Transformed – teen devotion – September 16, 2018

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:23-25

The power of habit: Christ-centered community

These are the days when we are more connected and yet more disconnected at the same time. We are more connected on our phones, more connected through social media. At the very same time, we are also quite disconnected as we live life. We’re connected thumb-to-thumb but not face-to-face and not soul-to-soul.

That can be a dangerous thing. Social media can lead us to be fake with other people. We easily filter the way life is really going. We can easily hide what is really going on with us. We can easily isolate ourselves from the Christ-centered community that we so desperately need. The truth is: The lone wolf gets picked off. That’s who the devil goes after because there is no one around to help when tempted.

God’s people need each other. We need other people in our lives. That is precisely why the writer wrote these words to us. He knew that we needed a Christ-centered community around us.

On the one hand, we need each other to see the blind spots in our faith and the sins that hide in the corners of our lives that we can’t see. We need other Christians to show us our sins. Even more than that, we need them to show us Jesus’ forgiveness. We need a Christ-centered community around us to keep us close to our Savior.

On the other hand, other people need us just as deeply in their lives. They need us to lovingly show them the blind spots of their faith, the sins that hide in the corners of their life. They need us to show them their sins and even more than that to tell them that Jesus has forgiven it all! They need us to spur them on with gospel encouragement!

You, dear Christian, need the family of believers, the community of Christ-followers, around you. In fact, they are God’s gift to you to keep you close to Jesus until he returns. And in the very same way, you are God’s gift to them to keep them close to Jesus.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for blessing me with many wonderful friends. Be with my friends and me. Help us to encourage each other to grow in your Word. Keep Christ as the center of our lives and bring us closer to each other by bringing us closer to you. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – September 9, 2018

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
James 5:16-18

The power of habit: Prayer

Why we don’t pray more? I can only speak for myself, but I sometimes don’t pray more because I think I can get more done if I actually “do” it than if I pray about it first. I think that my thinking, my working, my worrying, and my planning are more powerful than actually praying about it.

When I write it down it sounds pretty foolish, doesn’t it? But our lack of prayer says just that. Our lack of praying says to God that our activity and our working is more important than asking him to act and work and do.

James inspires us to believe that prayer is a powerful thing. He tells us that our prayers are powerful and effective. Our prayers matter. Our prayers change things. Our prayers make a difference.

If you believed that something was powerful, would you do it? Of course. If you thought something would make all the difference in the world, you would make sure it happened. If you thought something mattered, you would make time for it, intentionally, purposefully, regularly. That’s what we do for things that make a difference and matter to us.

James gives an example of an effective prayer. He reminds us of the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17 and 18. Elijah prayed that it would not rain—and it didn’t rain. God withheld rain for three and a half years because of Elijah’s prayer. Then Elijah prayed again that it would rain—and God sent rain.

Prayer works. Prayer matters. It is powerful and effective, not because of the person who is praying, but because the person praying invokes God’s powerful name and humbly relies on God’s gracious promises and saving will. The story of Elijah—and many other stories throughout the Bible—show us that this is true.

So pray. Make a habit of it. Your Father in heaven loves you. He has forgiven all your sins, and he now invites you to call on him in prayer. In his love for you, he hears your prayers and works powerfully for you and for the world.

Prayer: Lord God, you teach me that prayer is a powerful thing. In your grace, Father, you invite me to pray. Help me to understand how powerful prayer is so that I make it a part of the very fiber of my life. Yes, Lord Jesus, teach me to pray without stopping. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – September 2, 2018

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:14-17

The power of habit: Bible reading

What if I told you that you would die tomorrow unless you took one pill? Would you miss it? Probably not. You would probably set an alarm. You would do something to make sure that you always took that pill every single day, because you know it is a matter of life and death.

There are other things like that in our life, things that aren’t a matter of life and death, but still very important to us. We have daily routines and habits that are really important—brushing your teeth, taking a shower, doing your homework, or eating meals. These things have become part of your regular life, and you wouldn’t really consider cutting them out.

This month we’re going to talk about some disciplines that are important for your spiritual health. These are things that we want to be diligent about practicing. If we don’t practice these things, we put our faith at risk. We risk falling from the faith and losing out on eternity. Jesus himself tells us to “watch and pray” so that we don’t fall into temptation.

The first habit is Bible reading. It’s something that Paul tells Timothy to continue. He urged him, “Continue in what you learned and have become convinced of.” Paul wants to Timothy to make a habit of remembering what he had been taught. He wanted Timothy to keep Scripture on the front of his mind, continuing to remember it.

Then he tells him, and us, why.

The Scriptures make us wise for salvation. There is no better or higher reason than this. God’s Word rebukes us when we are wrong. It teaches us of God’s love for us. It points us to God’s forgiveness of our sins in Christ. It equips us for a life of righteousness. It gives and strengthens our faith in Jesus.

God’s Word is good for everything else in this life too. In short, God’s Word is also a personal trainer for our daily walk as Christians. It equips and trains us to live as God’s people in this world.

Would you ever skip brushing your teeth on purpose? Of course not! It wouldn’t be healthy. The same goes for daily Bible reading. Sustain your spiritual health and grow in it by including God’s Word in your daily life.

Prayer: Dear Holy Spirit, we thank you for the many opportunities you give us to make your Word a part of our daily routines. Strengthen our bond with you and help us realize the importance your Word has on our daily lives. In His name we pray, Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – August 26, 2018

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21

Tough conversations about stuff

This morning as I scrolled through my Facebook memories, I caught a project from about a year ago. I was laying some flooring in the first floor of our Texas home and also painting the exterior. I was trying to make that house our home. But that was a year ago. Today, my family and I live in Milwaukee. Someone else is living in what used to be our freshly painted, newly floored, clean and pristine house. We’re living in a house which meets our needs well but needs some maintenance and work.

Things in this life are temporary and fleeting. We live in a house for a while, maybe even for a long time. But the house wears out and needs to be updated and repaired. Or we move to a new house, maybe into a new city, a new state, and a new school. Things in this life constantly fall apart. We buy a new pair of shoes, and in just weeks they’re already creased and wearing out. Our favorite pair of jeans becomes thin and worn.

Everything in this life is temporary. Yet, these are the things that we chase. We’ve got to have the right shoes, the right jeans, the right clothes. We want just the right house in just the right neighborhood where we drive just the right car. We work extra hours to have a little extra spending money. Then it disappears and wears out. It’s here today and tomorrow it’s gone.

That’s not even the most dangerous part. Jesus points it out to us: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If our hearts treasure the stuff of this world—which can make life comfortable and enjoyable—then we will go the way of our treasures. Away. Worn out. Tossed out and away from God.

That is why we must have this tough conversation. In some ways, it is none of my business what you do with your money and what kinds of things you enjoy, especially if it isn’t forbidden by God. But I am concerned for your heart and for your eternity. That’s why I have to warn you. If your treasure is your stuff, then you will go the way of your treasures.

