Transformed – teen devotion – October 24, 2021

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:13

Christ Alone

I vividly remember not being included. It happened several times. Whether I was in elementary school, middle school, high school, college, or even now as an adult (also known as an “old guy”), I can still describe many instances where I was on the outside looking in. Do you know what that’s like?

Maybe you’re the person who’s always included, always on top, always winning, always admired, always with more friends than you know what to do with. Maybe you’re the person who sets down your phone and, when you pick it back up a few minutes later, you have several notifications and new followers. Or, maybe you’re like the vast majority (by that I mean probably 99.9999% of people) who haven’t been included in every way.

You know what? God experienced that too. On the cross, Jesus felt abandoned. “Why have you forsaken me?” he cried. Here’s the answer: The Father let his Son die for the sins of his people so that we never know what it feels like to be excluded. Jesus spent his life including those who were excluded, loving the unloved, and searching for those who strayed.

One time, Jesus defended a woman who was about to be stoned to death for her sin. Another time, he stood up for a lady who had a record of sexual sin. He even made a man who was a thief and a cheater to be one of his disciples! And these are just the tip of the iceberg of how far God will go to include us.

When we say that we are saved by Jesus Christ alone, we recognize that Jesus is the only one who could save us. More than just by his example, God carried out all of his saving work in Christ alone. And since he sought you out, included you in God’s family, and brought you into the inner circle of his family, then you are loved. You are included. You are close to God now and forever.

Prayer: Lord, I have to admit that I hate the idea of being far from anyone and anything that is good and wonderful. Thank you for bringing me close to you through Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – October 17, 2021

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8

Faith Alone

Imagine that you were hanging off a cliff. I know, it’s kind of silly, but play along. You’re hanging off a cliff and your two hands are holding onto two different things. One hand is grabbing a rod of steel rebar that is well-anchored into the rock. And the other hand is hanging onto the root of a dead tree that is cracked and almost broken. Both hands are squeezing equally hard. The difference isn’t how hard you cling, but what you cling onto. And that’s the same truth for our faith in God.

God saved us. It was all his doing. He loved us before creation. When others don’t think about us or care about us, God does. He always has. And his grace took shape in place and time when Jesus walked through life perfectly for us, died to take away our guilt, and rose from the grave to guarantee that we are forgiven forever.

But imagine what it would be like if that was all true, but it wasn’t for you. Imagine hearing that good news—the best news ever—but it was for others and not for you. That’s what it’s like to have nothing to hang on to. It’s a life where you live just for the moment, just for some stuff, and only for a time. But then what? That’s hanging onto a broken root.

But not you, dear Christian! You have been saved by grace through faith. And the faith that God has put in your heart is also his gift. The arm to reach, the hand to hold, and the strength to cling to all of God’s gracious promises. That is God’s gift of faith which clings to the steely power of God’s saving love.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep me strong in the faith and clinging to your saving grace in Jesus my Savior. It’s all your gift. Amen.


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

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:10,17

Scripture Alone

Two kids start arguing on the bus. The argument is over some current issue on the news. They go back and forth about what is right and wrong. And how can you tell who wins? Is it the person who is louder or meaner? Is it the person who wins over the others who are watching?

Determining right and wrong in our society today is hard. It’s especially challenging to stick to the truth of God’s Word in a world that denies that there is absolute truth, much less, that the Bible is true.

But God’s Word is up to the challenge. And it does more than just help us win an argument. It’s the very power of God to combat evil and to protect us against the lies of this perishing world and the evil one—the devil. How so? Consider two examples.

Let’s say that there are friends at your school who think differently than you do about substances, sex, porn, or how to view the government. Those are all big and challenging topics. Now imagine if you were left to discern what’s true just according to your friends. You value them. But they don’t know everything. But God does. And in holy word he uses his mighty power to show us the way. Most importantly, his Word shows us our Savior when we lose our way!

Or consider what many people think about death and eternity. Imagine if you had to just pick the best opinion as to what to believe about life after death. How terrifying. But that’s not so for us as Christians. We have God’s mighty power in his Word. Jesus won eternal life through the cross and the empty tomb! There’s nothing better than that—nothing more powerful than that! And since God owns eternity, then he owns the truth. Furthermore, he gives the Bible—the eternal truth—as armor for us. Not just for an argument, but for eternity.

Prayer: Lord God, keep me in your Word and protect me through is for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – October 3, 2021

[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:5

Grace Alone

There was a man who was sick, very sick. He had a very rare disease. He spent years traveling to this hospital, and then that specialist, who would refer him to another place. He crossed the country and even oceans. Finally, he found a cure. And the good news compounded when he was given the cure … for free!

But imagine during his travels as his symptoms worsened—shortness of breath, wheelchair-bound, and close to death—he found the cure, but left it behind. Or, he decided it wasn’t what he was looking for, so he resumed his search. Does that make sense?!

In many places God describes us like that sick man. Actually, it’s even worse. Today’s passage portrays us as a spiritual corpse. We’re “dead.” On our own, there’s no hope, no direction, no life. And why were we pronounced dead? It’s the sickness of our own transgressions, every way we have crossed the line and gone against what God desires and designs for our lives. But the good news about those words is that they are past tense: “you were,” precisely because you are no longer.

God made us alive! There were no defibrillator pads to shock us alive. There was no medicine. Doctors don’t treat dead patients. Neither did God. Rather, he did something better. He made us alive in Christ. In the life of Jesus, God secured a perfect life for us. In the death of Jesus God paid for every transgression. And in the resurrection of Jesus God secured a life that will never end. This is the cure! It’s all made ours by God’s grace. You don’t just have some cure in hand. You are forever secure in Christ.

Prayer: Lord God, I was dead to you, but now I am alive in Christ. Lead me to live my life out of thanks for your grace in Jesus. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – September 26, 2021

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
1 Thessalonians 5:1,2,4,5

Don’t be Surprised!

In sports there is nothing like a last second score to win the game. Fans live for it! Players dream about it! Those moments infuse sports with a sense of purpose and anticipation.

