A Promise – June 22, 2024

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. . . I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’”
Ezekiel 17:22-24

A Promise

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 22, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 17:22-24

See series: Devotions

Have you ever made a promise and then broke it? That question gets personal when you think of the promises you have made to your spouse, children, or best friend and how many times you have let them down. That question gets more personal when you think of the promises you have made to God, and how many times you have failed him. It is one big reason we struggle with so much guilt.

Did you notice in the reading from Ezekiel, how many promises your Sovereign Lord makes to you? He declares, “I myself will… I will… I will do it.” He promised to raise a small shoot into a great tree that would provide shelter and shade for all who nest in that tree. The small shoot that becomes a great tree is Jesus Christ, your Savior from all sin. The birds who nest in the tree are all the people who come to Jesus for rest from their guilt. The shade and shelter the tree provides is the loving and merciful care that Jesus gives to you.

Now, if you want to see the impact of these words in Ezekiel, look at them this way: For every time you said “I will” to your Lord but didn’t, your Lord said “I will” to you and did. And you can see what he did on another tree. He died for you on the cross. From that tree, there is forgiveness for all your broken promises. From that tree, there is a promise kept that leads to eternal life.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, forgive me for my broken promises to you. Thank you for keeping your promise to me. Thank you for the refuge I have in Jesus. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Planting Kingdom Truths – June 21, 2024

[Jesus said] “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
Mark 4:26-32

Planting Kingdom Truths

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 21, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-32

See series: Devotions

A mother left a note for her children, “Have a great day! Don’t forget to take the lasagna out of the freezer. I will be home around 6:00 PM tonight. Don’t forget to take the lasagna out of the freezer. Love you! Mom (p.s. Don’t forget to take the lasagna out of the freezer.)”

Do you get the impression that mom wants the lasagna out of the freezer? Repeating a message is a way to emphasize a message. So your ears perk up when Jesus speaks a couple of times in Mark chapter 4 about planting seeds. Do you get the impression that your Savior wants you to hear his Word?

With words as his picture, Jesus holds up a teeny-tiny seed and says, “A farmer doesn’t know how this seed grows. But it does! And that is what my kingdom is like.” He then reaches for a teenier, tinier mustard seed and contrasts it with the tall plant, like a tree that it would become. Seeds are so little when planted, yet they grow into ripe harvests and large plants.

Just think about what happens in your heart and soul as Jesus fills them with his Word. He isn’t sharing farming examples to broaden your understanding of agriculture but to plant kingdom truths in your heart. The king who died and rose for you wants you to know and trust the power of his Word. God’s Word, like a tiny seed, doesn’t seem like much. But it is the power of God. And through that power of God, he sprouts faith, grows that faith, and fills the limbs of your life with the bounty of his fruits.

Prayer:
Lord God, fill my ears and plant in my heart the precious and powerful truths of your Word and your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Growing Seed – June 20, 2024

[Jesus said] “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29

The Growing Seed

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 20, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-29

See series: Devotions

Seeds appear to be just little things that are dry and dead. Actually, they are teeming with life. Inside the outer coat is a root and a shoot just waiting to jump out and start growing, along with a powerful energy supply to keep it growing until it can make its own energy. It’s a simple yet fantastic design that continues to work despite gene manipulation, the production of hybrids, and all the attacks from fungi, bugs, and plant viruses. The human race is only one failed seed season away from starvation. But we don’t worry because we know the seed designer who has promised that “…seedtime and harvest…will never cease” (Genesis 8:22) as long as the earth endures. Seeds work.

So Jesus used the story of a seed to illustrate what the Christian Church is like. In this chapter of Mark, he tells three different seed stories that clearly show the power of the gospel in causing and growing the Church of all who believe in Jesus. It’s the seed chapter in the Bible.

You may have heard this message a thousand times, but it still brings a thrill to your believing heart and makes that faith stronger. It’s been proclaimed worldwide, has caused 2 billion people to say, “I believe in Jesus,” and is still going strong! That’s why you read through the Bible, so your faith will grow along with your knowledge. It’s also why you plant the gospel with as many people as possible so that more people can join us in the kingdom!

