Celebrate Being Debt Free – March 23, 2019

In [Jesus Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
Ephesians 1:7

Celebrate Being Debt Free


Daily Devotion – March 23, 2019

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:7

See series: Devotions

If you are like most people, you are dealing with debt. You have house payments, car payments, and credit card bills. And then there was that furniture you bought last year with no payments due for twelve months. And now the twelve months are over. Debt can be overwhelming. It can feel like a great weight pressing you down—a weight you feel you can never escape.

Whether or not you are like many people when it comes to financial debt, you ARE like every human being when it comes to spiritual debt. You owe God for every sin you have ever committed.

You could try to ignore your spiritual debt. But that would not make it go away, any more than ignoring your credit card bill. You could try to pay off your debt to God, except that you have no currency with which to pay it and with every day you live, you commit more sins and rack up more debt. Spiritual debt is overwhelming. It feels like a great weight pressing you down—a weight you feel you can never escape.

But the Bible has good news for you. God says that Jesus has freed you from your debt. His blood was full payment for your sins. The great weight of your guilt has been lifted. It was placed on Jesus when he hung on the cross, so your spiritual debt never needs to bother you again.

Imagine finding out that someone had paid off all your financial debt—your house, car, credit cards, and even that furniture you purchased. Imagine the weight that would be lifted! Imagine the celebration you would enjoy!

You don’t need to imagine that your spiritual debt to God has been paid. It has. Jesus paid it. So let go of your guilt and celebrate the freedom of your forgiveness!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I know that I could never pay the debt I owe because of my sins. But I also know that you paid that debt for me. Thank you. Keep me from feeling the weight of a debt I no longer owe so that I can be free to spend my life celebrating the forgiveness you earned. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Stubborn – March 22, 2019

I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day . . .
Luke 13:33

Stubborn


Daily Devotion – March 22, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 13:33

See series: Devotions

One hundred fifty-five years ago, during the American Civil War, an army of Union soldiers had become frustrated. For years, this Union army had fought under many different generals. But, no matter who was in charge the result was always the same. They would fight a battle against the Confederate Army, things would get messy and bloody, the Union general in command would lose his nerve and call a retreat, and the war would drag on.

But, then a new general arrived by the name of Ulysses S. Grant. At first, it seemed nothing had changed. Under Grant they had a sharp battle against the Confederate Army. Things got messy and bloody. The next day they received orders to march. “Here we go again,” the soldiers thought.

But, when they arrived at a fork in the road, instead of marching north in retreat, Grant led them south toward their enemy. Ulysses S. Grant was the general they needed. He was a stubborn, determined man. He continued pressing and pressing, attacking and attacking until, eventually, victory was won.

Ulysses S. Grant may have been a stubborn, determined man when it came to defeating the Confederate Army. But, even he cannot out-stubborn Jesus. When it comes to his love for you, Jesus is the most stubborn and determined person in all creation.

Remember that. Remember that when your burdens stubbornly stick to you. Perhaps it’s an ailing parent, a drifting child, uncertain finances, health problems, loneliness, or regrets from your past that you cannot seem to forget. Perhaps it’s just the wear and tear of living in a broken, sinful world.

When your burdens stubbornly stick to you, remember that Jesus is determined to keep his every promise to you. That is what he sealed in his blood on the cross and guaranteed with his empty tomb. He proved his love for you then and he’s not backing away now. Because when it comes to Jesus’ love for you, no one can out-stubborn him.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, your goodness and love pursue me with a dogged determination. Move me to see your stubborn grace in my life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Walk – March 21, 2019

The Lord Jesus Christ . . . will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:20-21

A Walk


Daily Devotion – March 21, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 3:20-21

See series: Devotions

Here’s an assignment for you: The next time you visit a hospital, make it a point to take a thoughtful, deliberate walk through that hospital. Look around. Take in what you see.

Behind every door there’s a story, an unfolding drama. There are some who are recovering from accidents and will soon be getting on with their lives. There are others with life-changing injuries. There are patients who are getting treatment for a stubborn bug and will soon be going home. There are others who are undergoing a barrage of tests in hopes of discovering what the problem is. There are families who arrive with balloons and funny cards because a loved one gets to come home. There are families sitting quietly in waiting rooms because they know a loved one is never coming home again.

Such a walk will remind you of one thing. No matter how healthy you are, you are only one bacterium away, one moment’s inattention away, one positive test result away from finding yourself lying in a bed that’s not your own, watching a wall-mounted television, with strange machines beeping at your side. It will remind you that, in this world of sin, each of us possesses a lowly body that’s far more vulnerable and frail than we care to admit.