But when Jesus is your treasure, you have everything. You have forgiveness, life, and eternity. You have a Father in heaven who loves to give all these things to those who seek first his kingdom and a Spirit who loves to dwell in your heart to give you contentment and joy whatever the circumstances of your life. When you have Jesus, you have everything. He isn’t ever going to go away. He won’t ever wear out or fade away. He will remain for you and with you forever.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are everything to me. You are my life, my righteousness, my redemption. You are my eternity. Help me to set my heart on you and treasure you above all things. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – August 19, 2018

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:9-11

Tough conversations about sexuality

“I am straight.” “I am gay.” “I am lesbian.” “I am bi-sexual.” “This is who I am. This is what I do.”

These are the days when people are more proud than ever to say these kinds of things. You’ve likely heard people say these things with pride before; maybe you’ve even said them yourselves.

Paul has something to say, “These people who claim this identity and live this life will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.” Paul actually enlarges this group to those who also say: “I am a thief.” “I am greedy.” “I am a drunk.” “I am a swindler.” “I am a slanderer.” “This is who I am, and this is what I do.”

If you—or if anyone else—want to claim an identity and live a life that God calls sin, then you are asking God to leave you out of heaven. Paul is clear. “These people will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.”

But that’s not the only answer here. He is talking to you, dear Christian, who is struggling with what to think about your sexuality. For you who refuse to be identified by your sexuality but instead by your repentance, something else is true. For you, who struggle daily with what God says is sin, who grieve because you know the good you ought to do but don’t do it, Paul says something else to you. “That is what some of you were.”

You were identified by sin, but now you’re not. Now you are identified by your Savior Jesus. You are cleansed by his blood. You are justified and not guilty in his sight. You are washed. You are not who you used to be. You are forgiven.

If you’re struggling with your sexuality, reach out to a Christian friend and lean on God’s Word and Jesus’ blood for salvation for help. If you’re struggling with the sexuality of your family or friends, seek God’s wisdom in his Word and some counsel from your pastor. Tough conversations about sexuality do not have easy answers.

But there is always this: Jesus takes us as we are and makes us someone new. He always forgives. He always helps us in our struggle with sin, whatever that sin happens to be, even in our sexuality.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, give me your words and your wisdom as I talk to people in my life about their sexuality. Give me a broken heart when I see how I have sinned against you in my own sexuality. Lead me to find my identity and my salvation in what you have done. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – August 12, 2018

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42:5

Tough conversations about depression

Your body aches, your energy runs low, and all you can think about is how much you would love to just stop to rest. You keep running toward the finish line, but it seems as if the longer you run the more distant the finish line is. No matter how hard you keep pounding the pavement, the end never comes. You tell yourself “Just one more step, just one more step.” Eventually, you collapse. Out of energy and in pain, you wonder if it will ever end.

Does this sound like everyday life for you?

Depression is a reality that can hound and chase us every day. It seems as if everyone else has their lives put together. But for you, each day is a struggle. The loneliness, the guilt that haunts us, the fear of what’s going to come next, or simply not even having drive to get moving in the morning, depression cripples everyday life. This describes the life of many people, maybe even your life.

Depression has always been a very real thing for God’s people. In this psalm, the writer experiences a very real despair. He asks despairing questions: “Why are you downcast, O my soul?” and “Why have you forgotten me, God?”

What do I do with this depression? How do I go on from one day to the next? What does God say about all this?

The answer is found here in the psalm. “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” There is no magical cure to make the darkness go away, but there is a rock, a sure foundation to stand on when dark days come. It is our salvation and our God, Jesus Christ. Christ, your God, came down to be a man and suffer as you have, as your own brother. He took upon himself the guilt of the whole world. All your sins, every last one is nailed to his cross, and they cannot come back again. Now Jesus rules all things for your benefit.

Put your hope in God. He is your Savior. He is your brother. He is your God. He knows your struggle. He knew a despair that is greater than anything you have experienced. He knew what it was to be abandoned by God. This One is your Savior and your God. Put your hope in him. He is with you in the deep waters of your depression, and he won’t ever leave you.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when depression comes and overwhelms me, lead me to put my hope in you. As the storms of life assail me, continue to be my rock and salvation. Turn my thoughts and my heart to you, so that I trust your promises. You are my Rock, my Salvation, and my God. Stay with me and help me. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – August 5, 2018

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
Psalm 146:3-5

Tough conversations about politics

Over the next month we are going to talk about things that are deeply personal. We’re going to look at things that are highly controversial. Just a single post about any of the topics this month sets off a firestorm of comments on both sides of the conversation.

These are topics about which it would often be easier to be silent. But God is not silent on them. So, we won’t be silent either. This week, the topic is politics.

As we tackle it, let me ask a question: Why are we often troubled by what our leaders do? Why do we often get so upset and sometimes even rebellious when we talk about our leaders? The answer is simple: We’re not in control, and we want something else to happen. We don’t trust these leaders to do what is good for us. Sometimes we actually think our leaders are out to harm us.

The psalmist puts his finger on the problem. We are looking to human beings to do for us what only God can do. We’re looking to our human leaders to take care of our bodily needs, to give us a blessed life, to protect us, and keep us safe. But that’s a job that only God can do.

Only God can save. Only God can provide. Only God can give the blessed life. Only God protects. God is the only one who can do these things. And he does do these things. He does them through the leaders he has put in authority.

So, trust your God. He is your help and hope. Even when our earthly leaders and rulers don’t seem to be doing good for us, God is always doing good for us. Our God gives the blessed life.

Pray for your leaders. Pray that God would give them wisdom and lead them to do what is good for us. Pray for their health and wellness. Pray for their families. Most of all, pray that they would turn to the Lord and be Christian, godly rulers as they rule over us.

Prayer: Lord God, be with our leaders, our president, our representatives, and all who lead our country. Give them health, wellness, and most of all wisdom. Lead them to rule over our country so that we may live peaceful lives and so that more people might know you. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – July 29, 2018

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:13‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The Bible doesn’t say: “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

When I was growing up my mom gave us a mantra to encourage us to keep going. She would say, “You can do it if you try, go Nate, go.” She’d sing it again and again. She wanted us to get it into our heads that we should persevere, that we should never give up, that we should push on and forward no matter how hard it got. That’s good advice. That’s even Scriptural. God’s Word would urge us to persevere and push forward in faith with the strength God provides, no matter how hard or bleak it seems.

As with anything good, sayings like this get perverted. This “You can do it, if you try” mantra turns into “you can do anything you set your mind to.” That, simply stated, is not true. There are certain things in life that we simply cannot do. Should we make a list? It isn’t hard.

There are things in this life that you just can’t handle. You can’t control the events of this world. You can’t even control some of the events of your own life. You couldn’t stop that tire from going flat. You couldn’t stop your mom or dad from getting sick. You couldn’t control whether you kept or lost that job. There are things in this life that you just can’t handle. It’s too much!

There are certainly things in the spiritual world that you can’t handle. That’s what Paul is getting at in the verse for this week. He’s talking about temptation that comes to all people; he even says, “God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” That’s where people get the idea that God won’t give us more than we can handle.

That’s not exactly what Paul says. Notice carefully what he says, “When you are tempted, HE…” Paul isn’t saying that you’ll have the strength to escape this and the strength to handle it. Paul is saying that God does and God will. God will provide the strength. God will provide the escape. God will handle it.

