A Living Sacrifice – September 19, 2017

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:1-2

A Living Sacrifice


Daily Devotion – September 19, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 12:1-2

See series: Devotions

He used to be a Muslim. He had studied almost all of the world’s major religions. Now he was a Christian. Christianity struck him as unique. He said, “In my old religion, I was supposed to die for my god. In Christianity, I learn that my God died for me!”

God the Son, Jesus Christ, the eternally divine Savior, offered himself as a once-and-for-all sacrifice on the cross. Through that one-time, all-atoning sacrifice, we are forgiven. We are at peace with God. We receive the mercy of God eternally.

As we think of God’s mercy and the sacrifice of his Son, we are moved. We are amazed. We are changed. We are transformed. We were brought from spiritual death to new spiritual life in Christ by our baptism. Now we have the blessed opportunity to give ourselves to the One who gave himself for us. Our sacrifice of ourselves is not a “have-to” but a “want-to.” And our sacrifice of ourselves does not mean we die for our God, but that we live for our God. We breathe, we pray, we serve, we love, we worship as a living sacrifice to God—in our jobs, in our homes, in our congregation, in our community, in our relationships.

Do you struggle in a difficult relationship with someone who’s hard to love? Lay yourself down in sacrifice to them out of love for Christ.

Do your callings seem to require more from you than you would have chosen? Lay yourself down in sacrifice out of love for Christ.

Do you see a choice before you? Should you take the path that worldly wisdom suggests and do fine, OR follow the pattern of life taught in the Bible and it might cost you? Lay yourself down in sacrifice out of love for Christ.

His sacrifice saves you eternally. Your sacrifice is a life-long thank-you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you gave yourself for me to save me. You gave me your promise of forgiveness through faith. I now give myself to you as a living sacrifice, that all I do, think, and say would thank you and serve others. 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.

The Value of Your Soul – September 18, 2017

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Matthew 16:26

The Value of Your Soul


Daily Devotion – September 18, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 16:26

See series: Devotions

The status quo is unacceptable. This is the battle cry of our culture. We cannot stay where we are, or we will be left behind. If we keep on doing the same old things in the same old way, we will be overtaken by the competition.

This battle cry is why we work long hours. We struggle and strive to climb the success ladder. We pursue continuing education. We read books. We seek out advice from experts in our field. We want to keep up. Complacency kills, we’re told.

The status quo is unacceptable. This is why our culture fights so much and cries so frequently. We have pierced ourselves with many griefs—and for what? What do we hope to gain? A promotion? A degree? A “like” on social media? Is that it? Is that all there is?

The truth is we are more than our job titles, our academic achievements, and our social media pages. Our worth is not tied to our salary. Our significance is not established by the reputation of our alma mater. Our value cannot be captured in a flash—even in the most glamorous of pictures. None of these can make us acceptable, valuable, or worthy in God’s sight.

We are flesh and blood—but more than that. We have minds and hearts, hopes and dreams, ideas and emotions. We are spiritual beings. We have souls.

So often in our culture we are just a number—one among many others. We are only valuable if we set ourselves apart in some way. But that is not how our God sees us. That’s not how he treats us. Look to Christ and you will discover your value to God.

Jesus loved you enough to leave the comfort and glory of heaven and come down to earth. He took on flesh and blood, because the status quo was unacceptable to him. Sin kills, not complacency. So he lived the perfect life that you could not—no matter how hard you worked, no matter what you learned, not matter how well you presented yourself. He died the death your sins deserved, so that he could gain your soul.

We have been transformed. We are redeemed by the precious blood of the Son of God. We have been set apart by the Holy Spirit. We are more than a job title. We are children of God. We are more than what we know, because we are known by God. We are more than a pretty picture, because we have been washed clean in Baptism. Jesus has made us radiant—without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. We have a new battle cry.

In the Son of God, I am accepted.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, lift my eyes to the price your Son paid on the cross for all my sins. Renew my mind to see how much you love and value my soul. Refresh my heart that I may glorify and praise you in all I do. 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.

A Different Perspective – September 17, 2017

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 14:11

A Different Perspective


Daily Devotion – September 17, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 14:11

See series: Devotions

“Go on, you deserve the credit. Let people know what you did!” These were Diane’s words to her co-worker. Even though Bob just completed an important project ahead of schedule and under budget, he was reluctant to put himself in the spot light. He preferred to stand in the background because he found satisfaction in just doing his job well. Diane was the exact opposite. She loved the attention. This is why she told Bob to take credit for what he had done. Her plan was to ride his coat tails and receive some of the accolades. This is also why she became frustrated and replied, “Don’t you care if no one knows what you did!” Bob humbly mused, “I only did my job.”

Diane’s fascination with praise and frustration with the lack of it offers a valuable insight in my life. It is easy to want the commendation of others, and there is a certain satisfaction with the recognition of one’s peers. Unfortunately, this desire for praise can affect my spiritual life. There is a temptation to think God should be impressed by the things I have done.

The lesson Jesus taught about humility stands in stark contrast to the way many think. People like praise. People like recognition. People like to hear how good they are. I am no different.

While I may try to boast about what I have done, I need to remember it is the Lord who sets the standard. I may do many good things, yet none achieve perfection. So the lesson holds true: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled.” When I compare my deeds with the Lord’s desire for perfection, I can only hang my head in shame. It is impossible for me to attain his perfect standard. Jesus, however, offers a different perspective.