But such a walk can also remind you of something else. The lowly bodies we have now are not going to be lowly forever. We know this because Jesus has made a promise. He has promised to transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

And so, there it is. The same Son of God who took on a human body to live in our place, sacrificed his body on a cross to pay for our sins in full, and raised his body back to life—this same Jesus has promised that the lowly bodies we have now will not be lowly for long. Disease, accident, age, death—these things do not have the final word on our bodies. Jesus does. And his Word says that when he raises his followers from the dead one day, our bodies will be glorious—no more pain or disease or injury or death. What a transformation!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, for the time being my body is frail and lowly. But not for long. For this I thank you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Moment – March 20, 2019

But our citizenship is in heaven.
Philippians 3:20

Moment


Daily Devotion – March 20, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 3:20

See series: Devotions

If you ever want to take on a sobering read, pick up a book entitled, The Gulag Archipelago. The book is a first-hand account of what life was like in a Soviet forced-labor camp during the 1940’s and ’50’s. The accounts of what took place are so powerful and compelling, that in 1970 the book earned the Nobel Prize. Many consider it one of the most important books of the Twentieth Century.

What pulls you into the text, however, is not just the vivid description of what took place. Mixed in with the details of horror, cruelty, and desperation are proclamations of profound insight.

For example, the author unfolds what some Soviet prison guards were willing to do to terrorize and manipulate the inmates. But when he does, he also reveals what the guards feared the most. He says what they feared most is when they dealt with someone who knew that this life is nothing in comparison with the life that is to come—when they dealt with someone who knew that they were only passing through this short life, and that life eternal awaited. Against this kind of inmate, the prison guards were helpless. And because they were helpless, they were afraid.

Think about that for a moment. Through faith in Jesus—who died for your sin and rose from death—you can now look the rest of your life in the eye. And you can do so with a kind of courage that makes the powers of darkness tremble. Will there be days of difficulty in your future? Yes. Will there be days of sorrow? Yes. Will there be days of loneliness, disappointment, and suffering? Yes, yes, and yes.

But our citizenship is in heaven, God’s Word says. Heaven is where we belong. Heaven is where we are going. And because that is true, the passing moments of trouble we encounter—as terrible as they may be—are only that, passing moments.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, the troubles I face in this world last only a moment. My life of joy with you will last forever. Help me remember this. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Empty – March 19, 2019

Their god is their stomach . . . Their mind is set on earthly things.
Philippians 3:19

Empty


Daily Devotion – March 19, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 3:19

See series: Devotions

Perhaps some of you have seen a reality-TV series entitled, “My 600-lb Life.” The episodes follow the progress of individuals who are in desperate need of extreme weight loss. If you have not seen the show, you may quickly discover that you have much more in common with these individuals than you assume.

It could be that you also struggle with health issues related to weight. Whether you do or not, however, is beside the point. What’s striking is how so many of the individuals in the series are struggling with the same deep-seated problem. For years upon years, they have tried to fill an empty place in their lives with food.

That empty place may have come from a tragic death in their childhood, from abuse, or simply from a general sense of brokenness they cannot define. Their choice for filling that emptiness, however, has been food.

With what have you tried to fill your empty place? Maybe you’ve tried to fill it with food, work, or entertainment and recreation. Or perhaps you’ve tried to fill it with approval from others, constant busyness, alcohol, drugs, pornography, social media, politics, or news networks.

What you already know, however, is this. These things never fill the empty place. They never work. No matter how much you consume, the empty place always returns.

The frightening truth is that you and I, in the loneliness of self, are far emptier than we dare to fear. And that’s why we desperately need Jesus.

When Jesus came to this earth, he came to do far more than simply pay off the outstanding debt of our sin as if it were some abstract equation. In living a holy life on our behalf and then taking our failures to the cross, Jesus reshaped our entire relationship with our Creator. Now, through the power of the gospel, the Holy Spirit fills us. Jesus fills us. He fills us with his promises and his living, breathing Word.

And as he does, he fills your empty place and mine as nothing else will!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive me. Forgive me for all the ways I have tried to fill my empty place with things that do not satisfy. Fill me with 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Conflict for Christ – March 18, 2019

As soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die!”
Jeremiah 26:8

Conflict for Christ


Daily Devotion – March 18, 2019

Devotion based on Jeremiah 26:8

See series: Devotions

Many years ago, Steve Turner and Frank Weed teamed up to author a book entitled, Conflict in Organizations. The book is a how-to manual on dealing with conflict in the workplace. As they detail how various individuals react to conflict, Turner and Weed describe one specific group as “Concealers.” Concealers are willing to do a great deal not to experience conflict at all. According to the book, there are three basic types of concealers. First, there are the “Feeling-swallowers.” Feeling-swallowers will smile even when a situation is causing them great distress. Second, there are the “Subject-changers.” Subject-changers transition the conversation to a less confrontational subject as soon as possible. Third, there are the “Avoiders.” Avoiders will go far out of the way to put distance between themselves and any potential conflict.

Many of us can see ourselves in these descriptions. Conflict, after all, is unpleasant. Avoiding the unpleasant, therefore, is understandable.

Avoiding the unpleasant, however, is not a solution. It’s not a solution in the workplace. And it’s not a solution when it comes to serving as a witness for Jesus and his Word.

