842x474-Custom-Post-FridayDevotion

Are You Really a Christian? – December 9, 2016

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
Psalm 40:6-8

Are You Really a Christian?


Daily Devotion – December 9, 2016

Devotion based on Psalm 40:6-8

See series: Devotions

Are you really a Christian?

Maybe that sounds like a strange question for someone reading or listening to a Christian devotion. Certainly you would say, “Yes, I am a Christian.” Now, what would you say if I were to ask, “How do you know for sure that you are a Christian?” How would you answer that question?

Some might point to the fact that they go to church each week, or they give an offering, or they read the Bible at home, or they have parts of the Bible memorized. Surely, those are all very good things God encourages Christians everywhere to do.

In the Old Testament, the average people of Israel may have pointed to the fact that they went to the synagogue faithfully, or they offered sacrifices, or that they could recite all the worship laws from memory. Those are also very good things. But God frequently pointed out to Israel that their hearts were not always in those things. They sometimes went through the motions. They sometimes got distracted. They sometimes offered their sacrifices not because they wanted to, but because they felt they had to.

And no doubt, the same is true for us. Would real Christians let their mind wander while reciting the Lord’s Prayer? Would real Christians really skip their Bible reading for a day? Would they ever be too busy to pray? Is that what real Christians would do? If you look at your life to answer the question—“How do you know for sure that you are a Christian?”—at the very least, there will be many times your heart will begin to doubt.

So stop looking at your life.

Look instead at the life of Jesus and ask: Did the innocent Lamb of God really die to take away the sins of the world? Did the one man whose heart always desired God’s will really offer his life as a sacrifice so that we could be forgiven? Did God place the name of Christ onto your heart at your baptism? Did Jesus cry out from the cross, “It is finished”? Was the tomb really empty on Easter morning?

Yes. Those things really did happen. That’s where we find our comfort; not in what we do for God, but in all that God has done for us—in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. That’s where all doubt disappears.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for all you accomplished for us through the work of our Savior Jesus. Help us to live our lives in daily thanksgiving for your declaration in Christ Jesus that we really are your children. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in December lead us in Songs from the Psalms.

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.
842x474-Custom-Post-ThursdayDevotion

Faithfulness of God – December 8, 2016

The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice. The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 9:7-9

Faithfulness of God


Daily Devotion – December 8, 2016

Devotion based on Psalm 9:7-9

See series: Devotions

One day, back in college, when I went into a local gas station to pay for a tank of gasoline, two guys came up behind me and they were angry—I don’t know why—and started taking their frustrations out on me. It looked bad for a moment, but thankfully, I had two friends waiting in the car. They noticed what was happening and rushed inside to lend a hand. When the trouble-makers met my friends (both of them very large individuals), they settled down and it ended well. That was the first of numerous times those two friends helped me out and before long, I knew that I could trust them.

It’s nice to know you can trust your friends, but here’s something infinitely better: You can trust God.

He’s proven completely reliable. Look at all the promises he’s made, then notice that he’s kept them all. There are many promises God made and fulfilled; here are a few of the very important ones:
• He promised to send a Savior, and Jesus was born.
• He promised to forgive our sins, and because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, he has.
• He promised that those who look to him in faith will live forever with him in heaven, and Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is proof that they will (or already are).

Now consider your personal history. When has the Lord ever failed you? Probably, there are times when you feel like he’s let you down, but that’s only because sometimes what God does has a meaning that’s different from what you think. For those times in life when it’s difficult to understand God’s will, remember another promise: We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him… (Romans 8:28).

Think back through the difficulties, frustrations, and crises of your past. Notice how the Lord has led you through them all. Those are wonderful little reminders of the faithfulness of God and further evidence that he is absolutely trustworthy.

To all that, be sure to add the thoughts of today’s verse from Psalm chapter 9. The Lord your God is a righteous Judge over all the earth. That means he’s on the side of the vulnerable and the oppressed and he protects them in their distress. Those who look to the Lord for protection will find him to be their refuge and stronghold. The Lord has a perfect track record in that regard and he will never fail those who come to him for help.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, increase my trust in you. Remind me that all the promises you’ve made and kept prove that you are absolutely trustworthy. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in December will lead us in Songs from the Psalms.

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.
842x474-Custom-Post-WednesdayDevotion

A Shoot from Jesse’s Stump – December 7, 2016

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. … The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.
Isaiah 11:1, 6-10

A Shoot from Jesse’s Stump


Daily Devotion – December 7, 2016

Devotion based on Isaiah 11:1, 6-10

See series: Devotions

Certain animals just don’t go well together. You won’t find zoos that put helpless lambs together with hungry wolves. You won’t find leopards spending time with goats or lions lying down with young calves. So when you hear about these things in Isaiah chapter 11, it gets your attention. If a predator is living peacefully with its prey, then a miracle of peace must have taken place.

