God is Love – February 23, 2018

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8

God is Love


Daily Devotion – February 23, 2018

Devotion based on 1 John 4:8

See series: Devotions

God is loving. He has given me a body and a soul. He constantly sustains my body with food and drink, clothing and home, friends and family. He constantly sustains my soul with his promises in the Bible.

God demonstrated his ultimate love by sending Jesus, just as he promised in the Bible even before Jesus was born. Even when I was created by God the Father and received from him all kinds of good things, the devil came and led me into disobedience, sin, death, and all kinds of misfortune. There was really no help for me until the eternal Son of God had mercy on me and came from heaven to help me. He didn’t have to do it. It showed amazing love for him to take on a human body, suffer, and die to earn forgiveness for me.

God is so loving that the Bible says these amazing words: “God is love.” To know the definition of true love, I can just look at what God did for me and continues to do. He is not simply loving. He is the very definition of love.

And the love continues. God sends the Holy Spirit to bring me to faith through Word and sacrament. That same Holy Spirit makes me a member of the Holy Christian Church, the group of believers in Jesus. I believe that in this Christian community I have the forgiveness of sins, which takes place through the sacraments and absolution as well as through all the comforting words of the entire gospel.

I note from the verse for today that when I actually know God, I love as a result. God’s love moves me to show love to my family and friends. It moves me to show love to strangers and to people in need. It even moves me and gives me strength to show love to the unlovable. What power! What love!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, teach me to love others as you have loved me. Help me be more patient and alert to the needs of others, and make me always ready to serve with the gifts you have given me in love. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

God is Just -February 22, 2018

[Our God] is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Deuteronomy 32:4

God is Just


Daily Devotion – February 22, 2018

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 32:4

See series: Devotions

A characteristic of God that he revealed about himself in the Bible is that he is just. But instead of embracing the fact that God is just, we often paint an imbalanced picture of God. We read and know that God is love. God loves the whole world. God loves each of us. We tend to focus so much on the fact that God is love that we sometimes forget or ignore the truth that God is also holy and just.

It is much more comfortable for us to try to put God on trial instead of being under scrutiny ourselves. How fair, holy, just, and loving are we? How would the people around us answer that? Should we ask God? Our verdict comes back. Our sin makes us guilty of being far less than perfect, loving, and just.

Since God is just, he needs to carry out his sentence for sin. Because God is love, he did not want the punishment of eternal death to fall on sinners—on you and me. And so, as the Bible teaches, God sent his Son to be the complete sacrifice for sin “to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). God is just. He carried out the sentence of death for sin, but the one who bore the suffering and death was Jesus. Jesus died for the sins of each and every person. Because of Jesus’ innocent sufferings and death, God is just by not charging us with the guilt of sin. God is the justifier. Through Jesus he declares us not guilty.
God is just. We hate that fact when we see our sins and know what we deserve. But we love God’s justice when we see Jesus’ cross and empty tomb. God is just. In Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer:
Dear God, you are holy and just in who you are and all you do. Thank you for punishing Jesus in my place and giving me forgiveness and peace through him. Grow my faith so that your love and holiness increase in my heart and 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Prove That You Love Me – February 21, 2018

“God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering…” “…Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”…He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. …“On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Genesis 22 (selected portions)

Prove That You Love Me


Daily Devotion – February 21, 2018

Devotion based on Genesis 22 (selected portions)

See series: Devotions

“Prove that you love me!” That challenge was given to a man named Abraham by God himself in an episode recorded in Genesis chapter 22. Does it surprise you, maybe even disgust or anger you, that God would choose such a test to measure Abraham’s love and devotion? It sure seems like an unfair, even immoral choice he was left to make. “Who is more important to you, Abraham? Your God or your son?” It is amazing to see how Abraham passed the test. He had every intention of sacrificing his own son! Proving that his allegiance to the Lord was foremost and genuine.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength! It doesn’t take a long, hard look at our lives and our choices to see that we have failed that test—and in ways much less difficult than what was presented to Abraham. How often is the thought of God and his desires absent from our life choices? Personal pleasures and pursuits rule the day and the choices made in it. Far from proving our unfailing love to God in the way we live, do we instead find ourselves shouting back at him in defensive accusation: “Oh yeah, God? Why should I pay attention to you or live for you? Why don’t you prove your love to me?!”

As an answer from God to those questions, this ancient story has a deeper meaning and fulfillment. To Isaac’s question about the sacrifice they were going to offer, Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” As Abraham proved his deep love for the Lord with his willingness to sacrifice his son, God did provide an animal for Abraham to sacrifice as a substitute for his son. This foreshadowed the great event in the future when God the Father would provide and accept the sacrifice of his beloved Son—the Lamb of God as a substitute for the world of sinners.

Does God love you? One of the most well-known passages of the Bible says that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son! For those who haven’t kept even the first and most basic command of God—to love him first and best—God sent his Son to enter their world as the suitable, substitute sacrifice. God did not withhold from us his dearest treasure, but offered him up as a payment for human sin. Instead of banishing us from his sight because of our sin, he provided needed forgiveness and acceptance through the willingness of Jesus to suffer in our place. Jesus went to a mount called Calvary to give his life in place of ours. We can truly say that on the mountain of the Lord, God’s love has been provided to us. See there the ultimate proof that God loves you. And then be amazed at how he works in you a genuine love for him who loved you first!

Prayer:
Lord God, heavenly Father, I have often failed the test of showing love and devotion to you. Forgive me for the sake of Jesus, your dear Son, whom you sent into my world to be my Savior. Help me to see in him your unfailing love and forgiveness. Help me to respond with a life of love to you, because you have loved me first and best. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

God is for Us – February 20, 2018

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39

God is for Us


Daily Devotion – February 20, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 8:31-39

See series: Devotions

You and I may not have to worry about persecution, nakedness, and swords, but all of us are familiar with trouble and hardship. Rejoice that God’s promises spoken through the apostle Paul still stand: God is for us and nothing will be able to separate us from him.