Let’s be candid, here. There have been all kinds of moments you and I have allowed to slip away—moments that were opportunities to share the message of Jesus with someone else. We let them slip away, however, because we just didn’t want to be bothered. We didn’t want to be bothered with a potential “awkward moment”—a potential conflict, with all the unpleasantness it might bring.

And that’s how my old sinful self often works. It doesn’t openly rebel against my Lord. It just finds a reason to put things off.

It’s time to come to repentance. It’s time to recognize how often I have put my needs ahead of someone who desperately needs Jesus. It’s time to find healing in the forgiveness that Jesus has purchased for me at the cross.

What’s more, it is in that very forgiveness that you and I will find fresh courage. We will find fresh courage to risk conflict and confrontation for the sake of Jesus and his gospel.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive the many times I have given in to my fears. Wash me clean. Give me fresh courage to live and speak for you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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I Must Keep Going – March 17, 2019

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
Luke 13:31-33

I Must Keep Going


Daily Devotion – March 17, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 13:31-33

See series: Devotions

“It looks dangerous to me.” As Bob studied the rope bridge, he saw the frayed ends and missing boards. His advice was simple, “Let’s turn back.” In contrast to Bob’s timid nature, John expressed complete confidence. He knew the bridge was going to support their weight because he had just used the bridge a week earlier. So he started across the bridge and invited his friend, “Let’s keep going!”

Jesus faced a similar decision. Should I turn back, or should I keep going? He knew what was in store for him if he pressed on (Luke 13:33). His decision was revealed in his resolve: “I must keep going.”

Jesus knew what he was here to do. (See John 3:16-17.) It was a ministry entrusted to him by his Father. He also knew how it was going to end. Still, he accepted the work, and did not turn away from the cost.

“I must keep going.” With these words I understand the commitment Jesus had for my rescue. He would do everything necessary to free me from the punishment my sin demanded. Because Jesus was willing to die on the cross, I am free. Free from the punishment I deserved, and from Satan’s tyranny over my life.

As I live in this freedom, I need to recognize the challenges that confront me. Satan does not give up his claim on me. My flesh continues to be weak. The world increases its pressures and distractions.

“I must keep going.” It not only becomes my goal for life, it becomes my source of help. When I am tempted to stop following my Savior, or to give up, I need to look to Jesus. I trust that he never gave up on me. It’s this knowledge that becomes my reason to persevere. It’s my courage, power, and conviction to say: “I must keep going.”

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal: 467)
May the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day,
By his love and power inspiring all I do or say.
May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Great Love – March 16, 2019

“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:8-13

Great Love


Daily Devotion – March 16, 2019

Devotion based on Romans 10:8-13

See series: Devotions

When you love someone, you express what’s in your heart by what you say and what you do. You send a card, give a gift, sincerely say, “I love you!” Because when you truly love someone, you want to show it. Love naturally expresses itself.

Jesus’ love for us speaks volumes. His death on a cross and resurrection from the dead reveals the depth and faithfulness of his love for us. He expressed his love by paying for our sins, once and for all. He opened heaven for us. Jesus is committed to staying with us and taking care of us. Those actions of love echo through time. They declare that he will always love us, always forgive us, always save us.

The message of Jesus’ love—the gospel—moves our hearts to dearly love him as our Savior. The Bible says that when our hearts trust that Jesus died to take away our sins and rose from the dead, then our mouths will naturally confess him as Lord and Savior. His love in us empowers us to love him in what we say and how we worship him. The more his love is in our hearts through the power of his Word, the more our lives will be glad to express our love for him.

Prayer:
Jesus, thanks for your great love. Thanks for being my Savior. Help me confess you with all my heart for all my life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Lord of All – March 15, 2019

The same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:12b-13

Lord of All


Daily Devotion – March 15, 2019

Devotion based on Romans 10:12b-13

See series: Devotions

Some people seem to have easy lives, and my life is hard. I pray and pray, and nothing ever seems to change. Could it be that God favors those other people, or is holding something against me, maybe something that I did? No, the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.

Some people seem to go through life without a care in the world, and I feel guilty all the time. I hear that I am supposed to feel forgiven, but I never totally do. Could it be that God has forgiven those other people, but that he is withholding his forgiveness from me until I do something that shows him that I am really, really sorry? No, the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses those who call on him.

People in other countries or in other ethnic groups in my country seem to have it way better than I do. They don’t face as much discrimination as I do, and they have so many more resources than my family does. Could it be that God favors certain countries and certain ethnic groups? No, the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.