In many cases, that is exactly God’s purpose. When temptation comes, God would have us fall to our knees unable to handle it and pray, “Lead me not into temptation.” When trial and hardship comes, God would have us fall to our knees unable to deal with it and pray, “Deliver me from evil.” God would have us turn to him for strength and help; he will give it!

Things will come into your life that are far more than you can handle. In your weakness find strength in your God who says to you, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In this, learn to boast of your weakness against temptation. Learn to boast of your weakness when you suffer trial, insults, hardships, persecution, and all kinds of difficulties. Learn to say, “When I am weak, then in Christ I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

It may be more than you can handle, but it is never too much for your God to handle.

Prayer: Lord God, when hardship, trouble, and temptation enter my life, turn me to you. I am weak, but you are strong. I can’t handle it, but you can and in your love for me, you will handle it. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – July 22, 2018

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James‬ ‭1:2-4

The Bible doesn’t say: “Suffering always comes because of sin.”

What goes around, comes ______________. You reap what you _________________. You can probably finish those sentences without too much thinking because they are so deeply embedded in our American culture and even more embedded in our human nature. We naturally think that if I do bad to someone else, something bad will happen to me. On the flip side, we also naturally think that if I do good to someone—if I pay it forward, good will come back around to me. What goes around, comes around. You reap what you sow.

Then when something painful enters our life we think, “What did we do to deserve this?” Even people in the Bible thought this. When painful things happened to Joseph’s brothers they immediately thought, “This is happening to us because of what we did to Joseph” (Genesis 42:21).

Nothing could be further away from the way that God deals with us and rules over our lives.

There is no more punishment for our sins. All our sins have been already punished and paid for in the wounds of Jesus. God is not out to get his pound of flesh from us. When suffering comes, God is not punishing us.

The way that God deals with us in our lives is purely and completely out of his grace. When good things enter our lives, it isn’t because we deserved it or because we did good. This isn’t some law of “sowing” and “reaping,” where one good turn deserves another. No, God pours out grace upon us purely because of his grace and goodness, purely out of his love for us.

That’s what happening when we suffer too. James tells us to consider it pure joy when we suffer and face trials. He wants us to find joy in our suffering, because God is graciously at work in our trials too. He is at work drawing us closer. He is at work purifying us. He is at work chiseling us to make us mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Suffering doesn’t come because of sin, as though God were out to get us. No, even in suffering, God is acting as our dear Father who loves us most and desires us to live and walk with him eternally.

Prayer: Dear Father, help me to see my suffering as it really is. It isn’t punishment for sin—you already forgave all of mine and the world’s. Rather, help me to see that in my suffering you are making me mature and complete in faith and for life. Help me to see it and rejoice in it, dear Father. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – July 15, 2018

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:1-5

The Bible doesn’t say: “Don’t judge others.”

Actually, the Bible does say it. You can read the words from Jesus’ lips right there. Jesus himself said, “Don’t judge or else you will be judged.”

We need to understand that Jesus is talking to us in these verses. He’s talking to us about our attitudes and our own sin. It’s probing and piercing when Jesus says, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye…” He’s right. You can’t possibly come to someone else in this life to point out their sin and help them out of it when you haven’t addressed your own sin first. Jesus urges us to repent and ask for forgiveness and cleansing for our own sin.

This leads us to be honest with ourselves and with God about the sin in our own lives. It isn’t that Jesus forbids us from pointing out the sin of others. Jesus wants us to be honest with him and with ourselves before we do.

Honesty leads us to be humble and broken as we point out other people’s sin. It helps us see that we are no different from the people whom we want to call out for their sin. We are also under the threat of God’s judgement. Jesus wants us to “see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

In all of this, as you call people out for their sin, remember these two things. 1) God is ultimately the judge. You are not the judge; you are simply telling people carefully, clearly, and lovingly what God says in his Word. Let his Word speak to these dear people. Let God be the judge. 2) Remember your goal. Your goal is not to get people to change their ways. Your goal in pointing out sin is to lead people to repentance and then to tell them the good news, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Learn from Jesus who, even though he could have tossed stones at a woman caught in adultery, said to her: “Woman, has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you. Go now, and leave your life of sin” (cf. John 8:10-11). He addressed her sin, most importantly forgave her and urged her to leave that life behind.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I don’t like it when people turn from you and live in sin. I want them to turn to you for repentance and faith. Give me honesty, humility, and deep love for them as I talk to them about the sin in their life and your never-ending forgiveness. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – July 8, 2018

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:11-13

The Bible doesn’t say: “Obedience always leads to blessing.”

This week we’re looking at another statement that people claim comes from the Bible: ‘Obedience always leads to blessing.’ Like the saying from last week, it sounds good and can even be understood in a true, biblical sense. “Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and obey it,” Jesus said (Luke 11:28). God gives us his commands because he wants to bless us. He wants us to live his way in this world. That is the best way to live. It is a blessing to live God’s way in this world.

But what if I do obey God, and it doesn’t turn out well? What if I obey God and honor his will, but I lose my job because of it? What if I’m living a life of obedience and get made fun of? Or I get cancer? What if I’m doing all the right things, but my life is one hardship after another?

This saying falls apart when obedience doesn’t lead to blessing, but instead leads to hardship.

The apostle Paul grappled with this in his life. After his conversion to Christianity, Paul devoted himself to doing God’s will. Even then, he had to admit, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). Sometimes his life went well. He was well fed and had plenty of God’s gifts to enjoy. But there were other times when his life did not work out so well. He was hungry. In fact, Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians from a table in his jail cell. Things didn’t turn out well at all.

But Paul gives us the secret to a blessed life. He tells us how to be contented and happy whether the circumstances of life are good or not, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Paul knew that the secret to a blessed life was found in the gifts that Jesus gives, in the rule that Jesus exerts, in the protection that Jesus offers.

This is where we find contentment and blessing. Jesus gives us gifts every day, exactly what he wants us to have. He never shorts us (even if we think sometimes that he does). Jesus always gives us the right gifts and the right amount of them because he is good. Jesus rules over our lives. Yes, he rules over the good times and the hard times. He rules over them for our eternal good, because he wants us to spend an eternity with him. He protects us from danger, especially danger to our souls.

Sometimes there are good times. Other times there are hard times. But our Father rules over both the happy and the sad times. He rules over our lives for our good and promises to give good and perfect gifts to us. He does it all, not because we obeyed, but simply because he is our good and gracious Father in heaven.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank you for ruling over my life for my eternal good and not for my harm. Help me to understand that you always bless me and do good for me, even if it means that hard things enter my life. You are good at all times, O God. Your will is always good for me. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – July 1, 2018

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things.
Romans 8:32

The Bible doesn’t say: ”God helps those who help themselves.”

This month we are going to look at sayings that people, even Christians, use which are not from the Bible. We want to be careful not to believe things that aren’t from the Bible. Sometimes these unbiblical sayings seem harmless. At other times, these sayings are downright harmful and dangerous to our faith. We are going to look at a few of the more dangerous ones.

This week we look at: ”God helps those who helps themselves.”

At first glance, it sounds pretty good, right? It seems to say that if we want to get anywhere in life, we have to help ourselves by doing some work. It seems to say that we have to work to accomplish anything or amount to something. That’s true. Even the Bible says: “If a person won’t work, he won’t eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). God does tell us to work with all our might in life.