Have you considered what that means?

Sometimes we cringe and cower in the presence of God. Past sins haunt us and guilty feelings remain. The devil accuses and suddenly we feel like we’re far away from God and second-class citizens in his kingdom, if we’re citizens at all. What does Jesus want us to remember at a time like that? God is for us!

Sometimes the headlines are horrifying. Our loved ones hurt. We wrestle with troubles and tragedies. We feel like God has abandoned us to suffer alone in a sin-broken world. What does Jesus want us to remember at a time like that? Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ!

So, what keeps you up at night? In Christ, you have nothing to fear. Jesus assures you of that here in Romans chapter 8 and throughout all of Scripture. His blood shed on the cross has washed away your sin. His resurrection assures you that your salvation is complete. The Lord has found you, rescued you from sin and death, and will keep you safe, now and forever.

Christ Jesus is absolutely committed to his people and he promises to keep you safe. Let that glorious fact transform your life. Let go of all that scares you. Let nothing keep you up at night. Rest easy in the promises of your Savior.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in sending Jesus to be my Savior, you have demonstrated your love for me. Help me to find hope and strength in you 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Tempted, Yet Triumphant – February 19, 2018

At once the Spirit sent [Jesus] out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
Mark 1:12-13

Tempted, Yet Triumphant


Daily Devotion – February 19, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 1:12-13

See series: Devotions

No one truly understands the torrent of temptations I face in daily life like Jesus does. Countless times the devil coaxes me with his sweet-sounding, sly lies. And after falling for his diabolical deception, I am met with a cascade of his accusations concerning my own guilt and shame. The devil is a real enemy not to be underestimated. His mission is to undermine my faith in God.

Jesus not only understands the power of the evil one; he overcame him! Alone in the barren desert with wild animals surrounding him, Jesus encountered our arch enemy. For forty days he faced the fierce enticements of the evil one. In every vicious attack, Jesus stood victorious. Christ Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Whenever I am tempted, my help and strength will never be found in the deceptive lies of the prince of darkness. Lasting help is graciously given by the Prince of peace who shines with the light of the gospel’s eternal truth, exposing the devilish lies for what they are. His Word of Truth brings the Savior’s healing and forgiveness for the fallen sinner. His love compels me to repent of my sin and to fix my eyes on Jesus who paid the entire debt of my guilt as he crushed the devil through his victory on the cross and from the grave.

It is not a matter of if  temptation will come my way. It is only a matter of when. And when the tide of temptation seeks to overwhelm me, I rest in the safe harbor of heavenly grace. For Jesus assures me with his presence and his powerful promise, that he will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). Finally, when my last hour comes, the Lord will deliver me from all evil and graciously take me from this world to himself in the refuge of heaven.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, the reason you appeared on earth was to destroy the devil’s work. When I fall into temptation, move me to sorrow over my sin and befriend me with your abiding love and forgiveness. Your word is my strength against every evil attack. I thank you that you were victorious 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Safe – February 18, 2018

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew 4:1

Safe


Daily Devotion – February 18, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 4:1

See series: Devotions

Every time I pray the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), I find great comfort in the words, “And lead us not into temptation.” I need this reassurance because there are many things which seek to draw me away from the Lord. The world always beckons with its pleasures. The devil always offers illusions and distractions. My flesh is always attentive to their appealing call. My only refuge is knowing the Lord will keep me safe in every time of temptation, and that refuge is found in my Savior Jesus Christ.

At the beginning of his ministry God the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness of Judea. The sole purpose was to engage in spiritual combat with the devil. Forty days and forty nights Jesus endured the devil’s twisted truths, his easy solutions, and his deceptive offers. Through the power of God’s Word, Jesus was victorious and did not sin.

I am the beneficiary of this hard-fought battle. Because Jesus overcame every temptation, he gives me the ability to resist the devil’s destructive advances. He also gives me the wisdom to identify Satan’s deadly deceptions. He even gives me the strength to faithfully endure every cunning attack.

I can find great comfort in knowing Jesus will keep me safe. I find equal comfort in knowing when I fail to resist temptation, Jesus stands ready to rescue me. He forgives my failure to remain faithful and removes the burden of my guilt. He encourages me with his reassuring promises to retake my stand on God’s Word. He even renews me with his victory to prepare me for the next battle.

I know as long as I live in this world, the devil will always be there to tempt me. I also know I need to be ready to identify these temptations so I can resist them. What gives me courage and strength for the battle is knowing that Jesus is there to keep me safe.

Prayer:
O gracious and faithful Savior, you were strong and faithful in the face of every temptation. Give me the same strength and faith to resist the devil’s attacks. Refresh me when I grow weak. Forgive me when I fall. Keep me safely in your care. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

The One for the Many – February 17, 2018

“…through the obedience of the one Man the many will be made righteous.”
Romans 5:19

The One for the Many


Daily Devotion – February 17, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 5:19

See series: Devotions

Al Capone is a household name in American history. Al Capone is the notorious mob leader who ruled the city of Chicago with an iron fist in the 1920’s.

But there’s another name we would do well to know. The name of this man is Frank Loesch. Here is his story. It was the height of Al Capone’s power. His violent reign over Chicago was so tough that local, state and federal authorities dared not to challenge him. Frank Loesch was an elderly man in his seventies. But Frank Loesch had had enough. So, he led an effort to find a way to bring down Al Capone.

The work took years—years of stress, years of death threats, years of constant danger to himself and his family. But finally, the day came. A court found Al Capone guilty of tax evasion. A judge sentenced him to prison. His bloody control was over. The 3 million citizens of Chicago were freed and no longer feared him, thanks to the determination of one brave man, a man by the name of Frank Loesch.