God promises salvation to every person the same way, through faith in Jesus. Jesus’ death paid the price for the sins of the whole world. Jesus’ perfect life is credited through faith to everyone who calls on him. It doesn’t matter what ethnic group, gender, or socio-economic status, the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Prayer:
Lord God, I call on you in faith. Bless me and all whom I love. Grant me confidence in whatever you provide for my life through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Understands – March 14, 2019

[Jesus] has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:15b-16

Jesus Understands


Daily Devotion – March 14, 2019

Devotion based on Hebrews 4:15b-16

See series: Devotions

It happens all the time on social media. People post: “Has anyone else ever experienced this?” They are looking for someone who can sympathize, empathize, or suggest a way forward.

When we are tempted to sin, we might wonder whether Jesus can empathize. Could he possibly understand what we are going through?

The Bible assures us that Jesus does understand and even empathizes with us. He was also tempted and suffered when he was tempted. He was a real human being, and he suffered real temptations. But Jesus did not sin! As a result, he could offer his perfect life in our place, taking the punishment for our sin and giving us his righteousness through faith.

That means we can pray to Jesus with confidence in any situation. When we are tempted, we can pray for strength. When we have given in to temptation, we can pray for forgiveness. When we have difficulties, we can pray for Jesus to supply us with exactly what we need.

Jesus understands what we are going through and knows just how to help us. In fact, he knows even better than we do what we need. He has been there, done that, and wants to help us go through temptation too, all the way to heaven!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, we approach your throne of grace with confidence. Give us mercy and grace; and help us in our time of need. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Trust Him – March 13, 2019

The devil led Jesus to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Luke 4:9-12

Trust Him


Daily Devotion – March 13, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 4:9-12

See series: Devotions

Sometimes the devil’s temptations are tricky. You think about something that is probably wrong, but you can come up with some pretty good reasons for doing it. Sometimes you even think that you’ll just try it, and if it goes wrong, that will be God’s signal that it was wrong all along, but if nothing bad happens, well then, it must actually be okay.

Jesus cuts through that maze of the devil’s temptations and says simply, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Yes, God says he will take care of us. But by telling us that, he does not invite us to be careless or to do what we know is wrong. He asks us to trust him, not test him.

You can trust God to have his holy angels guard you every step of your life, all the way to heaven. When you suffer on the way to heaven, you can trust God not to leave you comfortless. When you are tempted, you can trust God to provide a way out of the temptation. When you sin, you can trust God to forgive you, because Jesus took the punishment for your sin when he died on the cross.

When you are tempted to test God, trust him instead.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 446:1)
I am trusting you, Lord Jesus, trusting only you,
Trusting you for full salvation, free and true. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Serve Him Only – March 12, 2019

The devil led Jesus up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
Luke 4:5-8

Serve Him Only


Daily Devotion – March 12, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 4:5-8

See series: Devotions

Babies may look innocent, but parents can tell you that being naughty comes naturally to them. You don’t have to teach a child to do the wrong thing. That comes very easily. On the other hand, teaching a child to do the right thing can be a struggle.

In fact, everyone starts out with an inclination to serve themselves, and that makes the devil very happy. If his temptations include something that seems good to us, we fall into them very easily.

When God brings us to faith in Jesus as our Savior, we are set free from having to serve ourselves and to please the devil. The devil can offer us what he likes—authority, splendor, power—and we can answer, “No, I have Jesus, and that is enough.”

In gratitude to God for saving us through the work of Jesus, we ask ourselves, “What can I do to thank him?” The Lord our God answers, “Worship and serve me only.” That service is a delight, because we are thankful to Jesus for defeating the devil. Jesus has set us free from having to follow every evil whim and emotion encouraged by our ancient enemy. Instead, we serve him freely with joy.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 470:1)
Praise to you and adoration, blessed Jesus, Son of God,
Who, to serve your own creation, came to share our flesh and blood.
Guide me that I never may from your fold or pastures stray,
But with zeal and joy exceeding follow where your steps are leading. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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It Is Written – March 11, 2019

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
Luke 4:1-4

It Is Written


Daily Devotion – March 11, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 4:1-4

See series: Devotions

When temptation comes along, how do you react? Do you give in every time? Do you fight it for a while but then grow weary? Do you go for a long time without giving in but then indulge? Everyone has felt the lure of temptations from the devil.

What is the best way to fight those temptations? Jesus shows us the power of fighting temptation with words from the Bible. “It is written,” he says, and the devil has no answer. Whatever God says in the Scripture is absolute truth, and it is powerful against temptation.

You will find that turning to a pertinent Bible passage in a moment of temptation is helpful. The Word of God is a powerful weapon against our old, evil foe—the devil. He was defeated by Jesus, and he has no answer to the powerful words of Jesus.

When you have given in to a temptation and you are feeling guilty, it is also helpful to turn to a Bible passage: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Cling to God’s words of forgiveness, and trust that the victory of Jesus over the devil is your victory as well.

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Overcoming the Lion – March 10, 2019

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’”
Luke 4:3,4

Overcoming the Lion


Daily Devotion – March 10, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 4:3,4

See series: Devotions

Quickly. Name the most powerful animal in the world? I’m not sure what your answer would be, but mine is the African lion. It’s capable of killing an African buffalo, even though that animal can weigh three or even four times the weight of the “king of the jungle.” Mess with a hungry lion and you’re lunch meat!