Here’s another thing that doesn’t go well together—sinful people and a holy God. Sin separates sinners from God. In order for there to be peace between the two, a miracle of peace would have to take place. And it has!

Isaiah’s prophecy looked forward to the peace God would provide through the “shoot from the stump of Jesse.” Jesse was King David’s father. When David was king in Israel, Israel thrived. But not long after David’s death, the kingdom was divided into two. As the people turned from the Lord God, the northern kingdom was eventually devoured by the Assyrians and most of the southern kingdom taken into captivity by the Babylonians. It was as if someone took an ax to David’s lineage and David’s kingdom and cut it down to nothing but a stump.

But from that stump, a new king came. From the town of David, from the line of David came a “humble shoot” born in a lowly stable. King Jesus was born to bring peace where it was needed most. He was born to save us from our sin and to reconcile God and people. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ! Let that peace of Christ rule in your heart through his Word. Let that peace of Christ lift your eyes to the perfect peace that awaits in heaven.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship – A Lutheran Hymnal 42:5):
Gracious Child, we pray you, hear us; from your lowly manger cheer us. Gently lead us and be near us until we join the angelic choir. 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.
842x474-Custom-Post-TuesdayDevotion

Joy – December 6, 2016

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Joy


Daily Devotion – December 6, 2016

Devotion based on Romans 15:13

See series: Devotions

Anna Mary Robertson was an old woman. And she had had a hard life.

She was the third of ten children born to a farmer in the 1860’s. Life on a farm in the 1800’s meant hours of manual toil, day after day.

In 1887, Anna herself married a farmer, and the hard work continued. As the years went on, she experienced the unspeakable grief of a mother watching her child die in infancy. Anna, however, went through this not just once, but five times.

Then her husband died from a heart attack. She continued life as a widow. By the time she reached her 70’s, arthritis was taking over her body. She was no longer able to do the things she used to do. It was then that Anna Mary Robertson picked up a brush and began to paint.

She never had any formal training. Nevertheless, her pictures radiated something that everyday people and art critics alike could not resist. They radiated something we might not expect. Her pictures radiated joy.

That is how Anna Mary Robertson Moses–Grandma Moses–got her start as an artist. She picked up her brush and she shared her joy. And she kept right on sharing her joy until the age of 101.

As Christians, you and I already know that we are in for a rough ride during our short life on this earth. After all, that is what our sin has done. It has made a misery of everything it has touched.

But that’s why Jesus came. He came to rescue us. And through his perfect life and death on our behalf, that’s exactly what he has done. This means that, through faith in him, we stand forgiven. This means that, even in the worst of our difficult moments, our Savior will carry us through. This also means that the best is yet to come.

And so pick up your brush. Paint your picture. Share the joy. Tell the story of what Jesus has done for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in those moments when life is hard, remind me of the joy. Remind me of your gospel. Remind me of 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.
842x474-Custom-Post-MondayDevotion

It’s Not About Me – December 5, 2016

[John the Baptist said,] “After me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry.”
Matthew 3:11

It’s Not About Me


Daily Devotion – December 5, 2016

Devotion based on Matthew 3:11

See series: Devotions

One could never forget meeting John the Baptist. His clothing was unusual. His message was unparalleled. Even the place where he carried out his work was unorthodox. Yet, even though everything in his life called attention to him, he would be the first to say, “It’s not about me!” John freely confessed everything he did and said was about the “one who could come after him.” This one would be the Promised One. This one would be the Powerful One. This one would be the One to follow.

I need to take John’s message seriously. It’s easy to think everything should be about me. People should pay attention to my schedule, my accomplishments, as well as my likes and dislikes. Unfortunately, this self-centered attitude also makes its way into my relationship with the Lord. I think that God should see me the way I see myself. He should love me the way I am. He should even accept my attitude and good intentions for what they seem to be.

The problem is, it’s not about me. If it were, I would be doomed to eternal punishment. The truth is, there is nothing I could ever do to stand in the presence of the One who is more powerful than I.

This is why John’s message is so necessary, and so precious. It leads me to look away from myself and look to the Savior God provided. In Jesus, God’s Son who came into the world, I find perfection for my imperfection. I find unqualified obedience for my questionable intentions. I even find humble submission for my self-serving and selfish ways.

John’s message is clear and it is what I need to hear. My life here, and my hope of life in heaven has everything to do with Jesus and his precious work. And honestly, I am thankful it’s not about me, because Jesus is the One God the Father sent into the world to save me.