One man doing what had to be done to rescue the lives of many. It’s an extraordinary story. But even the story of Frank Loesch must fade in comparison to what Jesus Christ has done on our behalf.

You and I were under the rule of an iron fist. The iron fist was the curse of our own sin. Under that rule, our lives were fearful, empty, dark. But when Jesus came, he did what had to be done. On our behalf he served as our Champion. In our place he paid the price to set us free. The devil can claim us no more. The curse of our sin is gone. Instead we now possess forgiveness, and life, and light.

The One for the many. That’s Jesus. His victory is total. Because it is, we don’t have to be afraid anymore.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when the curse of sin ruled us with an iron fist, you came. You shattered sin’s grip and washed us clean. Keep us close to you. And thank you! Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

God is Holy – February 16, 2018

“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.’”
Leviticus 19:2

God is Holy


Daily Devotion – February 16, 2018

Devotion based on Leviticus 19:2

See series: Devotions

God in heaven is absolutely perfect. He wants heaven to be a perfect place for us as well, so he says that nothing imperfect, unclean, or sinful will ever enter there. Because God wanted the people of Israel to enter there, he told them to be holy. He says the same thing to us today. Be holy, and we will earn heaven.

How holy? God wants us to be as holy as he is. That means no bad thoughts, no sinful words, no wrong deeds, from the beginning of life all the way through every day. He knew that people would try to water down that standard, so he gave the Ten Commandments to the entire assembly of Israel, and told them to obey those rules. He said that they should practice such obedience for the right reasons—loving God with all their power and loving their neighbor as themselves.

When the holy God looked down from heaven to see how the people of Israel were doing, he saw that no one was righteous, not even one. He sees the same thing when he looks at us today. Although he searched the whole world, he could not find and still cannot find a single holy person—except for Jesus.

Jesus lived an absolutely holy life. He never thought anything wrong, he never said anything wrong, and he never did anything wrong. He always did the right thing, even under difficult circumstances, and he always refrained from doing the wrong thing.

Jesus never sinned. He earned his way to heaven! But instead of taking the heaven that he deserved, Jesus took the hell that we deserve. The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God punished Jesus for our sin, and Jesus suffered hell, separation from God the Father, on the cross.

Through faith in Jesus, you have his perfect, holy life credited to your account, and you will receive heaven as a free gift when you die. Yes, there will be no more sin in heaven. Through Jesus, you will be holy, because the Lord your God is holy.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your amazing gift. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

God is Everywhere – February 15, 2018

“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 23:23-24

God is Everywhere


Daily Devotion – February 15, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 23:23-24

See series: Devotions

I woke up in a youth hostel halfway around the world. Frankfurt, Germany was the farthest I had ever been from home. I had a few moments before the day of exploring the city started. I pulled out my little travel Bible from my backpack and determined that I’d read whatever happened to open. What opened? Jeremiah chapter 23.

Verses 23 and 24 jumped out at me. God is EVERYWHERE. God was in Frankfurt. He was on the plane. He was in the United States. The Lord was where I was and everywhere I wasn’t. God is EVERYWHERE at the same time—always.

That can be a scary thought. God is with me when I dole out hate to the people God has called me to love. God is with me when lies tumble off my tongue instead of truth. God is with me when I hide shameful habits from friends and family. Since God is EVERYWHERE, God is witness to every sin of mine.

The Lord who is EVERYWHERE chose to be Immanuel, God with us—true God and true man. The one who is EVERYWHERE chose to be THERE.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, lived in lowly Nazareth, and was baptized in the Jordan River. He healed on hillsides, preached from boats, and taught at the Temple. Jesus chose to stand on trial, to be nailed to a cross just outside Jerusalem, and laid in a nearby tomb. Jesus rose and walked out of that tomb. He strolled and taught his way from Jerusalem to Emmaus with some struggling followers. Our risen Jesus enjoyed a fish breakfast on the beach with his friends, met with over 500 disciples in Galilee, and ascended to heaven. Jesus was there, in all those places, so that we could be forgiven and forever with him there in heaven.

Since we know why and how Jesus was “THERE,” we find great comfort in the fact that the Lord is EVERYWHERE. God is with you everywhere you go, and forgives you and gives you peace. The Lord, your Shepherd, promises to always be with you as he guides you, comforts you, and strengthens you.

No matter where you go, the Lord is there because God is EVERYWHERE.

Prayer:
Lord God, you are EVERYWHERE. Forgive me for every sin you see and know I commit. Give me joy, strength, and peace in your love, forgiveness, and constant presence. Thank you for being everywhere and always with me. Amen.

Prayer:
Lord, you are EVERYWHERE. Forgive me for every sin you see and know I commit. Give me joy, strength and peace in your love, forgiveness and constant presence. Thank you for being everywhere and always with 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

God’s Work Goes On – February 14, 2018

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what can I do for you before I am taken from you.” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.” Elisha replied. “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise not.” As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more.
2 Kings 2:9-12

God’s Work Goes On


Daily Devotion – February 14, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Kings 2:9-12

See series: Devotions

There were people who knew that it was almost time for Elijah to be taken to heaven. Elijah knew it. Elijah’s helper, Elisha, knew it. So did the young men at the schools of the prophets that Elijah and Elisha met during their last travels together. All of them were aware that soon the Lord would bring to a close the ministry of his prophet Elijah.

So, what did that mean for the work that Elijah had been doing? Elisha already knew that he was chosen to be Elijah’s successor. When Elijah’s ministry was complete, Elisha would become God’s prophet to the people of Israel. But would Elisha have what he needed to proclaim God’s Word to the people of Israel, who were not in any way less idolatrous and rebellious now than they were when Elijah began his ministry?

