Bringing People to Jesus – January 17, 2021

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.
John 1:40-42

Bringing People to Jesus


Daily Devotion – January 17, 2021

Devotion based on John 1:40-42

See series: Devotions

There was so much excitement and so little stress when Andrew told his brother about Jesus. Have you ever wished it was that easy?

It is easy to worry about trying to find just the right words to say or trying to find just the right time to say them. But notice that Andrew wasn’t concerned about any of that.

Andrew didn’t worry about getting the timing right because he did it as “the first thing.” There was no waiting for just the right moment because Andrew got right to it.

He didn’t worry about finding the right words to say because all he said was what he knew: “We have found the Messiah.” There was no crafting of the perfect thing to say. Andrew just said what he knew.

All of this is because Andrew realized what the real job of sharing our faith is—it is bringing people to Jesus. It is easy to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to share Jesus and to do it in just the right way. However, sharing our faith is really a natural thing for Christians. We want to bring other people to be where Jesus is.

Jesus is the one who does the real work. He is the one who does the convincing and puts opportunities in our lives. Our job is just to bring people to be with Jesus.

Prayer:
Father, help me to be like Andrew as he brought people to Jesus. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Perfect Substitute – January 16, 2021

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
John 2: 1,2

The Perfect Substitute


Daily Devotion – January 16, 2021

Devotion based on John 2: 1,2

See series: Devotions

When you host a party or event, what are your criteria for whom you invite? We don’t really know why Jesus was invited to the wedding chronicled in our story. But he was there. Perhaps the inviting couple knew of Jesus as a teacher with a growing reputation. But he had not yet performed any miracles. That all changed at this special wedding when Jesus changed water into wine.

When the wedding was over, did the couple and guests realize that Jesus had power over nature? Did they realize that Jesus was “telling them” that he was the promised Messiah? He was sent by God, his Father, because of the sins that our first parents—Adam and Eve—committed in the Garden of Eden. And every generation of man since then, including us, has continued to sin against our holy God. And our sins have separated us from God.

Enter Jesus. Here he was, God himself, living here on earth as a true man. Jesus had power over nature and the devil because he is God. As a man, he was subject to all the temptations that we are, but Jesus lived a perfect life on earth. And then he was brutally punished and killed, even though he was innocent. In his Father’s eyes, Jesus became the perfect substitute and took our punishment on himself. Now, in God’s eyes, all of Jesus’ followers are perfect because he took our place. They will be with him in heaven—a party unlike any other.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, strengthen my faith as I dwell on your substitution for me. Hear my thanks now, and when I praise you and thank you eternally in heaven. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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For You Too – January 15, 2021

[The jailer] then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Acts 16:30,31

For You Too


Daily Devotion – January 15, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 16:30,31

See series: Devotions

The jailer knew he was in trouble. He had a good occupation, but it was high-risk. Keep the prisoners for the Roman government under lock and key, and the pay was good. Allow the prisoners to escape, and the punishment was losing your own life.

It was night. There was such a violent earthquake that it shook the foundation of the prison. All the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. No chance that there would be any prisoners left after that. The jailer woke up, saw the prison doors were open, and was about to kill himself because he thought that the prisoners had escaped.

One of the prisoners was a missionary named Paul. He realized what was going on, and he shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer knew what Paul did for a living. Faced with his own mortality, he asked the question as clearly as he could ask it. “What must I do to be saved?”

Paul answered as clearly as he could in that crisis moment. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Then, to clarify that this was not just a promise for the jailer but also for every person, Paul added, “You and your household.”

That promise is for you too, whether you are in crisis or calm, whether you are relaxed or stressed, whether your life is good or buildings are crumbling around you. The Bible was written so that you would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you would have life in his name.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have mercy on me, and through faith in you, bring me to everlasting life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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For Everyone – January 14, 2021

I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
Isaiah 49:6

For Everyone


Daily Devotion – January 14, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:6

See series: Devotions

Every year I enjoy watching the New Year celebrations beginning in Asia and then crossing the globe all the way to the west coast of North America. Those celebrations were a little different this year, but it was still the same principle. As the earth turns, the darkness of New Year’s Eve is lit up by artificial light at midnight, and then a few hours later comes the dawning of a new morning in a new year.

When Jesus was on earth as a human being, he celebrated his New Year in Israel. He was a Jewish man. There was a sign on his cross that said, “King of the Jews.” People could have understood his work to be simply for Jewish people since he was one of them.

But 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah quoted God the Father speaking to his Son, Jesus, and saying, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles.” Gentiles are any people who are not Jewish. Jesus is not just the glory of the Jewish people of Israel. He is a light for all of the Gentiles as well.

That means Jesus brings light to the lives of people no matter where they live in the world. The good news about forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus has gone to the ends of the earth. People’s eyes are opened, and their hearts are changed from darkness into light as they come into contact with that wonderful news.

Today that news of salvation can make it around the world through the internet even faster than the world can spin. It’s a blessing to see it happen, and it’s a privilege to be part of that effort.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the world, shine brightly and bring many more to faith in you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Father Makes It Clear – January 13, 2021

And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Mark 1:11

Father Makes It Clear


Daily Devotion – January 13, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:11

See series: Devotions

A teacher notices that one of the boys in her classroom is particularly good at drawing and takes great pleasure in producing pictures. When she meets his father and talks about the student’s skill, the father, who turns out to be a professional artist, says proudly, “Yep. That’s my son.”

Anyone who took a look at Jesus could see that he was particularly good at living life. He did all the right things, and he refrained from doing all the wrong things. He did not insist on being served. Instead, he served others whenever and wherever he had the chance.