Prayer:
Dear Holy Spirit, thank you for putting your power at work in the seed of the gospel. Lead me to hear it and read it so that it can grow my faith stronger. Lead me to plant it in the ears and minds of others so you can bring them into the kingdom of Jesus. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Seed – June 19, 2024

[Jesus said] “A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.”
Mark 4:26-28

The Seed

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 19, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-28

See series: Devotions

Every spring, we see the miracle of growth. It’s not Mother Nature, but the hand of the almighty God, maker and preserver of all things.

Miraculous growth takes place also in the human heart. The growth-maker again is God, specifically the Holy Spirit. The result is the creation and preservation of Christian faith, as evidenced by words and deeds of Christian love.

You can’t see faith, but genuine Christian faith demonstrates itself by its emerging fruits, which look out for others instead of the natural “me-first.” Simple good manners—like saying a genuine “Thanks!” instead of thanklessly grabbing for things, can be a fruit of faith. Seizing opportunities to perform little kindnesses like providing a meal for a fellow Christian, caring
for a hospitalized loved one. It’s serving everyone, even those in the community. Never overlook the daily care and concern of a tired mother untiringly raising her children in the Lord’s nurture and instruction.

Let’s not forget, though, that growth potential lies not in the human heart but in the seed of the gospel planted and watered there. Unlike drought-caused restrictions on watering lawns and gardens, there dare be no withholding of the gracious water of life applied and reapplied to the soul with the gospel. The power to produce fruit lies in the gospel and nowhere else. And, as always, to God’s name be honor and praise!

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, give me eyes and ears of faith to trust that your Word is at work creating a harvest for you. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Growth Without Effort – June 18, 2024

And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29

Growth Without Effort

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 18, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-29

See series: Devotions

Farming is a lot of work. Farmers are some of the hardest-working people that I have the privilege of knowing. They are up before the sun and go to bed long after the sun has set. They plant and harvest. They maintain buildings, equipment, and acreage. They make deals buying what the farm needs and selling what it produces.

However, the one thing they don’t have to do is cause the plants to grow. The farmer cannot will them to grow or find just the right words to say to inspire the seeds to sprout. The farmer can’t pay a bribe to make the plants grow or put in some overtime hours to make the plants grow. The seeds sprout, grow, and produce a harvest all on their own.

It is the same with the kingdom of God. There is much to do in the kingdom of God, and like the farmer, we are to be busy. There are people to love and good works to do. We are to be busy loving our neighbor as ourselves and keeping the commands of God.

However, the one thing we don’t do is cause the kingdom of God to grow. We scatter seed by sharing his Word, but the kingdom of God does not grow by our own will or efforts. It doesn’t grow because I want it to or because I have inspired it. Though we might not know how it grows, it will have a harvest all on its own.

There is much for us to do in the kingdom of God. Yet the growth is not our work or effort, but God’s.

Prayer:
Father of the harvest, keep me busy doing your work and sowing the seed. Yet remind me that it is not my work, but yours. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cut off but Not Dead – June 17, 2024

“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.
Ezekiel 17:22,23

Cut off but Not Dead

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 17, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 17:22,23

See series: Devotions

It had been 480 years of a continual dynasty as one son after another followed his father as king in Jerusalem. There had been long reigns and monarchs who sat on the throne for only weeks. Jerusalem had been home to kings who had followed the commands and decrees of the Lord and also those who were wicked and brought much suffering upon the people. Through all the ups and downs, the great dynasty had continued, but now it was finally coming to an end. Zedekiah would fall and be the last king. All of Zedekiah’s sons were killed, and Zedekiah himself died in captivity, and along with him, the dynasty was over—or so it seemed.

Even as the mighty tree of David’s line fell, God was breaking off a tender sprig to plant in a high and mighty place. It would start small and humble; few would notice or pay attention. However, this humble sprig would become a great tree that would bear fruit and provide rest and shade not just for a single nation but for many people.

That sprig was planted as Joseph and Mary journeyed to David’s hometown of Bethlehem, “and the time came for the baby to be born.” His birth was small and humble, but through his death and resurrection, David’s greatest descendent would bear fruit and provide rest for all people. Not food or physical rest, but the gifts that come from Jesus defeating sin, death, and the devil.

The mighty tree of David’s dynasty would fall. In Jesus, God would plant a greater tree from that same line who would bring true peace and rest.