Jesus came to this earth; he took on my flesh and blood to accomplish what was impossible for me. With his death and resurrection, he also made God’s declaration of perfection a reality. Now, instead of looking to myself and promoting what I have done, I look to Jesus and rejoice in his completed work that exalts me.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 125):
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ, my God.
All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

The Savior Has Noticed You – September 16, 2017

Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” then for him to humiliate you before a nobleman.
Proverbs 25:6-7

The Savior Has Noticed You


Daily Devotion – September 16, 2017

Devotion based on Proverbs 25:6-7

See series: Devotions

When I was in grade school, my friend took me to a basketball game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Utah Jazz. I was so excited! I was going to get to see Karl “The Mailman” Malone play basketball. We went down early and my friend and I even stood in line to get Mr. Malone’s autograph. Pen and basketball card in hand, I stood in the crowd of children and jumped up and down trying to get The Mailman’s attention. I waved the card back and forth. I smiled. I shouted…did whatever I could to get noticed so that the All-Star forward would give me his autograph.

We all like to get noticed. Each of us has the inborn desire to exalt self. We lift ourselves up, often at the expense of others. Whether it is the coach, the teacher, the boss or the supervisor, we all try to impress someone. Maybe they’ll notice us. Maybe they’ll give us the promotion, or more playing time or just a pat on the back.

It doesn’t always work out, does it? Sometimes the one we want to notice us isn’t as impressed as we are with ourselves. We often end up feeling rejected. That hurts. Our sins of self and pride will always leave us hurting from lack of love and attention. Those sins not only leave us hurting, but they also are the exact opposite of the Christian humility that God looks for in his children.

There is one King who did notice us right away—before we even noticed him. In fact, before we even had anything to offer…Jesus noticed us. He noticed how lost and sinful we were. He noticed that if he didn’t do something, we would be condemned forever. And so, he willingly suffered on the cross to pay for all of our sins of pride. He took all of those sins off of us and paid for them with his innocent suffering and death. A short three days later he rose from the dead so that he could guarantee our own resurrection to eternal life. He ascended into heaven where right now he is preparing a place for us. And one day, perhaps one day soon, he will look down from his lofty place and say, “Come up here.”

It didn’t work out with Karl Malone. Try as I might, he did not notice me. To make matters worse, my basketball card got bent and wrinkled in the process. It would have been nice to be noticed that day, but it makes me appreciate all the more the fact that my Savior noticed me. He has noticed you too. We don’t have to try and impress him. Rather, we humbly serve and thank him and wait for the day when he says, “Come up here!”

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, forgive my sins of pride. Wash me clean by your blood and help me to humbly wait for the day when you will call me home. 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.

A Humble Reminder – September 15, 2017

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

A Humble Reminder


Daily Devotion – September 15, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:2

See series: Devotions

Professional football player Alfred Morris made headlines for the kind of car he drove. Many professional athletes have the financial means to purchase just about any kind of vehicle they want. So what kind of expensive and luxurious vehicle did Alfred Morris drive? He drove a 1991 Mazda that he bought back in college from his pastor for $2. His vehicle made headlines because it didn’t seem fitting for an athlete with a million-dollar paycheck.

The opening verse of Ephesians chapter 4 has us thinking about what is fitting for people who have something far more valuable than a million-dollar paycheck. The chapter begins, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (4:1). In case there is uncertainty about what this “calling” is, the previous chapters of the book of Ephesians share the amazing details of God’s gracious work to save and give a new life of faith. This new life of faith, full of hope and “the riches of [God’s] glorious inheritance” (1:18), is the calling we have received through Christ.

So how should God’s people live worthy lives of that calling? In his Word, God explains, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” One of the reasons Alfred Morris chooses to drive an old car is because he says it serves as a reminder to stay humble.

God gives us a reminder to stay humble too. But God gives us so much more than a reminder! He gave his Son Jesus who was completely humble, gentle, patient, and loving for us and with us. Our Savior Jesus shows us not only what a life worthy of our calling looks like, but he lived it for us and he empowers us to live it too!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for the humility, gentleness, patience, and love you have shown to me. Fill my heart with these same virtues that I might show and live in these ways toward others too. 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.

Saved by Grace – September 14, 2017

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Saved by Grace


Daily Devotion – September 14, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:8-9

See series: Devotions

In some parts of the world arranged marriages are still quite common. Often the bride and groom will have briefly met only a short time before taking their vows. Sometimes the couple will see each other for the first time only on the day of their wedding! They promise to commit the rest of their lives to a person who is no more familiar to them than a random person they pass on the street.

That may be hard for us to comprehend, because we are accustomed to showing love only to those that have somehow earned our affection first. We love our friends because they have stuck with us in hard times. We love our parents because they have generously provided and cared for us. Love in marriage grows as we come to know each other better. We find it hard to consider promising to love someone who—for all we know—may be unlovable.

This is also why grace is such a difficult concept for us at times. God promised to love us before we were even born—and he knew very well that we would not be deserving of that love! His love for us did not spring from any admiration for anything we are or have done. Much the opposite! God had every reason to be disgusted by the way we live for ourselves, the way we shamefully treat others who are different from us, the way we are ruled by petty emotions like anger, lust, greed, jealousy, and more. Even though God knew that this would happen, he loved us anyway. Not because we would somehow make up for it with good deeds or a strong faith. But purely because he is a gracious God who loves the unlovable and saves those who have no hope.

God arranged a marriage between himself and his Church—all those everywhere whom he brings to faith in him. Before we had done anything to serve him, he promised to be faithful to us and sent his Son Jesus Christ to rescue us. Christ suffered the punishment we had deserved. And he rose to life again to assure us that our sins are forgiven in him. Our Christian faith and hope of heaven is based on this grace alone.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I am altogether unworthy of the love you have shown me. Let your grace fill my heart with thanksgiving and joy that I might show others the same love you have 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.