Now, imagine sports with no game clock. Do you think the players would give maximum effort to win? Probably not. Offenses would take their sweet time. After all, what’s the rush? No sense in teams playing defense. What’s the point? Teams have plenty of the time to score later. Would fans even watch the game? Doubt it. What a snooze fest! In fact, with no game clock, even players could take naps.

Just as sports with no countdown would be pointless, people who live life with no countdown lack purpose. God said, “Time is counting down until I am come back! You just don’t know when the buzzer will sound.” Does the countdown until Christ comes back fill you with happy anticipation… or not? Is this where we must admit we haven’t given it much thought? Are we so busy living today that we have no time to consider this no guarantee of a tomorrow?

Often, we live in the dark, forgetting that time is counting down until God comes again. The apostle Paul’s encouragement in 1 Thessalonians 5 is a wake-up call for Christians. Wake up and see that you are not living in darkness! You live in the light of Christ. That means we will not be surprised by Christ’s second coming. Instead, we get busy getting ready for it!

This good encouragement motivates us to take advantage of every opportunity to worship and praise God, spend time in his Word, and celebrate his Sacraments. This moves us to go and proclaim the gospel to those who don’t know the forgiveness Christ gives. This compels us to serve God by serving our neighbor!

While living as “children of the light” provides good encouragement, even better, it is good news. As children of the day—that is, God’s children—the good news is that God will not judge you based on the darkness of your sins. Instead, when God returns to judge, he will judge you on the basis of what Christ did for you on the cross. There God’s Son didn’t play games. Jesus won the battle and gave you the victory over sin, the death, and the devil.

Do you want to live your life with more purpose and greater anticipation? Count down the days until you eternally experience the blessed victory that is yours in Christ, and, until then, make all your days count for God’s glory and praise.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, while our thinking is often selfishly consumed with our present circumstances, forgive us, and keep us mindful of your future return. By the good news of your Gospel, move us to live in your love and in the freedom of your forgiveness and not fear all our days until we are with you forever in heaven. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – September 19, 2021

And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
1 Thessalonians 4:10-12

Mind your own business

When you hear the word ambition, what comes to mind? Passion? Success? Recognition?

When you hear the word quiet, what comes to mind? Unnoticeable? Private? Timid?

When God’s Word tells Christians to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,” that idea seems like a contradiction. Maybe that even sounds impossible. Our lives are lived online where there is little or no privacy. The internet is not a quiet place. Social media is for ambition.

Am I supposed to get off social media? Do I say nothing? Can I be ambitious? What if I am not naturally quiet? What is a Christian supposed to do?

When Scripture says living an ambitiously quiet life means you should “mind your own business,” God is not instructing you to keep your head down and never say anything. God is not advising you to move to a monastery high atop a mountain and cut off human interaction.

Rather, God’s Word is telling you not to express certain characteristics that have become common, even celebrated, in our culture. Be the person who does not need to give a hot take about everything that happens personally or globally. Be the person who isn’t giving a knee-jerk reaction to their every emotion. Be the person who isn’t promoting their “personal brand” every chance they get.

What should we do instead? Be selfless. Serve others. Speak timeless truths. Spend time talking about eternal matters. In other words, your ambition should be to humbly, quietly serve God by serving others.

What’s your motivation for that lifestyle? 1 Thessalonians 4:12 says that minding your own business and living quietly “may win the respect of outsiders.” Our purpose in all of this is to be like Christ who humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8). In a winsome way, let’s point people to Christ. His cross. His love. His forgiveness.

This is needed now more than ever. Look at your social media feed. People are panicking, picking fights, and putting private emotions on public display. Christians have a unique opportunity to be different simply by being quiet. Be quiet about the things that do not matter so that you can point people to the one thing that does matter—Jesus’ love!

Someone once said; “Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.” The world is watching and listening. Show them Jesus by what you do. Tell them the gospel in what you say.

Prayer: Jesus, forgive me for making “noise” out of selfishness just so others notice me. Thank you for Jesus’ selfless sacrifice, which means I am a forgiven and dearly loved child of God. Help me to live quietly and humbly and gently—like Jesus—so others might know his love. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – September 12, 2021

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

God’s Desire for Your Sexual Desires

Everything God created is good.
God created you. God created sex.
So, sex and your sexual desires are good gifts from God.

Does the idea that “sex is good” sound strange to you? You are not alone.

Our culture is hypersexualized, and sexual sins have been normalized. Most often, what we see and hear about concerning sex is not good. After all, sexual desire is what leads to sexual sin: lustful thoughts, pornography, and inappropriate relationships before marriage and outside of marriage.

So, what’s a Christian to do? How are you to think about sex and your sexual desires when our sex-obsessed culture leads us to view these as bad things and not good gifts from God?

God’s desire for your sexual desires is that you avoid all the badness and experience all his goodness by controlling your body’s desires in a way that is holy and honorable. That means when you date, you don’t sexualize your desires as “passionate lusts,” instead you realize your desires have a holy place—in marriage! And then, as you enjoy marriage as a gift of God’s love and the holy place for sexual desires to be satisfied, God sanctifies you (sanctified means made holy). In other words, when we enjoy sex the way God created it to be, we also enjoy life the way God created us to be: pure and holy!

But what if your past sexual experiences have been bad, and not good? What if you’ve sinned sexually? What if sexual brokenness has made you feel less whole and even less holy? Whether your past is marked with promiscuity or purity, this truth is for you: “Christ loved [you] and gave himself up for [you] to make [you] holy, cleansing [you] by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25–26).
God knows we struggle with his command to “avoid sexual immorality.” Therefore, this very same God “gives you his Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:8) to assure you and comfort you with the good news that you are washed pure and made holy in Christ Jesus.

This is who God created you to be. Live how God created you to live!

Prayer: Dear Lord, especially when sexual temptations enter our life, remind us that our sexual desires are not bad, but they are from you and can be controlled in a way that is holy. By your Holy Spirit empower us to live pure lives in Christ that give honor to you in all we do. Amen.