At the time of his baptism, he was too old to be in school anymore, so it was not his teacher making that observation. It was his relative, John, and it was the people gathered on the bank of the Jordan River. When Jesus’ Father confirmed that observation, he said to Jesus for all those people to hear: “You are my Son. With you, I am well pleased.” The Father was pleased that the Son was as holy as the Father.

Jesus’ Father added that he loved his Son. “You are my Son, whom I love.” Later on, however, the Father turned his face away from his Son as his Son hung on the cross. How could a loving father do something like that? He did it because at that moment of crucifixion, his Son was taking the responsibility for the sins of people who did not do all the right things.

We are those people. All of us who are students in the classroom of life can be grateful for what the Son of God did for us. Now the Father calls us his children as well, saying that he loves us and is pleased with us. Get the picture?

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for loving me so much that you sent your only Son to be my perfect Savior. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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No Doubt About It – January 12, 2021

Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
Mark 1:10

No Doubt About It


Daily Devotion – January 12, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:10

See series: Devotions

A man named John baptized Jesus. He claimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. But people had to wonder if everything John said about Jesus was true. Was this man named Jesus really connected to the only true God?

John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. As Jesus was coming up out of the water onto the riverbank, an amazing thing happened in the sky. Heaven was torn open! There was clearly something special going on! People who wondered if Jesus had any real connection to God didn’t have to wonder any longer.

At that moment, the Holy Spirit descended onto Jesus. What did it look like? It looked like a supernatural dove coming down and landing on Jesus. If there had been any doubt about it before, there was none now. The connection of Jesus to the true God was visibly confirmed by the Holy Spirit. It must have been amazing and striking.

Now the people had proof that everything Jesus said was from God. The Holy Spirit gave them that proof!

You have that same proof today. The Holy Spirit is the one who uses that proof to work faith in your heart. You can have the confidence—no doubt about it—that your sins are forgiven because Jesus says so. He is the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for your sin, and not only for yours but for the sins of everyone in the world.

You might wish that everyone baptized today would have the same amazing and striking thing happen to them, but the Holy Spirit chooses to arrive invisibly instead through the power of the Word. His visible descent onto Jesus was to help you understand that the promises Jesus makes about baptism in his Word—forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation—are entirely true, no doubt about it.

Prayer:
O Holy Spirit, keep my faith in Jesus strong all the way to eternal life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Anointed – January 11, 2021

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
Mark 1:9

Anointed


Daily Devotion – January 11, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:9

See series: Devotions

There are a lot of expectations for new leaders. Those who don’t like them expect them to do things that people don’t like. Those who do like them hope that they will do things that people want them to do. But the new leaders don’t get to function as new leaders until they are actually in office.

In ancient Israel, the process of putting new leaders in office was called anointing. A special kind of fragrant oil was poured on the heads of new leaders, and people who liked the new leaders rejoiced when it happened. People who didn’t like them just wrinkled their noses in disgust.

The Bible says that when Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, Jesus was anointed as a leader. The anointing oil was water and the Holy Spirit. What kind of leader was Jesus? There were three offices into which a person could be anointed in ancient Israel, and Jesus was entering all three of those offices.

The first office was a prophet, someone who spoke for God. Since Jesus was God, he had no trouble speaking for God. Everything he said was the Word of God! He was doing that speaking in public when he was baptized. Just as you might expect, everything Jesus said was exactly right.

The second office was a priest, someone who makes sacrifices to God for people. Jesus eventually sacrificed himself, and it was for you. He was the ultimate sacrifice, and his sacrifice on the cross paid for your sins once and for all.

The third office was a king, someone who defeated enemies and ruled the people. Jesus defeated enemies who didn’t like him, enemies like sin, death, and the devil. Now he rules your heart by his powerful Word.

May today’s reminder of Jesus’ baptism comfort you with the knowledge that he is your perfect prophet, priest, and king.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for your willingness to take on all of these offices and fulfill their duties for me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Living in the Light – January 10, 2021

“I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:6

Living in the Light


Daily Devotion – January 10, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:6

See series: Devotions

I’ve killed innocent plants. I’ll admit it. Take for instance the first small palm plant I owned. Despite watering it regularly, my little green buddy soon shed his leaves and turned a morbid shade of brown. Only later did someone clue me in to my gardening gaffe: I had set the plant too far away from the window. It didn’t get enough light.

How about you and me? We need light to live as well! But not just physical light. We need the type of light that God says his Servant Jesus gives us in today’s reading from the prophet Isaiah.

You see, Jesus gives us the one thing we really need to live a full life. He gives us the light of salvation! So no matter what dark times we may face—whenever we hurt, whenever we’re lonely, whenever we sin, whenever we get sick, whenever we worry about the future, whenever we die, whenever! He promises to give us light. He assures us that our sins are forgiven, that he loves us dearly, and that he will work out all for our good. With this light of Jesus, we can live, thrive, and be energized for life!

So what will your life be like? With the light of Jesus, it’s certain! You have a bright future ahead! Why? Because you’re living in his light!

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for bringing light to this dark world. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Works In Mysterious Ways – January 9, 2021

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Micah 5:2

God Works In Mysterious Ways


Daily Devotion – January 9, 2021

Devotion based on Micah 5:2

See series: Devotions

“God works in mysterious ways.” That’s quite a statement, and for many of us, at least at one time or another, we have wondered “why” God did what he did or allowed something to happen. From a human perspective, it appears to be a mystery.

For centuries, the Old Testament believers were waiting for God to send the Messiah, the one who would restore the relationship between sinful people and a holy God. When he was coming was a mystery. The picture was getting darker and darker. The nation of Israel was dwindling. They were taken into captivity in Babylon. Only a remnant returned to Jerusalem. Then the Greeks conquered, and later the Romans ruled. It wasn’t looking good, and then…

In the little town of Bethlehem, small among the clans of Judah, a virgin gave birth to a baby boy. This child, who was visited by shepherds and Magi, would one day grow up to be ruler over all nations of the earth and he would bring peace.