But look again at that saying. We are not only being told to work or “help ourselves out in life.” It is telling us that if we help ourselves, God will help us. We are told that our actions push God into action. We are even left with the impression that if we don’t help ourselves, God won’t help us.

Here’s where the saying gets dangerous. It treats God like a vending machine. You get something out after you put something in. You have to do work, before God will do his.

Always trying to earn God’s help is a stressful way to live and the wrong way to believe.

It is a faithless way to live too—using our work to try to earn God’s favor. It leaves us relying on ourselves for earthly things—and heavenly things too—rather than relying on God’s grace.

Look what Paul says about why our God gives, about why our God helps. He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things. He tells us that God gave us his Son as the proof and the evidence that God will give us all things. He uses the word “graciously” because he wants us to know our salvation is God’s gracious and undeserved gift to us through his Son. He uses this word to teach us that God’s help in our lives comes without our work or our help. It’s all grace. It’s a gift. God helps us because he is good and he loves us.

So, yes, get to work. Plan for your future. Do what you are asked to do in your daily life.

AND, believe that God will help you both now and eternally purely because he is gracious. His love for you is the reason he helps. It has nothing to do with what you have or haven’t done. God helps simply because he loves you.

Prayer: Dear Lord, keep me from believing that my work earns your favor and your help. Keep me from relying on myself. Instead, teach me to trust your grace and your goodness to me. You promise to help me because you love me. In your name I pray, amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 24, 2018

Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Oprah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshipping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
Judges 8:27

Fear<less: Don’t leave God behind.

Imagine you are on a basketball team. All season your team worked hard. It paid off! You won many of your games and even made it to the state championship. Before you head out onto the court to play your final game of the season, you ask God for his help and strength to play the game to the best of your abilities. Then you head out to the court and leave all that you have out there until that final buzzer rings. Your team wins! The crowd is cheering; as you walk up to get the trophy everyone around congratulates you. They’re cheering for you and patting you on the back. They all are asking how you did it.

This is where Gideon found himself. He had done what God asked him to do. He had set his people free from the hand of Midian. He won a great victory even though he was a huge underdog. The people were happy with him and even asked him to be the new ruler over them. At first, his response seemed good. He acted humble, and even rejected the offer to be ruler.

But he had one request. He wanted the Israelites to bring their enemies’ golden earrings. When they had done this, he made an ephod with the gold (An ephod was a highly ornamented robe that the Israelites used in worship.). Then Gideon placed it in his city. The people gawked over it. Actually, it was worse than that. The writer says, “They prostituted themselves to it.” In other words, they worshipped the golden ephod instead of the true and only God. Gideon and his family did the same thing.

After the great victory God had given him, Gideon forgot who truly gave him the victory. He used this victory as an opportunity to get glory for himself and even ignored God’s powerful hand which brought him to that point.

It is so easy for the thrill and pride of victorious circumstances to make us forget about the real reason for our successes.

God is the one who has given us everything to be able to achieve our goals. God is the one who has given us the victory. It’s good for us to remember that. We owe not only our achievements but our very lives to God. So when things go well in your lives, take a moment to give thanks to God for all that he’s done for you and in your life.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I come to you to thank you for all the accomplishments I have achieved in my life, no matter how big or small. You had a part in each one. You helped me and gave me success. I owe all of my success to you. Please help me to remember this in the victorious moments of life. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 17, 2018

When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.”
Judges 7:15

Fear<less: Numbers don’t count.

Everyone loves underdog stories. We all want to see the scrappy team from the small town win the state championship. People love to root for the underdog. But nobody wants to be the underdog. When it gets down to it, we would definitely prefer to be the top dog with no one to challenge us.

Gideon didn’t want to be the underdog either. He was given the job of rescuing God’s people, the Israelites, from the invading Midianites. Israel was outnumbered badly. From a military point of view, their best course of action would be surrender and hope they were treated well as prisoners. Gideon knew that, but he still tried his best to muster the best fighting force he could, a little over 32,000 men. He was as ready as he could be to face the enemy. The opening whistle of the most important match in Gideon’s life was about to sound.

But God had a lesson to teach Gideon.

You see, God had already promised to save the Israelites and to help them defeat Midian. And God wanted them to trust his promise to the win that victory for them. So, what did God do? He commanded Gideon to dismiss almost his entire army. At the end of that day, Gideon was left with less than one percent of his original force, only 300 men! You can’t even fill a large gym with 300 men, but that was Israel’s entire army. This meager army was up against an enemy so large that you couldn’t even count their camels, let alone soldiers. Gideon was about to learn a lesson on trust.

Israel did win the battle that day. But they didn’t win because of numbers, or strategy, or ferocity. They won because God was on their side.

God wants us to know the same thing. God is on our side so power, might, wisdom, or numbers don’t matter. If God is for us, who can be against us? With our trust in God, we really have nothing to fear.

It is true that even Christians sometimes suffer during their lives. Does this mean they didn’t trust in God enough? Or maybe God doesn’t care about them? No.

We believe that God will protect us spiritually above all else. He has already won the greatest victory possible for us. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he suffered for every person through all of time. Jesus death paid the price for our sins. The battles against sin, death, and the devil have all been won for us. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)

God may not help our team win every championship. In fact, we will face troubles in life, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we can trust God’s promise that he has won the final victory for us and is waiting for us in heaven.

That inspires the same confidence in us as in Gideon to call out, “Get up! The Lord has given this into our hands!” If God is for us, who can be against us? He will for fight for us in life so that we might enjoy an eternity with him.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank you for fighting the battles we couldn’t. Thank you for watching over us and protecting us. Help us to remember your promises and to always put our trust in you. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 10, 2018

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.
Judges 6:14-16

Fear<less: Who am I?

Who am I?

I have to admit; this question runs through my head quite often. Whenever I come to a point where I think I know who I am and understand myself, my situation changes, and I feel completely lost. It often feels like I am riding a rollercoaster. One day I feel confident in who I am and and what I’m taking on. The next day I am second guessing myself and am not sure I can handle it.

Maybe you’ve been through this too. One day you feel 100% confident in who you are and you think you can take on the world. But the next day everything looks different. The next day you’re not confident in who you are or how you are going to take on the task in front of you.

That’s how Gideon felt. Gideon was struggling with the uncertainty of who he was. He was scared and threatened by the Midianite armies. Now God was calling him to rescue Israel? He was just a nobody from a nobody family. He was the least in that family too! Who was he to save Israel?

But look what God did. He called Gideon to be the rescuer for the people of Israel and then promised to be with him. Gideon was worried that he could not do it, but God told him that he would not be alone. God would be with him at all times. Gideon found his identity, his power, and his purpose in God.

Who am I? Who am I to take on this day, this task, and this world?

I am God’s child. I am saved by Jesus. I am just who God designed me to be. When God leads you by his Word, your identity will not be altered by the world, defined by its standards, or determined by the current situation or how I feel. When God fills you with his power and his Spirit by his Word, your fear will disappear even as you consider what looms in front of you. In God, you can have everlasting confidence in who you are because of who he is. He is the one who sent his Son who made himself a nobody on earth so I may be one of his own in heaven. He gave me a new identity in my baptism as his child. That will never change! Trusting in God’s promises, you can take on whatever lies in front of you with absolute confidence. So, take heart in these words which God spoke to Gideon: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

These words are as true for you today as they were for Gideon. Be a warrior! God is with us and will be with us as we take on whatever God gives us to do today and every day.