I Am the LORD – September 13, 2017

God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant. Therefore, say to the Israelites, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’”
Exodus 6:2-8

I Am the LORD


Daily Devotion – September 13, 2017

Devotion based on Exodus 6:2-8

See series: Devotions

The nation of Israel was in trouble. They were living as slaves in the land of Egypt—mistreated, abused, overworked—and there seemed to be no end in sight. How could there be? They weren’t strong enough to free themselves from the Egyptians who oppressed them, and the Egyptians were not about to lose their labor force by voluntarily setting Israel free. The circumstances looked very bleak.

Many in Israel were probably thinking along those very same lines as they wasted away in their bondage. But do you see what they were missing? They had properly evaluated who they were—a nation not strong enough to force their way to freedom. They had also properly evaluated who the Egyptians were—a nation too oppressive to grant them their freedom. But what they had forgotten to properly evaluate was who their Lord was.

And so, the Lord reminded them.

In this section of Scripture, the Lord is speaking to Israel’s leader, Moses. The Lord’s words had nothing to do with who Israel was. Nor did it have anything to do with who Egypt was. Instead, the Lord’s speech centered around who he was: “I am the LORD.” In fact, barely a sentence goes by in the Lord’s words that doesn’t start with the pronoun “I.”

“I am the LORD…” “I will bring you out…” “I will free you…” “I will redeem you…” “I will take you as my own people…” “I will be your God…”. The list of “I’s goes on and on.

And, sure enough, a quick glance through Israel’s history shows us that the Lord did, indeed, keep all of those promises that he made to Israel. He brought Israel out of Egypt, even in spite of Israel’s weakness. He freed Israel from their slavery, even in spite of Egypt’s oppression. He did all of these things because he is the LORD! And when the Lord makes a promise, the Lord keeps it!

Friends, keep these words in mind as you evaluate the circumstances surrounding you in your own life. The Lord is always present. That means you need never worry or doubt or despair or fear, because the Lord has made you promises—promises to provide for you and protect you; promises to guard you and keep you; promises to be with you and bless you. And when the Lord makes a promise, the Lord keeps it!

Prayer:
Dear God, you have made yourself known to us as our Savior and our Lord. Remind us of who you are daily, that we may always find our comfort and our strength in you. Amen.

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

Unsearchable – September 12, 2017

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.
Romans 11:33

Unsearchable


Daily Devotion – September 12, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 11:33

See series: Devotions

Consider this. A stack of one hundred 1 dollar bills is a little less than half an inch. One million 1 dollar bills is 358 feet. One billion 1 dollar bills is 68 miles. And a stack of one trillion—with a “t”—a stack of one trillion 1 dollar bills is 67,866 miles.

With that in mind, let’s go on to another number. In one human body alone there are over 37 trillion cells. Needless to say, one single human cell is beyond tiny.

For decades, scientists assumed that, while human cells made up a vast, complex organism—they assumed that the tiny, human cell itself was a relatively simple thing.

But then, something happened. Just as the Hubble space telescope opened our eyes to the staggering vastness and intricacies of the known universe, so also new developments in technology made it possible to peer into the human cell.

What scientists saw inside a single human cell shattered old assumptions. Some of the scientists have described the shift like this. Years ago, they thought that the human cell was like a basic mud hut. Now they know it’s more complex than a Saturn 5 rocket. Years ago, they thought a cell was more like jelly. Now they know it’s a sophisticated nano-factory. Years ago, they perhaps thought that a cell had as many working parts as an automobile. Now they know that the workings of a cell are more like a galaxy.

As one scientist has said, “[The inside of a single human cell is] one of the most dynamic physical systems in the universe.”

And so how about you stop for a moment and give that some thought. There are over 37 trillion cells in your body. And inside every cell there is a level of activity so complex and so sophisticated that it’s like a galaxy unto itself.

That’s the kind of Creator we have. That’s the kind of God we have. And yet all of that is child’s play in comparison to something else our Maker chose to do. To rescue us from our sin, he chose to become one of us in the Person of Jesus Christ. Through his life and death on our behalf, he redeemed every cell in our body along with our soul.

And he did it for love. That is what is truly unsearchable.

Prayer:
Lord, my very body is proof of your unsearchable greatness. Greater still is that you came to live and die and rise 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.

Good, Better, Best – September 11, 2017

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16:13-16

Good, Better, Best


Daily Devotion – September 11, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 16:13-16

See series: Devotions

Jesus asked his disciples an important question. They responded with what could be considered a good answer—one of the prophets. It would have been an honor to be considered one of those powerful figures of the past. They also offered an even better answer when they said, John the Baptist or Elijah. If Jesus were one of them, he would either have come back from the dead, or returned to this life following his departure without seeing death.

Jesus then asked his disciples a second, more specific question, “Who do you say I am?” Without hesitation Peter declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This was the best answer, and it is the one I need to have.

To confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God is to believe what the Bible says is true. Along with the foundation this truth provides, there are the added blessings which flow from confessing Jesus is the Christ. There is the removal of guilt and sin. There is the victory over death and the devil. There is the unshakable confidence of heaven. These are mine through this clear confession. Still there is more. There is strength in times of temptation. There is peace in times of turmoil. There is help in every distress. All these I daily need, and all these Jesus provides as the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Sure, I could agree with some who believe Jesus is a wise and moral teacher. I could agree with still others who believe he is an important figure in history. While these answers may be good, and probably better than many, they are not the best. God has led me to know and confess Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He is my Savior.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you have revealed Jesus to be your Son. Give me the faith I need to put my confidence in him, and without hesitation confess he is my Savior and my God. 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.

Heaven’s Door is Open – September 10, 2017

And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations.
Isaiah 66:18-19

Heaven’s Door is Open


Daily Devotion – September 10, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 66:18-19

See series: Devotions

Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Luke that the door to heaven is narrow (Luke 13:24). Only those who trust in him for forgiveness and life will enter. The people of Old Testament Israel found this out first hand. Though God had given them every opportunity to put their trust in him and in the coming Savior he had promised, so many rejected his promises and were lost for eternity because of it.