Prayer:
Thank you for fulfilling your prophecy and sending my Savior. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powerful Seed – June 16, 2024

[Jesus] also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29

Powerful Seed

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 16, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-29

See series: Devotions

Hold a seed in your hand, and it appears lifeless. But plant it in the ground, and from that seed emerges a tender sprout that pushes its way up through the soil and grows into a sturdy plant. We can loosen and fertilize the soil and supply ample moisture, but we cannot empower a seed to germinate and grow. It does that all by itself because that’s the way God created it.

Jesus used the nature of a seed to describe the working of God’s Word. When the good news of Jesus was planted in your heart, the power of God caused faith in Jesus to sprout and grow. This happened because God was working through his Word to give you new life and all the blessings of being a child of God.

You can’t produce saving faith on your own; no more than you can cause a planted seed to grow. God accomplished it completely for you. God loves you so much that he brought you to faith in Jesus and still uses his Word in your life to help you grow in faith. Therefore, you can look forward with confidence to the day of the harvest when Jesus will come to gather you and all his believers to be with him in eternal glory.

Prayer:
As you have used your Word, O God, to bring me to faith in Jesus, help me grow in my faith as you nourish me each day with the good news of my salvation. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

God Cares – June 15, 2024

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:15

God Cares

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 15, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:15

See series: Devotions

“What kind of a God would allow so much suffering in the world? Doesn’t he care? Doesn’t he love?”

Have you ever heard someone say this or something similar? What would you say in response?

Does God love? Does he care?

Look at our Bible verse for today. Adam and Eve, the first people to live on this earth, had willingly and deliberately disobeyed one of God’s crystal clear commands, choosing instead to listen to Satan. By sinning, they had separated themselves from God and brought upon themselves his righteous and just anger. Just like that, our first parents became lost and condemned creatures, doomed to die physically, and they deserved to die eternally. Worst of all, there was nothing that Adam and Eve could do to save themselves. Their situation was hopeless. They had no one to blame, either. The fault was theirs.

Please take note of God’s response. He could have forever turned his back on Adam and Eve, allowing them and all their human descendants to live out their miserable earthly lives and experience a misery of pain in hell eternally. Or, he could have come down at once and annihilated them, like a person stepping on a cockroach.

But that’s not what God did. He cared for Adam and Eve. He loved them as the crown of his creation. He wanted them and all their human descendants to live forever alongside him in heaven. So what did God do? He promised to send a Savior, someone who would be punished in their place, crush Satan, and destroy death. Why? God cares. He loves.

Don’t reject this caring God who loves you. Wrap your arms of faith around Jesus, the only Savior for all people, because he cares and loves you!

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for caring for me and loving me so much that you sent your only Son, Jesus. Keep my faith strong in him as my Savior. When I’m overwhelmed by my problems and fears, remind me that you will care for me because you love me. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ancient Serpent – June 14, 2024

He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan.
Revelation 20:2

Ancient Serpent

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 14, 2024

Devotion based on Revelation 20:2

See series: Devotions

It is 2017. Scientists in Europe are conducting an experiment. They are showing a series of pictures to 6-month-old babies. With each picture, the scientists record the dilation of the babies’ pupils. One picture is of a flower. When the babies see the flower, their pupils remain the same. Another picture is of a fish. When the babies see the fish, their pupils remain the same. On the experiment goes.

But then, somewhere along the line, the scientists display the picture of a serpent. When the babies see the serpent, their reaction is different. Even though these infants have no experience with serpents, their pupils dilate, their bodies grow agitated, and they display signs of stress. With this experiment, the scientists conclude in their report that, for some reason, most humans seem to be born with an innate fear of serpents.

Perhaps that should not surprise us. It was the serpent, after all, through which Satan tempted our first parents to sever their relationship with God. It received a curse as a result—destined to crawl and squirm on its belly. Indeed, people have feared serpents for a very long time.

But the image of a serpent is also part of something wonderful. In the last book of the Bible, God’s Word makes reference to what’s recorded in the first book of the Bible. Revelation 20:3 speaks of that ancient serpent—who is the devil or Satan. Someone is seizing that ancient serpent, exerting victorious might. This is possible only because God has fulfilled his promise to send a Savior from sin—the descendent of Adam and Eve who would crush the serpent’s head and destroy the devil’s power.

