Transformed – teen devotion – December 24, 2023

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

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

A Savior Has Been Born

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 17, 2023

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

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

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

He is Bringing Perfect Joy

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

Is that you?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 10, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

Prepare to Meet Him

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 3, 2023

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

When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Mark 11:7-10

He Is Coming to Save Us

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – November 26, 2023

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

“As I looked,

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

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

By the Book

It’s not fair.

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

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

Not so with God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – November 19, 2023

One truth shared: The why behind our living and giving self-sacrificially is God’s abundant love for us in Christ; it shapes how we see other members of the body of believers.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:1-8

Remember your Membership

Do you know what an autoimmune disease is?

An autoimmune disease is when your body’s natural defense system can’t distinguish between your own cells and foreign cells. For example, Type 1 Diabetes is where your body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in your pancreas—meaning you’ll need regular insulin shots to survive. Or take Multiple Sclerosis (MS), where your immune system attacks nerve cells, which results in cognitive difficulties, vision problems, fatigue, and loss of muscle coordination.

Chances are, you or someone you know struggles with an autoimmune disease. And they’ll tell you how difficult life is—because their body isn’t operating the way it’s supposed to: simply put, the body starts attacking itself.

Sadly enough, Christians can suffer from autoimmune diseases, too. And I don’t mean Type 1 Diabetes or MS. I mean when we use our words to tear other Christians down. It’s when we hold grudges against fellow believers and withhold forgiveness. It’s when we are jealous of the gifts other Christians have and are dissatisfied with the gifts God has given us. It’s when we see our gifts as “better” or “more important” then the gifts of other Christians we know. When we start to conform to the self-centered patterns of this world, the body of believers suffers—and even wages war against itself.

So, what sets us free from the patterns of this world—and breaks down all barriers between us? What empowers us to defy the patterns of this world and stand out—and serve boldly, even self-sacrificially? What puts the patterns of this world to shame and inspires a greater kindness and a greater love within us? What reduces the patterns of this world to rubble and rallies people of all tribes and all generations behind a common, singular banner for a common, singular identity? To answer that, we need to go back to Romans 12:1, to the key operative phrase of that verse: “in view of God’s mercy.” The why behind our living and giving self-sacrificially is God’s abundant love for us in Christ.

Want to hear something awesome? God doesn’t need your time, talents, or treasures. They were never initially yours to begin with: God gifted them to you. Our God’s existence doesn’t depend on how much money we give to church—as if he needs to eat to survive; he’s the God who daily puts bread on your plate, because you need him to survive. He’s a God who doesn’t need you—yet he, in love, would relentlessly pursue you because you need him! He would rather have a heaven with you than without you. He’s the God who gives us his best—even when we give him our worst. He’s the God who, to buy us eternal residence in the mansions of heaven, would shed his perfect blood on a cross, to win us forgiveness and an identity that will never perish, spoil, or fade: in Christ, you are God’s family!

But not just you! You, in Christ, have been grafted into a diverse body of other Christians, too. And in the time between now and eternity, you need them—just as they need you. After all, our God doesn’t just give to us; our God gives through us. Dear Christian, remember that you are an invaluable member of a far greater body—a body that includes your Christian neighbor, too.

So, in view of God’s amazing mercy, how might you uplift and encourage the body of believers today?

Prayer: Christ Jesus, I give thanks to you for graciously grafting me into your family. Thank you for the unique gifts and talents you’ve not only given me, but the gifts of those Christians around me. By your Spirit, help me to cherish them, to appreciate their gifts, and to help me use my gifts to help them, 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 – November 12, 2023

One truth shared: For a world with millions of reasons to lose sleep, our gracious God wakes us up with gospel words of comfort and peace. There is no nightmare that can steal the rest you have in Christ.

Awake, awake, Zion,
clothe yourself with strength!
Put on your garments of splendor,
Jerusalem, the holy city.
The uncircumcised and defiled
will not enter you again.
Shake off your dust;
rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
Daughter Zion, now a captive.
For this is what the LORD says:

“You were sold for nothing,
and without money you will be redeemed.”
Isaiah 52:1-3

The Redeemed Find Rest

What would you consider to be your worst nightmare? Falling from a tall building? Missing an important event? Getting dumped by your significant other? Or being chased by a terrifying clown?

As awful as nightmares are, at least they’re over when you wake up. But for the inhabitants of Judah, it felt like they were stuck in a nightmare that would never end.

Not long before Isaiah wrote these words, the Judah’s northern neighbor—the kingdom of Israel—was wiped out by the Assyrian Empire. And now the strength of Assyria’s army was knocking at the doors of Judah. If you could walk Jerusalem’s streets, you wouldn’t hear songs and shouts for joy; you’d hear songs of grief, shame, and sadness—sung not in the clothing of celebration, but rags and ashes.

Those songs of grief and sadness were sung until the day—nearly a century later—when the Babylonian Empire would invade Judah and level the city of Jerusalem. Those songs of grief and sadness were sung as the last of Judah’s inhabitants were taken away and deported to Babylon. And for 70 years, sad songs were sung while they sat in exile. The people of Judah felt they were sleepwalking through one, long, grief-filled nightmare.

We know the feeling. The feeling like everything is falling apart—and there’s nothing we can do. The feeling of having nowhere to go with our guilt and shame. The feeling of sleepwalking through the heart and heartache. The feeling of tossing and turning over questions of identity, meaning, purpose, and our destiny.

And just like a loving dad who runs to his son or daughter when they’re having a nightmare, our God graciously runs into our broken world to wake us up from our nightmares too.

For the people of Judah, God faithfully upheld his gracious promise to deliver them from captivity. “Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion, put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city.” “Set aside your sitting in dust and ashes! I have come to deliver you! I have come to redeem you—to buy you back! Though you gave yourself away for free, I have come to freely redeem you to myself! Because you are precious and valuable to me!” But those aren’t just God’s words for Israel; these are his words for you!

The same God who moved an empire to release his people from captivity is the same God who would work an even greater redemption for the entire world—including you! We live in a world in need of liberation from sin and death. And without redemption from that bondage, we’d be exiled from God and his goodness forever. We needed a Savior, someone who would end the nightmare of sin and death and make all things good once again.

And that Savior has come. Because of his undying love for you, your God and Savior Jesus pursued you to reconcile you to himself. To set us free from the nightmare of sin, death, and hell, Jesus would take ownership of our sin, endure our hell, and die our death on a cross. That was the cost to redeem you: God’s holy, precious blood. Jesus paid it all—all out of love for you.

Such a redemption came at a cost. The price of such redemption was God’s holy, precious blood. And that’s the price your Savior Jesus paid on the cross—all out of love for you. Not a single nightmare can separate you from the love of God you have in Christ. Not sickness. Not suffering. Not death itself.

So, get some good sleep tonight—knowing you belong to Jesus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you know all that’s on my heart and mind. You know the nightmares that leave me restless and afraid. Remind me of your goodness, your steadfast mercy, and abiding faithfulness—and that no nightmare can possibly separate me from your redeeming love. 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 – November 5, 2023

One truth shared: See your Savior dying our death under the hashtag “#cursed” so you—when you die—will live under the hashtag “#blessed.”

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:1-12

#blessed

If you were to go on Instagram and look up photos with the hashtag “#blessed,” would you find a picture of you?

What you will find are pictures of athletes receiving championship trophies and gold medals. You’ll find pictures of students graduating from prestigious universities with honors. You’ll find pictures of entrepreneurial giants making millions while creating billion-dollar industries that change the world. You’ll find pictures of celebrities taking selfies with their adoring fans. You’ll find every picture-perfect person vacationing at beautiful places—all the while showing off their toned abs by the pool.