Yet there were some, as Isaiah says in the Scripture before us today, “who survived.” These were the Israelites in whom God preserved saving faith; those who believed God’s promises of the coming Christ and who would live with him forever in heaven. And, as Isaiah tells us, God preserved them for a purpose. Those believers would not only be his children forever, they would also be his instruments in bringing the saving message of Christ to all nations—to those who had “not heard of [his] fame or seen [his] glory.” Indeed, the door to heaven is narrow. But, through God’s grace, it is open to all.

As we hear God’s Word today, Isaiah’s words are being fulfilled. We, who are included in the nations that the Lord desires to save, have not been left without the hope of heaven. God has given us the opportunity to hear the saving message of Christ in his Word, and through it he creates and strengthens saving faith in our hearts. He promises to preserve us in that faith until that day when we will live with him forever in heaven.

And just as he did for those in Israel who believed, God preserves us for a purpose. God now uses us as his instruments to proclaim the message of Christ to all nations, including all those in our own lives who do not yet know him and the promises that he offers in Christ.

So who in your life needs to hear this message of Christ? What opportunities does God present you with each day to share Christ with them? Take advantage of those opportunities so that they, too, can share the certain hope of heaven that you already possess. The door to heaven is narrow, but it is open to all!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, through your work you have saved me from sin and opened wide the door to heaven. Lead me to cherish this truth every day, and give me the desire and the opportunity to share it with others. 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.

Celebrate Your Future – September 9, 2017

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:18-24

Celebrate Your Future


Daily Devotion – September 9, 2017

Devotion based on Hebrews 12:18-24

See series: Devotions

Opposites abound in God’s Word. From day one there was evening and there was morning. Not long after the shocking difference between good and evil became apparent in Adam and Eve’s lives, and not in the good way in which they were hoping. And immediately following that was the difference between life and death as it was foretold that they would no longer live in the garden and eat of the tree of life. The difference of life with God and life without him would be their fate.

But in the process, another opposite shown forth. God treated them not in anger but in love. He told them that a Savior would come who would crush the serpent’s head. He told them that Eve’s offspring was coming who would win the war that began that day. Instead of wrath, God wrapped his children in love.

And that opposite has been the life story of God’s interaction with his people. Those who approach God in humble repentance don’t receive the terrifying wrath that was the reality for man or animal on Mount Sinai. They receive no firestorm, no terrifying threats, no sure and certain death. Instead they approach God to the sights and sounds of glory. They come to God through a mediator named Jesus. Jesus’ blood makes atonement for sin. Jesus’ blood turns wrath into righteousness. It turns fear into joy. Jesus’ blood turns the threats of God’s law into the promises of his gospel forgiveness. And because of our mediator we can rejoice. We can celebrate the heavenly future that is in store for us, who are covered in the blood of Jesus. We can approach God with confidence and encourage others to do the same.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for giving me the opposite of what my sins deserve and promising me a glorious future at your side in heaven. Be with me as I walk through this life. Please continue to guard and guide me, wherever your paths lead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

The Giver of Life – September 8, 2017

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins… But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:1,4-5

The Giver of Life


Daily Devotion – September 8, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:1,4-5

See series: Devotions

In Ezekiel chapter 37, we read that the LORD took the prophet Ezekiel to a valley filled with dry bones. After leading him back and forth among piles of lifeless bones, the LORD asked him a question. “Can these bones live?”

The physical images were meant to impress spiritual truths about the people to whom Ezekiel prophesied. Physically, they were alive. Spiritually, they were dead. The Word of God in today’s reading relates the same spiritual truths without a trip to a valley of dry bones. Ever since sin entered the world, people are born physically alive, yet spiritually dead in transgressions and sins. “Can these bones live?’

Ezekiel answered, “You know, Sovereign LORD.” Yes, the LORD knows, and he commanded his prophet to proclaim God’s life-giving Word over that valley. The power of the Word was amazing. The valley of death transformed into a valley of life. The dead were made alive!

Once again, the physical images impressed spiritual truths. The LORD raised the dead to life through the power of his Word. Ephesians chapter 2 shares the same power of God’s Word in our own lives. God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ!

“Can these bones live?” God asked Ezekiel this question for the prophet’s benefit and for our benefit. Our gracious and merciful God wants us to know that he is the giver of life—physical life, spiritual life, and eternal life. Find life and gracious love in God through his powerful Word!

Prayer:
Lord God, you are the giver of life. Use your powerful Word to comfort me with your great love, to strengthen me in the new life you have given me, and encourage me in proclaiming your life-giving Word to others. 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.

Every Spiritual Blessing – September 7, 2017

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3

Every Spiritual Blessing


Daily Devotion – September 7, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:3

See series: Devotions

In today’s Bible verse, the apostle Paul tells the church in Ephesus that believers in Jesus Christ have been blessed with “every spiritual blessing.” Here are some of the blessings we have through Jesus:

• We have been forgiven of all disobedience against God through the sacrifice of his Son.
• The perfect obedience of Jesus Christ has been credited to us. God considers us to be holy and worthy to stand in his presence.
• In Holy Baptism, we have been given a new life and a new identity. Adopted as God’s children, we can approach the Creator of all things as our loving Father.
• We can be confident that God will patiently listen to all of our prayers and will respond in a way which shows his rich love for us.
• In Holy Communion, together with bread and wine Jesus Christ gives us his very body and blood to eat and drink along with the assurance that we are one with him.
• The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our hearts, daily giving us hope and peace.
• In the Holy Scriptures, we find strength to resist temptation and guidance for doing what is pleasing to God.
• United with Christ, the true and living Vine, we are branches which produce fruits of faith such as love for God and for others.
• Our hearts respond to God’s word with generosity and grace. In Christ, we can find joy in service and contentment in any situation.
• All believers are united with each other through their union with Christ. We are members of the biggest family, the Holy Christian Church, which includes all believers here on earth and those who have already died and gone to be with the Lord.
• Christ’s resurrection from the dead guarantees that we will not remain in our graves. He will raise our bodies on the Last Day.
• Our time here on earth is short and full of troubles, but God has promised that we will live with him in Paradise for all of eternity.