You might think this is a mystery. Jesus didn’t extend the physical boundaries of Israel. There certainly isn’t peace in the Middle-East, let alone through the world. What kind of mystery was Micah prophesying?

Here’s the solution: Jesus’ kingdom is his rule in people’s hearts by faith—people all over the earth. While there is still physical strife and struggle, believers in Jesus have peace. They know and trust that Jesus is shepherding and watching over their lives at all times. He, as a ruling king, is guiding, and directing all things for their good. Ah, the mystery is revealed!

Is Jesus ruling in your heart, or has God just been a mystery for years? Could Jesus bring you peace in this New Year? Absolutely! Trust the words written on the pages of the Bible, for God sent his Son—born in little Bethlehem to be your very own Savior and Shepherd and King!

Prayer:
Lord, help me to see that you are my Savior, my Shepherd, and my King each day. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Can You Relate – January 8, 2021

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Matthew 2:11

Can You Relate


Daily Devotion – January 8, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 2:11

See series: Devotions

The Bible story about the Wise Men’s visit to see Jesus introduces us to quite a cast of characters. The Magi—were highly educated men from the East. The teachers of the law—were supposed to be experts on all things related to the Bible. Herod—was an ambitious and renowned ruler.

Can you relate to any of these Epiphany people? Certainly not Herod! Isn’t he the one who, with evil intent, tried to locate the newborn King, and when his crafty plans failed, didn’t he order the killing of innocent babies? How could I possibly relate to such a monster? Maybe in this way: Herod used all his abilities to serve himself. That tendency isn’t foreign to us. We are guilty of using our God-given skills and smarts to advance and protect our self-interests, oftentimes stepping over others. Sadly, there’s a little “Herod” in all of us.

How about those teachers of the law? They had the words of everlasting life right there before them, but they failed to see how those words pointed to Jesus. We have God’s Word, the Bible, but how often it sits unopened on the shelf. The Magi traveled hundreds of miles to worship Jesus; sometimes, we struggle to drive the few blocks to church. God keep us from such indifference.

That leaves the Magi. Did they know the child who was born in a manger would one day hang on a cross? Did they know the child at whose feet they lay their gifts would one day take humanity’s sins upon his own shoulders?

We can’t be sure what the Magi knew or didn’t know, but they traveled many miles to see Jesus and to learn more about that child. While we can relate to all of these Epiphany people, the ones we’ll strive to emulate the most are the Magi. We want to see Jesus, worship him, and learn more about him.

Prayer:
Lord, forgive me for the times I’ve treated your words in the Bible with indifference. Keep my heart on fire for Jesus and move me to never tire of hearing and reading your Word. Amen

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You Are Invited – January 7, 2021

We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.
Matthew 2:2

You Are Invited


Daily Devotion – January 7, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 2:2

See series: Devotions

Some events in life are so important we send out invitations to the special people in our lives. The Lord did that for the Magi in a very nonconventional way. He provided a star that led them to Jesus.

How does the Lord lead us to the Christ Child? How do we know if there’s room for us or that he even wants us there? Certainly, he wants ALL of us there. Over and over again, in the Bible, God asks his followers to express love and kindness to ALL people—family members, friends, people marginalized by society, even enemies. He urges us to share the good news about Jesus with ALL people. He emphatically announces that his son, Jesus, was sent for ALL people. But he probably won’t fling a special star into the sky to lead us to Jesus, the Savior of the world. Instead, he may use parents. Or maybe he’ll use a friend, a co-worker, a total stranger, or even an online devotion to invite us to come and worship Jesus.

And to what are we invited?

We are invited to bring our past mistakes and failures and lay them at Jesus’ feet. We are invited to hear Jesus say, “Go in peace; I forgive you.” We are invited to lean on Jesus for strength, to seek comfort in our sadness, and to find rest for our weary souls. We are invited to pray to a Savior who will hear us in our time of need.

So here it is: No matter what you’ve done in the past, no matter how many times you may have been too busy for previous invitations, God still calls to you. No matter how many doors have been slammed in your face, God’s door stands open. Consider yourself cordially invited to worship and serve the God who never tires of loving and serving you. And while you’re at it, spread the word. Pass it on. Share the invitation.

Prayer:
Gracious Lord, thank you for wanting me and making room for me in your family. If today I have an opportunity to share your gracious invitation with someone else in my life, allow me to do so with courage and sincerity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Life In the Light – January 6, 2021

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the people, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
Isaiah 60:1,2

Life In the Light


Daily Devotion – January 6, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 60:1,2

See series: Devotions

When the sun sets in Utqiagvik, Alaska, in late November, it doesn’t rise again for about 65 days. Can you imagine not seeing the sunlight for over two months? Or let’s go a step further, can you imagine life with no light whatsoever? No sunlight. No light fixtures in your home. No headlights on your car. No glow from your cell phone. No lanterns, candles, or matches. Total darkness would present some serious challenges for travel, work, and overall productivity.

When the prophet Isaiah speaks about the “thick darkness” covering the people, he’s not referring to an annual geographic anomaly or a hypothetical blackout; he’s talking about life without a God who loves, forgives, and saves.

Can you imagine that kind of darkness? Can you imagine life without a heavenly Father watching over you and sending his angels to protect you? Can you imagine a life without a baby being born in Bethlehem, without a crucifixion on Mount Calvary, without a resurrection on Easter morning? Can you imagine your ears never hearing these words, “Jesus loves you. Jesus forgives you. Jesus has opened heaven for you.”