The ancient serpent, of course, still tries to find ways to frighten, startle, and drive us to despair. When he tries, remember the one who has already come. Remember the one who has lived a holy life in our place and suffered and died for our every sin. Remember the one who lives and reigns. Remember the one who has crushed the ancient serpent. Remember Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when Satan tries to frighten me, remind me that he’s crushed. Remind me of you. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

First Gospel – June 13, 2024

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:15

First Gospel

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 13, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:15

See series: Devotions

There is no darker moment in history. Tempted by Satan in the serpent, Adam and Eve have severed their bond of trust with their Creator. Sin has flowed into its place. The effects are immediate. Adam and Eve try to hide from God. When God calls upon them to acknowledge what they have done, all they do is point fingers. Eve portrays herself as a helpless victim. Adam blames his wife and even airily suggests God himself was not very helpful either.

In this moment, it is clear that Adam and Eve are lost. There is no heartfelt confession or repentance. There is no cry to God for rescue. There is only the calloused apathy of sin. In this moment, God has every right to walk away in righteous disgust. He has every right to abandon them in contempt and to the existence they have chosen: an outer darkness apart from God and his goodness.

But God does not walk away. Instead, he gives a promise. He turns to the serpent and tells the devil that someone is coming one day—someone who will be a specific offspring of Adam and Eve and who will undo what has just taken place. “He will crush your head,” God tells the devil. But in the process, the devil “will strike his heel.” He will cause this special person great suffering.

There is not much detail in this promise; more details will come later. But its brevity takes nothing away from its power, impact, and ramifications. What God proclaims within Adam and Eve’s hearing this day is what theologians call the Protevangel—the First Gospel, the first promise of a Savior from sin.

But do not forget the context of the moment. God promises to send us a Savior from sin, not because we begged him, not because we have fallen before his feet, not because we have made some effort to make up for what we have done. He sends a Savior because we need one.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, even though we wanted nothing to do with you, you rescued us anyway. What wondrous love is this, O my soul? Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Not My Fault – June 12, 2024

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Genesis 3:12

Not My Fault

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 12, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:12

See series: Devotions

The Lord had given Adam and Eve a specific command. It was a command by which they could celebrate their trust in his will for their lives. The command was simple: In the middle of the Garden of Eden, there is a special tree. Do not eat the fruit from that tree.

But Adam and Eve, tempted by Satan, chose to eat from this tree anyway. When they did, they severed their bond of trust with their Lord, and sin oozed into its place.

All this sets the stage for what happens next. God, of course, knows what has gone wrong. In love, he approaches Adam. He calls upon Adam to acknowledge the obvious. He asks Adam, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Adam could simply reply, “Yes.” But he doesn’t. Instead, the answer Adam gives might very well be one of the most groan-inducing statements in all of the Bible. His answer is this: “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

In his short reply, not only does Adam blame his wife, but he also blames God. In his fantasy land of pure rationalization, Adam concludes that the fall into sin is not his fault.

You and I can see ourselves in Adam and his reply. In our sinful weakness, we love to identify someone else as the problem. We love to cite extenuating circumstances as to why our sinful behavior is understandable. There are even moments when we conclude that if God had not allowed this person or that problem into our life, we would have done much better; thank you very much.

Thank God that his Spirit can still pierce my calloused heart. Thank God his Word still calls me to repentance. Thank God the message of the cross and the empty tomb can still bring me back home.

Prayer:
Lord, forgive me for the moments when I try to blame others for my sin. Give me a repentant heart. Wash me clean. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Where Are You? – June 11, 2024

But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Genesis 3:9

Where Are You?

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 11, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:9

See series: Devotions

Adam is hiding. He is hiding because he has just severed his perfect bond of trust with his God. As a result, sin has infected everything. One of its immediate effects is that Adam and Eve now have a dark impulse to hide from God.

In this moment, God has every right to abandon Adam and Eve. After seeing them betray his trust and throw away every single thing he has done for them, God has every reason to turn his back and walk away, never to return.

But he doesn’t. Instead, he calls out to Adam, “Where are you?” He asks the question not because he needs the information; he knows exactly where Adam is. Rather, he asks the question to let Adam know he is seeking him out and lay bare his guilt to make him fully aware of it. He does all this in love. He does all this to bring him to a full realization of his plight.

Even the most secular among us will almost always admit, “I am not the person I should be.” At some level, each of us, as human beings, has an uneasy sense that we have somehow wandered away from wherever it is we need to be.

Enter our Creator. Enter our Savior-God. Enter his Word. Enter his call to each of us—his call that says, “Where are you?”