Did you know the Bible describes Satan as a roaring lion who is eager and able to kill people—body and soul—in hell? It’s true! (See 1 Peter 5:8) Satan once was a good angel. Now he’s bad to the bone! He’s a liar and murderous enemy of God and his children.

In our verse for today Jesus was being attacked by Satan and his wily temptations for 40 days and nights in the desert. It was a battle. Jesus, being fully human as well as fully God, was tired and hungry. Satan tempted him to stop trusting in his heavenly Father to provide for his bodily needs and, instead, take matters into his own hands by turning the stones around him into loaves of bread for food. But Jesus refused. He fought back with God’s Word, reminding Satan that he was to rely totally on his Father and his providential promises.

Learn from Jesus when Satan comes alluring! Use God’s powerful Word and gospel promises like a sword to fight him off. By his blood stained cross and empty grave, Jesus has defeated Satan once and for all, and for you. Fight against him in confidence because the victory has been won and it is yours!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for defeating Satan. Help me fight the good fight, using your Word to comfort and defend me in my battles with the roaring Lion. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Mountain Top Experiences – March 9, 2019

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
Luke 9:28-36

Mountain Top Experiences


Daily Devotion – March 9, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:28-36

See series: Devotions

Sometimes in our lives we have what are called “mountain top experiences.” They are experiences that are so great we never want them to end. Some brides and grooms feel that way on their wedding day. They are surrounded by the people that they love the most. They look their best. Everyone is happy and smiling. They never want the day to end. But it does end. They need the wedding day to end so that they can get on with their married life and the future that awaits them.

In this lesson from Luke chapter 9, Jesus and three of his closest followers had a mountain top experience. For a moment the disciples where given a glimpse of Jesus in his greatness as the Son of God. It was awesome. Jesus’ clothes were as bright as a flash of lightning. Jesus conferred with Moses and Elijah, two of the great figures from the Old Testament. Peter didn’t want the experience to end. This is why he proposed that they build three shelters. He was hoping to capture and hold the greatness of this incredible moment.

But like all other mountain top experiences, this moment had to end. Jesus knew that he had very important work waiting for him on a different mountain. That was Mount Calvary, the mountain on which he would be crucified for the sins of all people. It was important for Jesus’ disciples and it is important for us to remember both mountains. The mountain on which Jesus showed his glory reminds us that he is the true Son of God. Mount Calvary reminds us that Jesus is the Lamb of God who willingly gave his life to make the payment for your sins and the sins of the entire world.

This week the season of Lent begins. It is a time when we focus on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. As we focus on his passion, let us not forget his great power. He is the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, I worship you as the glorious Son of God who came from heaven to sacrifice yourself as the Lamb of God to take away the guilt of my sins. Bless me with the truth of your Word and the joy of your salvation. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Reveals His Glory – March 8, 2019

“As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’”
Luke 9:33a

Jesus Reveals His Glory


Daily Devotion – March 8, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:33a

See series: Devotions

What an event this was! Jesus reveals a glimpse of glory! Wow! Moses and Elijah are there in glorious splendor! Wow! The Father speaks from the cloud! Wow! Peter, James, and John get to see and hear it! Wow! To be there must have been amazing! It’s no wonder Peter said, “Master, it is good for us to be here.” And it’s no wonder he wanted to stay! This was amazing!

But there is one more “wow.” The biggest “wow” of all is that Jesus does not stay. Jesus walks back down that mountain. Why? He walks away from the Mount of Transfiguration, so he can willingly walk to another mountain, to Mt. Calvary, where he suffers and dies. Can you imagine? The glorious, all-powerful God-man was willing to set aside the full use of his glory and power, and instead was willing to carry a cross. And for what purpose? To save you! To save me!

So what is the ultimate point of the Transfiguration? Is it merely for Jesus to show off his power? No, Jesus doesn’t need to show off. Is it merely for us to be scared, seeing our sinfulness? Is it merely for us to get a small glimpse of life eternal, as we see Moses and Elijah chatting with Jesus as Jesus reveals his glory? While it surely shows us those things, there’s more.

The ultimate point of the Transfiguration event is to show us Jesus’ love! Yes, Jesus has all power and glory. He is the all-powerful God. But Jesus also left that mountain to go to Mt. Calvary because he loves you dearly! What could this lead you to say but, “WOW!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, lead me to look with even more gratitude to your sufferings and death, knowing that you did all those things for me! Assure me over and over again that you love me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Family of God – March 7, 2019

“A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.’”
Luke 9:35

The Family of God


Daily Devotion – March 7, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:35

See series: Devotions

What would it be like to be the child of someone powerful, rich, or famous? Could there be some advantages if you had been born into, say, the Kennedy or Bush families? What if one of your parents was Bill Gates, Lebron James, or Christian Yelich? Being born into a situation like that would bring certain advantages.