You’ll never have to imagine such dark, depressing things because “your light has come.” The darkness described by Isaiah is very real. Our sins aren’t trivial. Our sins needed to be addressed. And that’s exactly what God did. He sent his Son, Jesus—the Light of the world—to rescue us from darkness. (John 8:12)

We may have some darkness in our past—words and deeds of which we are ashamed. Jesus wants us to know that he replaced those dark sins with his bright holy deeds. He wants us to know that with his death on the cross, he has scrubbed clean our record of the past and given us a fresh start.

So open your ears and hear it well: “Jesus loves you! Jesus forgives you! Jesus has opened heaven for you!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have forgiven all my sins and saved me from darkness. Now help me to live and speak like a child of your light. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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He Shared Our Humanity – January 5, 2021

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity…
Hebrews 2:14

He Shared Our Humanity


Daily Devotion – January 5, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:14

See series: Devotions

Does the name Ingvar Kamprad sound familiar? He died some years ago, but while he was alive he lived a very modest, normal life. He bought all of his clothes at secondhand stores. His home was very minimalist and unpretentious. When traveling, he always took public transit. If you think that sounds rather plain and unnoteworthy, I agree with you.

But the thing is, Ingvar was a multi-millionaire. In fact, he was the founder of the furniture giant IKEA. And yet, for a variety of reasons, he chose to live a very humble, modest life.

What would prompt the Son of God to share in our humanity and live a very humble, modest life? Why did he willingly trade his throne of glory for a lowly manger bed? Well, at first glance, things seem pretty peaceful. Mary gazes down at the child she bore. Jesus is wrapped in cloths. All is calm and serene. However, beneath the peaceful nativity scene, there’s an ugly backstory—our story. Sharing in our humanity meant Jesus would live under the demanding laws of God—the laws we have broken time and time again! Sharing our humanity meant Jesus would be blamed for every one of our sins and shortcomings—they are so numerous!

Sharing our humanity was not peaceful and serene for Jesus. Jesus traded the angel chorus of heaven for the initial sounds of cattle lowing and sheep baaing. And those sounds would change as he grew up, to dismissive comments, shouts of rejection, cruel mockery, and even death chants. He set aside his glory and wore the secondhand clothes of our humanity. And then he was covered in the tattered blanket of our sin. And then he suffered and died to pay for those sins.

Sharing our humanity was not peaceful and serene for Jesus. But his perfect life and his sin-canceling death did bring peace to you and me. That’s why the Lord, who is rich beyond measure, shared our humanity and lived like he was poor.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, for sharing my humanity—thank you! For keeping the law in my place—thank you! For carrying my sins—thank you! For being my Savior, my Friend, my Brother—thank you! Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Why Bethlehem – January 4, 2021

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.
Micah 5:2

Why Bethlehem


Daily Devotion – January 4, 2021

Devotion based on Micah 5:2

See series: Devotions

West Baden, Indiana. Do you know much about it? Probably not. Unless you’re one of the 500 people who live there. The only notable thing about this little town might be the fact that NBA All-Star Larry Bird was born there. Otherwise, it’s not well known beyond the borders of Indiana. In fact, it’s hardly known by the people who live in the Hoosier state.

That was first-century Bethlehem. It had been a thousand years since anyone famous had come from this little town—and that was King David. So why was the Christ Child born in the lowly, tiny town of Bethlehem? One big reason: to fulfill the prophecy written by the prophet Micah 700 years earlier. God promised that his Son, the Messiah, would be born in Bethlehem. As God always does, he made good on his promise.

But why Bethlehem? Perhaps it fits God’s pattern of using the seemingly powerless and puny to showcase his gracious power. He chose David, the youngest son of Jesse and the least impressive of all his other sons, to become the greatest king of Israel. He chose an unknown girl from Galilee to be the mother of his eternal Son. He chose a feeding trough to cradle the mightiest, most glorious King of kings. He chose nails and a wooden cross to be the means by which he redeems the world. He chose an empty tomb to be a symbol of life and hope.

And so he chose not a booming trade town, but lowly, tiny Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. Let that serve as a reminder to you of how meaningful you are to God. No matter how little you may feel or how far you’ve fallen—you are not insignificant. Outside of your own circle of friends and family, others may not know your name and, they probably don’t care. God knows your name. God cares. He cares about you!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, remind me today of how precious I am in your sight. I don’t deserve your love and favor, yet you sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world—my Savior. Thank you! Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Knows What It Is Like – January 3, 2021

Because [Jesus] himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 2:18

Jesus Knows What It Is Like


Daily Devotion – January 3, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:18

See series: Devotions

Of all the temptations that hit you on a regular basis, which one is the most powerful? Give yourself a moment to come up with a specific answer. After all, in your heart of hearts, you probably know what the answer is. Here’s another question: When that specific temptation shows up wanting to claim you for the day (or for the night), what kind of battle do you give it? Do you consistently give it stiff opposition? Or are there times when you simply throw up your hands and not even try to combat it?

Let’s be honest and candid about this. You and I have to admit that there are all kinds of times when we don’t even put up a decent fight in the face of a strong temptation. Satan knows that. In fact, he loves to remind us of it to wear us down and make us feel defeated and hollow even before the battle starts. On our own, of course, that’s how this movie of our life would end—we’d be cowering and crushed, while Satan and his temptations cackled in conquest.

But with Jesus, everything is different. Everything! On our behalf, he resisted every temptation that Satan could invent. On our behalf, he shed his blood to make all our defeats disappear.