Prayer:
O gracious God and Father, I thank you for the promise you gave concerning your Son. Help me look past my selfishness and self-centered ways to see the unselfish and undeserved love of Jesus 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
842x474-Custom-Post-SundayDevotion

Focus on Better Days – December 4, 2016

“ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.’ ”
Jeremiah 33:14-16

Focus on Better Days


Daily Devotion – December 4, 2016

Devotion based on
Jeremiah 33:14-16

See series: Devotions

We often look ahead to better days. We say things like: “If I can just make it until Christmas break, then I won’t have to go to school for a while and things will be better.” Or, “if I can just make it through this bout of pneumonia, then I can go back home and be healthy again.” So much of our lives are spent looking ahead to better days.

To make matters worse, in this sinful world we are surrounded by wickedness and evil. Sin and temptation are on every side. It’s exhausting to be a Christian. And so we find ourselves looking ahead to better days–days when sin will no longer be a part of our existence and we can enjoy perfect peace in heaven.

But waiting for those better days is difficult. If we are honest, we see how the sinful world is rubbing off on us. We find the sins of this world to be a little more “normal” than they used to be. We become more accepting of things that God despises. Our attitudes towards wealth and possessions begin to match the attitudes of this world.

God says through Jeremiah: “I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.” Jesus is the Branch who came to this world and lived a perfect life in our place. He also did what was “just,” as he gave himself in our place to suffer and die for our sins. He bled…He suffered…He died. God’s justice was satisfied. We are forgiven! The Branch brings righteousness–righteousness that he earned and freely gives to us through faith.

Dear friends, whatever you are experiencing now, know that in Christ, better days are here and better days are yet to come. Jesus makes each day a better day through his gift of righteousness. Better days are coming when he will take us to be with him in heaven. Lift up your heads and look for those better days.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for the promise of better days to come in heaven. Keep my eyes focused on those better days to come, and help each day to be a better one with you and your Word. 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.
842x474-Custom-Post-SaturdayDevotion

Prepare Your Heart to Meet Jesus – December 3, 2016

“Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
Malachi 3:1-4

Prepare Your Heart to Meet Jesus


Daily Devotion – December 3, 2016

Devotion based on Malachi 3:1-4

See series: Devotions

Did you ever get soap in your eye? Perhaps you accidentally rubbed some sanitizer into a recent paper cut. That really stings, doesn’t it? Something like that causes discomfort. It is often bad enough to make us cry out in pain. It can be a very painful few seconds or even minutes. That’s why children don’t want dad or mom to clean out a recent cut or scrape.

Repentance works the same way. It is painful to admit sin. Admitting that we have sinned also brings discomfort. We don’t like to admit the greed or apathy or lust or hatred. Like the child with the skin cut, we try to hide our sin. We try to avoid the painful but necessary cleansing process.

Failing to clean out a wound allows it to fester. It can lead to infection, illness and even ultimately death. In that case, a little discomfort in getting cleaned up is a good thing. Similarly, sin that is not cleansed through repentance is equally dangerous for our souls. Repentance prevents sin from festering and infecting our faith. Sin that is not addressed can ultimately lead to unbelief and eternal death in hell.

The season of Advent is a time to prepare our souls for Jesus’ return. Use the time to humbly repent of your sins and to let the gospel heal you. Like a launderer uses soap, let God’s Word do its important work of cleansing your soul in Christ. He alone purifies us from all sin.Put your faith in him.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, use your law and gospel to prepare my heart to meet you. Purify me from sin and wash me clean in your blood. 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.
842x474-Custom-Post-ThursdayDevotion

Crowned with Glory and Honor – December 2, 2016

What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
Psalm 8:4-5

Crowned with Glory and Honor


Daily Devotion – December 2, 2016

Devotion based on Psalm 8:4-5

See series: Devotions

The news recently showed a horrible bus accident. A school bus carrying dozens of children crashed into a tree, turned over on its side, and left such a mangled mess that it took six hours to get everyone out of the bus. The result was devastating. Many were injured. Five children died. The news showed a picture of the bus driver responsible for the accident. The picture they showed was taken after the accident; after the young man had been charged with a crime and taken to the police station. It was his mugshot. And something about the picture jumped out at me. I noticed his eyes. They were bloodshot, as if he had been crying very deeply, no doubt because the reality of what he did began to sink in.

He’s not the only one to see eyes like that when he looks in the mirror. I have too. I’m guessing you have as well. Maybe you never caused a devastating accident, but you may have done something that caused someone else to feel pain. You may have been reckless with your life, or with someone else’s. You may have hurt someone’s feelings. You may have had a day on which you were surprised by how easy it was to do the wrong thing, or to think of yourself at the expense of someone else. There are any number of reasons you might know what it’s like to look in the mirror and feel shame.