What would it be like to be the Son of God? That’s one we can’t even imagine! Jesus is so, so different from us. He is almighty, we are weak. He is eternal, we are mortal. He rules the universe, we have a hard time ruling our own thoughts or emotions. Perhaps the worst difference is that he is perfect, while we are sinful. Those sins mean we deserve to have God say to us, “I never knew you. Depart from me.”

But why did Jesus, God’s Son, come to this earth? He didn’t come to rub the difference in our faces. Rather, he came so that he could repair our relationship with God. Jesus came to this earth to live a perfect life and to die a perfect death for us—to win forgiveness and eternal life for us.

And, he accomplished his goals! He lived, died, and rose from the dead! Salvation has been won!

And God loves to give his salvation away, to sinners like you and me. One way he does this is through Holy Baptism. When a person is baptized, they are baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To put it differently, God puts his name on that person. They are now “Tom, God’s-Son,” “Beth, God’s-daughter,” because they are now part of God’s family.

Every believer in Christ is part of the most important family ever—the family of God—and can know that, “I am God’s beloved child, too!”

Prayer:
O Father, assure me that I am your child today, tomorrow, and that I will be for all eternity. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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An Amazing Day – March 6, 2019

As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
Luke 9:29-31

An Amazing Day


Daily Devotion – March 6, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:29-31

See series: Devotions

What an amazing day Transfiguration Day was! Peter, James, and John got to see a glimpse of Jesus’ glory! A cloud enveloped them, and a voice spoke from the cloud! It’s no wonder that we hear that Peter, James, and John were afraid, yes, terrified!

But then there was Moses and Elijah. Do you get the impression that Moses and Elijah were terrified, or even a tad nervous? It sure doesn’t seem that way, does it? There they were, in glorious splendor, talking face to face with the glorious Jesus! There seems to be no fear, no worry, no anxiety!

And someday, it will be that way for you, too! When God takes you to heaven, God will remove sin—and all its effects—permanently. Never again will you be bothered by a guilty conscience, never again will you fear, never again will the back ache or your heart be filled with sorrow, because sin will be gone! While at this point in our lives God has declared that we are holy and righteous, when we get to heaven we will be perfect and holy! And because of that, you—yes, you—will be able to talk with Jesus, face to face, not with fear, but with confidence and joy!

Prayer:
Thank you, Savior, for this glimpse of heaven! Lead me to eagerly anticipate the day you will take me there! Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Heavenly Mountaintop – March 4, 2019

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Luke 9:28-29

A Heavenly Mountaintop


Daily Devotion – March 4, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:28-29

See series: Devotions

Each of the accounts of Jesus’ transfiguration begins with a statement that this happened about a week later than what had just been written about. So, God wants those events connected. And just what had happened about a week earlier?

It started out great! Jesus asked Peter, James, and John who people thought he was, and eventually Peter confessed oh-so-clearly that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God! But when Jesus began talking about his suffering and death, Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him. In response, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23).

So, now it’s a week later, and you’re Peter, on this mountain, and Jesus’ face suddenly changes so that it is shining like the sun and his clothing become as bright as a flash of lightning. If you’re Peter, what are you thinking? Are you thinking, “Oh no! A few days ago, I was rebuking him! Look at him now!!! What was I thinking?”

How easily we question God in an improper way, even “rebuke” God. True? Yes, it’s true. We have the audacity to tell God that he is not handling things correctly in our lives or in our world. How dare we!

What is amazing is that Jesus didn’t cut Peter off and eliminate him from the disciples. Jesus continued to love Peter. He even invites Peter to come to the mountaintop, to view his glory.

And amazingly, Jesus continues to love you and me too. Despite our failures, Jesus continues to love us. And someday he will invite us to the heavenly mountaintop where we will experience his glory forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for not rejecting me! I long to see your glory! Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Glimpse of Glory – March 3, 2019

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Mark 9:2-9

A Glimpse of Glory


Daily Devotion – March 3, 2019

Devotion based on Mark 9:2-9

See series: Devotions

Can you really blame Peter for wanting to stay on that high mountain? After years of following Jesus, now he was finally allowed to see his true glory as the Son of God. Jesus’ face shone like the sun and his clothes were gleaming white. Then, as if it couldn’t get any better, Moses and Elijah, two heroes of the Old Testament show up and by their very presence put God’s stamp of approval on the Savior’s life and mission. There was no more worrying, no more wondering, no more doubting. Just Jesus revealing himself as God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.

Who would want to leave such a place? This is religion just how we want it—power, glory, peace. Peter wanted it all right then and there. But isn’t this what we want too? No more uncertainty. No more rejection. No more broken hearts, pain, failure, disappointment, loneliness, or death. Just glory. Just basking in Jesus’ glory and experiencing the peace that transcends all understanding.