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

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
1 Thessalonians 3:7-10

Really Living

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

That quote was made popular by the critically acclaimed film, The Shawshank Redemption. The movie’s protagonist, Andy Dufresne, was wrongfully imprisoned. The way Andy sees life, he has two options. He can either accept his circumstances, give up, and live out his days in prison—that is, get busy dying. Or, he can get busy living—be proactive, do something about his situation, and have a real life! Inspiring, isn’t it?

People relate to that deep desire to “get busy living.” Many feel pressured to truly live, not merely exist. Maybe that describes you? You want to do something amazing with your life, or at least somewhat productive. What does a life really and truly lived look like?

Some suggest that to really live means to pursue your dreams. To really live means to live in the present. To really live means to accept yourself. To really live means when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. But what happens when life is dream-crushing, embarrassing, depressing, and leaves you with little hope?

God not only tells us what it means to really live, the gospel also gives us hope for when we feel we are merely existing, or worse, busy dying. The apostle Paul and his fellow Christians in Thessalonica were facing soul-crushing persecution. Satan was busy trying to kill their faith. Yet, during that distress Paul said, “Now we really live since you are standing firm in the Lord.”

Really living is standing firm in your identity as an infinitely loved and immensely forgiven child of God, even when life makes you feel less-than. Really living is standing firm in Scripture since God’s Word declares that Jesus loves you and Christ is for you, even when others tell you that the Bible makes no sense.

For Paul, really living by standing firm in the Lord resulted in an earthly life filled with joy, encouragement, and gratitude to God! God gives those blessings to you, too! You might feel you are living in a prison of doubt, a prison of depression, or a prison of one difficulty after another. No matter your life circumstance, you can really live. Why? The living and true God, who raised Jesus from the dead, who keeps you firm in your faith, has given you victory over death and the gift of an eternal life! Knowing that is really living.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the gift of faith in Christ that encourages me even when life is difficult. I praise you for the joy you have given to me that is based in your love; not my life’s circumstances. Help me to trust that, through your Word, you continue to supply me with all I need to really live by standing firm in you, dear Lord. Amen.


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

In this series we’ll look at some of the struggles that we have that we endure silently, secretly. We struggle secretly and alone. What does God’s Word say to us in our darkness and trouble?

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16

Secret Sin

There is an important distinction between guilt and shame. Guilt is when you feel bad about something you did. Shame is when you feel bad about who you are.

It can happen in life that an unaddressed guilt over something you are doing turns into general shame about who you are. You feel so bad about the guilt that you have let it become part of who you are. Perhaps you have a secret sin that would bring shame if people were to find out about it.

It is not a good feeling to live with guilt. It is even worse to live with shame. God does not want either to have control over you.

Whether you know it or not, guilt and shame have the power to control your life. The longer you hide them, the stronger they become. So when guilt begins its work on your conscience, and when shame begins to take hold of your identity, pause to think about the significance of what Jesus did for you.

He was already punished for the guilt you are feeling. He already made it so that your identity has nothing to do with your sin. Who you are was determined by his victory over sin and death. You are God’s loved child.

You will not fully appreciate that as long as your sin is an unconfessed secret. Secret sins give birth to guilt, and guilt gives birth to shame. The longer you let it grow, the stronger it will become. But you have One who is stronger than any guilt or shame you can experience. His name is Jesus, and he is armed with enough mercy and grace to overcome what you have been hiding.

Would you be honest with yourself today if you have been holding onto a secret sin? Confess it. Talk to Jesus about it, and trust that he will respond with mercy and grace. If you want, you can use a prayer like this:

Prayer: Dear Jesus, the reason you came to this world was to release me from sin’s consequences. I believe that you died and rose again to do that. Would you help me today to stop letting sin reign over me? Give me your forgiveness for my hidden sin. Give me strength to overcome it so that I can live in the peace that you want to give. Thank you also for surrounding me with friends and family who care and can help me too. Amen.


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

In this series we’ll look at some of the struggles that we have that we endure silently, secretly. We struggle secretly and alone. What does God’s Word say to us in our darkness and trouble?

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:6-7

Drama

Ever feel like your life could be a television series?

You could probably look at some of the drama that you have experienced in your life and write up some interesting episodes. Maybe some of them would look like this:

Season 3 Episode 7: I learned my friend was a drug dealer.
Season 4 Episode 3: Word got out that my classmates were sleeping together.
Season 4 Episode 4: Word got out that my classmate was pregnant.
Season 7 Episode 2: My brother got caught stealing. Again.

If you are creative enough, you might be able to go ahead and write some scripts based on some of the things you have experienced. But before you go down that route, it is good to think about how God would have you respond to drama-filled situations that come up in life.

It is easy to make light of the situation and laugh at those who are causing the drama or getting into trouble.

You might become more popular for a moment if you draw attention to other peoples’ drama and gossip about it.

You might feel good about your own drama when you compare it to the people around you.

But what does God call you to do? He calls you to love people, even when they are in a difficult place. After all, that is exactly what he did for you. He could have laughed at your fall into sin. He could have made fun of you for your mistakes. He could have proven how holy he is compared to your unholiness.

But God chose to love you instead. He sent Jesus to die and rise again as the proof of his love.

So what can you do when drama rises up in the people around you? Take your cue from 1 Corinthians 13:6-7. Compelled by Christ’s love for you, love one another.

Prayer: Dear Father, forgive me for the times I delight in the misfortune of others. Thank you for the love and forgiveness you gave to me in Christ. May I be compelled by his love to befriend and help people whose decisions have created some drama. Amen.


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

In this series we’ll look at some of the struggles that we have that we endure silently, secretly. We struggle secretly and alone. What does God’s Word say to us in our darkness and trouble?

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.
Psalm 46:1,2

Trauma

One day, some people told Jesus about a traumatic event where many people were killed. Jesus went on to bring up another tragic event—a tower fell, and eighteen people died as a result.

Most of the time, we think that traumatic events are things we hear about from the news. But in reality, the most traumatic things you go through are things that most people will not even know about.