Truthfully, there is not a single spiritual blessing lacking for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, comfort and quiet my uneasy soul with your many gospel promises. Thank you for providing for my every spiritual need in your Son Jesus Christ. 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.

A Very Special People – September 6, 2017

This is what the LORD says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. … And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Sovereign LORD declares—he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”
Isaiah 56:1,6-8

A Very Special People


Daily Devotion – September 6, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 56:1,6-8

See series: Devotions

In the Old Testament, God promised the nation of Israel that a Savior from sin would come from their nation. In order to make sure his promise to them would be kept, God set the nation of Israel apart from all the other nations in the world. He gave Israel a special land. He gave Israel special commands. He gave Israel special promises. He gave Israel prophets and priests and kings. All of it was designed to point Israel to and to prepare Israel for the promised Savior. Israel was, indeed, a very special people!

But what about all the other nations on earth?

The verses of Isaiah chapter 56 before us today give us a very clear answer to that question. The Savior from sin that was coming through Israel, this Savior wasn’t just for Israel, he was for the world. As the LORD beautifully foretold it, “foreigners” would be brought to his “holy mountain” just as the Israelites were, and “all nations” would be welcomed into his “house of prayer” right alongside the Israelites. Why? Because it was always God’s plan to “gather still others to [Israel] besides those already gathered.”

Israel was, indeed, a very special people. But based on these words of the LORD recorded in the book of Isaiah, do you realize who else is?

You.

You are special because the Savior whom God brought into the world through Israel was the Savior that was also meant for you. Through faith in that Savior, you are part of the “still others” whom God had always planned to gather into his family. And that makes you very special too.

God personally blessed you with the greatest blessing imaginable—the blessing of a Savior—and that blessing came to you through the nation of Israel. That thought leads us to an important question: Can you do for another what Israel did for you? In other words, who in your life needs to hear about the Savior whom God also sent for them? After all, there are “still others” who need to hear about him! Perhaps the Lord will use you to bring Christ to them, just as he used Israel to bring Christ to you!

Prayer:
Lord God, your mercy and grace are for everyone. Thank you for keeping your promise of a Savior to Israel, and thank you for keeping that promise to me. Bless and keep me as I now share that Savior with still others. 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.

Apartments – September 5, 2017

…I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
Romans 1:15

Apartments


Daily Devotion – September 5, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 1:15

See series: Devotions

If you visit the city of Rome today and walk through its ancient ruins, what you’ll see are the remnants of massive, awe-inspiring stone structures—the amphitheater, the baths, the villas, the coliseum. And what a sight it is.

What’s easy to overlook, however, is that Rome, in the First Century AD, had upwards of one million people. And the vast majority of those people did not live in luxurious villas. Rather, the vast majority of people lived in small, multi-level apartment buildings.

Those apartment buildings were made of wood. More than a few of them were in ramshackle condition. And so living in such apartments often meant a constant fear of fire or collapse. The living conditions could be cramped, sometimes just one room per family. Many apartments had little or no natural light. And if you lived in the upper levels of the apartment, you had no access to water.

Perhaps most poignant of all is the simple reality that these tens of thousands of wooden apartments have long ago disintegrated and vanished—along with the names of the hundreds of thousands who lived in them.

Names lost to history? Yes. Names forgotten by the Lord? No.

Every soul that the message of the gospel brought to faith, every soul who came to trust in Jesus as Savior from sin through the power of the Holy Spirit—that soul’s name is written in the Book of Life. That soul is a fully forgiven child of God now basking in the presence of Jesus Christ forever.

Keep that in mind the next time you feel forgotten.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in those moments when I feel anonymous and forgotten, remind me by your Holy Spirit that I am not. 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.

Desperate, Determined, or Devoted – September 4, 2017

The woman came and knelt before [Jesus], “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.”
Matthew 15:25-28

Desperate, Determined, or Devoted


Daily Devotion – September 4, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 15:25-28

See series: Devotions

A woman came to Jesus because her daughter was suffering terribly from demon-possession. Some might say she was desperate. She was willing to try anything for the sake of her daughter. Some might also say she was determined. Nothing was going to stop her, not even Jesus’ first response. Still, others might say she was devoted. She put her complete trust in what Jesus could do.

While many may have their opinion, what I believe is crucial. Because how I view the woman is how I also view Jesus.

Do I wait until I am desperate before I approach the Lord in prayer? Do I conclude I might as well give it a try because there is nowhere else to turn? Do I approach Jesus with sheer determination? Do I pray and pray until the Lord yields to my way of thinking? Do I see myself being devoted to him? Do I believe whatever his answer is, it will be for my good?

It was devotion for which the woman was commended, and with which I need to approach Jesus. Anything less than that will leave me open to disappointment. Worse yet, it will give the devil an opportunity to deceive me and try to turn me away from the Lord.

The source of this much-needed devotion is Jesus’ faithfulness and his precious saving work. Without these I would never have the confidence or the desire to pray. Neither would I have any reason to trust his answer. However, since he lived, died and rose for me, I know he has committed himself to me for time and for eternity. This is why I am devoted to Jesus, my Lord and my Savior.

Prayer:
O precious Savior and my Helper in every time of need, give me faith to come to you in prayer. Then give me faith to trust you will answer my prayer according to your good and gracious will. 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.