And that’s not all. For now, when Satan tries to send a temptation our way, you and I can run immediately to the One who knows exactly what battling temptations is like. In him, we don’t just have a sympathetic ear. In him, we have someone who understands. And because he does, he will help us in our battle against the temptation to sin. Satan hopes you will forget this. Therefore, don’t.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, you know exactly what it’s like to battle temptations in this fallen world. You promise to answer my calls for help. Empower me by your Spirit never to forget that. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Timing – January 2, 2021

When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son.
Galatians 4:4

Timing


Daily Devotion – January 2, 2021

Devotion based on Galatians 4:4

See series: Devotions

Picture a choir singing, “Silent Night.” Each choir member knows the words and melody. They even know when to sing loudly and softly. But imagine if each choir member sang the song at a different speed. And now further imagine if each choir member held each note for a different length of time. Instead of a thing of beauty, you’d have dissonant sounds of chaos. The entire song would fall apart.

In a Christmas carol like “Silent Night,” timing is everything.

It’s the same when it comes to God’s timing for Jesus’ birth.

“When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son,” the Bible tells us. Immediately after our first parents had fallen into sin, God promised to send a Savior. But he fulfilled that promise according to his own pace. Over thousands of years, he carefully guided history until the timing was just right. Then he sent his Son.

Once in a great while, you and I can recognize God’s timing in our own lives. More often than not, however, our human perspective is so small that we just don’t see it.

Make no mistake, however, God is guiding your life just as carefully. Time and again he has made it clear that the answer to life is not within you. Time and again he has brought you into contact with the only Savior from sin you’ve got. Or think about this: it is no accident that this devotion from God’s Word is entering your mind and heart at this very moment.

God’s timing for Jesus’ birth was perfect. Trust his timing in your life, too.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for sending your Son into this world at just the right time. Move me to trust your timing in my life as well. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Brother – January 1, 2021

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
Luke 2:40

Our Brother


Daily Devotion – January 1, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 2:40

See series: Devotions

Can God grow? If you were to measure God today and then measure him a month from now, would there be any difference in his size? Can God become stronger? Can he struggle to open a pickle jar today but a few years from now be able to open it with ease? Can God become smarter? Are there things he doesn’t know right now that he will learn later?

Those questions probably seem nonsensical. Of course, God doesn’t grow. He fills the universe now, just as he always has and just as he always will. He can’t become more almighty or more all-knowing. He can do all things and knows all things, and that never changes.

Yet, in Jesus, God did grow. He did become stronger. He did learn and grow in wisdom. This is true because Jesus was not only true God but also was truly a human being. He was conceived in his mother’s womb even as you and I were conceived in our mother’s wombs. He went through all the stages of fetal development that you and I went through. He was born as an infant just as we were. As a true human infant, Jesus was incapable of feeding himself or caring for himself. He relied on his mother, just as you and I did when we were infants. And day by day he grew. He got bigger and taller. He became stronger. He even learned things and became smarter.

That the infinite, almighty, and all-knowing Son of God grew and became stronger and learned is a fact that is beyond our understanding. Yet it is at the same time wonderfully comforting. If Jesus had come only as God, he could not have been our Savior. In order to save us, Jesus needed to become a human being so he could take our place. And the fact that he grew and became strong and was filled with wisdom shows us that he truly is one of us. He truly is human. He truly is our Brother. He truly is our Savior.

Prayer:
Thank you for becoming my Brother so that you might take my place and save me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Savior for All People – December 31, 2020

“My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Luke 2:30-32

A Savior for All People


Daily Devotion – December 31, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 2:30-32

See series: Devotions

We human beings have a bad habit of focusing on what makes us different from others. Instead of rejoicing in all the things that unite us as fellow human beings, we separate ourselves into rival groups based on various characteristics that we consider important. We separate ourselves based on nationality. We separate ourselves based on the color of our skin. We separate ourselves based on whether we support this political candidate or that one. With all this separation, is it any wonder that we are experiencing so much turmoil in our world right now?

Thankfully, when God looks at us, he does not focus on what separates us from one another. It’s not that our unique and individual characteristics are unimportant. God has purposely made each of us unique so that with our uniqueness, we might be a beautiful part of his people. But when it comes to what’s most important, our relationship with him, God focuses on what unites us as human beings.

God first focused on the fact that we are all sinners. All of us. Regardless of where we were born or what color our skin is, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. God saw all of us in equal need of his help, and he was determined to provide that help to all of us. He didn’t decide to send one Savior for this group of people and another Savior for that group of people. He sent one Savior for all people. He sent his Son, Jesus, to be the Savior of everyone.

Simeon recognized this as he held Jesus in his arms. As he praised God for sending Jesus, he recognized that Jesus came both for the Gentiles (non-Jewish people) and for the people of Israel (Jewish people). That covers every human being. That covers you. Regardless of who you are, where you are from, or whatever unique characteristics you may have, Jesus came to be your Savior. And for that, we join Simeon in praising God.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I praise you that you came to be the Savior of all people, including me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Ready to Die Now – December 30, 2020

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation.”
Luke 2:28-30

Ready to Die Now


Daily Devotion – December 30, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 2:28-30

See series: Devotions

What will it take for you to be ready to die? That may seem like a morbid question, but it’s a question we all need to ask. With only two exceptions (Enoch in Genesis 5:24 and Elijah in 2 Kings 2:11), every person who has been born has died or will die. “The wages of sin is death,” God tells us (Romans 6:23). And since we all are sinners, we all can expect that one day we will die.

So, what will it take for you to be ready to die? Simeon had one answer to that question. Once he saw the Savior, he was ready to die. God had told him that he would not die before he saw the Savior that God had promised to send. God fulfilled that promise and allowed Simeon not just to see his Savior, Jesus, but even to hold him in his arms. With that tangible proof that God had fulfilled his promise, Simeon was ready to die. His eyes had seen the salvation that God had promised him. In his arms, he held the One who would live, die, and rise again for him so that he could live forever with God in heaven. He could face death with peace, knowing that through the Savior whom he held, he was at peace with God.