Sometimes parents get divorced. It sounds like such a small thing until it happens to your parents. You might wonder if you did something wrong that led to their separation. It can be traumatic to watch your parents’ marriage come to an end.

Sometimes friends that you thought were with you forever end up leaving you. Again, it sounds like such a small thing until it happens to you. In their absence you start to wonder if there is any way you could ever have a friend like that again.

There are many traumatic things that can unfold in a person’s life. Things that make it seem like your entire world is falling apart and you are powerless to stop it.

When that happens, look up to the One that never changes. Life will throw all sorts of unexpected traumas in your direction, but you have a refuge that goes with you wherever you are. No matter the trouble you are in, help is always present.

Either you are in a time of trouble right now, or trouble is waiting for you ahead. Keep in your heart the powerful truth behind Psalm 46:1,2. God is your refuge. He is your strength. Therefore you will not fear, even if your entire world seems to fall apart.

Prayer: Dear Father, only you know the degree of the troubles that face me. Only you know the troubles that lie ahead. Guide me to see that you are my safe place that will always go with me wherever I go. Amen.


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

In this series we’ll look at some of the struggles that we have that we endure silently, secretly. We struggle secretly and alone. What does God’s Word say to us in our darkness and trouble?

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:5

Depression

Feeling depressed can be a horrible thing to go through. Sometimes you feel down because something very specific happened, like breaking up with a close friend. Other times those sad feelings seem to come up for no reason at all.

It is normal to feel depressed. We were created to inhabit sinless bodies in a sinful world, so it is bound to happen that we will long for things that this world cannot give. That is something to be sad about.

Did you know that even Jesus felt depressed? Check out Matthew 26:36-38 if you have time today. There are two things from it that stand out:

  1. Jesus recognized that he began to feel sorrowful and troubled. He didn’t ignore it and hope it would just go away. He identified the feeling for what it was.
  2. He talked about it. He told his closest disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Jesus was not afraid to let others know how he was feeling.

What do you tend to do when you feel depressed? While there are many ways to dull the pain, there is only one way to find peace from it. When darkness sets in and sorrow overwhelms you, know that you have a future filled with hope. Even though you do not feel joyful in the moment of feeling depressed, there are plenty days ahead when you will be singing, dancing, and celebrating.

You are loved so much by God that he wants to be with you, even when your life is full of struggles. How amazing that you do not have to go through the struggles alone.

Prayer: Dear Father, there will be times in my life when I am feeling depressed. It happens to everyone, even your Son Jesus. Remind me of your promises when I am feeling down. Give me eyes to see the hope you hold out to me in Christ. It’s in his name I pray. Amen.


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

In this series we’ll look at some of the struggles that we have that we endure silently, secretly. We struggle secretly and alone. What does God’s Word say to us in our darkness and trouble?

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

Addiction

Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides to become addicted to something. But for every addiction, there was one day when it all started.

It always starts small. One vape. One drink. One pill. One video. If someone saw it happen that first time, they would probably say it was not that big of a deal. But it becomes a big deal when you keep going back to it.

Is there something that has taken control of your life? It could be something that, up to this point, has been small. Or maybe you are wrestling with something that has become bigger than you ever thought it would. You feel awful about it. You feel ashamed. You feel alone. Whatever you are addicted to controls you.

Wherever you are at, there is hope.

Your Father in heaven does not want you to be controlled by anything. He wants you to be free. God is not waiting for you to overcome addiction so he can start loving you again. He loves you right now, and he is with you right here. He wants to show you how the thing you keep longing for will never fulfill you the way that he can. He wants to get you out of it.

If you find yourself being controlled by an addiction, would you take a positive step today? Start by confessing your weakness to God. Ask for his strength in overcoming this temptation. If you can, confide in someone you trust and ask them to pray with you.

Right now, the resurrection power of Jesus is alive in you by faith. Enjoy the freedom that he alone can give.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, you love me so much that you sent Jesus to give me freedom from sin and death. Help me recognize the things in this life that can imprison me in emptiness and loneliness. When temptation confronts me, provide a way out so that I can enjoy the peace and security that you alone can give. Amen.


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

This series tackles selections from the book of Proverbs that provide godly wisdom in the areas of relationships, discipline, words, anger, and more.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
Proverbs 29:25

Audience of One

Whether it’s in a game or on a stage, performing in front of a crowd isn’t for everybody. Some get an energizing adrenaline rush from it. Others will avoid it like a plague. But can you always avoid being the center of attention? Can you avoid people looking at your social media profile? Can you avoid walking down a crowded hall at school? Can you avoid answering a point-blank question in a group of friends? Can you really avoid other people having an opinion about what you said, what you did, and who you are?

The most important question to ask yourself is this, “Am I trying to get everyone in my life to love and approve of me?” Because if you are, you won’t succeed. There will be some who think you’re less than the person standing next to you. There will be others who think you are the worst, even though you’ve done nothing wrong and haven’t sinned against them. We live in a world where the “audience” of our lives will, at times, disapprove of who we are and what we’ve done.

But there is One who will never disapprove of you. There is One who will never be ashamed of you. There is One who lived and died for you. One day because you clung in faith to him, he will say, “well done!” He is your One and only God. He keeps you safe. You never have to be afraid of what God thinks of you. In Christ, he promises to always love you, always forgive you, always approve of you.

So when you are nervous about what you will say, what you will do, or how you will perform in front of others, remember you are only playing to an audience of One. Only God’s opinion of you really matters. God’s approval is the only one you need. And God’s never-ending approval is exactly what you have in Jesus.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I know there will be times when people in my life will look down on me. Teach me to know and believe that you always love me and always approve of me. Give me that perspective so I can have confidence and joy serving others and you every day. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – July 18, 2021

This series tackles selections from the book of Proverbs that provide godly wisdom in the areas of relationships, discipline, words, anger, and more.