When you search for pictures with the hashtag #blessed, you’ll find people who appear to be absolutely winning at life. #blessed are the attractive. #blessed are the achievers. #blessed are the popular. #blessed are the privileged. #blessed are the rich—for every pleasure in this world is within reach. #blessed are the comfortable—for they don’t need comforting. #blessed are the strong—for they will inherit positions of power and respect. #blessed are the those who hunger and thirst for success, for they will be satisfied. #blessed are the those who are praised and complimented and smothered with recognition for who they are, for flattery is its own reward.

But when we arrive at the opening words of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, we’re not shown pictures of some guy driving a Maserati or some girl in designer clothes walking down a runway. We’re shown people who—by the world’s estimation—aren’t winning at life, but utterly losing.

”Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who mourn… Blessed are the meek… Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness… Blessed are the merciful… Blessed are the pure in heart… Blessed are the peacemakers… Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness…” those who are insulted, beaten, and maliciously slandered all because they follow Jesus. How could any of this coincide with someone who is #blessed?

But who do you know whose life is perfectly embodied by these Beatitudes? Who was perfectly merciful to us when we needed to be shown mercy? Who beautifully embodied ”meekness” as he rode triumphantly into Jerusalem to wage war against sin, death and hell for you? Who would be persecuted so that you would be saved?

Jesus. The Beatitudes paint his portrait—for you!

See your Savior fulfilling all the promises of Scripture for you. See your Savior not running from suffering, rejection and isolation, but running headlong into it so you wouldn’t experience that for eternity. See your sin, guilt, and shame nailed to his cross. See your Savior dying our death under the hashtag “#cursed” so you—when you die—will live under the hashtag “#blessed.”

You are #blessed because, in Christ, you are reconciled to God. You are #blessed because, in Christ, you are forgiven and adopted into God’s family. You are #blessed because, in Christ, the riches of heaven are your reward. Your Savior lives. And because Jesus lives, who cares if anyone will ever find your photo on Instagram? Your very name is written in the book of life.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise you for your amazing, unending, undeserved love for someone like me. I thank you for sending your Son to live for me and die for me to make me a member of your family. As I endure hardships in my life, may I never forget the eternal identity I have in your Son. 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 29, 2023

One truth shared: When you feel you’re in a lion’s den, our Savior was devoured (so to speak) in the ultimate lion’s den to ultimately deliver us from every single one of ours.

Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Daniel 6:10-12, 16-23

In the Midst of Lions

Thirty teeth. That’s what you’ll find in the mouth of the average lion: 12 incisors, 4 canines, 10 premolars, and 4 molars. Add to that a bite force that is four times stronger than yours (650 pounds per square inch to be exact). And that’s just one lion. Now imagine an entire den full of them—and they’re eyeing you up as a chew toy. Daniel didn’t have to imagine: he was in the midst of lions.

But Daniel was “in the midst of lions” even before he was tossed into a lions’ den. Long before lions would attempt to tear him up, his employees were attempting to tear him down. Daniel’s employees were out for blood—his blood. But they had nothing on Daniel. In fact, Daniel had distinguished himself to the king by his trustworthiness, integrity, and other exceptional qualities. His employees couldn’t find any dirt on Daniel. All they had to work with was his evident faith in his God—the LORD.

So, they came up with a plan: they would flatter the king, and then convince him to decree that everyone in his kingdom had to flatter him, too—by worshiping him and him alone. “Anyone who prays to any god or human being… except you, your majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.” The king loved the sound of that—until his irreversible decree landed Daniel in the lions’ den. Because Daniel loved and trusted in the LORD God above all things—and his faith landed him in the midst of lions.

But he wasn’t alone.

Centuries earlier, King David describes how he felt as he was being persecuted. “I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords” (Psalm 57:4). Maybe you’ve felt the bite for being a Christian. Maybe your social circle has snapped at you for saying “no” to something you know isn’t right. Maybe you’ve felt surrounded by people who seem out to get you—all because you cling to a crucified God for comfort.

But you’re not alone.

God was with Daniel. God sent his angel to shut the powerful jaws of every lion surrounding his prophet. God delivered Daniel from that lions’ den—just as your God continues to deliver you from yours. That isn’t to say the time between now and eternity will be free of pain or persecution for our faith. But what we can’t say is “God has abandoned me.” Because he hasn’t. He’s will always be with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. And how do we know that?

Because your God doesn’t just stand with you in the midst of lions; your God would stand for you in the midst of lions. “Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me,” your Savior Jesus would say of his suffering on the cross. “They pierce my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:13,16b). But your Savior wouldn’t just be devoured by the mistreatment, abuse, and mockery of the world for you. Your Savior would endure the bite of God’s justice to free you from the jaws of death. And three days later, your Savior emerged victorious from the den of death—proving he has rescued you from sin and death as well.

So, let the lions roar. The Lion of Judah (Jesus) roars with you—and for you.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I give thanks to you that you truly are with us always—through thick and thin—to the end of the age. By your Spirit and through your Word, calm my anxious mind and still my troubled heart. For you, O Lord, are with me. You, dear Jesus, will never leave me nor forsake 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 – October 22, 2023

One truth shared: God has established all government and calls on us to show honor and respect to the government.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13:1

Do I Have to Respect the Government?

There is a lot of division in America over politics lately. Maybe you’ve noticed. There’s lots of shouting and fighting, and no one seems to be able to get along. Some of the leaders in politics don’t always seem to have the best interests of the people they serve in mind. It raises the question: do I have to respect the government in the country in which I live?

God speaks pretty strongly about this in Romans 13. He says everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, because the authorities that exist have been established by God.

You might argue, “But what if my government is really bad!?” I’d like to remind you of the government in place when Paul wrote these words. The Roman government was hunting Christians down in the street and putting them to death. Eventually they would execute Paul as well, and he still said people should submit to the government.

There is a limit, obviously. We must obey God rather than men. This means that if our government commands us to do something sinful, we would have to obey God rather than men at that point.

But God has established all governments for the good of his people to maintain peace and order. Even when a government appears to be evil, we can be confident that God is using their actions for the eternal good of those who love him.

Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian, or an Independent, you owe honor and respect to the government regardless of who is in power, because it has been instituted by God.

Pray for your political leaders whether you agree with all of their policies or not. Pray that God would be with them and use them to bring peace and prosperity to the land in which you live. Pray that they, too, would come to know the Savior who bled and died for them.

Finally, even when you have sharp disagreements with your government, take comfort in the fact that God is still the one in ultimate control. No government can do anything he doesn’t allow it to do, and he is working out everything in history according to his perfect plan.

Prayer: Father in heaven, be with the leaders in our government. Give them wisdom to make the best decisions for the people of this country. Let us treat them with honor and respect even when we disagree with them. If they don’t know you already, bring them to a knowledge of your Son. 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 15, 2023

One truth shared: Jesus invites you and clothes you for his eternal party in heaven.

For many are invited, but few are chosen.
Matthew 22:14

A Story of Insane Rejection

Are there some invitations you would prefer to ignore? You might not want to accept the invitation to your great aunt’s birthday party when your friends are planning to hang out that night. You might not want to accept the invitation to the wedding where you’ll hardly know anyone.

On the other hand, there are some invitations you’d never reject: an invitation to meet your favorite band backstage or an invitation to the Super Bowl. There are some invitations we accept and some we reject.

In Matthew 22, Jesus tells a story about a king who threw a big wedding reception for his son. He invited all the people you would expect, but all of them rejected the invitation. In fact, they even killed the servants who brought them the invitations. It was an insane rejection!

Naturally, the king was enraged and sent his army to deliver justice and put those men to death. Then the king had his servants go out into the street and invite anyone and everyone into the wedding reception. They invited those you’d expect to be at a royal wedding and those you wouldn’t expect to be there in a million years.