When it was almost time for him to be taken to heaven, Elijah asked Elisha if there was anything he could do for him before he was taken. Elisha very wisely replied, “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.” In that culture, when a father died, his first-born son inherited two portions of his estate. Elisha was asking that he be recognized as Elijah’s heir. He was asking that the Lord would give him what he needed to step into Elijah’s role as God’s prophet. Elijah knew that he himself could not give Elisha what he asked for. But he was confident that God could and would give it, if Elisha saw Elijah taken to heaven.

Suddenly, what everyone was expecting happened. A chariot and horses of fire appeared and separated Elisha from Elijah. And Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha had seen Elijah taken to heaven. Would he also inherit two portions of Elijah’s spirit? Would he be recognized as Elijah’s heir?

Yes, he did. And yes, he was. The Lord fulfilled his promise and was with Elisha just as he had been with Elijah. Strengthened by God, Elisha stepped into Elijah’s role and continued the work of proclaiming God’s Word. God’s work went on.

God’s work continues today. Because he still wants all people to hear the good news of all that he has done for them in Jesus, the Lord continues to call people to proclaim that good news. In every generation, from Elijah all the way until today, the Lord has provided men and women whom he strengthened and equipped for the task of sharing his good news. And he has promised that he will continue to provide more good news proclaimers in every generation until he returns to take his people home. How grateful we are that God’s work goes on, generation after generation! And how thankful we are for those who God has used to bring his good news to us!

Prayer:
Lord God, I praise you that you always make sure that the work of proclaiming your good news goes on. Bless your good news proclaimers so that many more may come to believe 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Free – February 13, 2018

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17

Free


Daily Devotion – February 13, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 3:17

See series: Devotions

Christian author, Timothy Keller tells of a woman who has tasted what real freedom is.

As a parish pastor, Keller met this woman when she was in her 40’s. Years of trouble, however, made her look far older. She had not always looked this way. In her teens and in her 20’s, this woman had breathtaking physical beauty. In fact, her attractiveness was so striking that powerful men would habitually pursue her. They wanted her by their side, however, just to display her as a trophy—just to show others how powerful and influential they were.

This went on for years. As the years went by, two terrible things happened to her. For one, these men of power often abused and humiliated her. For another, these experiences broke her down. They conditioned her into assuming that if there was any kind of meaning or value in her life, she would only find it when she was with a man—any man.

She started to see a therapist. The therapist helped her see that, for far too long, she had been seeking her sense of worth in the wrong place. Then the therapist offered a solution. “Instead of seeking your sense of worth in a man, you need to seek your sense of worth in some kind of career. Then, when you are successful in that career, your sense of worth will be in a good place.”

The woman took in this advice from her therapist. She thought for a moment and then responded. With great respect she asked her therapist. “And so instead of getting all my sense of worth from loving a man, now I’m going to get all my worth from being successful and making money?” Then she asked her therapist this question. “What if I don’t want either addiction? Can’t you let me build my life on something that cannot let me down?”

It was during this period in her life when the Good News of Jesus embraced her soul. Now she is free. She is free from serving something that cannot possibly bear the weight of her needs. She is free from serving something that can only let her down. She is free because Jesus has washed her in his blood and wrapped her in the blanket of his own righteousness. She is free because, through faith in Jesus, she now belongs to him. She is free because, through faith in Jesus, the old desperation and the old fears are gone.

Through that same faith in Jesus, you are free too.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, through faith in you, I am free. Forgive me for all the times I have sought my sense of worth in anything other than you. Refresh me in your Spirit. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

With Jesus I am Never Alone – February 12, 2018

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
Mark 9:8

With Jesus I am Never Alone


Daily Devotion – February 12, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 9:8

See series: Devotions

The disciples must have been disappointed. One moment they saw a glimpse of heaven. Jesus allowed his glory as God to be seen. Moses and Elijah miraculously appeared. God the Father’s praise majestically echoed from the cloud. The next moment everything was gone. All that remained was the familiar form of Jesus.

I have experienced the same disappointment. For a brief moment everything in my life seemed wonderful. There were no problems, no conflicts, and everything made sense. I was content because God was good and his blessings were clearly evident. Suddenly, everything changed. My life was filled with chaos and I felt very alone. While I tried to convince myself of the Bible’s promises, I couldn’t escape the emptiness I felt.

Although I may suffer disappointment, loneliness, and emptiness, I need to understand that with Jesus I am never alone.

I can be certain of his presence in my life because he said, “I am with you always.” This tells me there is never a time when I am alone. He is always there to guide me with his Word. He is always there to comfort me with his love. He is always there to encourage me with his promises.

Even more convincing is the work he completed to assure me “nothing will ever separate me from his love.” Jesus secured his Father’s approval to free me from the tyranny of my sin-stained life. Jesus accepted his Father’s just judgment to release me from the verdict of separation and punishment. Jesus endured the attacks of the devil and the horror of the grave to claim me as his own.

When I remember Jesus’ faithful promises, his precious work, and his undeserved love, I can live with complete certainty and peace. With Jesus I am never alone.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal–588)
I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless; Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still if thou abide with me.
Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Blessed Assurance – February 11, 2018

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
Matthew 17:1-2

Blessed Assurance


Daily Devotion – February 11, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 17:1-2

See series: Devotions

Jesus knew the dangers the disciples would have to endure. There would be the distraction of his capture and crucifixion. There would be the despair at his death and burial. There would be the deception which challenged the report of his resurrection. In order to sustain his disciples through these difficult times, Jesus offered them a blessed assurance. He allowed them to witness his glory as true God at his transfiguration.

Initially the disciples couldn’t comprehend the significance of that glorious display, but later they would come to cherish it. It was that picture of Jesus’ glory as God which encouraged them in their times of doubt. It strengthened them in their times of weakness. It even emboldened them to speak when they were challenged to remain silent. Jesus’ transfiguration provided the blessed assurance the disciples needed.