Prayer: Dear God, when I face the ongoing battle of being uncertain of who I am and what my life purpose is, give me the courage you know I so desperately need. Continue to remind me that my only confidence can be found in you. Lead me, keep me, and sustain me through Jesus Christ, my Lord, and Savior. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 3, 2018

Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds… Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help.
Judges 6:2,6

Fear<less: Crying out

It was 3:00 A.M., and I was awake. It was not by choice. I would have loved to have a peaceful night of rest, but not that night. When I was a child, I would often have nightmares that would have leave me crying, “Mom!” in the middle of the night. And every time, as soon as I cried out, my mom was there. She would come and comfort me. Pretty soon I would forget the bad dream and fall sleep once again.

What fills you with fear? Is it the unknown, the dark, violence, secluded alleyways, or being alone? Do health problems, relationship problems, or family concerns cause you uncertainty?

We aren’t the only ones. The Israelites experienced fear as they lived a nightmare. Israel had done evil in the eyes of the LORD, so God sent the Midianites and Israel’s other neighbors to the east to oppress Israel. They came into Israel, destroyed all their crops, killed their livestock, and devastated the land. The Israelites were hungry and scared as they retreated to caves in the mountains.

But their story didn’t end with Israel cowering in fear and being conquered by Midian. Israel cried out to God, and he answered “‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear…'” (Judges 6:9). Then he got to work. He called Gideon to drive the Midianites out of Israel.

What do you do when trouble comes? Do you cry out? When personal sin, fear, and confusion strangle and push you down, where do you turn?

Remember, God is always listening for your cry. Seek him in his Word, then go to him in prayer. Cry out to him. Israel had strayed from the LORD, but he still was there, listening and ready for them the moment they cried out. Wherever you are or whatever you’re going through, God is listening. Whatever you fear or whatever paralyzes you, know that nothing is impossible for your God. He knows what you need even if fear paralyzes and numbs you, preventing you from getting the words out. (See Romans 8:26.) Turn to Jesus who is making a fear-free home in heaven for you.

I keep a Bible next to my bed. When fears come, I open that book and cry out to God. Sometimes my cry is just a single verse. “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

Cry out. He’s listening.

Prayer: Dear God, whenever I am afraid, help me immediately cry out to you. You give me strength. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 27, 2018

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts‬ ‭1:8

Who is the witness?

When I was in high school, I had to give speeches. Everybody did. Some speeches were better than others. You could always tell who had taken a speech class, because their speeches were just better. I was never that good, because I had never learned the art of delivering a speech.

That’s what it is. Delivering a speech is an art form that takes years of experience and training. A good speech is one that draws the audience in so they are interested in the topic. It must be ordered properly. It must be logical and interesting. The speaker should be prepared, confident, and even convincing. These things make giving a good speech so difficult. It’s what makes public speaking difficult and fear inducing for so many people.

And now Jesus wants us to talk about our faith? That’s what he says here. He told his disciples (and us too!) that this is who we are. We are witnesses of who he is and what he has done. We are his witnesses here, there, and everywhere. We’re supposed to talk about Jesus and share our faith?

But what will we say?
How will we say it?
How will we know what to say?
Will people listen?
Will they agree with what we’ve got to say?

Jesus doesn’t ask us to figure that out. Being a witness is not at all like delivering a speech.

Did you notice what he says? First, there is this amazing promise that we’ll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes. Jesus is promising here, and in other places, that he’ll give us the Holy Spirit so that we’re confident, so that we have words.

Then, he says, “You will be witnesses.” Jesus isn’t asking us to say it just right or to win the argument. Jesus isn’t asking us to put together a “good speech.” Jesus isn’t even asking to convince anybody about anything. He’s asking us to be witnesses. A witness doesn’t have to convince. A witness has to tell the story. It is the job of the attorney to do the convincing. Jesus is asking us to tell the world about the good things that he’s done. His Holy Spirit will do the rest.

You are the witness. Witnessing is not like giving a speech. It’s simply telling the story of Jesus. This is who you are. The Holy Spirit will be with you.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your Holy Spirit. Remind me that I am your witnesses and all you ask me to do is share the message. You will give me the words. You will give me the confidence. And you will do good things through the Word I share; you promise it. Make me your witness in all that I do and say today. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 20, 2018

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John‬ ‭14:26

Who is the Holy Spirit?

1993 was a long time ago. Twenty-five years ago to be exact. That was the year in which I publicly confessed my faith and was confirmed. My confirmation was a long time ago.

I sit with my kids as they grow up and are confirmed too, and I find myself learning it all over again. I forgot some things over the years. I look back at my life recall those moments in high school and college when I wandered away from my confirmation promises. I remember my sins and my failures. God’s grace means so much more to me now. I sure do need it!

Sometimes I even wonder how I’m still a Christian at all. I’ve done things that aren’t things that Christians should be doing. Science and reason pose challenges to my faith. Pressure from my peers and the lure of temptations seem to constantly pull me away.

I wonder if you, dear teen, can relate. Your faith is constantly attacked by atheism, science, or just seemingly good arguments. Your morality is constantly challenged by pressure from friends or the lure of sex, drugs, or drink.

Are you going to make it as a Christian?

Yes, and Jesus tells us how. He makes an astounding promise to his disciples, that he’s going to send the the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit would remind them of the things they once learned but would soon forget. This Holy Spirit would teach them everything God wanted them to know. This Holy Spirit would convict them when they sinned and forgive them when they turned back. This Holy Spirit would be with them and walk with them through life. He would work to keep them in the faith until he finally would raise them from the dead on the Last Day.

That, dear teen, is God’s promise to you. He promises this same Holy Spirit to you. He promises that this Holy Spirit whom God gave you at your baptism will be with you all the time. He will teach you all things. He will remind you of what Jesus has taught you up to this point. He will assure you of God’s forgiveness. He will keep you in the faith and will finally raise you from the dead in the Last Day.

And so, twenty-five years from now you can look back at your life and marvel at how God has kept you in the faith. He’ll do it. That’s his promise.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, send me your Holy Spirit and keep me in this faith. Keep temptations far away from me. Keep teaching me. Keep reminding me of your Word and promises. And so, Lord Jesus, keep me in the faith. Do whatever it takes so that I remain your child until heaven. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 13, 2018

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Ephesians 1:22-23

Who is the Son?

For twenty minutes, 149 passengers were absolutely out of control. A fan blade broke off, causing one of the engines of their plane to explode. For those twenty minutes, they didn’t know whether they would live or die, and they couldn’t do anything about it except sit and wait. They were absolutely helpless and couldn’t do anything except pray.

We can relate when we hit that patch of black ice on the road in the middle of the winter. We can relate when the other driver rear-ends us or crosses the middle of the road into our lane. We can relate when sickness or cancer comes without any cause at all. We can relate when someone suddenly loses a job through no fault of their own.