Jesus says this story illustrates the kingdom of heaven. He has sent out invitations far and wide through the message of the gospel for people to trust in him as their Savior. This trust in Jesus, worked in us by the Holy Spirit, serves as one’s ticket into the heavenly banquet that he has prepared for us. It would be insane to reject this invitation, but some people do. Don’t reject Jesus’ invitation.

There’s one more wrinkle to Jesus’ story about the wedding banquet. After all the guests came in from the street, a man was found who wasn’t wearing any wedding clothes. He hadn’t come prepared for the wedding, so he was thrown out.

You, too, need to make sure you have the right clothes to get into the heavenly banquet. Thankfully, Jesus gives you the clothes you need. He has clothed you in his robes of righteousness. He has made you perfect through his death on the cross. Should anything happen to you today, know that you have everything you need to join in the heavenly party!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to cherish the invitation to your heavenly banquet which you have extended to me through the message of the gospel. Thank you for clothing me in Jesus’ righteousness that I might be worthy to enter 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 – October 8, 2023

One truth shared: Jesus is the only foundation in life worth building on, and he’s the only one who won’t fail us.

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
Matthew 21:42

What is the foundation of your life?

What is your foundation in life? What brings you peace, joy, and fulfillment? What is the one thing that would cause your life to fall apart if it was taken away from you? Maybe it’s family. Maybe it’s good grades. Maybe it’s a significant other. None of those things are bad, but none of them should be the cornerstone of your life. Jesus tells us what, rather who, should be the cornerstone of your life, and it’s him.

It was the Tuesday before Good Friday, and Jesus was sparring with the Pharisees like he had so many times before, but he knew he was only three days away from his crucifixion. So he wasn’t holding back any punches anymore.

Jesus told the Pharisees a parable (read Matthew 21:33-43) about some tenants of a vineyard who kept beating up and killing the servants of the owner until finally the owner sent his son to the vineyard. They killed him too.

Jesus’ message was clear. The people of Israel had rejected and killed the prophets over and over again. Now God had sent his own Son to them, and they were planning to kill him too. They had rejected the cornerstone.

Rejecting the cornerstone doesn’t end well for anyone. According to Jesus, everyone who does so will be broken to pieces or crushed. Let that be a warning for us.

Even more than warning, though, there is a promise. A promise that when Jesus is our cornerstone, the rest of our life will be solid. That’s because Jesus is the one true constant in our lives. Family, good grades, a significant other… those things are all capable of failing us. But Jesus will never fail us.

Jesus is rock-solid, and he promises that when we put our faith in him, we are solid too. He has made us solid through the payment that he made for our sin on the cross. There is nothing that anyone or anything can do to change that, because Christ is our cornerstone.

Stop looking for the stability of something or someone else. When you have Jesus, you’ve got the foundation for your life.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are my cornerstone, and in you I put my trust. Help me to always keep you as my foundation in this 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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Transformed – teen devotion – October 1, 2023

One truth shared: Being right with God isn’t about saying the right things and going through the motions. Being right with God is about knowing that Jesus accomplished it all for us. This leads us to respond with love of our own.

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.
Matthew 21:28-31a

Walk the Walk

“He can talk the talk, but can he walk the walk?”

Words are useless unless they are backed up by action. If you had a boyfriend of girlfriend who told you they love you, that would feel pretty good. However, if they turn around and talk poorly about you to their friends or speak to you in a demeaning manner, they don’t really love you. Words must be backed up by action.

Jesus illustrated this point in a parable. There was a father who told both of his sons to go and do some work in the vineyard. The first son told him he wasn’t going to do it, but on second thought, he went and did the work asked of him. The second son told him that he would do it, but then he never actually went. Which of the sons showed their father that they loved him? Well, it was the first son who showed his love through action. So, which son are you?

We look a lot like the first son. He said “No, father, I won’t go and work as your son.” You and I can probably think of times when we have blatantly said, “No” to our heavenly Father. “No, I’m not going to forgive that person.” “No, I am not going to clean up my language and life.” “No, I’m going to live the way I want to live, and no one is going to tell me otherwise.” But other times, you and I act just as phony as the second son. We say, “Yes” to our heavenly Father, but our words lack action.

Jesus is the perfect Son. He didn’t just say that he loved us. He showed that he loved us through his suffering and death on the cross. He showed that he would go to any means necessary to give us eternal life. There has never been any love greater than this.

Jesus wants us to respond to his love with love of our own. He wants us to love him and love our neighbor.

This doesn’t mean we just say the right words or go through the motions. We show our love through our actions.

We show our love for God by making time to worship him on Sunday mornings and by following his commandments. We show our love for our neighbor by helping them when they are in need and picking them up when they are down.

When it comes to loving God and others, don’t just talk the talk. Walk the walk. Jesus walked the greatest walk ever for you.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for loving me. Help me to always show my love for you and for my neighbor. 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 24, 2023

One truth shared: Sometimes we can question God’s fairness in regard to who is saved. In reality, we should change our perspective and recognize that it isn’t “fair” that God saves anyone, including us, because of our sinfulness. This leads us to see God’s generosity and rejoice in it.

“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Matthew 20:13-16

Is God fair?

“Life’s not fair.”

Maybe your parents have said that to you before. You wanted to go to a movie with your friends, but you had to stay home and watch your younger siblings. You protested and pointed out the unfairness. You were simply hit with “Life’s not fair.”

Humans want things to be fair. We want everyone to get a fair shake. We also want everyone to do their fair share of the work to be done.

We let this desire for fairness spill into how we think about God and eternal life. We want to make sure that God is fair when it comes to whom he allows into his heaven.

Here’s some news for you. God’s not fair.

Jesus used a parable to make this point. A parable is a simple little story that contains profound truths about life and eternity.

He told the story of a man who hired some men to work in his vineyard. They agreed he would pay them one denarius (one day’s wage) for their work. He went out a little later and hired some more men for the day. He did this three more times throughout the day.

Some of the men worked twelve hours. Some worked nine hours. Some worked six hours. Some worked three hours, and some only worked one hour.

However, when the time came for them to paid, everyone was paid the same amount for their work. You can understand why the men who worked all day long were not very happy with the owner. It wasn’t fair!

But the owner showed that he was being completely fair. He paid them what they had agreed upon. He had every right to be generous and pay the rest of the men the same regardless of how long they worked.

Some people are baptized into God’s family as little babies and live their entire lives as Christians. Other people come to know Jesus as their Savior on their deathbed after living a life chasing after the things of the world. Many people come to believe in Jesus somewhere in between those two things. Yet all of them receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Is it fair that the murderer who comes to faith in prison will receive the same eternal reward as you?

That’s really the wrong question to ask. The right question would be “Is it fair that God sent his only Son to die on the cross for my sins even though I did nothing to deserve it?”

It isn’t. God’s not fair to himself. That’s a good thing for us. Rather than question God’s fairness, rejoice in his generosity! Rejoice that he gave up his only Son on the cross, so that you could live with him in heaven forever!

Prayer: Father in heaven, thank you for sending your Son to die for me even though it wasn’t fair to him. Help me to rejoice in your generosity every time a new person believes in you and your grace. 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 17, 2023

One truth shared: We forgive as God has forgiven us.

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Genesis 50:15-21

When forgiving is the hardest

Giving the right gift isn’t always easy. When you know someone really well you have a better idea of what they want and what they could use. But sometimes, you don’t know the person whose name you pulled for the Christmas gift exchange. What gift are you going to give them? Good luck! The better we know someone, the easier it is to give them a gift. Better yet, it’s easiest to give to someone we know has a specific need our gift can fill.