How remarkable, then, is the assurance we find in this psalm, that our God not only still cares for us, but covers our shame with a crown of glory and honor; a crown that was given when the Son of God came into this world covered with soft, newborn baby skin that one day would be mangled on a cross so that all of our sin, guilt, and shame could be forgiven.

Whenever the reality of your sin begins to sink in, look to the cross of Jesus and remember the reality of God’s enduring care for all mankind.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for your gracious care over our lives. Help us to see and appreciate the crown of glory that covers our shame, earned for us by our Savior Jesus. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in December lead us in Songs from the Psalms.

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.
842x474-Custom-Post-ThursdayDevotion

Promises Kept – December 1, 2016

I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
Psalm 2:7

Promises Kept


Daily Devotion – December 1, 2016

Devotion based on Psalm 2:7

See series: Devotions

Promises. Promises. President-elect Donald Trump has made a lot of them, leaving us to wonder if he’ll really follow through.

God has made a lot of promises too. However, there is no need to wonder if God will follow through on his promises, because God always makes good on his word.

The days before Christmas are a perfect time to ponder the most important promise ever made and the most difficult promise ever to keep. That promise was made immediately after Adam and Eve plunged themselves—and the entire world—into sin. God confronted them about what they had done, and then—with a love so great no human can ever understand it—he made a promise: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Those words were spoken to the devil, but they were a promise of hope for Adam and Eve, and for all people. This was God’s promise of forgiveness and salvation. It foreshadowed the time when Jesus would crush the devil’s head and undo the devil’s damage by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Talk about a big promise! Satan immediately went to work to derail God’s plan even as God went to work to fulfill it perfectly. But when God makes a promise, it’s as good as done. Don’t forget that. Look at the rock-solid certainty of God’s word as he spoke in the Garden: “He WILL crush your head.”

Look at the certainty of his promise in Psalm 2:7. “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” Those words pointed ahead to the coming Christ and were written about a thousand years before Jesus was even born. And yet, God makes it plain that as far as he’s concerned, it’s as good as done. He doesn’t say, “The Lord is doing his best and if everything comes together, this may just work—but keep your fingers crossed!” No. God declares in Psalm 2 that his will is done. Nations can conspire against God and his plan…to no avail. The devil can plot, scheme and seethe…so what?

Here’s what Jesus himself had to say about the biggest promise ever made and the most difficult promise ever to keep: “It is finished” (John 19:30). God kept his promise. Your sins are forgiven. Through faith in God’s Son, heaven is your home. And something else: if God can keep this promise, he can most assuredly keep any other. Discover what those other promises are and be assured of this…

He will keep those too.

Prayer:
O Lord, my God, thank you that your promises never fail. Amen!

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in December will lead us in Songs from the Psalms.

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.
842x474-Custom-Post-WednesdayDevotion

Perfect Peace – November 30, 2016

Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
Isaiah 2:4

Perfect Peace


Daily Devotion – November 30, 2016

Devotion based on Isaiah 2:4

See series: Devotions

In recent years there have been a variety of songs about what a horrible thing war is, and they call for no more war. Wouldn’t that be a marvelous thing? It would be great!

The problem is, we are sinful human beings. Sinful human beings are selfish, become angry, desire to lord it over others, harbor hatred. And of course, often that leads to outbursts of anger, to fights, to violence, and yes, even to war. The only way the problem of war can be solved is if the problem of sin can be solved.

In the Advent Season, we are celebrating the solution to the problem of sin. During Advent we prepare to again celebrate the birth of Jesus. Even as we say his name, we are reminded why Jesus came—to save his people from their sins. In Jesus we have forgiveness! In Jesus we have life eternal! In Jesus we have the solution to sin! And in heaven, we will enjoy it completely.

Oh wouldn’t it be great if there were no more wars on this earth? It would be marvelous, wouldn’t it? Certainly it’s appropriate for us to pray that God would send peace between peoples and between nations. Pray for that! And pray for leaders to pursue peace!

On this side of eternity, though, there will never be perfect peace. Sadly, on this side of eternity there will always be wars.