But Jesus had to leave that mountain. He had to leave because his mission was not finished. He needed to carry out God’s plan of salvation and die for sinners, so that this glimpse of glory that Peter and the others experienced on the mountain could last for an eternity in heaven. So driven by love, Jesus descended that Mount of Glory and walked willingly to that Mount of Shame where he suffered and died for our sins.

Like Peter, we may want the glory right now. We might want to be done with all of the pain and suffering and sadness of this world, but it’s not time yet. Right now it is God’s will that we live by faith in his Son. Through the Word we too have witnessed Jesus’ glory on the mountain, and even more than that, we have seen his glory as our risen and ascended Lord. This glimpse of glory is what sustains us through difficult days here on earth and assures us of an eternal glory that will never end with Jesus in heaven.

Prayer:
Dear Lord of glory, help me to patiently bear the difficulties and sadness of this world as I keep my eyes fixed on you and await the eternal glory to come. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Persistent Patience – March 2, 2019

Then [Jesus] told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
Luke 13:6-9

Persistent Patience


Daily Devotion – March 2, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 13:6-9

See series: Devotions

What does an orchard owner do when there are no apples to gather at harvest time? Many growers in Michigan found out in 2012. Due to early warm March temperatures combined with several April freezes, much of the tree fruit crop was damaged that year. In a state that averages 25 million bushels of apples, only 3 million bushels were harvested. Some orchards suffered total loss.

Believers are privileged to be planted in the Lord’s vineyard through the power of Holy Baptism. In that vineyard their faith grows and flourishes, bathed in the sunlight of the glorious gospel. The Lord tends to each individual tree with the greatest care. He feeds and cares for it with the continual shower of his grace.

Yet how cold and callous my sinful nature is toward the heavenly hands that care for me! Tempted by the deceptive warmth and comfort of worldly pleasures and chilled with despair while encountering life’s troubles, I fall far short of producing the fruits of faith which the Lord expects of me. Even the good works that I do in service to him are tainted by the poison of my sin. For this I deserve only to be cut down and thrown into the eternal fire of hell.

However, Jesus cares for me with greatest patience. Mercifully, he still calls me to repent of my fruitless ways. Instead of cutting me down, he himself bore shame, disgrace and death on the tree of the cross in my place. He waits, and he waits in hopeful expectation of a fruitful harvest from me. And while he waits He still lovingly digs around me and fertilizes me with the full forgiveness he freely offers. His grace ever encourages me to bear abundant fruits of faith to his glory.

Prayer:
Lord, I confess to you my fruitless, faithless ways. I trust in your forgiveness freely given through Jesus, my Savior from sin. Give me strength to live as a fruitful tree, blessed to be in your vineyard. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Rattlesnake – March 1, 2019

So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13

The Rattlesnake


Daily Devotion – March 1, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

See series: Devotions

There’s an old Native American story about the power of temptations. A young brave once climbed a high mountain to prove his manhood. As he stood at the top, he looked down at his feet and saw a rattlesnake half-frozen by the cold. The rattlesnake said to the brave, “Please, I will die up here in this cold. Please put me under your shirt and carry me down the mountain.” The brave protested. “I cannot do that,” he said, “because I know what will happen. As soon as you warm up again you will bite me.” “No, I will not,” said the rattlesnake. “I will not because my relationship with you will be different. I will always remember that you are the man who saved my life.” This made sense, and so the young brave agreed. He tucked the half-frozen rattlesnake under his shirt and started back down the mountain.

As soon as the rattlesnake got warm under his shirt, however, he bit the brave, pumping venom into his body. The brave cried out, “How could you do this? I just saved your life. You said our relationship would be different.” To that the rattlesnake simply said, “You knew what I was before you ever picked me up.”

Some temptations can make perfect sense until it’s too late. That is the lethal danger of their logic. What temptations have crawled under your shirt, claiming to be something different than what they are? Is your old-fashioned work ethic actually a disguise for your greed? Is your desire to stop and smell the roses actually a disguise for your laziness? Is your righteous need to stand up for yourself every time you feel slighted actually a disguise for your sinful pride? Is your so-called “refreshing candor” with others really an excuse for you to be verbally abusive? When you talk about others out of “Christian concern”–is it really just a license to gossip? Your claim to be content to have a simple, childlike faith in what you learned about God as a kid–is that just disguising your stubborn refusal to gather with other believers and to grow in his Word?

When we fail to see these temptations for what they are, when we fail to see where these temptations come from, sooner or later the snake is going to bite.

Thank God for Jesus. Thank God for a Savior who withstood every temptation on our behalf. Thank God for a Savior who went to the cross and absorbed the venom for all our failures. When you’ve been bitten, there is forgiveness and rescue with our Savior, Jesus. And thank God for a Savior whose Spirit now empowers us to see our temptations with clearer eyes–whose Spirit now empowers us to leave the half-frozen rattlesnake on the ground.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when the temptations come, strengthen me in your forgiveness. Move me to leave the temptation alone. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Determined to Save – February 28, 2019

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Luke 13:31-35

Determined to Save


Daily Devotion – February 28, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 13:31-35

See series: Devotions

A young man gets bullied by a classmate at school. It seems that every day this bully finds a new way to humiliate him. But then one day the tables turn. As he walks down the hallway, he sees the bully getting bullied. He is faced with a choice: either come to the defense of the bully or don’t. Does that bully deserve the help that young man could give? We might be inclined to say no. It seems like the bully is finally getting what’s coming to him. He’s getting his just desserts.