But what about that certain someone you feel is the very last person on the face of the earth who deserves your gift? You know what they’ve done to you and how they’ve hurt you, they don’t deserve anything from you. That is the situation Joseph was in. He was loved by his father, but not by his brothers. They were all jealous of Joseph who was “the favorite.” So they got rid of him by selling him off into slavery and lying to their father about it. But God had other plans. Joseph ascended to second in command in Egypt. His leadership helped provide the Egyptians the gift of food during a severe famine.

Then Joseph’s brothers came looking for food too. They didn’t know Joseph was their brother Joseph. When they found out he was still alive and one of the most powerful people on earth, they were terrified. They assumed Joseph would throw them into slavery as payback.

But Joseph didn’t. He knew they had hurt him deeply, but that God had loved him completely through it all. Because Joseph knew God was so gracious to him, he then could be gracious and forgiving towards his brothers. He told them right away “Don’t be afraid!” He wasn’t here to take them away. God had put Joseph there at that very moment to give his brothers the best gift: forgiveness.

Who has hurt you? Who has apologized to you lately? Who do you need to apologize to? The story of Joseph and his brothers is a perfect example of Christian reconciliation. We too can restore our relationships with one another by apologizing, forgiving, and loving each other just as Christ has loved and forgiven us.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you sent Joseph and his brothers to Egypt so they could eventually be together again in love and forgiveness. Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. Move me to be the one who gives your gift of forgiveness to the people in my 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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Transformed – teen devotion – September 10, 2023

One truth shared: The Church is willing to say hard things in order to save a soul.

When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”
Galatians 2:11-16

Pulling from the Wreckage

The Jaws of Life seems like an odd name for a portable, hydraulic tool meant to save someone. “Jaws” make you think of the fangs of a lion or a great white shark making its way close. But “jaws” can save people too, like in a car accident. If someone is in a rollover accident and pinned inside a crushed vehicle, the Jaws of Life are a handheld tool firefighters use to extricate a victim by cutting the metal of the car or separating it. These tools have ten to twenty thousand pounds of cutting/pulling force! When they come your way, you know you are going to be safe.

If you have ever driven by the scene of a car accident, you know how scary it can be. What if firefighters lacked the rescue tools or had no clue how to use them? Worse, what if they were scared to even come and help? What if they didn’t have the stomach for it and fainted every time they saw blood? Would that be loving? Helpful?

Nope.

In Galatians chapter 2, Paul witnessed a spiritual wreck. Not collision of cars, but a horrifying pile-up of souls being led to believe that God loved some souls (Jews) more and other souls (Gentiles) less, based on who they were at birth. They started separating themselves from people who had a different background than them. And the worst part was that another leader in the church, the apostle Peter, was leading the way in this accident.

Paul could have found excuses to stay away from the conflict, but he went in with the Jaws of Life—the rescue tool of God’s Word. He confronted Peter in front of the group so that the damage would stop and the healing would begin. Peter would realize his error. The Galatian group was extricated from a messy situation back to safety. Now they knew that it was Jesus, and only Jesus, that saves us. Our background and works have nothing to do with it. We are saved by grace alone!

What’s the takeaway for us? Paul was willing to get his hands dirty if it meant pulling a soul from the world’s wreckage and saving them with the love of Jesus. So can you! Sometimes people in our lives make a mess with their own sinful decisions. Jesus wants us to love them enough to point out their sin, but in a way that shows how every sin is forgiven by Jesus too. Freed by grace new life begins! There is no better job to have!

Prayer: Lord, help me to run towards the people who need my help most. Give me the courage to confront sin in order to help others. Give me humility when someone confronts my own sin. Use those conversations to grow us in our faith in you. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – September 3, 2023

One truth shared: Because Jesus carried his cross for us, we deny ourselves and carry our crosses for him.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
Matthew 16:21-27

A Necessary Weight

Everyone packs with different priorities. Which best describes you? Do you travel light or pack heavy?

  • Some will pack light and take as little as possible along with them (like in a backpack). It’s someone who prioritizes getting to and from places fast without bringing the extra weight of luggage.
  • Others like to be prepared for everything. They’ll pack an outfit for every weather scenario and all the beauty products from the bathroom counter… just in case! They’ll be prepared, but the luggage will be heavy. Who knows, maybe the weight will be necessary to carry?

In Matthew 16, Jesus tells his followers that the extra weight of the cross is necessary. Peter just confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Savior of the world. But when Jesus told him that dying on the cross would be necessary to save the whole world, Peter didn’t want to hear it. In fact, he pulled Jesus to the side and tried to get him to avoid the weight of the cross waiting for him in Jerusalem.

Here’s how Jesus replied: “GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!”

Wow! What if Jesus would say that to you? Does that get your attention? Why was Jesus so serious with Peter? Because he wanted Peter to understand something important. If Jesus avoided the cross, our sins would not be forgiven and we would have no idea where we were going after we die.

But Jesus carried his cross for us. He didn’t avoid the weight or the pain. He denied his own comfort so that we would someday be comfortable with him in heaven forever. But until then, Jesus tells us we too must carry crosses. No cross? No Christian. It means that Jesus wants us to put him first in our lives. He wants us to put others first as well. To keep it simple, Jesus wants us to deny ourselves and follow him. This is the Christian carrying their cross.

When we realize that we have all the life we need in Jesus, we can live as selflessly as Jesus did. Will it be easy? No! But will it be worth it? Absolutely. The cross of Jesus was worth it. After he rose from the dead, he was seated in heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords. He carried his cross first, then received his crown of glory. It will be the same for us. The best part of a long trip with heavy luggage is dropping it on the floor when you get home. That’s what it will be like when we get to heaven. We get to drop the weight of our crosses and pick up the crown that Jesus has waiting for us in heaven. First the cross, then the crown.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, it is not easy for me to deny my own wants and desires. Keep me focused on how you gave yourself up for me on the cross. Use your sacrifice to motivate me to live a sacrificial life for 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 – August 27, 2023

One truth shared: God gives us all we need to know about him in his Word.

Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”
Exodus 34:5-9

God Speaks for Himself

Play out this scenario in your head: You start a new summer job not knowing anyone there. You get to know people slowly as the weeks go by. You really get to know them in the lunch break room. On Friday they share their weekend plans. You share yours. They catch on that you go to church most Sundays. It confuses them. They ask, “What’s so special about God that you would plan your weekends around him?”

How would you answer?

You’ve been put on the spot to explain why God is so awesome you feel the need to worship him. They are asking a big question! There are so many ways you can describe God because the Bible is a big book with lots of details about him.

If God was in the lunchroom, how would he respond? Well, in Exodus 34 Moses begged God for more of an explanation. Moses just wanted to know more about God. He wanted to see his glory. And as God passed by, God defined himself.

He uses the name LORD. This name means that he is the only God. He is eternal. He is the Lord. He is the one who saves. He is the one who saves you. He is your Lord.

Your Lord stoops down to see how you are doing and picks you up when you’ve fallen. Your Lord doesn’t treat you like your sins deserve, he loves you regardless of them. Your Lord doesn’t jump at you to accuse. Instead, he overflows with love that will never run out and will always be there when you need it. Your Lord doesn’t love a select few, he loves all his creation, all his people, all his children, all of you.

Your Lord forgives. Yes, he punishes sin. He doesn’t just turn a blind eye. But he doesn’t punish you. He sent his one and only Son to die in your place so you would be with him forever.

That is how God describes himself. Would you say it the same exact way in the break room? Probably not. But you can say it! And you do know who your Lord is. Whether your answer is long or short, God speaks for himself now through you. Through you, others can know how God is defined by his compassion and grace.

Prayer: LORD, thank you for describing yourself in a way that assures me I am constantly loved and I always yours. 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 20, 2023

One truth shared: The church is meant for all people.