We couldn’t stop our tire from going flat or our car battery from dying over night. We couldn’t stop the other driver from falling asleep at the wheel or rear-ending us. There is so much in our lives over which we have no control at all. It’s such a helpless feeling, because there is nothing we can do about it.

That’s why these words from Paul are so important to remember, especially when life seems out of control. Do you see what Paul says about Jesus? Do you see what God did? He put all things under the feet of Jesus. All things. Things like the exploding engine in that Southwest plane. He ruled over those moments when the engine exploded and the plane suddenly lurched toward the ground. He ruled over those moments when your car skidded out of control on black ice. He ruled over those moments when you or someone you love suddenly got sick or lost a job.

He is Lord and ruler over all things “for the church.” That’s Paul’s way of saying that Jesus is Lord for the people who believe in him. He is Lord over all things for you, for your good, for your benefit.

Things may be out of your control, but they are never outside of his control. He sits as King over all.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, when my life seems out of control, remind me that you are Lord and ruler over all things. Remind me that things are never outside of your control. Calm my heart with the truth that things are never outside of your rule. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 6, 2018

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
Acts 4:7-12

Who is the Father?

God the Father is the Creator of all things. He created everything perfectly. He created it all simply by saying the word; he spoke and it came to be.

When it came to people, God chose a more personal way of creating them. In the same way that a potter uses his hands to carefully and intentionally form his masterpiece, God took his time to shape and fashion Adam. He helped Adam to see that it was not good to be alone. Then after putting Adam to sleep, he made Eve out of one of Adam’s ribs.

God made all this and more. He is mighty and powerful. He is careful and creating. He is kind and gracious. He is the Father of all created things and especially of you.

Your relationship with your earthly father may at times not be a great one. It could make looking at God as your Father slightly discouraging. It might be something that you don’t like to consider at all.

But know this: your God is perfect in every way—especially in his duties as a father. He made us fearfully and wonderfully. He says that he has numbered each and every hair on your head. He knew your name before you were even born. You cannot hide from him. God the Father looks after your needs and will satisfy your desires. He will work everything out in your life so that it it’s good for you and for your soul.

Our Father in heaven knows us intimately and desires that we would know him intimately as well. And there are good reasons to know him well. He is kind and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love (Num 14:18). He is everything that you want a father to be and more. He cares about you and wants you to be with him in everlasting life. He has sent his Son, Jesus, to be the atoning sacrifice for your sins so that you can be with him in heaven. It proves that your God in heaven is your Father who loves you most.

Prayer: Almighty God, my dear Father, you made me and all that exists. Thank you for creating me. Thank you for caring for me. Thank you for giving your Son for my salvation. Keep watching over me all the days of my life. Keep me as your child until I reach heaven. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – April 29, 2018

“They [the Sanhedrin] had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Ruler and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:7-12

Standing tall

Peter and John, apostles of Jesus, had just done something miraculous: they healed a 40-year-old crippled man in front of numerous witnesses. But not everyone was happy with the miracle. Instead of giving thanks to God for this act of mercy, the local religious leaders threw Peter and John into jail. The next day, they were questioned by the Sanhedrin—the highest authority of Jewish law and culture.

The members of the Sanhedrin felt threatened by the apostles. They wanted to stop them from spreading this message of Jesus around the people. So they ordered Peter and John to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, but the apostles would not bow to such a command.

The apostles of the early church didn’t have it easy. They were put in prison multiple times, flogged, stoned, mocked, kicked out of different regions, and killed. What would cause them to be willing to suffer all of this?

Jesus.

Peter, John, and the rest of the early church believed that Jesus is the only way to heaven. His death and resurrection meant that they would live forever someday. His name is the only name that saves. You can see why they wanted to spread this good news to everyone.

What do you say when someone asks about your faith? What do you do when someone confronts you about your Christian convictions? What do you do when someone attacks you? It’s easy to shrink back and avoid giving a real answer. It’s intimidating to stand up for what you believe, especially with close friends.

During times of questioning, look to the example of Peter and John: Stand tall. Don’t be ashamed of the name of Jesus. He gave you everything: the forgiveness of all your sins, new life, and a home in heaven. Like Peter and John, “we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” in Jesus’ name (Acts 4:20).

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me stand tall and be a bold witness for you when I’m asked about my faith. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – April 22, 2018

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are his witnesses of this.
Acts 3:15

We are witnesses

It’s hard to talk about Jesus and share our faith. We live in a world that largely doesn’t want us to talk about Jesus. We live in a world that doesn’t want to hear what God says. I can’t imagine how hard it was for Peter to look at the Jews and say, “You killed the author of life…” But then, listen to what he says next: We are God’s witnesses.

As we read the story of Jesus, we often hear about how the disciples struggled to trust him even when he was right there with them physically. Time and time again, Jesus showed them how powerful he was. He showed them that he was trustworthy. But even after his resurrection as he is about to ascend to heaven, some of them doubted, and in the past they had proven to be afraid.

But on the day of Pentecost, God gave the apostles the boldness and strength to speak about his Word. They went out on that day unwilling to be stopped.

God’s promise for you is the same. He promises that he will empower you to tell other people about what God has done. Jesus himself said, “The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:12). The Holy Spirit will help you to share God’s Word and tell people that you are a Christian.

Remember: we’re witnesses. The witnesses in a court trial tell the story of things that happened as best that they can. They testify about what they’ve seen and heard. That’s what we as witnesses are to do. We tell people what we know and believe. We tell people what the Bible says about Jesus. We’re witnesses!

Yes, it’s hard to talk about Jesus and share our faith. People don’t often like what we have to say or want to hear it. But we have nothing to hide. We don’t need to be ashamed. Jesus is always with us, and his Spirit will give us both the boldness and the words. We are witnesses of what God has said and what Jesus has done. Talk about it!

Prayer: Dear Lord, give us the strength to speak and the words to say to those who don’t believe in you. Pour out your Holy Spirit on us, and give us your power to spread the Word. Help us to put all our trust in you as we live today. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – April 15, 2018

Every day [all the believers] continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.
Acts 2:46

Don’t forget your team

It’s game day. You know what you have to do, so you get out on the court or field to face your opponents. Then you realize something’s wrong. You’re all by yourself. The other team is there, looming over you like a dark storm cloud from the other end of the field. However, not one of your teammates can be seen. Not on the court. Not on the bench. Nowhere. You have no one on your side.

Do you ever feel like that is your spiritual situation? Maybe you feel like the only Christian at your school facing the whole science department that teaches evolution as truth. Maybe you’re the only one at your job who doesn’t want to take a longer break than allowed. Maybe you’re the only one at a party who doesn’t want to drink because you’re underage.

In those situations, you may feel alone and unable to handle the pressure. You know his promise to always be with you, yet the present situation makes you question God’s presence.

That’s one of the reasons God surrounds us with the church and puts other Christians in our lives. God does not want us to be alone. He wants us to be together.

God equips your Christian friends to help you through all kinds of life’s problems, earthly or spiritual. Whether you have questions about the Bible or about your homework, whether you’re trying to pick a college or what to wear to school tomorrow, Christian friends can help because they (like you) know where to find answers to life’s critical questions. Christian brothers and sisters can remind you of God’s promises and give encouragement, comfort, or even correction from God’s Word. And not only do you get to enjoy these benefits, but to share them! God calls you to be that encouraging, supportive Christian friend to others too.

