earth. He’s given us a heads-up that his return will be like a thief in the night. Our only hope is to just be ready. The only way that we can stand before God holy and blameless as he desires is for our faith to be locked in on Jesus. We do that through regular and daily repentance. We lay ourselves bare before the Lord by recognizing our sins and then laying them before the Lord and asking for his forgiveness. We then stand confident in the forgiveness of Jesus that we have been cleansed of our sin and made holy in God’s sight! With faith in him, we are prepared to stand before God in judgment!

There’s so much going on this month of the year. Christmas is coming. No matter how impatient we might be, it is essential that we stay prepared as we wait for Jesus’ final coming.

Keep your focus. Be on your guard. Stay prepared!

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, there are so many distractions which grab our attention and attempt to pull our attention away from you as we await your return. Through daily repentance, help us to keep our eyes fixed on you at all times. Lead us to not grow impatient as we wait but to stay prepared and ready for your return. We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – December 3, 2023

One truth shared: Having the right expectations for Jesus shapes our anticipation for his coming!

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

He Is Coming to Save Us

Our entire perspective on whether something is good or bad can hinge on the expectations we had going into it. The season of Advent helps us to look forward to the coming of our King, Jesus. Having the correct expectations for Jesus can keep us from becoming disappointed or disenchanted. What kind of a king are you looking for in Jesus?

  • Some expect for Jesus to bring them earthly health and success. They have the expectation that if they follow him and serve him, then earthly success and health will come to them.
  • Others expect from Jesus a richness of earthly blessings like luxury and ease.
  • Still others expect that following Jesus means there will be no hardships or challenges or sad times or loss. When you look to him as the one who can take away physical problems, it is disheartening when those problems continue.

It’s easy to come to Jesus with all the wrong expectations and, like the crowd on the first Palm Sunday, become disappointed and disenchanted.

The crowd had it correct when they shouted, “Hosannah,” which means, “Come and save us.” This is exactly the reason for which Jesus came to this earth! He came here to save us. The hard part of recognizing this truth is that it begs the question: Do we need saving? The hard truth is: Yes, we do. It helps shape our expectations this Christmas. A newborn King enters our world so that he might be the King who fights for us. Jesus could see everything on the way into Jerusalem and everything on his path to the cross. He saw the battlefield and the satanic forces of evil facing him. And then, he saw you. He heard your cry, “Come save me!” What motivated Jesus from his cradle to his cross? It was you—his love for you.

What a King we have! As we prepare to celebrate the coming of our King, let’s make sure that our expectations are in the correct place. We are celebrating a King who came to save us!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending into this world the exact King that we needed to save us from our sins. Keep our eyes focused on him as the only one who defeated the devil and offers eternal life. Help us to continue to do battle against our sinful nature, the world and the devil himself. Keep us safe eternally as we look forward to the joys of heaven that we will enjoy with our King. Amen.


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

Transformed – teen devotion – November 26, 2023

One truth shared: God neither sacrificed his justice for the sake of his love—nor did he sacrifice his love for the sake of his justice. God sacrificed himself for the sake of you.

“As I looked,

“thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

By the Book

It’s not fair.

How come your siblings can stay out late but you have a curfew? How come you get a B- on your paper and your classmate (who plagiarized their paper) got an A? How come you have to sit on the bench when your teammate (who is always late for practice) gets way more playing time than you?

That happens, doesn’t it? Coaches can sometimes care more about conference trophies than being consistent. Teachers don’t always see the corners that other students cut. And our parents aren’t always balanced in how they parent us versus our siblings.

Not so with God.

In Daniel 7, the “Ancient of Days”—God the Father—enters the scene to preside from his throne of judgment on the Last Day. Such a holy judge neither judges unfairly, nor arbitrarily. He doesn’t wield his gavel with favoritism. He is completely just and righteous.

He’s not like coaches, teachers, or parents who can’t see the full picture: he’s witnessed everything. He meticulously judges by the book—and those books will be opened. John’s vision in Revelation explains the books that Daniel saw. John writes, “Then I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”

So, how do you feel about God judging by the book?

Be it self-determination or self-absorption, our world is inclined to ground our confidence before God in ourselves. “I’m a pretty good person,” we say. “Why wouldn’t God let me into his heaven?” We do our best, and sugar coat our worst. We cherry pick the glamorous, and glaze over the gross—and somehow, we think God might not notice.

But he does. Our God is a judge who judges by the book. And if we insist on earning our entry into heaven by virtue of that book that contains all that we’ve ever done—we’ll find nothing but filthy rags.

But in the courtroom of heaven, we do have one who speaks to the Father on our defense. Because God the Father isn’t the only judge presiding. The one pleading your case and pronouncing you “not guilty” is the very Son of God, the King of heaven and earth—your Savior Jesus.

You see, God doesn’t forget nor forgo his justice. He judges by the book. But when you and I would have stood convicted and condemned in the courtroom of heaven, our loving Savior steps in. And those sins on our ledger? Jesus claimed them as his own.

But he didn’t just claim our sinfulness: he claimed the punishment for those sins, too. God’s unrelenting justice dropped on the God-man on Calvary, all because of his unrelenting love for you. Jesus didn’t come to sidestep God’s wrath, but to satisfy it by being the blameless, atoning sacrifice for our sins on the cross.

Can you see how Jesus changes everything? On that day that you and I stand before the Ancient of Days, your God will see your sins buried in Christ’s death. He will see when you were clothed with Christ’s holiness at your baptism. He will see how his Spirit dwells within you. On that day, the books will be opened, and your God will judge by the book! And he will see your name in the book of life!

Prayer: O Ancient of Days, I plead my case before you today because Christ is by my side. Thank you for your unending love that will never give up on me. With my confidence in Christ alone, I will believe and live life because you already see my name in your book of life. Amen.


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