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Matthew 15:21-28

Their Faith Might Surprise You!

When you think of heaven, what do you think of? Maybe you think of the people you’ll see there who you can’t wait to spend the rest of eternity with! But have you ever thought of the people you’ll see in heaven that might surprise you? Do you think you’ll be walking down paradise street and see someone you weren’t expecting? How many “surprises” will be with us in heaven?

When Jesus was on the cross, he was dying next to one of those “surprises”—a man who had a track record of crimes. He knew he deserved to die for his sins. But Jesus? Our Savior deserved no punishment at all. So the criminal asked Jesus for help. He asked Jesus to simply remember him after this was over. What did Jesus do? Laugh? No. Jesus promised he would be with him in heaven that very day. The man believed in Jesus. In the end, that’s all that mattered in his life.

Jesus wants us to view the people in our lives through the perspective of his love and forgiveness won on the cross. Do we always do that? When someone who doesn’t fit the profile of a “regular church-goer” walks through the doors on Sunday morning, what goes through our minds? Are we welcoming or hesitant? Do we wait to get to know the person, or do we judge them simply based on their appearances or past history?

The disciples assumed the worst about the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus for help in Matthew 15. They thought they watching out for Jesus when they asked him to send her away because of she wouldn’t leave him alone. Besides, the disciples grew up with prejudice towards any Canaanite who lived on the wrong side of their shared border. Their hearts were trained to look down on her.

Jesus needed to show them a better way, his way. He sees her hurt and he hears her cry for mercy. She just wants Jesus to heal her daughter. But Jesus also wants to use her to teach a lesson for us all. He tests her. He seems to push her away, but she won’t give up. She won’t leave without his help. She knows Jesus is all she needs now and forever. “Then Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, you have great faith!’” And he heals her daughter right then.

Faith. That is what Jesus looks for. He wants us to come to him knowing we’re anything but perfect. He wants us to come to him when we need help. He wants us to come to him when we need forgiveness. And he promises to give us all the help and forgiveness we need.

Jesus welcomes “surprise”—anyone who comes to him regardless of age, race, gender, talent, or popularity. He knows we all have the same problem. He gives the same solution to all—himself. So let’s ask ourselves, if this is how Jesus views and treats me, then shouldn’t I do the same with the people in my life? And shouldn’t I especially do the same when someone visits my church for the first time? Absolutely! And you can!

May Jesus give you all the love you need to view others with his same love.

Prayer: Lord, give me your perspective which sees others as your beautiful creation. Keep me from placing quick judgments on those you have put in my life to serve. Give me and my church the opportunity to tell them that you sent your Son for them 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 13, 2023

One truth shared: When experiencing moments of doubt, you can trust the truth of Jesus’ words of never-failing love and promises.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:27-31

Someone Worth Trusting

Come on, Peter! Really?! What is your problem?!

There Jesus was, standing on the water. This was so abnormal that the disciples first thought it was a ghost. But Jesus calmed them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid!” Phew! It’s Jesus!

Peter, as usual, was quick to speak (and speak boldly). He asked if he could walk on the water with Jesus, to which the Lord replied, “Sure, come on down!” So Peter gets down out of the boat, probably quite carefully and slowly, and miraculously, he’s walking on the water too! You gotta be kidding me! This is awesome!

But then he looked elsewhere. He saw the wind and the waves and likely had a more logical moment, “Wait . . . how is this possible? Humans don’t walk on water. What if the waves are too strong? What if this doesn’t last? What if I sink? What if . . .”

Peter! Really?! What is your problem?! You are literally living a miracle. You are literally face to face with Jesus with his promise to walk on water still ringing in your ears! How could you doubt?!

But Peter isn’t alone, is he? You might not have walked on water before, but surely those questions have plagued your mind:

“What if I drown in my homework? . . . What if I don’t pass this test? . . . What if my dad loses his job? . . . What if I don’t get accepted into college? . . . What if grandma’s cancer doesn’t get better? . . . What if . . .”

From the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, Satan has been tempting people in the same way. He first sparked doubt in Adam and Eve by asking, “Did God really say?” Suddenly doubts flooded their minds, wondering if God was holding back on them or if there was something better they were missing. So they ate the fruit because they doubted God’s love and God’s words.

Satan did the same with Peter. Peter doubted Jesus’ words that clearly told him to come and walk on the water, and he doubted Jesus’ love that he would keep him safe. And Satan still does the same today. He wants nothing more than for you to doubt Jesus’ words to you and love for you today.

Dear teen, look at the blood-stained cross. Look at the empty tomb. They are all the proof you would ever need. God’s love for you is boundless and endless. God’s promises never fail. God’s words are always true. Trust the God who so loved the world that he sent his Son for you. Jesus reached out his hand to grab Peter when he was sinking in doubt, and he does the same for you. Listen to your Savior and trust him always as he says, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Prayer: Jesus, so often doubts fill my mind. I can hardly help it. My sinful heart is so broken and it’s so hard to trust. But I know that you’ve never failed me. I know that your words are always true. I know that you love me. Give me a confident and courageous faith that always trusts, even when I’m sinking. 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 6, 2023

One truth shared: God provides what we need in life—especially our greatest needs in Jesus.

Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”

So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
1 Kings 17:1-6

God Always Provides

What’s the last thing you ate? I suppose the answer depends on what time of day you are reading this. If you just woke up, it might have been a late-night snack of pizza rolls the night before. Or maybe you are having breakfast right now. Or could it be that you finally had a day to sleep in and you slept all the way to lunch? Nothing like some pizza leftovers to get your day started right! Is this a nighttime devotion and you’re eating some fresh, hot, delicious pizza just delivered to your door? (Are you sensing a theme?)

Whatever it is you ate last, where did it come from? You might say it came from your fridge or pantry or the delivery person. But how did it get there? Okay, so maybe it came from the grocery store or fast food chain. But how did it get to those places? And how did it get from that location to your house?

We could play this game all day long and you would probably get pretty annoyed. So before you stop playing the question game with me, maybe you get the point? It takes a lot for you to get one slice of pizza, one protein bar, or one loaf of bread. There are farmers who grow and produce products and ship them off to factories. There are workers in the factories. There are drivers to the factory and from the factory to the store. Then there are managers, shelf stockers, and the friendly people who check out your groceries or deliver your pizza. But you wouldn’t have those groceries unless someone in your family had a job and earned money and then used that money to buy food and then brought that food to your home or ordered that pizza to arrive at your house. That’s a lot of people who go into one piece of pepperoni and cheese!

But if we really trace everything back to its source, doesn’t it always go back to God? He is the one that sends rain and sunshine. He is the one that causes things to grow. God is the one who gives people their vocation as farmer or driver or worker or father or mother and uses each person together in an intricate web of connection so as to provide for all of us.

It’s probably true that in America, a land of abundance, we often take God’s providing for granted. I mean, wouldn’t you recognize God’s loving care a little more if you had ravens dropping off food for you like Elijah did in the story for today? (Do you think you would need to tip the raven like the pizza delivery dude?) But just because your PBJ sandwich wasn’t delivered by animals or you haven’t seen Jesus feed the 5,000, it doesn’t mean that God’s providing for you is any less incredible. God works in many, incredible ways to make sure you have what you need.

Of course, the food in the fridge or even the burger in your to-go bag is nothing compared to our greatest need God has met. He provided a Savior for the entire world. He provides forgiveness for your sins. He provides a place for you waiting in heaven. Now that is truly miraculous! God gives you pizza and eternal life with him! What a gracious God!