He asks the question not because he needs the information; he knows exactly where we are. Rather, he asks the question to let us know he is seeking us out in order to lay bare our guilt and make us fully aware of it. He does all this in love. He does all this to bring us to a full realization of our plight. For it is then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that you and I begin to grasp why we need Jesus Christ and what he has done on our behalf.

“Where are you?” the Word of God continues to call. For it is Jesus Christ who has come to seek and to save what was lost.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, when I wander away, call out to me. By your gospel, empower me to come home. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

To Hide – June 10, 2024

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:8

To Hide

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 10, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:8

See series: Devotions

Up to this moment, Adam and Eve had enjoyed a perfect bond of trust and love with their Creator-God. This bond had been at the center of everything. Their lives had been wondrous beyond description.

But, tempted by Satan, Adam and Eve chose to trust their will for their lives instead of God’s will for their lives. In doing so, they severed their relationship with their Lord. As a result, the toxic waste of sin rushed in to take its place.

The results were immediate. When the Lord approached them, there was now, within Adam and Eve, a dark impulse to do what they had never done before. They hid. And fallen humanity has been trying to hide from God ever since.

By nature, you and I also have that dark impulse to hide from God. Perhaps I hide behind busyness, filling my mind with so many deadlines and activities that I think I’m keeping God at a comfortable distance. Perhaps I hide behind news headlines and current events, filling my mind with so many national and international issues that I never get around to my relationship with God. Perhaps I hide behind work, entertainment, recreation, or an all-consuming hobby—anything that might spare me from confronting the reality of my sinful failures before a holy God.

Hiding, however, is not the answer. Jesus is. The Son of God became one of us. On our behalf, he lived a life of perfect trust in his heavenly Father’s will. In our place, he suffered and died for our every sin—including our every act of distrust, our every act of avoidance, our every act of hiding. Then he rose from death.

Now, through faith in Christ, you and I stand forgiven, cleansed, and blanketed in the holiness of God’s Son. And because we are, you and I don’t have to hide anymore. Ever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I feel the old impulse to hide from God, move me instead to hide myself in you. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Ultimate Defeat – June 9, 2024

[The man] answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And [God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.”
Genesis 3:10-14

The Ultimate Defeat

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 9, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:10-14

See series: Devotions

Adam’s sin was not just in passing blame but in not taking responsibility, as he should have, since God shows the order of his creation by going to Adam first. Adam’s sin was not only shirking his responsibility, but also in finally passing off the blame for the sin—not to his wife (“the woman…”) but to God himself (“…you put here with me”).

Martin Luther said, “This is the nature of sin: unless God immediately provides a cure and calls the sinner back, he flees endlessly from God and, by excusing his sin with lies, heaps sin upon sin until he arrives at blasphemy and despair.”

Like her husband, Eve also shirked responsibility for sin. She passed blame off to the serpent (the devil). God punished both the serpent and the devil. The animal was transformed by God to serve as a constant reminder to mankind of Satan’s ultimate defeat.

Although Satan had won a victory by deceiving Adam and Eve to sin and dragged the whole world under the curse of sin, God would ultimately defeat the devil’s power and free mankind from the hold of death. All this would be accomplished through a mighty Savior. He’s Jesus, through whom we have the peace of God’s forgiveness and the joy of life with God forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I am sorry for my sins of shirking responsibility and blaming others for what I have done. Forgive me for your sake and help me, this day, to live only for you. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Sabbath Gift – June 8, 2024

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. . . the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. . . Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”
Deuteronomy 5:12,14,15

The Sabbath Gift

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 8, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 5:12,14,15

See series: Devotions

House-hunting. Writing project. Softball practice. Summer activity roadmap. Water and electricity bills. Basketball camp. Tomato plants and two trees next to the garage to get planted. Birthdays to plan. Work presentation next Thursday. Home projects. Details of the trip out west.

Do you feel utterly exhausted and waylaid by endless demands and stifling routines? Even your upcoming vacation plans have a panicky, task-like edge to them. The mantra of your day: “If only I had more time.” Is this the real problem? Wouldn’t this be more accurate: you’ve forgotten God’s ancient wisdom for you? You have forgotten the Lord’s own rhythm of work and rest.

To remember God’s own Sabbath—given for you, not for him—is to be handed the elixir to the productivity game playing around you and in your own life. What a gift God has given you in the Sabbath! A gift for your sanity and wholeness. A gift to enrich your lives. A gift to make your joy complete. Sabbath restores your bent and withered parts.