Like the disciples I will have to endure daily distractions, doubts and deceptions. The devil and the world are relentless in their attacks to overcome my sin-weakened and battle-wearied flesh. I need the same blessed assurance Jesus provided the disciples.

I need to know Jesus is the all-powerful Son of God who controls all things and works all things for my good. I need to know he is my faithful Savior who daily and richly forgives all my sins. I need to know he is my ever-present refuge and strength in every time of trouble. With this blessed assurance I can endure every challenge and conflict. With this blessed assurance I can overcome every fear and temptation. With this blessed assurance I can live with complete confidence I will see Jesus face to face in all his heavenly glory.

Prayer:
O blessed Savior, you are strong while I am weak. You are faithful while I struggle. You are righteous while I am sinful. Daily remind me of your great power as the Son of God, and your great love as my Savior. Daily give me the assurance I need so I can live for you in this life, and live with you in the life to come. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Real – February 10, 2018

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2 Peter 1:16

Real


Daily Devotion – February 10, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Peter 1:16

See series: Devotions

In 2001, director Stephen Spielberg and actor Tom Hanks paired up to produce the most expensive television miniseries when it was created. The title of the miniseries was Band of Brothers. The ten-part drama followed a company of World War II soldiers from their basic training through the end of the war.

In this miniseries, the characters were colorful. The plot twists were riveting. The battle scenes were beyond intense. For those who watched the entire program, however, perhaps it’s the conclusion of the final episode that packs the most powerful punch. You see, each episode of Band of Brothers began with an old man talking to an off-screen interviewer. Over the course of the series, the various old men became familiar faces as they quietly spoke of their days as young soldiers. Only at the end of the ten-part story did you learn their names. They are the very men depicted in the miniseries. They are the Band of Brothers. Their story was not fiction. Their story was real.

When Peter sat down and wrote his second letter, he was an old man too. The Holy Spirit has brought the timeless Word of God from Peter’s hand to this moment, to you and me. Across the centuries, therefore, Peter wants us to understand something. He wants us to understand something about what he and all the others have recorded in the Bible about Jesus. He wants us to understand that they did not write it down for entertainment. They did not write it down to tell a rousing story. They did not write it down to keep us spellbound with colorful characters and riveting plotlines. They wrote it down because that’s what happened. They wrote it down because they were eyewitnesses. They wrote it down because it was real.

That means that your forgiveness in Jesus is real. It means that his guiding hand in your life is real. It means that his promise to uphold you is real. It means that your security in him is real.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, as I read your Word, fill me with the awareness that Jesus’ life and death and resurrection took place in real time, for me and for all. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

God is All-Knowing – February 9, 2018

The third time [Jesus] said to [Peter], “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
John 21:17

God is All-Knowing


Daily Devotion – February 9, 2018

Devotion based on John 21:17

See series: Devotions

Jesus knew that Peter denied knowing him three times. Jesus knew this because he is God and therefore he is all-knowing. That means that nothing has ever happened or ever will happen without his knowledge—including Peter’s sin.

Do you know that? God knows your every thought, word, and action. He knows everything in your past, he knows all about your present, and he even knows your future. He knows everything there is to know about everything.

Knowledge like this is incomprehensible to us. We acquire knowledge through learning and experience, but God knows everything intuitively. He doesn’t have to work for it, he just knows it. Plus, no matter how much we learn, there will always be things we do not know. God’s knowledge, however, is so complete that no one can add anything to it. And while much of what we claim to know is flawed, God understands everything perfectly.

That kind of knowledge is terrifying. Imagine how uncomfortable you would be if you had to interact with someone who knew all your secrets. Now remember that on Judgment Day you will stand in front of the all-knowing God. You can’t hide anything from him—he knows all your secret sins.

But as Peter told Jesus, God also knows that you love him. This love is not something that you conjured up on your own, it is a result of the saving faith God has given you. Jesus lived, died, and rose for you. And by faith in Jesus, God promises you: “I will remember your sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). What comfort! God who knows everything chooses to forget your sins.

God’s total knowledge is not a threat, it’s a blessing. God knows all about you, so you will never be lost in the sea of humanity. God knows your weaknesses and troubles, and promises to help you with them. He knows all the little details of your life and more than that, he uses what he knows for your eternal good.

Prayer:
Lord, you know all things. Thank you for using that knowledge for my good. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Almighty God Keeps His Promises – February 8, 2018

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.”
Genesis 17:1

Almighty God Keeps His Promises


Daily Devotion – February 8, 2018

Devotion based on Genesis 17:1

See series: Devotions

It had been 24 years since God had promised Abram that he would have a son with his wife, Sarai. He was now 99. She was 89. If the prospect of having a son at ages 75 and 65 was extraordinary, having a son when he was almost 100 was surely humanly impossible. Yet God came to Abram once again to remind him that whether something seems possible or not is of no consequence to the Almighty. He gave Abram this gentle reminder, “I am God Almighty.” He was saying, “I have not forgotten my promise, Abram. I will still give you and Sarai a son, even in your old age. Doing the impossible is what I do. I will keep my promise.” Abram had not always been faithful, and he had been far from blameless. He and his wife doubted God’s promise at various times. Yet the Almighty God could and still would keep his promise to Abram.

So often, like Abram, we forget that God is almighty, that nothing is impossible for him. Whether we face health problems, conflicts in personal relationships, or just the frustration and worry of daily life in a sinful world, we easily fail to trust in God’s promises to provide and to work in all things for the good of his people. Like Abram, we have not been faithful and certainly we are not blameless.