In our land of consumerism where you can order or buy just about anything you want any time you want, and most people have fridges and pantries spilling over in abundance, don’t forget the God who makes that all possible. Most importantly, don’t forget the God who provides for your greatest needs in Jesus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, King David wrote that, “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing” (Psalm 145:15,16). Thank you for all that you provide for me, especially for the gift of your Son 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 – July 30, 2023

One truth shared: Go “all in” on treasuring and loving Jesus and his gospel more than anything or anyone else.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:44-46

A Priceless Treasure

What make and model phone do you have? Is it the newest and best, or is it old and beat-up with a shattered screen? How many pairs of shoes/sandals/slides/crocs do you think you have? Which is your favorite pair? If you could be a fashion influencer on social media, what clothing brand would you love to have an endless supply to model? If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would buy?

The old saying is that “money makes the world go round.” Well, ain’t that the truth! You’ve probably figured that out by now as a teen. The version of the phone you have, the kicks in your closet, the fabulous fits you wear, your decisions about college and career, your desire for things like a car, a home, and much more in the future—it all depends on and revolves around money.

In our commercialized America, it’s so easy to get caught up in some kind of fictitious dream of what life should look life—“I need a four-bedroom, three-bath house on one acre of land with two cars and a boat and three smiley kids.” OH . . . “And I need to earn this many dollars in scholarships and pay this much (or little) for college and get a career that makes this much money so I can get all that.”

Be careful! Satan wants to suck you into worldly thinking quicker than you can say mucho dinero. Too many teens worry way too much about scholarship and college costs. Too many teens make career choices based on how much money they might make some day. And too many people in general obsess about getting worldly treasures.

But when your plans fall apart, or your job cuts your salary, or your car breaks down, or your phone is obsolete, or your shoes are out of style, or your house has rain damage from a leaky roof—Satan will only sit back and laugh that you put your heart and mind into so much worldly “stuff.”

Instead, consider what is real treasure. Is it not knowing that your sin is washed away forever? Is it not knowing that you were dead to God but freely made alive in Christ? Is it not knowing that you have the glorious riches of heaven waiting for you to enjoy for all eternity? Worldly “stuff” disappears or breaks or loses value. None of it lasts. But in the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ our Savior, we find and receive a treasure that will never spoil, perish, or fade.

So when you have this gospel-treasure, go all in! Be like the man Jesus describes who found a treasure in a field and sold all he had to buy that field. Or be like the treasure hunter who found a pearl of great value and sold all he had to buy it. Jesus isn’t telling you to sell your cool phone or nice pair of shoes and get rid of all your stuff. No. Surely you can enjoy those blessings. Instead, Jesus is telling you to go “all in” on treasuring and loving him and his gospel more than anything or anyone else. After all, when you have Jesus and you have heaven guaranteed and waiting for you, what else could you possibly want or need!

Prayer: Jesus, my priceless treasure, help me to have a heart that craves nothing more than to have you and your Word. I know you will graciously give me all I need and even countless blessings beyond my needs. I’m so thankful for my many blessings. But give me also a heart that is focused first on you, my treasure beyond worth and value. 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 23, 2023

One truth shared: Jesus promises to keep Christians safe while living in a world of unbelievers.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Matthew 13:24-30,36-43

Wheat and Weeds

Why won’t God do something?

Ever wonder that before? Why won’t God do something about terrorism? Why won’t God bring justice to those being oppressed? Why won’t God take care of those who persecute Christians so that his Word and his kingdom can flourish?

Those are good and logical questions to ask, much like the question the servants asked in Jesus’ parable. An “enemy” had come and planted weeds among the wheat. The servants asked the owner of the field, “Do you want us to pull them up?” A quick and easy solution, right? Get rid of the weeds! But the owner explained the problem—if you pull up the weeds, you might take some wheat along with. A better plan was to leave both until the harvest and then separate the weeds and wheat.

Satan has sown many weeds in this world. There are many unbelievers who follow Satan’s ways instead of God’s ways, and quite a number of them pose big problems (even big threats!) to us the wheat. But rather than removing them from the world now, God has a different plan—to wait until the harvest called judgment day to sort and separate the weeds and the wheat.

In the meantime, we need to trust the owner of the field—the Son of Man, or Jesus himself. He is the one who conquered the devil and this sinful world with his life, death, and resurrection. He is the Master Farmer, who graciously sowed seeds of the gospel into our hearts and sent his Holy Spirit to make those seeds grow. He is the One who tends the farm with care and protects us, the wheat, from the weeds.

Moreover, who knows how God might graciously work yet so that some of those weeds might become wheat (believers) before the harvest of judgment day? Who knows how God might use the challenges of living among weeds for good in our lives? Only the Lord knows.

Trust God’s plan. Trust God’s care for the garden of his kingdom. Trust that God will sort the weeds and the wheat on the Last Day. While the weeds will sadly face the fires of hell, we the wheat will be gathered to his storehouse of heaven. Lord, keep us safely to that day!

Prayer: Jesus, life in this world is not easy. Living as wheat among wheat is so challenging. Strengthen and support us through this weary life until that last and glorious day when you gather us to our heavenly home. 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 16, 2023

One truth shared: Let your light shine! Even when you can’t see any results, God promises his Word will always do its work.

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

The Word Works

Grace was very passionate about her faith. She loved Jesus so much. She was so thankful for everything he had done. She loved going to church and teen Bible studies. She had so much joy and she wanted nothing more than for others to have that joy too.

At work, Grace would drop little comments about what a great service she attended last week and would often invite other teens she worked with to their teen group outings. Everyone knew Grace was a Christian on her club VB team, too. She wore a cross necklace and always put a black sharpie cross on the athletic tape on her wrists. Grace’s social media profile had a cross icon and her confirmation verse. At school it was much the same. Grace tried to let her light shine in the hallways and classrooms, and she especially loved witnessing to her new international student friend—Kat from Vietnam.

Grace went on like this, shining as a bright beacon of Jesus light, for some two years in high school. But then one day at work something happened. One of her coworkers, Kyle, whom she had worked with for over a year, finally said, “Grace, enough already. Enough with all the Jesus stuff. Can’t we just work? I’m not ever going to come to church with you, okay?”

Ouch. That hurt. Later that night, Grace was lying in bed and reflecting on the incident. That led to more thinking about all of her witnessing. She started to realize that no one from work had ever agreed with anything she said about Jesus. No one from her VB team had ever come to church with her. Then she started to think about the people who occasionally laughed behind her back at school when she would talk about her faith. And Kat, well, Grace wasn’t sure if Kat even understood what she was saying about Jesus.

It can be hard and frustrating to live and share your faith in this world, especially as a teen. You’re a teen—will any adults take you seriously? You’re a teen—will your peers still like you? You’re a teen—does anything you say matter, and will anyone even listen?

Grace was pondering these thoughts and whether it was all worth it, when suddenly her phone dinged. Someone had DMed her. She opened the message, and it was from Brandon, another teen boy she worked with. “Oh great. More rejection,” she thought. But to her surprise the message said:

Hey Grace. How r u? Just wanted to say thanks for what you do at work. You know. The Jesus stuff. I overheard how Kyle kinda dissed you today. But I wanna let u know that I always hear you. It’s been bad 4 me recently, and I appreciate u. Would u mind if I came to church with u sometime? I think I kinda need it.

The biggest tears streamed down her cheeks as the biggest smile also beamed across her face. Grace had forgotten the famous words from God in Isaiah 55. Just like the rain and snow fall from heaven and always accomplish God’s purposes on this earth, so with his Word. It always accomplishes his purposes and never returns to him empty.

God spoke and the world came to be. Jesus spoke and calmed a storm and healed the sick and raised the dead. Jesus spoke, “It is finished,” and it was. God’s Word has always been powerful. So also when we speak and share it. We may not know how or when or why, but God promises that his Word will always be powerful and effective in the ways that he knows best.