Most importantly, when you do crack under the pressure and give in to sin, your Christian friends are there to point you to Jesus. Your Christian friends are there to show and give you Jesus’s forgiveness. His perfect life and innocent death paid the penalty for all your sins. That’s the message you need to hear most of all. That’s also the message your friends need to hear from you most of all.

Do you have Christian friends? Thank God for them! Surround yourself with them. Then be one for them!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you so much for blessing me with Christian friends so we can encourage each other to stay close to you. Forgive me for the times I haven’t been the friend you want me to be. Thank you for being the perfect friend. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – April 8, 2018

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Acts 2:37-41

Bold

My parents decided to take my family to the circus when I was about five years old. I was entranced by the animals, the trapeze artists, and the silly games and activities. But when the clowns came out, I tried to run away. There was something about them that scared me.

My brother played on this fear one year by dressing up as a clown for Halloween. He would pop up around random corners of our house. For many years, I shyly avoided any interactions with clowns at parades or fun family events because of my fear and lack of confidence.

Finally, my dad took me by the hand and showed me some clowns behind the scenes. I saw them putting on makeup, taking it off, and doing human things. The realization that clowns weren’t what they seemed helped me overcome my fear of them. The encouragement and support of my dad made me stronger and bolder to face my fears.

Jesus’ disciples had their fears as well. They saw Jesus arrested, scorned, mocked, and put to death on a cross. The disciples’ sinful human nature made them susceptible to the devil’s temptations of fear and doubt.

But after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to them as they hid behind the scenes. He showed them that he really was alive. He showed them (and us!) that all our enemies had been overcome. By the Holy Spirit’s strength, the disciples were rescued from their fear and doubt. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on them, giving them the courage and boldness to go out into Jerusalem to preach and teach the saving news of Christ to others so they might repent, believe, and be saved.

The devil will always tempt us to hide away and to be afraid. But this Easter, see what Peter saw that made him bold to speak. Look behind the scenes and see that Jesus is victorious and reigning on his throne. Then by the Spirit, share Jesus with boldness and confidence.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, send your Spirit down on me. Through the Holy Spirit, help me to speak boldly and confidently your Word and your Son. Keep me in the saving truth of Christ now and always. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – April 1, 2018

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see it…I will not believe.” …Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Select verses from John 20:24-29

The Resurrection Scars

“You wouldn’t believe the game of putt-putt golf I had today. I got a hole-in-one on every hole!”

Is it hard to convince a friend of yours that someone has done the impossible? No matter how many times you tell them, they will probably ask you to prove it; sometimes seeing is believing. No matter how hard they want to believe you, they have to see it with their own eyes and touch it with their own hands.

This is how it was for Thomas. Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples. But Thomas wasn’t with them. The disciples told Thomas what they had seen and touched, but it was too much for Thomas. He said that he wouldn’t believe them unless he put his hands in the nail marks in Jesus’ hands and feet and felt his side. A week later Jesus again appeared to his disciples. This time Thomas was with them. This time Thomas got to see and touch. Finally, he believed.

But why did it take so long? Thomas was there when Jesus had told his disciples that he would be raised from the dead. Jesus told them more than once. Why would he need so much convincing?

There are times in our lives when we too need a lot of convincing, but why? Why do we doubt? The truth is, some things are heard to believe when we can’t see and touch them. At times it feels like we have a blind faith.

But our faith is hardly blind. Jesus reminds us in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Our faith stands on the sure words of Jesus. These words are even more sure now that he has kept his promise by rising from the dead. He truly has overcome the world.

Thomas wanted a “scar story,” something he could see and believe. And in great love for Thomas, Jesus came to him in his weakness to show him his scars, to even let him touch those scars.

In your times of doubting and wanting to see, look at the scars that Jesus showed Thomas. Look at the scars that Thomas touched. Know that all your doubts are forgiven. Jesus really has conquered sin and death for the world. Jesus really has risen from the dead, just as he said. His Word is true! His promises are sure. You can count on it. His scars are the proof.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for bearing those scars and showing them to us. In times of doubt remind us of your words “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Remind us of the sure things that Thomas got to see and touch. Then, give us faith to believe it. Amen.


This Lenten series we’re taking a look at the scars we all have from our sin and from the sin of others. Ultimately it’s not about our scars, but rather the scars of Christ which he took for us on the cross.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 25, 2018

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

Successfully healed

History gives us a long record of horrific events where people suffered greatly because of sin: the conquistador conquests over native civilizations, centuries of slavery and slave trade, the Armenian genocide, the Rape of Nanking, the Holocaust, and more. Dating back to the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden, death has been the ultimate result of sin.

Truth is, history proves the same about us. Even more horrifying is the thought that we have caused the suffering of others. We personally have given scars to countless people physically, mentally, and spiritually. Not only have we hurt others, we have hurt our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the most. We pierced him. We crushed him. We caused him to die on the cross. We put the Son of God through hell. Our sin killed the one who came down to save us from sin, death, and the devil. We deserve to shoulder the suffering of our Savior. Instead, all our sin, all our guilt, all our punishment was put on his shoulders, and he suffered hell for us. What a loving God! A God who loves us so much he sent his only Son, fully God and fully human, to die for our sins so that we may have eternal life in heaven with him.

The theme of the month has been ‘Scars.’ Holy Week is a perfect time to reflect on the scars Jesus received in our place. Through the pain of his suffering and death, we have peace. Just as he rose from the dead, we too shall rise to live with him eternally in heaven.

Our teenage years are often a time to learn about and form our own identity. What better identity can we have than one that is found in Christ? Because Jesus forgave us for the scars we placed on him, we also forgive people for the scars they have placed on us, and we seek forgiveness from those whom we have hurt. Let us live with the scars of Jesus in mind, the scars he received for us and for the entire world.

Prayer: Lord, during this Holy Week, help me remember and be thankful to you for the suffering and hell you went through so that I may have eternal life. Through your scars, the scars caused by my sin are healed; through your resurrection, I have hope and life with you forever. Thank you for that peace that nothing can overcome. Amen.


This Lenten series we’re taking a look at the scars we all have from our sin and from the sin of others. Ultimately it’s not about our scars, but rather the scars of Christ which he took for us on the cross.


 

TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 18, 2018

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
Luke 18:31-33

Successfully healed

Have you ever witnessed a “scar battle”? It’s when a few people whip out their slowly fading lighter patches of skin and start comparing tall tales of old accidents. Sometimes people seem quite proud, or at least able to laugh about their klutzy moments. However, they probably were not laughing when the accident first happened.

Scars often prompt painful memories even if they now make interesting stories. As a rule, we try to avoid those moments of pain. Yet, much as scars are viewed as past injuries, they actually show the place where your skin was successfully healed.

Some scars go further than just skin-deep. The pains of being betrayed emotionally, of guilt, or of the struggle to see ourselves as God’s loved creation can cut deeply into our soul. As with any physical scar, the impression can last even after the wound is healed.