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
Proverbs 17:14

Let It Go

The average age of a US dam is 57 years. What happens at the end of a dam’s life? They break. The cracks in the infrastructure spread. Water starts pouring out by ounces, then gallons, then tons. If the engineers are unaware of the cracks and a heavy rainfall builds up water behind the dam, the consequences can be deadly. Water can destroy everything in its path.

Proverbs 17:14 tells us that’s how anger works. As Christians, God uses our love as a dam to protect others from harm. But anger eats away at our love like a crack in the dam. We remember what they said to us. We constantly think about what they did. Uncontrolled anger can lead to greater things, like plotting revenge. Our angry hearts too easily lash out with harsh words and actions. That’s when the dam breaks. The effects of sin pour out into our lives and the lives of others. Anger ruins so much. It can sweep away relationships and destroy love.

That should have happened to us. The dam of God’s love should rightly have been destroyed by our sin. We should have been swept away forever. But God wouldn’t let that happen! He kept his love steadfast and firm by sending his Son Jesus. God didn’t punish us. In his holy anger he punished Jesus for our sin. Jesus stood in the gap and protected us from being swept away. Jesus made sure we would always be safe in his forgiveness. Because of him, God’s anger ceased. He dropped the matter and declares there is no dispute between him and us.

So what does that lead us to do? Drop it! Drop your anger because God dropped his anger on Jesus. When you are hurt by others, remember how God forgave you. When you want to lash out, remember how God doesn’t lash out at you. When you plan your revenge, remember how God planned and carried out your salvation. God’s love for us builds up a dam of love in our hearts. Let’s protect others with that love!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for not sweeping me way in your anger. Thank you for sending Jesus and protecting me in his love forever. Help me to love others as you have loved me. Take away my anger, increase the peace in my heart, and let your love flow from me in everything I do. Amen.


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

This series tackles selections from the book of Proverbs that provide godly wisdom in the areas of relationships, discipline, words, anger, and more.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24

The Importance of Good Friends

Were you interviewed for a new job this summer and hired? Maybe you were a little nervous because you thought everything depended on how you answered the interview questions. In reality, your first few weeks on the job are just as important. More than anything, your boss is looking for you to show up every day and do your job. They aren’t looking for a Superman or Superwoman, they just want you to be Mr. or Mrs. Dependable.

Isn’t that what your friends are looking for too? Your friends want you to be dependable and reliable. Will you text them back? Will you hang out with them when they’re bored or lonely? Will you be there for them when life is tough? Will you stand next to them when no one else will? That’s the kind of friend we should all want to be. But we all know none of us are the perfectly reliable and dependable friend people look for.

But there is one who is. His name is Jesus! He was born for your adversity. When sin convicted you, when the devil worked to steal you, and when death was going to end you, Jesus came into this world to stand up for you. He came to stand in your place. Jesus took away your sin on the cross. Jesus ripped you out of the devil’s arms and put you into the arms of God. Jesus defeated death when he rose from the dead so you would never have to be afraid. And now Jesus promises to always be your friend.

Jesus was and is our Mr. Dependable. Knowing all he did for us; Jesus calls on us to be that Christ-like friend to all of our friends. Stick close to them. Don’t give up on them, even when they screw up. Always love them as Jesus always loves you. Show up when they need you just as Jesus showed up for you.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, you are my greatest friend. You are my brother! Thank you for showing up and taking care of my sin, the devil, and death. Help me to be a dependable friend like you, always loving, always caring, always being there when my friends need me. Amen.


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

This series tackles selections from the book of Proverbs that provide godly wisdom in the areas of relationships, discipline, words, anger, and more.

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
Proverbs 10:11-12

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 15:1,4

The Power of Your Words

Modern medicine and medical equipment are powerful! An antibiotic can kill off a virus. A respirator can keep failing lungs breathing. A shock from a defibrillator can jumpstart a flatlined heart. When there are so many things can hurt us, we praise God for giving doctors technology that can bring us life.

In Proverbs 10 and 15, God explains how our words have the power to give life. But you know they also have the power to do serious damage. Have you been hurt by someone else’s words? Has someone made fun of the way you look or dress and it just crushed you? Have you ever been made fun of in front of your friends and you burned with anger only to then melt in tears? Has anyone ever seen you have a bad day and rubbed it in by telling you how great their life is going right now? You may remember those moments for a long time.

We can remember the pain we’ve cause others with our words too. We’ve said things that tear up friendships, crush someone’s confidence, and break their heart. Our words have caused serious damage.

So God wants you to remember his words always give life. God breathed life into you when you were baptized, when you first heard his voice and believed. His words of forgiveness cover up every one of your sins. Jesus’ words on the cross “IT IS FINISHED!” took away any and all tension between you and God. God’s words of love keep your soul secure in peace. Like drinking from a water fountain, the Word of God nourishes us so we can love the people God has put in our lives.

And how should we love them? With our words! Like that technology doctors use to give people life, your words can restore the lives of others. For the person you’ve hurt, tell them you’re sorry and you love them. For the friend who feels alone, tell them you’re here for them. For the person who feels guilty, tell them Jesus has forgiven all their sin and loves them more than they could ever imagine. These are the power of words! Let’s use them to give life!

Prayer: Dear Lord, just as you used your words to give and sustain my life, help me to use my words to give life to others. Use my mouth as a fountain of life to restore, encourage, and love my friends and family. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 27, 2021

For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.
Proverbs 1:32-33

Safety

You and your friends are looking for a restaurant to grab some food before the game. On your journey you come to two restaurants that are right next to each other. One of the restaurants has a sign that reads “Danger! Toxic Chemicals!” The other has restaurant has a sign in all caps that says, “WELCOME! Good Food and Good Times Inside!” What restaurant are you going to choose?

It seems too easy. Of course you are not going to eat at the restaurant which has a warning for toxic chemicals. That is ridiculous! You want to eat good food with good friends in a safe environment.

What is even more ridiculous is that when it comes to our spiritual life, we often choose the way that is toxic. Often times the devil tricks you into thinking that simple way that kills is the best choice. He can convince you to go along with the fools of this world and fill yourself with the toxic lies of the devil.