Our Heavenly Family – September 3, 2017

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Luke 12:49-53

Our Heavenly Family


Daily Devotion – September 3, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 12:49-53

See series: Devotions

“Kim” was a quiet young woman, raised in an “unchurched” family. When her friend invited her to visit his church family, she accepted. She got hooked on the message that God loved her despite all the wrong things she had done.

Then trouble started. Kim began attending worship every Sunday to learn more about God’s love. Her parents felt left out. They felt God was taking their daughter away from them. Every Sunday morning when Kim left for church, her father called out after her, “See you later, hypocrite!” Her mother scheduled family picnics and events on Sunday mornings. When her daughter chose to go to worship instead, Kim heard, “You love those strangers more than your own family!”

The abuse continued for months. Why would anybody, especially a meek young woman, put up with this? Why not skip worship to appease her parents? What could be worth the hurtful comments and the guilt trips?

God’s love for her! For the first time in Kim’s life, she had experienced a Father’s perfect love. Her heavenly Father knew her darkest secrets. She could hide nothing from him. Yet he still loved her. He had been willing to sacrifice his own Son to make her his own daughter. No matter what she did, he would never stop loving her.

This amazing, unselfish, sacrificial love changed Kim’s heart and her life. She could endure the division in her family on earth. It didn’t make her happy. She wished her parents understood. She tried to explain it to them. Whether they understood or not, Kim wasn’t about to lose her heavenly family. She knew the love of the Father who created her, the Brother who died for her, and the Spirit who gave her peace despite the insults and guilt trips.

Her new family was worth the trouble with the old family. Kim only hoped that one day, her old family could be part of her new family too.

Prayer:
Lord, you are the best family I’ve ever had. Thanks for your unconditional love. May everyone in my family on earth be part of my family in heaven. 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.

Run Life’s Race with Our Savior – September 2, 2017

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

Run Life’s Race with Our Savior


Daily Devotion – September 2, 2017

Devotion based on Hebrews 12:1-3

See series: Devotions

A very important matter for marathon runners is wearing the right gear. Wise runners make sure that no part of their gear will impede progress. Clothes are made to glide smoothly as they run, and shoes are double (probably triple) knotted to ensure that the runners won’t stumble along the way.

As we run through life there are plenty of things that entangle us—our sinful desire for independence, our insistence on having things done our way, our selfish pride, our incessant gathering of earthly possessions. Our sinful nature, the pressures of an increasingly godless world, the crafty evil one—they all lead us astray. They entangle us and trip us up on our race. And for not running our race the way that God demands, we deserve to be disqualified from the race and thrown off the course. We deserve to be thrown from the race of life and to suffer eternal punishment in hell.

But we have one who has run the race in our place. Jesus ran the race of life perfectly. The times that sin entangles and trips us up, Jesus picks us up and sets us back on our feet. For the foolish sins that have tied our own feet, we have one who resisted temptation and always ran a prefect race. From the manger to the cross to the tomb, he kept running until the victory was won. He rose from death and secured the prize, a heavenly prize that he shares with those who have faith in him.

As we run the race that our Savior maps out for us, we fix our eyes on him. He authored and perfected our faith; our race started in him and is also completed through him. He motivates us to run the race, and he runs alongside us as well. He enables us to throw off those entangling sins and to run the race marked out. We will run in his strength, and in his path, as long as he wants us to run, until our race is done, and we inherit eternal rest at our Savior’s side in glory.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, be with me as I run through this life. Keep me on your path and forgive me for the times I run down the wrong paths. Continue to guide and sustain me and give me the endurance I need to run for you and serve you with my life. 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.

You’ve Got Mail! – September 1, 2017

To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:1-2

You’ve Got Mail!


Daily Devotion – September 1, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:1-2

See series: Devotions

You’ve got mail! Well, it might be for you!

The return address is very clearly marked. The contents are very valuable and insured for their full value. But it is addressed to a person who is and continues to be a “saint”, or another way to say that: one who is faithful/faith-full in Christ Jesus.

You may think…I’m not sure that I should open this letter; I am not at all sure that the contents are for me. After all, nothing in my life suggests that I am a “saint” by any stretch of the imagination. My relationship with Jesus is not so much “faith-full” as it is “doubt-full.”

So, do I need to write in big, bold letters, “Return to sender?” Or perhaps write, “NFA” (no forwarding address) because I don’t know anyone—anyone other than Jesus himself—who is a “faithful/faith-full” saint.

But go ahead and open it anyway. The contents of this letter, the “grace and peace…from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” are not gifts that come to us if we are “saints” and if we are faithful. These gifts declare us to be saints. These gifts empower our faith. These gifts inspire and impel our faithfulness.

“Grace” is the love in the heart of our Triune God that causes him to shower blessings on us when we don’t deserve them. This love has surrounded us from eternity and will lead us to an eternity with God himself.

When the love of God the Father caused him to send his one and only Son, Jesus died on the cross to be our peace, to tear down the walls that separate us from God and to bring us back into his family, reconciled, made one, holy, chosen, and dearly loved. (See Ephesians 2:11-22 and 1 Peter 2:8-9.)

You’ve got mail! Yes, it is really for you!

And, by the way, you can forward this letter repeatedly to everyone in the world. Grace and peace is for them too!

Prayer:
Gracious Father, you sent your Son to show us your grace and to bring us your peace. Help us treasure these precious gifts of your love and share them in love with everyone. Amen.

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

God’s People – August 31, 2017

Come, let us bow down in worship,
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture…
Psalm 95:6-7a

God’s People


Daily Devotion – August 31, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 95:6-7a

See series: Devotions

When God created our world, he did it with the greatest care. He paid attention to the smallest detail. It shows in everything he made, from the tiny amoeba to the majestic blue whale, from the graceful giraffe to the playful spider monkey; from roses to redwood forests; from roaring waterfalls to soothing streams and all the way to the crown of his creation, humans.