The best part of the Sabbath is Jesus. “If you’re exhausted and panicky, come to me and I’ll give you ‘sabbath,’” Jesus invites.

Jesus has secured forgiveness for your sins, including the one where you ignored God’s wisdom of work and rest. Always living up to the demands of his Father and the law, Jesus has carried all of your weariness to the cross. There, he paid your death sentence. He now lives. Jesus is the gift for forgiveness and eternal life for rest. Jesus is the gift for your sanity and wholeness. Jesus is the gift to enrich your lives. Jesus is the gift to make your joy complete. Jesus restores your bent and withered parts. Jesus is rest.

Take a breath and relax. Jesus is your Sabbath gift.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, for my ability to work, thank you. For the wisdom to rest, thank you. For the gift of Jesus who is my true rest, thank you. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Jesus Rested To Give Us Rest – June 7, 2024

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
Matthew 27:57-60

Jesus Rested To Give Us Rest

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 7, 2024

Devotion based on Matthew 27:57-60

See series: Devotions

Jesus said, “It is finished,” on the day he died, a Friday. He had done everything required for our salvation. That was Day One. He rose from the dead on Sunday to prove that everything he had said and done for us was true. That was Day Three.

What happened on Day Two? Day Two was a Saturday, a Sabbath day. On that day, the body of Jesus rested in the tomb. Joseph of Arimathea had taken it, wrapped it in a burial cloth, and placed it in a brand-new tomb sealed with a big stone. It was the ultimate Sabbath rest.

It is often calming to see someone sleeping, but to see Jesus sleeping with eyes of faith brings the ultimate calm. He has done everything for us, and now we rest in the peace of his forgiveness.

Even when we see someone in the sleep of death, we are confident that God is in control and that the resurrection of the dead will take place as surely as Jesus rose from the dead. For now, we wait, confident that Jesus rested to give us rest.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 817)
Lord, let at last thine angels come,
To Abr’ham’s bosom bear me home
That I may die unfearing;
And in its narrow chamber keep
My body safe in peaceful sleep
Until the reappearing.
And then from death awaken me
That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, thy glorious face,
My Savior and my fount of grace.
Lord Jesus Christ, my prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise thee without end. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Jesus Worked To Give Us Rest – June 6, 2024

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
Mark 3:1-5

Jesus Worked To Give Us Rest

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 6, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 3:1-5

See series: Devotions

When everyone else was resting, Jesus was working. It was a Sabbath day of rest. People had gathered to hear the Word of God. Jesus entered the gathering space and demonstrated that he was God by healing a man. He was doing the important work of revealing his glory in the face of opposition.

When everyone else was working, Jesus was doing the most important work. People were attempting to get to heaven by pleasing God and following his laws. Jesus kept all laws perfectly and became the only human being with whom God was well pleased.

When everyone else was distracted, Jesus was focused on his work. He went to Jerusalem, and then, he willingly went to the cross, taking the punishment for sins, not just for certain people, but for the whole world.

Today, when anxiety cripples and busyness overwhelms us, Jesus works to give us rest. His promises are powerful, and the work he has done in the past is good for us into eternity.

Prayer:
Lord God, in this difficult world, I look to you as our rock of refuge and rest through Jesus. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath – June 5, 2024

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Mark 2:23-28

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 5, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 2:23-28

See series: Devotions

As the Son of God, Jesus has existed from eternity. When the world was created, he spoke, and everything came into existence. When he stopped speaking on the seventh day of creation, it was the first day of rest. Since the timing of the Sabbath was based on that first day of rest, the Son of God is Lord of the Sabbath.

As the Son of Man, Jesus knew all the Sabbath laws from a faithful study of Scripture and had perfect knowledge of how to follow those laws. When religious leaders challenged Jesus and his followers because they did not follow the Sabbath laws the same way the religious leaders did, Jesus gave an example from the Scripture of the right way to observe the Sabbath. The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.

Jesus explained that a time of rest and attention to God’s Word is healthy for human beings. The Sabbath was made for them! Human beings were not created so that they can observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created so that human beings would benefit.

We can be certain that the commands and prohibitions of God’s law are good for us, even when we don’t understand them. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves, and because he is our Savior, we trust whatever he tells us.