Continue to listen to Jesus! In Jesus and him alone you have real safety. You have nothing to fear! Jesus has come to conquer your greatest enemy, death, and he did that! “Don’t be afraid!” That was the message on Easter morning. It is a personal message for you every day! Don’t be afraid, all your sinful choices have been forgiven. Don’t be afraid, every time you took a wrong turn Jesus took the right turn for you. Don’t be afraid, you are God’s dear child and can live every day at ease in his care.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, continue to hold me in your powerful hands and help me to always remember that you are with me. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 20, 2021

My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.
Proverbs 1:10

Run! Stay Away!

Hang tough! That is much easier said than done. You live in a world where your faith is constantly under attack. You work in a setting where your coworkers are badgering you to fall into sin. Sometimes you only have one option—to hold on tight to God’s Word and promises as you are being tempted.

Other times you can just run away from it! If you find yourself in a situation where you are being tempted to sin, run! Run as fast as you can the other direction! If you find yourself at the lunch table or in the break room with friends that are enticing you to sin, eat somewhere else. Stay away. The goal is to entice you with lies and half-truths with the hopes that your faith will be killed.

Hang tough! Hold on tight to Jesus’ promises. No one can take God’s promises to you away. Through those tough times Jesus holds on to you tightly. He willingly ran into the fires of hell for you. He marched to a cross where he died for those times where we were too easily enticed into sin. Too often, you might find yourself enticed and intrigued by sin. Every one of those sins has been paid for by your Savior who holds you safely in the palm of his hands.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, by your death and resurrection, you have given me the power to hang tough in the midst of temptations. While I am tempted, cover me with your protecting hand and strengthen me to flee from those who entice me to sin. Amen.


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

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9

My son; my daughter

What does beauty look like? It is tough growing up in a world where beauty is defined by outward appearances. For some beauty is all about what kind of clothes you wear and how you look in those clothes. For others beauty is defined by the stuff they have. The newer the phone, the more beautiful you feel. So much of our time can be wasted trying to fit into the world’s definition of beauty.

Godly beauty is so much different. The wisest man that ever lived said that the more you listen to your father and mother the more beautiful you are. As you honor your father and mother and others in authority, it shows your real beauty.

When we break the Fourth Commandment, we show the world around us the ugliness of our sinful nature. When we disrespect our parents, we show the dark stain that is on our hearts. When we close our ears to our Heavenly Father, we are wearing the chains of sin around our neck.

Jesus kept the Fourth Commandment perfectly for you! He obeyed his Heavenly Father by coming to this earth and graced his head not with garland, but with a crown of thorns. He wore a chain around his neck, but it wasn’t a fancy gold one. It was the sin of the world. All of your sins were paid for by Jesus.

He can now proudly call you his beautiful sons and daughters. You have been washed by his blood and brought into his family by baptism. You are beautiful.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me godly wisdom to know what pleases you. Give me the strength to show my inner beauty as I live to honor and respect those in authority over me. Amen.


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

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:7

Beginning of wisdom

Well, you almost made it! This unique school year is almost over. For some of you it was a struggle not to be able to eat lunch with friends. For others of you it was heartbreaking that your sports season was canceled. For some it was a struggle to transition from pajama pants back to real clothes as in person learning resumed. This school year could probably best be classified as a struggle. Teachers struggled. Administration struggled. Parents struggled. You struggled.

It’s only the beginning. Life in this sinful world is a constant struggle. Sadly, the struggles will only amplify as you get older. The devil ramps up his attacks on you. He will encourage you to engage in the foolishness of the sinful world around you. He will do all he can to get you to despise wisdom and discipline.

Sadly, it has worked. Think of the times you have fallen into the lies of the devil. How many times did you willingly do something you knew was foolish in the last week? How many times did you fall into foolish peer pressure? It’s probably not that hard to remember how many times you let your Lord down this week.

It’s only the beginning. Sit in the shadow of the empty tomb and marvel at what your Lord and Savior has done for you. You have a Savior who lived and died to take all of your foolish sins away. You have a Savior who rose from the dead to assure you that heaven is your home.

That doesn’t mean that this life won’t be a struggle. It doesn’t mean that high school will be a breeze for you. It does mean that eternal life is yours and that will never end!

Prayer: Dear Lord Heavenly Father, I thank and praise you for sending your Son, Jesus, to win my salvation. Please empower me to let the light of my faith shine as I live in this sinful world. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 31, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job 1:20-21

Rock bottom… What now? Praise God!

We’ve all been told before something along the lines of, “If you think you’ve got it bad, there’s always someone who has it worse.” Job would have been hard-pressed to find that person. His sons and daughters had died. His home was gone. His riches were depleted. Everything about his life had changed in an instant and he had indeed hit rock bottom.

Put yourself in Job’s sandals for a moment. How would you deal with these challenges? If your cell phone suddenly doesn’t turn on, panic sets in. Someone shares a false rumor about you, and your day is ruined. You get a bad grade on a test and your mood turns sour as you lament your bad fortune. When bad things happen, how do you deal with them? Don’t we all at times look for someone to lash out at, to pout and complain, to blame others for what has happened, even if it might be our fault?

What a lesson we learn from Job. At such a challenging time in his life, he humbly turned to his God and confessed, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (v. 21). As Job’s life hit rock bottom with a thud, he didn’t complain. He didn’t lash out. He didn’t cry out “woe is me.” He marveled at God’s goodness, saying, “May the name of the Lord be praised.” Whether its the end of another school year or the beginning of summer vacation, whether life is going great or rock bottom is in sight, praising God is how our faith in Jesus responds to his love for us. Nothing in this life—NOTHING—can take away the truth of what our God has done for us and what is ours in him alone. Remember that, dear young friends. Live that. Cherish it always.