What made Simeon ready to die is the same thing that makes us ready to die. When we, through faith, have seen the Savior and believe in him, we are ready to die. Through faith, we see him as the one who lived a perfect life in our place. Through faith, we see him as the one who died to pay for all our sins. Through faith, we see him as the one who rose again to declare us not guilty before God. Through faith, we see Jesus as our Savior and know that in him, we are at peace with God. That makes us ready to die, whenever that time may come.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you that because you have saved me from my sins, I can be ready to meet you whenever you call me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Living Perfectly in Our Place – December 29, 2020

The parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required.
Luke 2:27

Living Perfectly in Our Place


Daily Devotion – December 29, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 2:27

See series: Devotions

The Bible tells us that if we are to spend eternity with God in heaven, we must be perfect just as he is perfect. To do that, we must keep all of God’s commandments all the time without even one failure. Because all of us are born sinful, none of us can come even close to accomplishing such a feat.

Jesus, however, could. He is the sinless Son of God. As both true God and a true human being, Jesus was in the unique position of being both subject to all of God’s commandments and able to keep them all. And that is exactly what he did. Throughout his life, he perfectly kept all of God’s commandments for us.

We see that in our Bible passage for today. God’s Old Testament law required that his people dedicate their firstborn sons to him. Because Jesus was Mary’s firstborn son, this law applied to him. And so, in order to accomplish his work as our Savior, he had to fulfill this law also, just as he had to fulfill every other law that God had laid down for his people.

That’s why it is so comforting to see Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple to do for him what the law required. Even as Jesus lay in his parents’ arms, he was keeping God’s law perfectly for us. He left no law unfulfilled but kept every last one of them for us. Because he kept all of God’s laws perfectly in our place, we now, through faith in him, have the perfection we need to live with God forever in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I thank you for perfectly keeping all of God’s laws in my place. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Waiting to See the Savior – December 28, 2020

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Luke 2:25,26

Waiting to See the Savior


Daily Devotion – December 28, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 2:25,26

See series: Devotions

Do you have a “bucket list”? If you’re not familiar with the term, a “bucket list” is a list of things that a person wants to do before they die or, “kick the bucket.” Unfortunately, few if any of the things on a person’s “bucket list” are guaranteed. We simply don’t know when we will “kick the bucket,” so we can’t know for sure what we will be able to do before we die.

Simeon was an old man who lived in Jerusalem at the time that Jesus was born. He probably didn’t call it a “bucket list,” but he did have one thing that he wanted to experience before he died. He wanted to see the Savior whom God had promised to send. Simeon’s bucket list was unique, however, since the one thing on his “bucket list” was guaranteed to happen. God, the Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

Eventually, the day came when God told Simeon to go to the temple where he would see the Messiah. As Simeon held the baby Jesus in his arms, he saw much more than just the completion of his “bucket list.” He saw the fulfillment of all his hopes. He saw the One for whom he and all God’s people had been waiting. He saw his Savior, who would rescue him from his sins.

Just a few days ago, we celebrated the birth of Jesus. Unlike Simeon, we were not able to see him physically with our eyes or hold him in our arms. Yet, we still are confident that he truly was born for us. Simeon’s fulfilled “bucket list” gives us proof of that. The Lord fulfilled his promise to Simeon and allowed him to see the Savior before he died. Because of that, we know that God also has fulfilled his promise to us. Jesus, our Savior, who came to rescue us from all our sins, truly has been born for us, just as God promised.

Prayer:
Lord, I thank you for fulfilling your promise and sending your Son to be my Savior. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Celebrating Christmas Forever – December 27, 2020

When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
2 Samuel 7:12,13

Celebrating Christmas Forever


Daily Devotion – December 27, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 7:12,13

See series: Devotions

The packages have all been opened. The refrigerator is full of leftovers. Another Christmas is over. After all the weeks and months of preparing for it, the Christmas celebration seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. It’s all over too quickly. But here is the good news: the real celebration of Christmas never ends. This is what our Bible reading for today promises.

This particular promise was made to King David. King David was probably the greatest king of the Israelite nation. In spite of his flaws, he was one of the inspired writers of the Psalms and a great spiritual leader of his people. In our Bible verse for today, God had just told David that his family would continue to rule Israel, but it would rule Israel in a way that was far greater than any kingdom. From his family, the Savior of the world would come. This Savior would establish a kingdom that was not about land, possessions, and earthly power. It would even be a kingdom that would not be affected by time. That great descendant of David would be Jesus, who with his life and death, would redeem the world. He would establish peace with God through the forgiveness of sins. All believers would be a part of his great kingdom of life, a kingdom that would not end.

This is what we are celebrating at Christmas every year. All the gifts, songs, and decorations are an expression of the joy we have in our hearts. It is a joy that lasts far longer than just one day. In fact, it will last forever.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for sending your Son. And thank you for the joyful celebration of his birth. Help me live in the joy of your love and forgiveness today and every day. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Lasting Joy – December 26, 2020

Be joyful always.
1 Thessalonians 5:16

Lasting Joy


Daily Devotion – December 26, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16

See series: Devotions

If you’re looking for a good biography to read over the Christmas break, consider picking up a copy of Mark Twain: A Life by Ron Powers. It’s a fascinating book. For the Christian, it can also be a thought-provoking one.

Here’s why. It would be easy to make the case that Mark Twain lived a charmed life. His natural writing ability and riveting personality opened doors for him around the world. He became wealthy. He traveled where he wanted, when he wanted. People packed any theater where he was going to speak. He was a real celebrity, and he relished the part. He also married the love of his life, and together they raised children who adored him.

But based on his statements about spiritual matters, it also appears that Mark Twain never came to know the peace of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. As a result, his sense of happiness was always dependent upon how well or how poorly his life was going. He rarely forgave anyone who ever let him down. Guilt over his past failures haunted him. And when death later touched his immediate family, he spent the closing years of his life in bitterness.