But not on the other side of eternity! In heaven there will be perfect peace, perfect joy, perfect harmony! Rejoice in the peace God has given you now through Jesus, for your sins really are forgiven! And look forward to the amazing peace which awaits you in life eternal!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, if it is your will, prevent wars on this earth. But even more importantly, focus our attention on the perfect peace which you have won for us, and which we will enjoy forever! 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.
842x474-Custom-Post-TuesdayDevotion

Wake-up Call – November 29, 2016

The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Romans 13:11-14

Wake-up Call


Daily Devotion – November 29, 2016

Devotion based on Romans 13:11-14

See series: Devotions

Perhaps you have stayed at a hotel that offers a wake-up call service as one of its amenities. You call the front desk and let them know the time you would like to wake up. They take down your information and give you a call at the proper time so you won’t miss any important meetings or appointments.

But there are other kinds of wake-up calls as well. A 45-year-old coworker has chest pains and is taken by ambulance to the hospital with a heart attack. It is a wake-up call that reminds you to take care of your own health. A head-on collision sends five teens to the hospital. Preliminary investigation shows one of the drivers was texting. It is a wake-up call for teens and adults alike to consider how they use electronic devices when they are driving.

Wake-up calls jolt us. They open our eyes. They make us realize that we have gotten shortsighted, lazy and too comfortable in an unhealthy or unsafe situation. Wake-up calls implore us to action.

Our reading for today is another type of wake-up call. It is a wake-up call from God. With these words God shakes us and reminds us that this world will not last forever and the time that we will leave it draws closer each day. The problem is that we get consumed with physical things and the concerns of this life. Our conduct shows this as we engage in sinful activities that reflect our shortsighted selfish focus. We gratify the desires of the flesh. We do things that make us feel good in the moment without realizing the disastrous results they have for our current relationship with God and our eternal future. We need to wake up!

But God not only tells us to wake up, but also to get dressed. We are to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. The first part of being clothed with Jesus is to believe in him. We clothe ourselves with Jesus as we confess our sin to God and receive the forgiveness that Jesus has won for us. God tells us that Jesus’ righteousness is like a robe that we put on through faith. When God looks at us, he sees this robe we have in Jesus. He no longer sees the wrong that we have done, but rather the perfection that Jesus has given to us.

We will also begin to clothe ourselves with good works. Remember that clothes are what other people see when they look at us. When people look at us, they can’t see a changed heart, but they can definitely see a changed life that follows a changed heart. We will live a life that shows our thanks and love for God as well as a life that shows love to others. No longer will we be spiritually sleepwalking through life, but our actions will show the spiritual awakening that has taken place inside of us.

I don’t know if Jesus will return to this earth before I die. But what I do know is that the day of my death or the day of Jesus’ return—whichever comes first, is one day closer than it was yesterday. But I don’t need to be afraid of this day and neither do you. In Jesus, we are awake. We live by faith. We are ready.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for sending me a wake-up call. Through your Holy Spirit, lead me to live a life that reflects your great love 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.
842x474-Custom-Post-MondayDevotion

Are you ready? – November 28, 2016

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Matthew 24:42-44

Are you ready?


Daily Devotion – November 28, 2016

Devotion based on Matthew 24:42-44

See series: Devotions

Would our nation’s military be ready for an attack if they only worked weekdays? If on weekends, all military personnel were sent home to spend time with their families, weekends would make us nervous. We would not feel secure if our armed forces were only sometimes ready for an attack by a foreign power. We want them to always be ready.

Are you always ready? Jesus lived a perfect life, died on the cross, rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. Jesus promised to return on the Last Day.

When? When will Jesus return? When will our last day be? Jesus didn’t say, so we don’t know. Jesus simply said: “Be ready.” Each and every day—be ready. Are you always ready for that day?

If our readiness depends on us, we should be very nervous. You and I get distracted by so many things in life—good and bad things. We get consumed by work, by family, by sports, by politics. We cave in to temptation. We are selfish instead of loving. We let fear and anger and worry grip and control our hearts. Does it sound like we’re always ready for Jesus’ return?

God makes us ready for Jesus’ return. He doesn’t start by reforming our actions. God starts by cleansing our hearts and minds. In his undeserved and unconditional love, God sent Jesus to live, die, rise and rule for you. God forgives you and through faith in Jesus makes you his child. He gives you peace now and heaven as your eternal home.

God cleanses your heart and prepares you for Jesus’ return. But God doesn’t keep that good work neatly and secretively tucked away in your heart. The apostle Paul, a follower of Jesus and a missionary, wrote: “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). A grace-filled, Jesus-focused heart is very active.

You don’t know the day Jesus will return. But you are ready for Jesus’ return. You are ready, not because of your goodness, but because of God’s grace. You are ready not because of all you’ve done, but because of all Jesus did for you.

Prayer:
Jesus, keep my eyes and my heart focused on you and ready for your return. In your grace, forgive my sins. In your grace, move my heart and my hands to serve you today and until I see you face-to-face. 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.