We are not alone in that battle: Jesus also felt our scars. He felt the whip and the nails. But he also carried the sins of the whole world. He did not avoid the scars of our sins but bore them for us. He has given us the eternal hope of heaven and has promised us ultimate healing. He also promises to be with us and be our strength in every moment of pain while we are here on this earth. We are being healed spiritually through Christ’s forgiveness each day. He is growing and shaping us in his love so that one day we may have a perfect home with him where all those scars will finally fade away.

Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive us for the times we have been the cause of scars found on others. In your love, you allowed your only Son to be scarred for us all. Those scars have given us forgiveness and salvation. Help us find peace in you while we are still on earth because we know that all our scars and difficulties are part of your plan to bring us home to heaven. Amen.


This Lenten series we’re taking a look at the scars we all have from our sin and from the sin of others. Ultimately it’s not about our scars, but rather the scars of Christ which he took for us on the cross.


 

TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 11, 2018

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

Weight of the world

Atlas, a Greek god of mythology, carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. He had to hold the skies in place. It was a heavy burden to carry. Can you imagine?

You don’t carry the weight of the world as the Greeks say Atlas does, but sometimes it probably feels like it. When your parents lay responsibilities on you, it can be a heavy burden. When your family goes through tough times you take on the troubles, the struggles, and the burdens of your parents as if they belonged to you. And then there are the burdens that are yours alone: bills you have to pay, school work you have to do, and planning out the future course of your life.

Jesus says, “Come!”

Unlike the mythological character Atlas, Jesus actually carries the weight of the world. Hebrews says that he created the whole world with his powerful word, and he still holds it all together with that same word (look up Hebrews 1:3). Jesus actually controls the wind and the waves as he did when his disciples were panicking in the middle of the lake. Jesus really holds our lives in his hands just as he gave health, life, and provision to so many people during his earthly life. Jesus promises he will continue to do all this.

The truth is we’re foolish if we try to carry the weight of all our problems by ourselves. We’re not Atlas. And we’re certainly not Jesus. So why do we try to be? Jesus is already carrying all these things that we worry about.

And Jesus says, “Come!”

He carried our heaviest burdens of death and hardship to the cross so we wouldn’t have to endure them forever. This means he must really care about our lives, even down to the hairs on our heads. He knows all of our days before even one of them comes to be. And best of all, he is on our side. Yes, our God is on our side. He’s fighting for us. He’s fighting to save us.

Jesus says, “Come! Bring your burdens to me and I will carry them.”

So what are you waiting for? Cast all your cares on the Lord because he cares for you! (Cf 1 Peter 5:7).

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, you are the King of creation and my Savior. You truly carry the weight of the whole world’s life and the whole world’s sin on your shoulders. Teach me to cast my burdens on you because you really do care for me. Amen.


This Lenten series we’re taking a look at the scars we all have from our sin and from the sin of others. Ultimately it’s not about our scars, but rather the scars of Christ which he took for us on the cross.


 

TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 4, 2018

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:23

Wounded by words

Words are powerful. I think we can all look back and pinpoint something someone said that was so deeply painful that you remember it years later. Between your ears, you hear echoes of someone telling you that you’re stupid, you’re fat, that you’ll never amount to anything. You see memories playing in your mind, mocking and ridiculing you.

The things that people say to us and about us wound us more deeply than we can imagine. As a parent I’m beginning to realize that I have to be far more careful with my words. Even things I say to my children in an off-handed, joking way, often hit home in their hearts and wound them deeply.

Peter has some advice when words wound and scar us deeply. He shows us what Jesus did: nothing. He took it! He let them say whatever they wanted. He remained silent.

I sometimes wonder why Jesus didn’t respond, especially when their words were flat out lies. Sometimes people say things I don’t like, but if it’s the truth I can’t say much to them. If those awful things are lies, I can hardly stand by and let them ruin my reputation. There are times when I feel like I can’t stay silent. But Jesus did!

Did you catch why?

He entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He put himself into the hands of his Father who had said, “This is my Son. I love him! Listen to him.” He put himself into the hands of his Father, who would get justice for all their lies through his submissive son. He put himself into the hands of his Father who loved him dearly.

That’s where we’ll find healing and hope for the wounds that words bring. We’ll put ourselves into the hands of our Father who says of us, “You are my child. I love you.” We’ll put ourselves into the hands of our Father in heaven who says that he will defend us from every evil attack and bring us into our homes in heaven. We’ll put ourselves into the hands of our Father. There we’ll find peace, joy, and healing even when hateful words fly.

Prayer: Dear Father, the hurtful things that people say hurt me deeply. When their words wound me, remind me that I am yours and that you love me just as I am. Remind me that I am pleasing in your sight. Remind me that I am in your hands. Heal the scars in my heart from their words with healing of your Word. Amen.


This Lenten series we’re taking a look at the scars we all have from our sin and from the sin of others. Ultimately it’s not about our scars, but rather the scars of Christ which he took for us on the cross.


 

TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – February 25, 2018

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Mark 14:34

Abandonment scars

The story she told me sounded like it came right from Doctor Phil. In fact, it hardly seemed real, but I believed every word she said. She was born in a third world country, but her mother couldn’t take care of her. Her mom paid a friend to care for her for a little bit, but that didn’t last long. Eventually, she was left at an orphanage where she spent the early years of her life. She doesn’t know how old she really is because no one has a birth certificate. When she was adopted by an American family, she was malnourished and underdeveloped socially, verbally, even physically. To this day the pain of being abandoned has left a deep scar on her heart and soul. Her story is extreme, but I think we can all understand the depth of her pain to a certain extent.

Abandonment leaves deep and lasting scars on all of us.

Broken families leave us abandoned by a mother, father, and maybe even both. People who you thought were friends scattered when you needed them the most. A girlfriend or boyfriend leaves you with little warning or no explanation. Your parents disown you. Then after the trauma of a break comes the deep pain of silence. The pain of abandonment scars us more than we might even begin to imagine.

Jesus understands. Jesus gets it because he’s been there. He’s suffered abandonment. He was despised and rejected by mankind. When he needed them most in the Garden of Gethsemane, his own disciples fell asleep on him. Some friends! People from his own nation, his own race, his own religion called out with anger for his crucifixion. And then, when it seemed as if it couldn’t get worse, Jesus’ own Father abandoned him! Jesus cried out in anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (cf. Mark 14:23)

Jesus gets you. He understands the pain that you experience when people in your life walk away, abandoning you when you need them most.

But know this: He was abandoned by everyone in his life, even his own Father, so that you would not be. Jesus is your big brother who steps to your side through his suffering and death. He stepped willingly into abandonment by his own Father just to keep you close to him and to your Father forever. By his abandonment he brings us near to God so that these words and promises of God are true: Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you (Isaiah 49:15). In another place he promises, I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

This is God’s promise to you. Though everyone may abandon you, even your father or mother, he will not. He is with you forever.

Prayer: Dear Father, at times during my life I feel so alone. I feel as though everyone has abandoned me. At those times remind me, dear Father, that I am not alone. You will never forsake me. Your Son, my Savior, was forsaken so that I would never be abandoned. Amen.


This Lenten series we’re taking a look at the scars we all have from our sin and from the sin of others. Ultimately it’s not about our scars, but rather the scars of Christ which he took for us on the cross.


 

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