Mark Twain received virtually every pleasant thing the world could offer. One thing he did not possess was a lasting joy.

Let’s be candid for a moment. Many of you reading or hearing this will be lacking a lot of things this Christmas. You may not have a job or may not have good health. You may not have peace in your family or have money to pay off past bills. You may not have an intact marriage or the love of your life close to you.

But if you have Jesus in your life, you are forgiven, you are at peace with God, you have no reason to fear the future, and you know that all will be well according to God’s purpose and plan. It also means you possess what the world cannot deliver. In Jesus, you have lasting joy.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, this world can only offer me passing distractions. You bring me lasting joy. Thank you, Lord. Thank you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Hero We Needed – December 25, 2020

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Luke 2:6,7

The Hero We Needed


Daily Devotion – December 25, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 2:6,7

See series: Devotions

How many thousands of years had passed since the promise of a Savior had been made? For how many countless generations had the people of earth been waiting for God to rescue them? Our sins had separated us from our Creator. Only the living God could save us. Hell’s gaping jaws were open and ready to consume all mankind. Only heaven’s might could close them.

Surely, we needed a hero greater than all those who have appeared in ancient epics or modern movies. No doubt, we needed someone more powerful than all the world’s kings, conquerors, and corporate CEO’s combined. We needed a fearless warrior to defeat Satan, our wicked foe.

But what do we see? A baby. A newborn baby snuggled tight in a blanket. His humble parents watching while he sleeps, nestled in a tangle of hay. Is this all the help that heaven could spare? Don’t we as a human race deserve better? How could this poor, fragile child accomplish what was beyond the wisest and most powerful among us?

Ah, but selfish pride and sinful doubt put us under God’s wrath in the first place. Jesus is truly a great and powerful Savior, and he displayed his might in countless miracles. But the hero we required also needed to be humble and gentle, motived purely by selfless love. He had to be willing to sacrifice himself, not only for the best of us but also for the lowest, the poorest, and the vilest. He had to be willing to die for you. And he was—with great joy.

In Christ Jesus alone, we find the hero we need, the only one who was able both to die as our spotless lamb and to take up his life again as our loving Shepherd. Let us sing and herald his birth today with great joy!

Prayer:
I praise you, Lord Jesus, for your undeserved love for me, which brought you to earth as my gentle Savior. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Grace of God Appeared – December 24, 2020

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2:11-14

The Grace of God Appeared


Daily Devotion – December 24, 2020

Devotion based on Titus 2:11-14

See series: Devotions

“Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words!” Eliza Doolittle exploded in exasperation at the incessant wooing of a suitor in the musical, My Fair Lady. “Don’t talk of stars burning above. If you’re in love, show me!” Do you know someone who is all talk and no action? All of a person’s promises and beautiful words are meaningless if they don’t follow through.

At the beginning of the world, when our first parents disobeyed and brought death’s curse on our race, God made them a promise. The “Seed of the woman” would undo Satan’s evil work. God repeated and expanded on that promise through his prophets and priests, inspiring his people to patiently wait for a coming Savior. Some gave up hope. And even those who trusted in God still asked in their desperation, when will you send your Servant? When will you free us from sin and death?

On Christmas, we celebrate the historical fact that God was true to his word. In the person of Jesus Christ, the grace of God has appeared, visibly, powerfully, to save us. Despite our unworthiness, the eternal Son of God redeemed mankind from the curse of sin through his perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection. We read about these actions of love and their gracious results in God’s Word, but they are not merely words. The Holy Spirit works powerfully through the words of the Bible to bring us to repentance and to work in us the fruits of faith.

While we wait for Christ’s return on the last day, will we give him empty lip-service on this holy day? Or will we offer our lives in service to him, who was born to die for us?

Prayer:
Let us all with gladsome voice praise the God of heaven, who to bid our hearts rejoice, his own Son has given. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Life of Obedience to God – December 23, 2020

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:34-38

A Life of Obedience to God


Daily Devotion – December 23, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 1:34-38

See series: Devotions

Can you imagine what it was like for Mary at that moment? A young, soon-to-be-married woman discovers that she is going to have a baby. Her life is about to get turned upside down. Hundreds of questions and dozens of doubts and fears must swirl around in her head. How will Joseph, her husband-to-be, accept the news? Will her child be considered illegitimate? Would anyone ever believe the truth—that her baby was a miracle of the Holy Spirit? Why was she chosen for this? How could such a thing even be possible?

In reply to her questions, the angel pointed her to God’s grace, God’s power, and God’s promises. And that is what her faith clung to. Mary didn’t ask for time to pray or to speak with her fiancé before responding to God’s messenger. She simply said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

A life of obedience to God means taking him at his word, relinquishing control of one’s own life, and trusting that God will make good on his many promises. All too often, we rebel against that thought. But Mary’s son, Jesus, obeyed it perfectly. Although he is the true Son of God, he is also the Lord’s perfect servant. Jesus submitted his will to that of God his Father, serving willingly and faithfully as our Savior and substitute on the cross. His death and resurrection guarantee that our sin of rebellion has been forgiven. All who repent and believe are declared to be God’s holy children. May his Word to us be fulfilled!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, let me serve you even as you have served me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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What Is So Great About Christmas – December 22, 2020

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
Luke 1:31-33

What Is So Great About Christmas


Daily Devotion – December 22, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 1:31-33

See series: Devotions

Is Christmas really worth all the bother? All the tree lighting, carol singing, gift-giving, and countless other traditions unique to each family? Around the world, Christians have developed an amazing variety of ways to celebrate Christmas in their own languages and cultures. What’s so great about Christmas that it should inspire people to such elaborate and creative celebrations? Isn’t it just about the birth of a baby?