It’s a concept that has grown popular today: karma. “What goes around comes around.” If you do something bad, something bad should happen to you in turn. If you hurt someone, you should be hurt. People should get what they deserve.

But that is not how the Son of God operates. In Luke 13, we see Christ’s familiar foes, the Pharisees, telling him how Herod wanted to see him dead. Was there truth in their words? Maybe. But that didn’t deter Jesus from doing the work he came to earth to do. He would continue to teach people God’s truth, no matter who opposed him. He would continue his work as the promised Savior, even though his very own people would reject him. Why? Because he was determined to save.

When Jesus would go to Jerusalem, he would die, and he would do it not just for people who believed him. He would die on the cross for every sinner. He would die for the Pharisees. He would die for Herod. He would die for all people. That means he died for you too. We don’t deserve God’s grace. We don’t deserve what Jesus did for us. But that didn’t deter him. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus forgives your every sin. By that same grace, God gives you heaven through faith in Christ. Thanks be to God that our Lord Jesus was determined to save us!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, I’m a sinner and don’t deserve anything from you. But you still died on the cross for me to save me from sin and death. Increase my faith in you. Keep me from rejecting your grace. Make me a grateful recipient of your love so that I may be yours 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Do not Shoot the Messenger – February 27, 2019

Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!” Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you. As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”
Jeremiah 26:11-15

Do not Shoot the Messenger


Daily Devotion – February 27, 2019

Devotion based on Jeremiah 26:11-15

See series: Devotions

In William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Antony and Cleopatra,” a messenger brings unwelcome news to the queen of Egypt: her beloved Antony had married Octavia. Beside herself with rage, Cleopatra lashes out at the hapless message-bearer, threatening to scalp and blind him. He wards off her blows crying out, “Gracious madam, I that do bring the news made not the match.” He reminds Cleopatra that he was not responsible for Antony and Octavia’s union; he’s only there to tell her about it. Today he might have used the common phrase: Don’t shoot the messenger!

A number of the Old Testament prophets were persecuted and mistreated simply because their audience didn’t want to hear what they had to say. But their message was not their own–it came from God himself. No one likes to hear that they are in the wrong, much less that they are going to suffer punishment as a result of their indiscretion. And so we are tempted to get angry with the pastor or fellow Christian who points out our sin and calls us to repentance. We act as if somehow our guilt only appears when it is spoken aloud, as if we had not brought the shame down upon our own heads through our sinful behavior.

The messenger that God sends to point out your sin has another follow-up message to share with you too: God sent his Son to take your sin and its punishment upon himself. Your guilt has been placed on the cross of Jesus who has atoned for it with his own lifeblood. God’s messengers point out the disease of sin so that they can also proclaim its cure: faith in Jesus Christ our Savior. If you reject the first half of the message, you discard the second as well. So listen carefully to all rebukes from God’s messengers, repent of all wrongs you’ve committed, and rejoice in the forgiveness which is yours in Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord God, let me never close my ears to those who bring your word to me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The End of Guilt – February 26, 2019

“He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Acts 10:42-43

The End of Guilt


Daily Devotion – February 26, 2019

Devotion based on Acts 10:42-43

See series: Devotions

Jesus’ message about Judgment Day was simple: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” and “see to it that you are not alarmed” (Matthew 24:4,6).

Peter had not forgotten this warning. Once we knew that “Jesus is the Lord of all,” we also realize that he has the right to judge all. Old Testament visions (Daniel 7:9-14) reveal this truth about Jesus, the Lord of all. Jesus says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (Matthew 25:31-33).

Peter witnessed to Cornelius that they both would stand in front of this Jesus on the last day because “Jesus is the Lord of all.” That’s why Jesus commanded Peter “to preach to the people and testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.”

God reassured our sin-filled parents that the seed of the woman [Jesus] would crush the devil’s power. Jesus’ death brought to Cornelius, his family and “everyone who believes in him,” the end of guilt through the forgiveness of sins. The dying Lamb of God “takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). That means that we who have put our trust in Jesus do not need to fear Judgment Day because we know the Judge. We know his mercy and his love for the whole world.

We know that we and all who trust the words and promises of the Bible will enter heaven together. We know that in heaven we will see “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” Look closely! By God’s grace you will see Cornelius and his family, and they will see you!

Prayer:
Gracious Holy Spirit, reassure us and give us the peace of forgiveness in Christ so that we never fear Judgment Day, but long for the appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

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