But our God is Almighty and keeps his promises. He kept his promise to Abram and gave him a son. From that son came a nation and through that nation God sent his Son to save unfaithful, blameful sinners like us. Jesus, the Son of God, gave his holy life on the cross to forgive us and rose again to make heaven our eternal home. God does what is impossible for us to do by ourselves. Through faith in Jesus, he makes sinners into saints. He brings us from death to life. He changes us from being his enemies to being his sons and daughters.

So walk before God Almighty knowing that he has all power. Walk before God Almighty knowing that he can do what we may think is impossible. Walk before God Almighty knowing that he keeps his promises. Walk before God Almighty because through faith in Jesus he makes you faithful and blameless.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, for the sake of my Savior, Jesus, forgive me when I waver in my faith. Remind me and reassure me that you are my Almighty God who keeps his promises. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Life Is Hard, Even for Christians – February 7, 2018

“Does not man have hard service on earth? Are not his days like those of a hired man? Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired man waiting eagerly for his wages, so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me. When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss till dawn. My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering. “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.
Job 7:1-7

Life Is Hard, Even for Christians


Daily Devotion – February 7, 2018

Devotion based on Job 7:1-7

See series: Devotions

Job’s life was not going well. Not that long ago, he had owned thousands of head of livestock. He had seven sons and three daughters. He was considered the greatest man among all the people of the east. But now, all that was gone. In one day, Job lost everything: his wealth, his children, everything. Then, to make a horrific situation even worse, Job was struck with an incredibly painful, disfiguring disease. His pain was so great that all he could do was sit in an ash heap and scrape the boils that covered his body from head to toe with a piece of broken pottery.

No matter how hard Job tried, he could not find a reason for the suffering he was experiencing. It all seemed so pointless, so unjust. He had faithfully followed God throughout his life and yet God had allowed all this to happen to him. Look at him! He’s worn out like a slave. Even though he’s exhausted, he can’t sleep. He is covered in scabs and his skin oozes. Why shouldn’t he just give up and recognize that there is nothing worth living for? So, why should he hold out any hope for anything good?

Have you ever felt like Job? Do his words sound familiar to you? We all have had times when we’ve suffered for reasons that we could not understand. Maybe we weren’t suffering because we did something wrong. No, the pain just came and would not go away. We worked hard to fix one problem only to have three more pop up. We lay down at night exhausted, only to toss and turn, and stare at the clock until dawn. Perhaps we even reached the point that Job reached and decided not to expect that anything good would ever come our way again.

If you ever suffered like that, know this. Ever since sin entered this world, life has been hard, even for Christians. Being a child of God does not guarantee that your life will always be easy. Until the Lord takes us home to heaven that is. We, like Job, will continue to labor and grow weary, and experience troubled nights and months of futility.

But that doesn’t mean that we have no hope. Job was speaking out of the depths of his suffering. Later, as he focused his attention not on his suffering but on God and his promises, he exclaimed, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (See Job 19:25-26.)

Jesus is your Redeemer who lives. He died and rose again for you. Because of him and what he has done, you always have hope. No matter what you may suffer, keep your eyes focused on him, knowing that your living Redeemer loves you and will never leave you. Nothing can separate you from him and soon you will see him yourself. How our hearts long within us!

Prayer:
Dear Redeemer, when life is hard and seems without hope, help me to find my hope and help 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Theft – February 6, 2018

I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:23

Theft


Daily Devotion – February 6, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 9:23

See series: Devotions

Martin Luther loved to preach. He loved to climb into his pulpit and proclaim to souls the Good News of Jesus. He preached often. Someone estimated that throughout his ministry, Martin Luther preached about 7,000 sermons. This means that, on average, he was climbing into his pulpit about every two days. That is a lot of preaching!

On one particular day, however, Luther climbed into his pulpit with a heavy heart. There was a serious problem in his congregation. People who professed to be Christians were actually taking part in theft. The kind of theft that Luther meant was that people, who professed to be Christians, were allowing their time in the gospel to be stolen by the priorities of this world.

In essence, Luther said this from his pulpit that day. He said that we would never think of letting our cash money sit around in some public place for fear of someone stealing it. And yet, so many of us do not give a second thought to letting the priorities of this world snatch up our time in the gospel. To know that this was taking place brought Luther much grief. “We are really in a bad way,” he said [SL.XI.1615,6-7].

In our 21st Century Culture, Martin Luther’s concern still retains its bite. Perhaps you’ve felt the blood drain from your face when you realize you left your wallet at the food court in the mall; when you realize you left your car unlocked with the keys inside; or when you wake up and realize you forgot to close your garage door for the night.

And yet, think of all the precious jewels of time in the gospel that you and I have left lying around—precious jewels left unguarded, discarded, forgotten—so much so that, sooner or later, the priorities of this world just picked them up and walked away.

As you and I would rush back to the mall to reclaim our wallet, may the Holy Spirit refresh us with an even greater zeal—a zeal to reclaim our time in the gospel. For the Good News of Jesus is the greatest treasure we have.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have washed me clean in your blood. Bring me to repentance for all the times I have allowed the priorities of this world to steal my time in the gospel. Give me zeal to reclaim it. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Jesus Came to Preach – February 5, 2018

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
Mark 1:38

Jesus Came to Preach


Daily Devotion – February 5, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 1:38

See series: Devotions

This is what Jesus should be. This is what Jesus should do. Many people believe they know the answer. Even Peter thought he did. Jesus, however, revealed the reason why he came into this world. He came to preach.

There will always be times when I am tempted to believe Jesus should be or do something according to my understanding. This is when I need to remember the real reason why he came.

If there is one thing I need Jesus to be, it is the preacher of good news. His good news is life changing and it is desperately needed. The good news he came to preach is that there is help for me, as well as for every sinner.