Prayer: Lord God in heaven above, it gives me such great comfort to know that you are with me throughout my life. Heavenly Father, there are times when I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom. There are times when it feels like I have nothing to be thankful for. And then I am reminded of your love for me. I’m amazed at the price your Son paid to forgive my sins and call me you own. Thank you for this gift. Thank you for my life here on earth and for life eternal in heaven. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 23, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

Rock bottom… What now? Make the most of the moments

Can people tell you are a Christian? Think about that for a moment. If they didn’t know already, would the people you come in contact with in life be able to tell you confess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, trusting in him for salvation and for guiding you throughout this life on earth? It’s a humbling question to ask, isn’t it? It’s also one that sometimes leads us to an answer of “Yikes, I’m not sure.”

The apostle Paul writes not only to the church in Ephesus, but also to each of us, as he gives much needed encouragement to our lives as God’s children, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (vv. 15-16). We’re not always careful how we live, are we? Jesus is very easy to take for granted. Being “wise” is something that doesn’t come naturally for adults, let alone teenagers living in an increasingly cruel and sin-filled world. “Making the most of every opportunity” is often replaced with letting most opportunities to praise our God’s name slip through the cracks or go unutilized.

Bad stuff happens, dear young friends. It’s a fact of life in this sinful world. As God’s dearly loved children, though, we have different tools to use when dealing with these bad things. The God who loved us enough to send his Son to die for us is not then going to abandon us in life to deal with things ourselves. He is with us. His means of grace strengthen us. He not only motivates, but equips us to “(make) the most of every opportunity” when things are going well, or when we seem to hit rock bottom. Each day is a day to praise our holy God and to worship him. Each day is another chance to boldly live our faith in the One who saves us and calls us his own.

Prayer: Lord God, what a blessing you are in my life—in good times and in bad. You have guided me; You have blessed me; You have kept me in your tender care. Watch over my life, O Lord. Keep me always close to you and your Word that I might be strengthened in faith to make the most of every opportunity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 16, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:15-18

Rock bottom … Why now? A lament.

One dictionary definition for the word “lament” is “to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something.” While you maybe haven’t used the word before, all of us understand it’s meaning, as we do just that from time to time when things go wrong. Sometimes moms and dads are the recipients of our laments. Sometimes its a coach or a teacher. Sometimes its friends. Whenever we hit rock bottom, we all look for someone “to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something.”

Too often, though, going to the Lord seems to be our last resort. When bad things happen, we so often try to figure out the best course of action on our own, or we turn to a friend who means well but is ill-equipped to give us any wise advice because they might be dealing with some of the same things. Too often, the Lord is the last one we turn to in our time of need, sharing our concerns and sincerely crying out, “I need help!”

That’s why Psalm 34 is such a great reminder for all of us, no matter what we might be dealing with or wondering what’s next in life. A young David, the author of Psalm 34, was at a difficult time of life. He was all alone and running for his life from King Saul, who wanted him dead. David knew where to turn, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (v. 14). David knew as he was nearing rock bottom, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (v. 17-18). David’s Old Testament proclamation is the truth we still live by today. Jesus loves you. He died for you. He will never leave you. You can go to him in prayer knowing he hears and is willing and able to help. What comfort that gives—today and always, no matter what we might be dealing with.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there is so much pain and suffering in the world around me. My own life is filled with challenges and issues that cause me at times to feel like I am all alone. Be with me today and always, dear Lord. I come to you in prayer needing your guidance and power, your caring and your love. In Jesus’ name I pray this to you in my time of need. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 9, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
John 9:1-3

Rock Bottom … Why Them?

We live in a world that tries to convince us, “You get what you deserve.” Teachers will say it to students. Coaches will yell it at players. Bosses will try to convince employees of the same. You can understand the statement in some aspects of life. But not when it comes to sin and grace.

Jesus was constantly teaching lessons that his disciples—and we—need to learn well in our lives as Christians on earth. Our reading today serves as an opportunity to do just that. Seeing a blind man, the disciples mistakenly thought that there must have been a reason in either his life or in the lives of his family that caused this blindness to befall him. We can easily fall into the same trap, thinking to ourselves, “You get what you deserve.”

Thank our gracious God that we don’t. Jesus would go on to heal the blind man from his affliction, not because he deserved it, but because of Christ’s love for him. That’s how he treats us in life! We know who we are. We know how we’ve failed God and shown ourselves to be unworthy of his love. We know that if it’s true that “You get what you deserve,” we are in a world of trouble. Faith in Jesus, though, understands and cherishes that we don’t get what we deserve. Instead, we are recipients of God’s love—love revealed to us in his Son Jesus today, tomorrow, and for all eternity. Everything that happens in life is “so that the works of God might be displayed” (v. 3). What a blessing!

Prayer: Almighty God, we are not the only people who struggle in life. All have sinned against you and need the comfort that you alone can give. Be with all who are struggling, dear Lord. Help me be a friend to those around me and someone others feel they can come to for help. All to give you glory. All for your Son’s sake. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 2, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:13-14, 23-26

Rock Bottom … Why Me?

It’s really easy to have a pity party for oneself. Someone else’s family has a more comfortable lifestyle. A classmate more easily understands physics. We see those who seem to have a brighter future than we see for ourselves. Pity parties are something that affect all of us from time to time. They allow us to wallow in our misery and ask out loud “Why me?” when things go wrong.

The writer of Psalm 73 dealt with the same thing. He was struggling. With what? We don’t know exactly, but we do know we can relate. He speaks for all of us who have lamented before, “All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments” (v. 14). Whether we ask God “Why me?” from self-pity or sincere concern, it’s a question our sinful selves need to have answered if we are to have any joy and peace in life.

Our gracious God does just that. Think about how much he loves us. He sent his one and only Son to this earth to die as a substitute for our sin. He turned his back on Jesus so that he might never do the same to us. He’s given us his holy Word as guide, leading us forward in his most holy name. The writer of Psalm 73 asked “Why me?” and found his answer not by looking deep within himself, but looking to his gracious God who was was always with him—in times of trouble, in times of celebration, and for all eternity. We join with the psalmist today in praising this same God, proclaiming “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand” (v. 23).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. I never deserve and don’t always appreciate this love, but you freely and fully shower me with your blessings each and every day of life. Guide me to always love as you have loved me. In your name I pray this and all things. Amen.