Sure enough, Grace’s last two years of high school taught her that all the more. Kyle never did come to church, but Grace found out that her witnessing really caused him to think about faith for a long time and wrestle with his sinful lifestyle. Brandon? Well, he did come to church that week with Grace and ended up joining a year later. And almost exactly two years after that tearful night, Grace had another memorable moment—Kat was baptized at her Vietnam church and became a Christian.

Don’t sweat the how or the when or the why. God knows that. God takes care of that. Let your light shine. Share your faith. Spread the Word. Then trust that God’s Word will work, because it always does.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to be a witness who boldly shares your Word and confidently trusts that it will work powerfully in people’s hearts. 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 9, 2023

One truth shared: When burdened and overwhelmed by this world or your own sin, go to Jesus.

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

Rest!

Kaiden couldn’t take it anymore. His bed was covered in homework—chemistry, math, and Spanish books were lying open with various worksheets scattered on top of them. His laptop was open on his lap, but he was only about two sentences into his essay on why the French Revolution was a pivotal time in world history. How would he ever get all this work done? How could any teacher think this amount of homework was reasonable?

Kaiden’s heart started racing as he realized it wasn’t all the teachers’ fault. Kaiden was the one who had basketball practice until 5:30 p.m. that day and then stayed late to get some extra shots up. Kaiden was also the one who signed up for the jazz band and had practice after that until 7:00 p.m. And Kaiden was also the one who thought he could handle being on student council as well (which had a video conference call for an hour after jazz band). Okay, maybe he felt a little coerced to run for student council, but still . . .

There was just so much to do! There was so much pressure to perform! Kaiden knew the ACT was coming around the corner. Then college applications. Oh, and that big end of the year jazz concert and the huge student council event. What about his social life? What about his girlfriend?

Oh, yeah, his girlfriend. Kaiden started thinking about the pressures of dating and the temptations of that relationship. His heart began to race even more as memories flashed through his head of temptations they had fallen into occasionally. How could they have been so foolish?

Kaiden had so much pressure! Kaiden was so overwhelmed! Kaiden felt so guilty! And most of all, Kaiden felt so tired.

Been there before? It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the burdens and pressures we bear, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the guilt that we carry, too.

But dear teen, Jesus knows. Jesus knows pressure. Jesus knows burdens. Jesus knows suffering. He experienced it all as he lived in this world with us and for us. Jesus even knows sin. Not because he committed any, but because he carried your sin along with the sin of the whole world. He took sin upon himself to pay for it and wash it away in his blood.

Listen to the words of your Savior who knows burdens. Listen to the one who carried them and overcame. Listen to the Savior who promises to be with you and to work all things for your good and to give you strength in all things.

Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” When you feel burdened and overwhelmed by this world or your own sin, Go. To. Jesus. Don’t go to vaping or smoking or drinking. Don’t go to acting out in other sinful choices. Don’t go to your room and lock the door and hope you can just figure it out on your own as you mindlessly scroll through social media. Go. To. Jesus. In his Word, in worship, in communing with him in the Lord’s Supper, you will find rest. In the sweet comfort of his love and forgiveness in the gospel, you will find rest. In the reassurance of his promises, you will find rest.

Every time. Go to Jesus and rest.

Prayer: Lord, my life is sometimes so overwhelming. The burdens I carry and the sins I bear are too heavy. But reassure me with the comfort that you overcame this world and took away my sin. Welcome me with open arms, as you promise! Help me find rest in you alone. 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 2, 2023

One truth shared: The Christian loves God above all.

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

Love God above All

What do you love the most in your life? Your parent(s)? Your sibling(s)? Your BFF? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? Mr. Fluffers your 5-month-old puppy who sheds hair like he’s going bald (but you love him anyways)? Sports? Music? Video games? Your phone? (Please don’t say your phone!) So many things to love! But what in your life do you love the most?

Our God is so good and gracious that he opens his hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing (Psalm 145:16). But not only that, most of us have WAY more than we could ever want, need, or desire. Our list of blessings is longer than the line for the bathroom at a Taylor Swift or Beyoncé concert. It is simply incredible how he blesses us with so many good things. Be careful though! Very quickly good things become god things.

God’s First Commandment is: You shall have no other gods. Martin Luther explained that commandment quite simply: “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” Any time we put something in front of God in our hearts or minds that becomes a god to us. That’s easy to recognize when it’s a statue of Buddha or a false religion like Islam. But that’s really hard to see when it’s a regular part of your daily life.

Ever been in a situation with friends or at work when you know you should have said something, you should have done something different, you should have let your light shine—but you didn’t? Could it be that you love your reputation or the opinion of friends or peers more than God? How does your screen time compare to your Scripture time? Do you scroll through YouTube or TikTok more than you scroll through the Bible? Could it be that you love technology, or specifically your phone, more than God? Do your actions with your boyfriend or girlfriend or what you look at online match up with God’s guidance for purity? Could it be that you love your desires and cravings more than God at times?

How many examples might we identify where we fail and fall short of God’s expectations? How many times have we made good things into god things?

Thank God that we have a Savior who has loved us with an everlasting commitment! Jesus set aside his glory, his power, and his crown to come here to this world for us. He showed a committed love that was not distracted or deterred. He marched all the way to Calvary for you and for me so that the Father could open his arms in forgiving love to us. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

God’s love for us can be life changing. The more we see his love and commitment to us, the more we become committed to him. Jesus words in this devotion from Matthew 10 are very difficult to process. But then we see his loving arms stretched out on a cross and his victorious empty tomb. That is the Savior that we love more than anything, even good things. We love Jesus more than family, friends, sports, music, and even our phones. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you loved us with a selfless, self-sacrificing love that put us first. Help us to be so committed to you that we always fear, love, and trust in you above 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 – June 25, 2023

One truth shared: God gives us endurance to serve!

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear… But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry… Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Timothy 4:1-3,5,8

Jesus—Give Us “The Guts” to Serve!

Are you tired? After a day of turning on the TV, or going online, or Instagram, or watching non-stop TikTok series of mountain biking or people chopping steaks, or Facebook, do you ever just feel tired? (Most of the time I’m watching too!)

The world you see on social media and videos can be overwhelming! That’s especially true for people who love Jesus and think his Word is true—every single verse of it. Including the verses for today. It’s actually kind of funny to think that these words from 2 Timothy were written almost 2,000 years ago. These verses talk about people not wanting to put up with teachings of God’s Word that make sense in society and in their own lives; people gathering around them others who basically tell them “Yeah, sure, whatever you say man—that sounds good to me!” And follow that up with phrases like, “After all, who am I to judge (or say anything contrary to your thoughts)?” What’s up with that? Ultimately, it’s simple. People want control of their own lives, no matter what kind of trainwreck they might be. We want to deny the work and power and, in the very sad end, the very love shown in Jesus’ life, and cross, and empty tomb—because that has everything to do with God’s work, not ours. And that can lead to more than just a “meh” attitude—it can lead to an “attack”! That’s what happened to Paul and Timothy 2,000 years ago. The result was physical suffering for God’s people who put Jesus and the Word first!

In an overwhelming world, God gives us this charge today—preach the Word, keep your head, remember Jesus, all the while knowing he’ll give you the gifts to do it, even in suffering, as you serve others. It won’t be easy, God never promises that, but it will end with the greatest gift of all—the crown of eternity in heaven that Jesus himself will put on your head, and not just for you, for all of those who love Jesus with you and as you serve, maybe will even be led to love Jesus through you!

Throughout the last few weeks we’ve been talking about what it is to serve others. And that’s what God calls us to. Try this now: When you’re tired, spend a little more time this week serving yourself with the promises that God gives to you. Remember them. Embrace them by grace through faith. Start your day with them. And ultimately, know God will use that to lead you to share them with others—and to serve. To God be the glory!