When Jesus came into this world it was not to be a physician, a financial planner, or a life skills coach. He came to preach and his message is what I need to hear. He came to tell me my sins are forgiven and that heaven is mine.

This is truly good news. It is this message which relieves the burden of my guilt and sin. It is this message which rescues me from the hopelessness of death and the power of the devil. It is this message which gives me an unshakable hope and a never-failing peace.

Make no mistake, this is a life changing message, and no matter how much my life may change, Jesus’ good news never changes. Nor does it ever fail to bring me what he promised. This is why I can live in joy, hope, and peace. How blessed I am that Jesus came to preach his good news to me.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, when I am plagued by the burdens of life and the guilt of my sin, you came to bring good news. Bless me every day through the message of hope you came to proclaim to me and all people. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Repentance – February 4, 2018

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
Isaiah 58:5

Repentance


Daily Devotion – February 4, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 58:5

See series: Devotions

“I told God I was sorry. I made myself feel real bad about that sin. I repented like he wanted me to. Why isn’t he treating me better?” How easily those thoughts creep into our minds! Do you see the grave danger hidden in them?

What’s the underlying mindset propping up those words? Isn’t it: “Well, I’ve done my part, God”—whatever that part might be. The original hearers thought their fasting proved their repentance, and so they deserved God’s favor. Is it your tears, your effort, your faithfulness, your religiousness that tempts you to imagine: “Well, God, I’ve done my part?”

How deadly! For that mindset exchanges the Lord of free and faithful grace for a god who requires his pound of flesh.

But our Lord freely gave his flesh and blood for sinners like you and me—and not only for us but for the world, for this wicked world. What grace! His unmerited kindness sacrificed himself for the undeserving. That’s you and me.

Such grace and love changes our mindset. We now hate our sin and cling to Jesus alone for forgiveness through God’s unconditional promise. That’s repentance. Because of God’s love for us, we love others without thinking what we’ll get out of it. And that love for others shows itself in our actions of kindness and helpfulness. That’s the fruit of repentance.

God’s grace continues to strengthen us to show kindness. When we call out to him for help, he answers: “Here am I. I am with you in my word and sacraments. My grace will never fail you.”

Prayer:(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal—389)
Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill thy law’s demands.
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save and thou alone.

Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress,
Helpless, look to thee for grace
Foul, I to the fountain fly—
Wash me, Savior, or I die!
Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

What Makes the Case – February 3, 2018

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5

What Makes the Case


Daily Devotion – February 3, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

See series: Devotions

In 19th Century England there was a man by the name of Charles Bradlaugh. Charles Bradlaugh possessed a power-house intellect. He was a riveting speaker. And he was, perhaps, the most prominent atheist in the English-speaking world. He was the founder of the National Secular Society, an organization that opposed all things religious. He authored pamphlets and books, including one called A Plea for Atheism. And Charles Bradlaugh loved to debate. Often, he would challenge well-known Christians to set up heated arguments in a public forum. As a skilled debater, he reveled in finding just the right turn of phrase or aggressive maneuver that would portray Christianity in the worst possible light.

It’s said that, in his search to find another Christian to attack, Charles Bradlaugh challenged a London pastor to debate him. After some thought, the pastor accepted, but he did so on one condition. The condition was this. On the day of the debate, the pastor would bring with him 100 people who had come to faith in Jesus Christ. These people would simply talk about their Savior, what he meant to them, and how the message of the gospel had impacted their lives. Charles Bradlaugh, in turn, would be welcome to bring with him a group of people eager to speak about their atheism, what it meant to them, and how the power of its message had impacted their lives.

The date was set. The day arrived. The pastor entered the room with 100 people ready to describe what God’s forgiveness in Jesus had done for them. They waited. Then they waited some more. Charles Bradlaugh—and the group he was welcome to bring—never showed up.

What makes the case for the gospel is not your debating skills. What makes the case for the gospel is not finding just the right turn of phrase or clever line of attack. What makes the case for the gospel is the gospel itself.

God has cleansed us in the blood of his Son. He has lifted us from the pit into the warmth of his light. Because he has, you and I possess a peace and a quiet joy that the troubles of this world cannot touch.

And so live that quiet joy. Put on display what the gospel has done for you. Give the Charles Bradlaughs of the world a reason to pause, and think, and reconsider.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Answer. You are the Truth. You are the Way. Fill me with your Spirit. Move me to display what your gospel has done for me. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

God is Eternal – February 2, 2018

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Deuteronomy 33:27

God is Eternal


Daily Devotion – February 2, 2018

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 33:27

See series: Devotions

One of life’s frustrations is having too much to do and not enough time to do it. Likewise, one of life’s tragedies is when you have too few years of life and miss out on so much. And one of life’s mysteries is when you have too many years of life and live way longer than you want to.

So much of life is wrapped up in the passage of time and you are constantly reminded that time runs out. Plants wither, buildings collapse, and civilizations crumble. What can you depend on while time marches on and so much changes? The eternal God.

When God tells us that he is eternal, it means more than that he exists for an endless period of time. It means that with God there is no time. The eternal God has no beginning and no end. He is not bound by time, he simply is. Every moment since the beginning of time is always present for him.

Unlike God we are bound by time. We live from moment to moment with a past, present, and future. That is why God’s eternity is difficult for us to understand. But God does not reveal his eternal nature to confuse us; he reveals it to comfort us. Since God is eternal, he can be a refuge for all his people of all time.

Think about it! God will never leave things on his to-do list undone because he ran out of time. God always has the time to listen to your prayers and answer them. God never leaves you defenseless because he doesn’t have the time to protect you. Time never limits him.

But it does limit you. And when your time on this earth ends, God will catch you in his everlasting arms. The eternal Son of God wrapped himself in human flesh and entered time to be your Savior. He lived a perfect life for you, died on the cross for you, and rose from the dead to give you eternal life.