Yes, but what a birth! And what a baby! There would be reason enough for us to sit in wonder each year at this time simply marveling at the miracle of the virgin birth. That baby boy born to Mary in Bethlehem is God himself, “the Son of the Most High,” whose coming was foretold by prophets in ancient times and whose arrival was announced by an angel from heaven. This child was not only a direct descendant of the great King David—he is the proper heir to an even higher throne, the eternal kingdom of God, his Father. Earthly kingdoms rise and fall, even our own nation one day, but Jesus Christ will rule forever.

How do you properly celebrate the birth of the greatest, most highly anticipated person to ever walk on this earth? What if I told you that this great man willingly allowed himself to be humiliated before men so that you and I could be glorified before God? He suffered the shame of the cross so that we might be honored with God’s grace and the gift of forgiveness. And after rising from death of his own power, Jesus now watches over you, showering you with his love and blessings, and working out all things so that you might share in his never-ending glory. What’s so great about Christmas? It’s the birth of our great Christ and King!

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 55)
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
Jesus, to Thee be
all glory given;
Son of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You Have Found Favor With God – December 21, 2020

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.”
Luke 1:28-30

You Have Found Favor With God


Daily Devotion – December 21, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 1:28-30

See series: Devotions

In your inbox is an email with the subject line: “Congratulations! You have been chosen to receive special attention.” By now, you’ve learned enough of how the internet works that you might immediately mark the message as junk mail without even opening it. But what if you noticed that it was sent by the Internal Revenue Service? You wouldn’t throw that one away! You might even become nervous, wondering why the government had singled you out, fearing that you might somehow be in trouble.

A young woman named Mary wasn’t sure how to react when an emissary from God, a holy angel, appeared to her saying, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Why would God single her out for attention? She knew that there was nothing about her personally that merited any preferential treatment. Like others in the Scriptures who suddenly found themselves in the presence of God or one of his angels, at that moment, Mary was no doubt painfully aware of her own unworthiness, her personal failings, and the many reasons why a holy God might be displeased with her. But the angel assured her that she had nothing to worry about. She had found favor with God.

Whenever we open our Bibles or go to church, we find ourselves in the presence of God, who speaks through his Word and who knows how unworthy we are. Maybe you have been trying to avoid that. But don’t be afraid; listen to what he has to say. You will also find favor with him! He is a gracious God who lifts up the lowly and has mercy on the undeserving. He sent his Son Jesus, born of Mary, to shower us all with his grace. Do not be afraid of God turning his gaze toward you. Rather listen closely to his message of peace and forgiveness in Jesus announced to you again this Christmas.

Prayer:
Lord, calm my heart and prepare it to listen to your message of peace and joy in Jesus. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Christ is All We Need for Christmas – December 20, 2020

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach 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.
Isaiah 61:1-3

Christ is All We Need for Christmas


Daily Devotion – December 20, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:1-3

See series: Devotions

This is the season when people typically make a list of the things they would like for Christmas gifts. Children, especially, can usually come up with a pretty long list.

Despite all the gift-giving that goes on at Christmas time, the greatest gift we receive is a Savior who was born in a manger. There is nothing we need more than that. Just to prove that point, look at our Bible reading for today.

Jesus stood up in the synagogue at Nazareth and read this Old Testament passage. After rolling up the scroll, he said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4: 21). Jesus confirmed that he is the one to give all the blessings of this Isaiah passage. And what great blessings they are! The good news of God’s love and forgiveness is proclaimed to poor sinners like us. When our hearts are broken by all the heartbreakers of this life, Jesus is there to bind them up with his peace. Instead of feeling trapped by our sin and death, Jesus sets us free to live powerful lives of forgiveness and hope. He makes us strong oaks to stand in the face of troubles. He puts a crown on our heads and declares that we are children of the King. He clothes us in his righteousness to stand before our God and the world as a display of God’s splendor.

What’s on your Christmas list? It is comforting to know that, even if we were to receive none of the gifts on our list, we would still have all we need because we have Jesus, our Savior.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for being the only gift I could ever really need. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Perfect Christmas Preparation – December 19, 2020

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned [John], “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
John 1:24-27

Perfect Christmas Preparation


Daily Devotion – December 19, 2020

Devotion based on John 1:24-27

See series: Devotions

For most of us, Christmas preparations are in full swing. Although preparing for Christmas can be hectic, it can also be an exciting and enjoyable task—smelling Christmas cookies as you bake them, trimming the tree, smiling as you find just the right gift for that special someone.

The Lord knows all about preparing. Over and over in the Old Testament, he prepared his people for the eventual arrival of their deliverer—the one he would send to rescue them from their sins and restore their relationship with their Maker. Just before Jesus began preaching and teaching, the Lord sent a special man to prepare people for Jesus’ arrival on the scene. We know this man as John the Baptist.

The reason John was such an expert at preparing people for Jesus is that John had a proper perspective on things. John said that he was not even worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals. This was not false modesty. John knew exactly where he stood with God and knew he had offended God with his sins. John knew that he desperately needed someone to rescue him from those sins. So, when Jesus arrived, John was relieved and thankful and thrilled.

Do you want to be properly prepared to celebrate Christmas? Baking cookies, trimming the tree, and shopping till you drop are all fine and fun. But, to be TRULY prepared, adopt the proper perspective of John. See yourself as the unworthy sinner you are. See your Savior as the one who loves you still. Then, like John, you will be relieved, thankful, and thrilled when you see your Savior arrive.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, I know that, like John, I am not worthy to even untie your sandals. But I also know that this is why you were born in Bethlehem. I know that through your perfect life and innocent death, you have washed away my sins and made me worthy in God’s sight. Thank you. Amen.

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