Prayer: Jesus, you are so loving and powerful, and you used both of those things to save us. You faced the ultimate persecution to win peace for us. You faced rejection so we can be accepted. You stood up as the Word made flesh so we can stand up and share the Word with all. Help us face down the temptation to give in to the thoughts of the world and its persecutions and celebrate when that persecution is related to us sharing your Word. Help us remember all you have done for us so that we may do for others—serving you every step of the way! 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 18, 2023

One truth shared: God gives us the guts to serve—God, help us to do it to your glory!

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Matthew 9:35-38

Jesus—Give Us “The Guts” to Serve!

Have you ever wanted to help someone so badly that your gut hurt? That’s what drove Jesus to help others—an insane, looking out for everyone, not passing anyone by, love that led him to serve. It was defined in a simple word in the Greek—compassion. It was from a word that literally meant “the inner parts” like the bowels, intestines, heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, etc. When it all hurt from seeing others in need and in pain, suffering from sickness and disease, from poverty and injustice, from racism and social struggles—that “compassion” is what led to Jesus’ action. He worked. He healed. He drove out demons. He fed. He led. He loved. Ultimately, it’s what led Jesus to lay down his perfection to become sin for us on the cross, that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). It was compassion that led Jesus to serve. It was compassion that led Jesus to rise from the grave to serve our ultimate need—proof that our sins are really forgiven, and they are!

Think of all of the times we have passed by people in need; or given in to apathy or resentment in the face of social injustice or racism; or gotten angry with God when our mom got cancer or our dad had a heart attack, or grandma got COVID. How many times have we shown the ugly insides of ourselves and fallen so far short of God’s glory, we thought that there was no possible way to have forgiveness and peace with a perfect God. Every one of those times, Jesus made you perfect, because he felt compassion so deep inside for you—that it led him to die—for you. To rise—for you. That changes things. It changes us. Now, he calls you to be his own and live under him in his kingdom. Now, he calls you to serve.

People look different when you see them through the lens of Jesus’ compassion. They don’t look like a person, or a gender, or a color, or an income bracket, or a gen; they look like a soul that is precious to Jesus and worth everything—including, but not limited to, our care; our inner parts; our compassion, our service, and our love. After all, you are a little Jesus! It’s really the love of Jesus through us that he already showed to us. And it’s his call that leads us to serve!

Who are you able to serve with compassion today? Look around, consider starting within your very own home, and you’ll probably be surprised at how many people are hurting that God has placed you, his forgiven child, in the life of. God bless your compassion as Jesus guides your inner part—right down to your very soul!

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for seeing me, helpless and harassed by the world and my own thoughts of doubt and anxiety and sadness—and sin—and then for having compassion on me. You know and feel my sins right down to your deepest and most inner parts—and you died for them all. Risen in glory, dear Savior, help me show compassion to others and, I pray boldly, give me chances to see them—by first seeing what you have done for me. In your name I ask it. 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 11, 2023

One truth shared: God calls us to serve!

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt… So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you.”
Exodus 3:4-7,10-12

Bruh or Bro? Jesus—Give Us The Words To Serve!

It’s kind of funny when some of the latest and greatest words floating around in the world today are confusing to older generations. Have you ever had to “translate” for aging ears what is being said?

Imagine if you if you had to do the same today, but the words were from Scripture. How would you help adjust aging ears to Moses’ interaction with God through the burning bush? Let’s give it a try.

God had some amazing work for Moses—go and tell Pharaoh to “let his people go!” In power God also promised he was going to be with him as Moses proclaimed God’s Word. Moses’ response? Excuse after excuse, all the while freely admitting that he was unworthy as he remembered his past and his guilt and his weaknesses. Basically, he told God that this was not going to work. That he didn’t think he was the right choice for God. To sum up Moses’ response in one teen word, “Bruh.”

But God wasn’t going anywhere, and his plan for Moses was not going to change—he had work for him to do—and he was going to be with him every step of the way. God’s response, I suppose you could say was, “Bro!” In boomer terms: “Moses, focus up. You got this, and I’m with you. You’re forgiven—you know me, it’s time to get it done—and you just wait to see what I’m going to do!” Ten plagues later, God’s work of power and judgment against Egypt came on display and it was amazing, it was phenomenal, it was “slay.”

So what does that mean for you? It’s hard thinking that the all-powerful ruler of the universe actually thinks we are exactly the ones he needs to serve others, to share Jesus our Savior, and share with confidence too! We are broken, weak, and can easily come up with 100 excuses of our own—all of which might be accurate and on point. We are sinners just like Moses. But the God who didn’t give up on Moses will never give up on you either. Our God rejoices, not when he calls the equipped, but as he equips the called! And he has fully equipped you. It all goes back to Jesus’ perfect life, his love-filled sacrifice on Calvary’s cross, and the glory of an empty tomb. Forgiveness was won, and in faith it is yours! You are ready. And God shouts out your name in victory and adds to the end the biggest “Bro!” ever heard! So focus up!

Look around, you might not see a Pharoah, but you’ll see someone soon enough that you will get a chance to share your amazing God with—just like Moses. No. Cap.

Prayer: Powerful Jesus, I am weak, but you are strong. I am broken and sinful, but your work of saving me has done more than fix me—it has made me perfect in your sight. Thank you for calling me to faith through the Holy Spirit. Thank you for calling me to serve. Give me courage. Give me strength. Give me the words of truth—your Word is truth—to share with others in joy! In your name I, a humble minister of your Word, 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 – June 4, 2023

One truth shared: There are blessings to believing in a Triune God.

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

Why Do I Believe in a Triune God?

Can I ask you a personal question? How are you doing in your relationship?

What relationship? Good question. It could be the relationship between you and your parent(s). Or, with your boyfriend or girlfriend. How about the relationship with your boss? Your coworkers? Your friends? Is it genuine? Or do you smile through clenched teeth? Is there a relationship in danger right now?

Relationships seldom die because they suddenly have no life left in them. They wither slowly because there’s not enough love or commitment.

Can I ask you one more personal question? How’s your relationship with God? Ever experience a moment of shakiness in faith? Maybe you forgot God’s love and forgiveness. Maybe it feels like an up-and-down experience. One moment, one Sunday… you feel very close to God. The next moment, next Sunday, next month… you feel a million miles away from God.

Here are words that keep you close to him: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” In his triune name, God is reminding you of some very important things for your relationship with him:

  • The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ – “Grace” is God’s loving and forgiving attitude toward you. His name is “Lord” because he purchased and won you on the cross and now you belong to him. His name is “Jesus”, the name by which everyone called him here on earth when he came to save us with his grace. His name is “Christ” to indicate his role as your Savior. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” continues to hug you even when you are or feel unhuggable!
  • The love of God – Love is the key ingredient in any relationship. But our love sometimes shifts depending upon the wind. On the arrow of a weather vane on top a barn were these words; “God is Love.” Whichever way the wind blows, God is still love! His love for you never changes but follows you wherever you go!
  • The fellowship of the Holy Spirit – One time, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28,29). Did you catch that? To believe in Jesus is the work of God! It doesn’t depend on how you feel or how you think he feels about you. The magnet that moves your heart from spiritual blindness to sight, from being spiritually dead to alive, from being an enemy of God to a lover of God… is the Holy Spirit. He creates a fellowship, a union, between you and God.

One more time: How are you doing in your relationship? “Grace, love, and fellowship… to you.” Because of the unified work of the Triune God, your relationship with him—is good!

Prayer: Lord God, accept my praise for revealing yourself to me as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons and one God. Hold me fast in my faith, so that your name is with me now and forever. 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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