Prayer:
God, your Word is my delight. When I am lost in darkness, enlighten my heart and mind to trust you and serve you in holiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Jesus Fulfilled the Sabbath – June 4, 2024

He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Colossians 2:13-17

Jesus Fulfilled the Sabbath

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 4, 2024

Devotion based on Colossians 2:13-17

See series: Devotions

When Jesus walked the earth, there were a lot of laws that people were supposed to follow when it came to rest on the Sabbath day. Did cooking count as work, not rest? How about walking somewhere or helping someone in need? Various authorities took it upon themselves to interpret the rules and then enforce them. If there were fines associated with each infraction, a person could rack up a lot of debt.

Jesus kept all the Sabbath laws perfectly. Even when local powers and authorities did not interpret those laws correctly, Jesus kept them the way God intended. He did not accumulate a single bit of debt, literal or figurative.

Then, in one striking action, Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty that every human being had accumulated for breaking laws of any kind, including the Sabbath laws. It was as if all the legal charges against people were written on a sheet of paper that was nailed to the cross along with the hands and feet of Jesus. Authorities became powerless to accuse people since the debt was paid.

That’s why we don’t follow Sabbath laws today. They were a shadow of the rest we find now in the reality of forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
God our Savior, I lift up my heart to you and ask you to grant me rest through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Remember the Sabbath Day – June 3, 2024

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.”
Deuteronomy 5:12

Remember the Sabbath Day

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 3, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 5:12

See series: Devotions

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” is one of the Ten Commandments. The word “Sabbath” means “cease, desist, rest.”

Faithful people before Jesus kept the commandment by working for six days every week but resting on the seventh day of the week. Every member of the family, every servant, and every working animal, like oxen and donkeys, were all supposed to rest on that seventh day, just like God did when he finished creating the world. The idea was to spend the day remembering that God rescued the people from being enslaved in Egypt. To prompt that remembering people were supposed to listen to the Word of God.

The famous religious reformer Martin Luther explained that this commandment means, “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and his Word but regard it as holy and gladly hear and learn it.” This means that we gather with other Christians to hear the Word of God proclaimed in its truth and purity. And because that truth tells us that we have spiritual rest through Jesus, we do so, not because we have to, but because we want to.

Rest is important for our bodies and our souls. God has granted us rest in Jesus. This commandment shows us that God wants us to thank him for his goodness by regarding his Word as holy and gladly hearing and learning it.

Prayer:
God of grace, you have given me rest in Jesus. Fill me with your Spirit, guide me by your Word, and help me as I seek to follow you and your commandments. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Rest for Our Souls – June 2, 2024

Then [Jesus] said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Mark 2:27,28

Rest for Our Souls

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 2, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 2:27,28

See series: Devotions

The word “Sabbath” means “rest.” When God created the world, he “worked” for six days, and on the seventh day he rested, he stopped his work of creation. Therefore, in the Old Testament church, God commanded his people to work for six days, and on the seventh day (the Sabbath Day) they were to rest. On that Sabbath Day, they rested in the Word of God. Yes, even back then, it was a temptation to work nonstop and get so busy with earthly things that they’d neglect God’s Word.

In Jesus’ day, the local teachers of the law had made the day of rest into a day of rule-following, not a day of rest in God’s Word. They had multiplied the requirements and rules, adding all kinds of details as to what defined “work” and what defined “rest.” If you kept the man-made rules, you were to be proud of yourself. If you failed to keep the rules, you lived in guilt.

Here’s the problem: Seeking rest through following rules is never restful!

Jesus set them straight. He said that he was the one in charge of the Sabbath, not human beings making their own rules. And Jesus came to give us rest for our souls. We could never keep God’s law so that we could find rest. But Jesus kept it in our place. Then he died in our place for our failures. And he promises that because he has done it all, we can confidently look forward to heavenly rest through faith in him.

That’s why we take time to rest in God’s Word—not to follow a rule, but to honor our Savior, rest-giver, and Lord of all. Jesus invites us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We thank him for the rest we have now and look forward to the eternal rest that he has provided.