And when we chose to disobey our Maker and run away from him (See Genesis 3), even then, the LORD ‘s love endured. He planned to rescue us from the sin and death we chose for ourselves. No one was left out of his plan. He sent his Son, the sinless Son of God to become man: one sacrifice for every sinner of all time. With his blood, Jesus took away the sins of the world.

Now the same care and concern he has shown our world he has also shown you. He made you. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. All the days ordained for you were written in his book before one of them came to be. Lovingly, carefully, he put you together. Are you baptized? In baptism, God took what Jesus did for the world and gave it to you personally through faith. He forgave all your sin, the sin you were born with, the sins you have committed, even the sins you haven’t committed yet. Do you attend church services? Week after week, God offers you a feast of heavenly forgiveness through the good news of what Jesus has done for you, the way a shepherd feeds a hungry sheep.

Believers in Jesus may still feel as though we owe God something. But we don’t owe him a thing. Jesus already paid the full debt of our sin. We belong to the LORD. We are his people. If people at a football game have their faces painted in their team’s colors, you don’t have to tell them to cheer. It’s who they are. They just do it. Our hearts and lives are painted with the blood of Jesus, our Savior who has covered our sins. So, whether we are giving thanks in church or in our everyday life, worshiping God isn’t an obligation for us anymore. We are his people. It’s what we do.

Prayer:
Dear LORD our Maker, we thank you for saving us from our sin. In everything we do, lead us to worship you with grateful hearts. 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.

The Whisper that Wipes Away Despair – August 30, 2017

There [Elijah] went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”… The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
1 Kings 19:9,11-12

The Whisper that Wipes Away Despair


Daily Devotion – August 30, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:9,11-12

See series: Devotions

As the prophet Elijah cowered in a cave, he contemplated his bleak situation. The outward circumstances overwhelmed his thoughts. He was deeply saddened by the apparent lack of success in his work. His toil appeared to bring only more trouble for himself and for others. Because of the present situation, he despaired of any hope for the future.

In the midst of Elijah’s multiplying worries, the Almighty came with his word to comfort his perplexed prophet. Through the gentle whisper of his word, the Lord lifted Elijah from his gloom and unfolded his divine plan with encouraging promises that would fill Elijah with faith for the future.

Are there days when we would rather hide in a cave than hold on to any hope? The outward circumstances of our personal lives can be very disquieting. The stress of work deadlines and the strain of family duties can leave us shaken and distraught. We may begin to question whether there will ever be an end to our anguish. Our search for answers leaves us feeling despondent and desperate for relief.

The Lord lovingly speaks to us with the gentle whisper of his gospel. He offers us answers that are not centered upon our often-misguided feelings and mistaken perceptions of our situation. Rather, he offers certain help through the rock-solid hope of his unbroken promises. Through the gentle whisper of his word, God offers rescue and relief through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus dispels the darkness of our despair with the convincing proof of his love.

Jesus, the source of all truth, tells me that he is with me when I feel I am alone. The Savior reminds me he is my refuge even when my worldly troubles overwhelm me and the devil seeks to swamp my faith in a sea of despair. The Lord overcomes my doubt and despair with his persistent promise of forgiveness for all my sins. The gentle whisper of the word renews my strength with his profound pledge of a bright future. For God assures me that I now have new life through his Son and the promise of eternal life with him in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for the comfort you offer for every trouble and the confidence you instill for every day. Amen.

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

Switching Places – August 29, 2017

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Romans 9:1-5

Switching Places


Daily Devotion – August 29, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 9:1-5

See series: Devotions

Saul and Jude grew up in a poor neighborhood of New York City. Despite loving parents, these identical twins never seemed to appreciate how much their parents sacrificed for them. They got in trouble in school and with the police. They were living worthless lives, but when Saul was 25, he realized he was wasting his life. He began building a life as a responsible adult. Eventually he moved to the West Coast and became a successful businessman.

Jude continued to spend money recklessly. He took unnecessary risks. He had one girlfriend after another. Jude always bragged to Saul what an important man he was in New York. Saul knew better.

Then one day Jude sent Saul a text—911. It was their code for an emergency. When Saul couldn’t get hold of Jude, he bought a round trip ticket to fly to New York to find his brother.

For two days Saul could not find Jude. Finally, they met as Saul took a shortcut through a dark alley. From the shadows Jude explained he had an affair with the wife of a mob boss. He was hiding, but sooner or later, the mob would find him and kill him. Jude couldn’t go to the police. He couldn’t run away. He didn’t know what to do.

Saul quickly gave Jude his own driver’s license and airplane ticket. Saul and Jude would trade places. Jude could fly to the West Coast and start his life over. Saul would stay and suffer the consequences for what Jude had done.

How could a man love his worthless brother so much?

The apostle Paul understood. He loved his own people, the people of Israel, that he wished God would curse Paul in their place. God had blessed them with the privileges of being adopted into his family, entrusted them with the Ten Commandments, and established them as ancestors of the Savior. They had wasted these privileges, but Paul was still willing to be punished for them. How could Paul love them so much?

Jesus had loved Paul that much.

God has blessed all of us with our bodies, abilities, family, friends, food, clothes, and everything else. We have hijacked these blessings to meet our goals and not God’s. We deserve God to give us hell—literally.

Instead, God’s Son Jesus chose to become our brother. He chose to switch places with us and suffer the consequences for what we’ve done. Jesus has given us a fresh start in life by forgiving our sins and adopting us into his family.