Whenever you are stressed by the press of time or reminded how short life can be, thank God that he is your eternal refuge!

Prayer:
Eternal God, give us the wisdom to trust you as our refuge and the faith to cling to Christ our 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Worship God in Spirit and Truth – February 1, 2018

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24

Worship God in Spirit and Truth


Daily Devotion – February 1, 2018

Devotion based on John 4:24

See series: Devotions

“How do I worship God?” the woman wondered. There she was at a well, talking with a man named Jesus whom she had just met. Jesus told her something she thought only she knew: she had had five husbands and was currently living with yet another man. Her sins past and present, open and secret, were laid bare before her. Confronted with her sinful life, the women had to question how she could make it right. “How do I worship God?”

Maybe that’s a question with which you’ve wrestled. You know your sins. You have those secret evils you’ve done that you hope no one else knows about. How do you make it right? How do you worship God?

True worship of the true God begins with and is centered on him. Jesus pointed that adulterous woman to himself as her only hope for eternal life. It is the same with us. We sinners cannot make ourselves right with God, but God has done that for us by sending his Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. Using that message of salvation in Jesus, God the Holy Spirit plants and strengthens saving faith in our hearts. That Spirit-worked faith in Jesus, produces thankfulness and a desire to show God our gratitude in worshipping him. We worship God knowing and believing in what he has done for us in Jesus.

What does such worship look like? Do we have to go on a pilgrimage? Does worship take place only in a church? No. God is spirit. He is not confined to any one place or time. So, believers can worship God anywhere at anytime. Gladly hearing or reading God’s word is worship. Praying to God on our own or with others is worship. Gathering with other believers around the truth of God’s word is worship. Singing hymns at church or elsewhere is worship. God’s Word says, “… in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1). Living our lives to reflect the love God has given to us in Jesus is worship. Serving others in their needs is worship. Being a faithful spouse, a loving parent, or a devoted friend is worship.

True worship is founded on the truth that Jesus is the Savior from sin and death. By the Holy Spirit’s work of bringing us to faith, worship is the grateful response of our spirits to the truth of salvation through Jesus. How do we worship God? “In spirit and in truth.”

Prayer:(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal—469):
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days. Let them flow in ceaseless praise. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Listen to Him – January 31, 2018

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.”
Deuteronomy 18:15-18

Listen to Him


Daily Devotion – January 31, 2018

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 18:15-18

See series: Devotions

God’s people, Israel, were about to enter the land that God had promised them. It was a fertile land, “flowing with milk and honey,” as the Scriptures say. It was also a heathen land, flowing with all sorts of false teachers who were promoting false ideas about who God really is. So, as the Israelites entered their new homeland, how would they discern the true things about God from the false things?

God’s answer: prophets! God promised to raise up prophets from among their own people. He would put his words into their mouths. Those prophets would tell the people everything God commanded them. This is how God would make sure his people knew the truth about him. All the people had to do was listen to the prophets, and they would know everything they needed to know about God.

This promise, which God delivered through his prophet Moses, was fulfilled through the coming of Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Joel. These men spoke what God told them to speak. And through them, God’s people heard everything they needed to know about God.

But the ultimate fulfillment of this promise came through Jesus Christ. He was the prophet who was raised up from among the Israelites. He was the prophet who told, not just the Israelites, but the entire world, everything we need to know about God. In the person and work of Jesus Christ, the truth of God is revealed to us.

To know who God truly is, listen to what Jesus says about himself in God’s Word. Listen to who he is and what he has done. He is the one true God made flesh. He came into our world to live, die, and rise to win for us the forgiveness of our sins and life with God forever in heaven.

In the person and work of Jesus Christ, God reveals himself to us as the God of love, mercy, and grace. In the person and work of Jesus Christ, we know everything we need to know about who God is and about how he has rescued us from our sins.

What, then, should our response to this be? God’s Word puts it so simply—“Listen to him!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, everything we need to know about God and about how we are saved is revealed to us through your word. Give us hearts that are always ready to listen to 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Consider the Spiritual Welfare of Others – January 30, 2018

If what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
1 Corinthians 8:13

Consider the Spiritual Welfare of Others


Daily Devotion – January 30, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 8:13

See series: Devotions

People can go to extreme lengths for those things they consider to be important. Sometimes it is quite silly. I remember watching a football playoff game in 1997 on a television that my friends and I had moved outside. We said, “If our team has to play in sub-zero temperatures, the least we can do to show our support is watch in the same weather they are playing in.” Other times it is more serious. An older brother shaves his head in support of his younger sibling who is going through radiation treatments.

Silly or serious, there is a common thread—there are times when we are willing to make sacrifices to show our love for others.

There is something that is far more serious than supporting your favorite football team, or even a loved one who has cancer. The faith of those around you is more important because it determines whether you will see them in heaven or not. How far are you willing to go to make sure that no damage comes to someone else’s faith? Are you willing to make personal sacrifices to make sure that those around you do not separate themselves from God eternally?

Your Savior, Jesus, was willing to give up everything to make sure that your relationship with God would be an eternal one. He willingly sacrificed his life for your sins so that you can live forever in heaven.

As you rejoice in the salvation that is yours through his loving sacrifice, consider the spiritual welfare of others and the impact your words and actions have on them. If there is something that you do that causes another to sin, or damages their faith in any way, please reconsider. Even if what you say or do is not a sin on your part, is it really worth it to exercise your freedom if it hurts someone else spiritually?

Extend the same love to others that Jesus has for you. His love for you caused him to overlook his “rights” as the sinless Son of God. He endured suffering and death that he didn’t deserve—all for your spiritual and eternal benefit.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive me for the times when I have focused on my own desires and rights at the expense of others. Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice yourself for me. Help me to be willing to make sacrifices for others. In your name I ask it. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.