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

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
Isaiah 25:7-9

Death swallowed

Nine thousand, six hundred seventy-two. According to one study in Great Britain, that’s how many ailments and injuries the average person can expect during a lifetime.

The study even broke down the numbers according to ailment. The average person can expect approximately 860 headaches, 780 sore backs, 470 upset stomachs, 230 paper cuts, 150 blisters, 78 nose bleeds, 3 hospital stays, and 2 surgeries in a 78-year lifetime. And that’s just the average person!

Is it any wonder why death is always on the back of our minds?

Our hurting bodies constantly remind us that something is wrong. Our fluctuating health constantly teaches us that death lingers near. Our grieving hearts verify for us death’s daunting power. Death is, as the prophet Isaiah called it, the sheet that covers all people.

But death doesn’t have the final say on the matter of life. The Lord has spoken too about the end of death! Death isn’t the most powerful voice in the back of our minds or in the middle of the cemetery. Resurrected life is!

Long before Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb, Isaiah foretold the outcome. Death would be swallowed up in victory!

Long before you cry your last tear in the midst of death, Jesus’ resurrection has assured you of the outcome. He will wipe every tear away!

Long before you have your last paper cut, blister, nosebleed, surgery, or taken your last breath, you know who made the outcome of eternal life and victory possible. Surely this is our God! Let us rejoice and be glad in him!

Prayer: Jesus, when I grieve, comfort me. When I’m sick, provide healing and peace. When I’m afraid of death, assure me that you have swallowed it up in victory. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – April 18, 2021

Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe… When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
Exodus 12:21-23

Passover

Do you eat a special diet? Do you know anyone who eats a special diet?

God gave his people, the Israelites, a special Passover diet in Exodus 12. The main item on the menu was a blemish-free lamb. God instructed Israel on how to prepare it, eat it, and even what to do with the lamb’s blood. They were to paint it on their doorframes—almost like a Halloween movie scene.

Why did the Lord give this special meal and these specific instructions? He was setting the table for his deliverance. The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt at the time. But the Lord would deliver them in a special way—through the blood of a lamb!

But lamb wasn’t the only food on the menu. The Israelites were to eat bitter herbs to remind them of their bitter slavery and need for deliverance. You probably don’t need to eat herbs to be reminded of bitterness. Are you lonely, sick, frustrated, afraid, or struggling with sin? The reminders of bitterness are all around every day. Like Israel, you need deliverance too.

God has provided your deliverance through THE Lamb! All those Passover lambs set the table for Jesus, THE ultimate Passover Lamb to come. Years later, a man named John the Baptist pointed directly at Jesus and said, “Look, THE Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29).

At the Passover, every family had its own lamb. Every Israelite archway was covered in blood. God made his deliverance personal. God makes his deliverance personal to you too. In bread and wine, Jesus gives his body and blood for your forgiveness. On the archway of your heart and the framework of your conscience, God paints the certain promise that Jesus has, does, and will deliver us too.

Prayer: Jesus, when I am reminded of the bitterness of sin and life in a sin-filled world, deliver me and renew me in your saving love. Amen.


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

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

Scars that heal

Every scar has a story.

The scar on the athlete’s knee tells of the torn ligament and the lost season. The scar on the child’s chin tells of the hard fall when learning to ride a bike. Do you remember the stories behind your scars?

Over 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah wrote about the scars the suffering Savior would receive. We cringe as the nails drew innocent blood from Jesus’ hands and feet on a cross. We sigh as the spear pierced his lifeless body. Do you remember the story behind Jesus’ scars?

Jesus’ scars tell the seriousness of sin. Our holy God demands that sin be punished, and the punishment deserved for our sin is death. But Jesus’ scars also tell the seriousness of God’s peace. Jesus willingly and lovingly took the punishment in our place. He got what we deserved. In exchange, he gives us what we didn’t deserve—his forgiveness and peace.

Every scar has a story.

But not all scars are visible. Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, was scarred with doubt. He wouldn’t believe Jesus had risen unless he saw the scars and touched them. Jesus appeared and removed all doubt. Jesus’ scars brought Thomas what Isaiah had prophesied long ago—healing peace. They still do!

Do you have any “invisible scars?” Are you scarred by grief? Have you been hurt by a friend or bullied by an enemy? Do you have deep pains inside from some heavy burden? Then, remember Isaiah’s words. Look upon Jesus’ scars. Find healing and peace in Jesus!

Prayer: Jesus, heal my wounds physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Help me to find healing and peace in your wounds and your great love for me. Amen.


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

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
Genesis 3:15

The plan the whole time

The dog’s owners noticed his leg was bleeding. Something had agitated the dog causing him to run over to where their child was playing. The dog barked fiercely and limped away with a wound.

The veterinarian’s examination discovered the marks from a snake bite. The story became clear. The dog saw the threat and put himself in harm’s way between the snake and the child. The dog took the wound to save the child. This is amazing love from a faithful friend!

But that true story pales in comparison to the true story God’s faithful love and his plan to save!

God saw the danger and damage the devil caused. The devil, who took on the form of a snake, slithered into God’s perfect world to tempt and destroy. He succeeded in enticing the first people to consume his lies and then consume the forbidden fruit.

The results were instant! Sin entered the world. Shame, fear, blame, and death quickly followed. Not a moment goes by where we aren’t reminded of sin’s devastating impact.

But God responded with an incredible plan to save. He promised a serpent-crusher, a sin-bearer, a death-destroyer! With each added promise, the story became clearer and clearer. A Savior would come!

And he did! Jesus put himself in harm’s way—receiving wounds and taking sin’s punishment to save us. Jesus put himself in harm’s way—taking on and taking down the devil. Jesus put himself in harm’s way—entering death and then rising from it. All for you!

This is everlasting love from our greatest friend!

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your amazing and everlasting love. When sin, fear, or death close in on me, come quickly to comfort me with your promises of salvation, forgiveness, and life. Amen.


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