Jesus’ overwhelming love for Paul filled him with overwhelming love for others. Jesus has done the same for us. We can’t save others by being damned for them. But we can save others by sharing with them how Jesus took the blame for all they’ve done wrong.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for switching places with me. I know I can’t die to save the people I love, but I can tell them how you died to save them. Use me to show them your love. Amen.

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

Don’t doubt God’s Word – August 28, 2017

The boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 14:24-27

Don’t doubt God’s Word


Daily Devotion – August 28, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 14:24-27

See series: Devotions

The Sea of Galilee is seven hundred feet below sea level. It’s the lowest freshwater lake on the planet. When winds whip through the surrounding mountains and into that watery Galilean crater, storms come quickly and out of nowhere.

That is where the disciples are—on a boat, in a windstorm, at night. Jesus is not with them. In fact, Jesus was the one who told them to cross the sea.

It shows that being a disciple is not easy. You can’t assume that life will be exactly how you want it. Life is full of unexpected storms. What do you do?

The temptation is to doubt God’s Word. We hear God’s promises, but we are tempted to wonder if he is reliable. If he were, why would life be so difficult right now?

But don’t doubt God’s Word. Think about the disciples in that boat on the wind-whipped sea. What are they looking at? They’re looking at Jesus.

It’s a surreal scene. Jesus goes out to them, walking on the rough water. No wonder they think they’re seeing a ghost.

Then he speaks a word of promise: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” There is strength for faith. It’s not a ghost. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Son of God!

When we fear or worry, Jesus promises, “It is I who forgives. It is I who saves. Look at me. Focus not on the illness, not on the pain, not on the economy, not on yourself. Find strength for your faith in my promises.”

God has laid a firm foundation for your faith in his excellent Word. Believe it. God’s promises are always powerful. They brought peace to the disciples, and they bring faith to your heart and hope for your future.

Prayer:
Lord, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief. 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.

How To be Patient With God’s Promises – August 27, 2017

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:1-6

How To be Patient With God’s Promises


Daily Devotion – August 27, 2017

Devotion based on Genesis 15:1-6

See series: Devotions

God does not always fulfill his promises as quickly as we would like. Perhaps you have noticed this. His timetable is often different from ours. But if we listen to his Word again and again, God will give us the patience we need to wait for him to fulfill his promises.

God did this for a man named Abraham about four thousand years ago. God had promised to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation from which the Savior of the world would come. But ten years after God first made this promise, Abraham and his wife still had no children. Not only that, Abraham was eighty-five years old and his wife was seventy-five. How long was God going to wait?

We can relate to how Abraham was feeling. Our faith in God’s promises sometimes flounders as well. Are his promises true? Will he keep his Word? Why is it taking so long?

God knew Abraham needed to have his faith renewed so he took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

And we are told: “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” God strengthened Abraham’s faith by repeating his promise.

God does the same for you. You are feeling lonely. God’s Word says, “I am with you.” You are feeling frightened. God’s Word says, “I will protect you.” You are feeling frustrated. God’s Word says, “I will take care of you.” You are feeling guilty. God’s Word says, “I forgive you.” You are feeling mortal. God’s Word says, “I give you eternal life.” We don’t need to hear these promises just once. We need to hear them again and again because life keeps coming at us. The challenges to our faith keep trying to pull us away from our God, and his Word keeps pulling us back.

So the next time your faith is getting impatient with God, go back to his Word and listen to those promises once again. His Word will empower you to be patient until he keeps all of his promises.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for the many wonderful promises you give me in your Word. When my faith flounders and I become impatient, take me back to your Word again and again and use that Word to fortify my faith and give me the patience I need. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

What Gets You Through – August 26, 2017

They were looking for a better country—a heavenly one.
Hebrews 11:16

What Gets You Through


Daily Devotion – August 26, 2017

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:16

See series: Devotions

The World War II film, Saving Private Ryan, is about a small unit of soldiers with a difficult assignment. They had orders to penetrate enemy country, find one, specific soldier, Private James Ryan, bring him out and send him home. The government issued those orders because it had just notified Ryan’s mother that her 3 other sons died in battle.

The leader of this small unit is Captain John Miller. Captain Miller is tough, fair, respected. He’s also a bit of a mystery to his men. Try as they might, they can never get Captain Miller to tell them what he did before the war. It’s become something of a friendly contest among the men to find out.

Which brings us to one of the most poignant scenes in the movie. In searching for Private Ryan in enemy territory, one of the men gets killed. The men in the unit begin to fall apart. They begin to wonder why they are there, why they are risking their lives to find one man. They are on the edge of mutiny. It’s at that moment that Captain Miller chooses to tell them what he did before the war. “You know what I did for a living?” he gently asks. “I’ll tell you. I was an English teacher at Thomas Alva Edison High School in Addley, PA.” Then he adds this. “My wife is there. I love her very much. And the way I see it, if carrying out this mission gets me closer to seeing her again, well, that’s what I’m going to do.” With that, Captain Miller picks up his gun and moves out. And without saying a word, the rest of his men follow.

By God’s grace, few of us have ever had to face the horror and stress of war. Nevertheless, in our lives there are those moments when all the comforts and joys of life seem to vanish with the arrival of something awful. Perhaps your finances have collapsed. Perhaps you feel trapped in the misery of cancer treatment. Perhaps a member of your family has shattered your heart.

At those moments when it seems as though there are only terrible things for you to endure, what sustains you? What gets you through? What sustained Captain Miller was the possibility of getting home to his wife. What sustains you and me is the reality of going home to heaven.

Even in a broken world there is almost always a wide variety of comforts and joys to sustain us. But at those moments when there isn’t, remember: Jesus died for your sins. He lives. Your home in heaven waits. And between now and then, your Savior will get you through.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in those moments when all seems dark, carry me. I rest myself in you. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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