Prayer:
Dear Lord of the Sabbath, thank you for the rest you have provided for my conscience. Give me peace as I look forward to the eternal rest that lies in the future, all thanks to you. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Slave No More – June 1, 2024

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
Romans 8:15

A Slave No More

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – June 1, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 8:15

See series: Devotions

The story goes something like this: A former slave enlisted in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The longer he lived and fought as a soldier, the farther behind he left his life as a slave. One day his unit was passing by some prisoners of war. To his surprise he came face-to-face with his former master. The soldier’s greeting was powerful but brief. He said, “Well, Master, it looks like the bottom rung is on top this time.” His point was clear. The soldier was no longer a slave. The prisoner was no longer a master. The old relationship was gone forever.

As you read or listen to this devotion, some of you are under some extraordinary circumstances. Perhaps you just learned you have a tumor. Perhaps you’ve just been laid off. Perhaps you just found out your spouse has been unfaithful. Perhaps your son or daughter has just gotten into some serious trouble. Perhaps your best friend has just died.

In any of these circumstances—or a million others like them—fear can come calling, trying to regain its old position and reclaim its place as master.

But those days are long gone. Through faith in the message of sins forgiven in Christ—the Holy Spirit has adopted you into God’s family. Never again will you be alone. Never again will you be helpless. Never again will you be without the strength and guidance of the Almighty God.

And if you ever begin to forget that promise, take a good, long look at the cross of Jesus. Then take a good, long look at his empty tomb.

Will fears in your life come and go? Of course. But will fear be your master? Christian, you are a slave no more.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when the hard times come, fill me with courage through your gospel. And remind me that my days of slavery to fear are gone forever. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

God’s Love Conquers All – May 31, 2024

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16,17

God’s Love Conquers All

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 31, 2024

Devotion based on John 3:16,17

See series: Devotions

“Omnia vincit amor.” Those were words once penned by the ancient Latin poet Virgil. We know them in English as “love conquers all.” The only problem with Virgil’s conclusion is that he was speaking of a self-centered love, where sinful people finally choose the person or thing most irresistible to their sensuous desires. In other words, whatever brings me the greatest pleasure is the thing I will choose; my “love” for that thing “conquers” all other options. I get what I want the most.

Is that the kind of love God has for us? Does he choose that which brings him the most pleasure? No, just the opposite. God’s love for us is not about how much pleasure we bring to him because, as broken sinners, we could never please him, not even for a moment. Instead, God’s love for us is about what he gives to us unconditionally, no strings attached.

And what has God the Father given us? His one and only Son, Jesus. And what did Jesus willingly do for us even though we were completely unlovable? He sacrificed his perfect life for our broken lives. He took the world’s sin on his shoulders and carried it to the cross, washing it away forever. More than that, he replaced our sin with his perfection. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Why would God do that? There can be only one reason: because he loves us. And what is his unconditional love for us meant to inspire in our stony hearts of unbelief? Simple, childlike faith worked mysteriously and miraculously by his Spirit.

There’s no other love like God’s love. It conquers all—even the hardest of hearts—so that “whoever believes in (Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal life.” Just imagine! God rescues us from the dominion of darkness and brings us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for loving me with a love that conquers all. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cast Your Eyes on Jesus! – May 30, 2024

[Jesus said] “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
John 3:14,15

Cast Your Eyes on Jesus!

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 30, 2024

Devotion based on John 3:14,15

See series: Devotions

Things didn’t go as planned when God rescued his Old Testament people from their slavery in Egypt and promised to settle them in a land flowing with milk and honey. But that change of plans wasn’t God’s fault; it was entirely the fault of his stubborn people, who refused to trust him. As the situation deteriorated—and the people began to complain angrily against God and his servant Moses—the Lord sent venomous snakes among them to teach them an important lesson.

But while some of the Israelites died from poisonous bites, the lesson God wanted to teach them wasn’t so much about his punishment for stubborn wrongdoing. He wanted to teach them about his love, forgiveness, and salvation. So when the people cried out for mercy, what did God do? He sent them a savior! He told Moses to fashion a bronze snake and lift it up on a pole. The Lord told him that “anyone who is bitten can look at it and live” (Numbers 21:8). And as he always does, God kept his promise. “Cast your eyes on the bronze snake and you will live!”

We may never be bitten by a snake, but each one of us is snake-bitten by our sin. From the moment we took our first breaths, our brokenness has been our faithful but deadly companion. Left to ourselves, we could never escape sin’s poisonous and deadly venom.

Enter Jesus, the world’s only Savior from sin and death. Jesus explained how God showed his love by sending him. “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” In other words, while our sin is indeed deadly—and we’re unable to save ourselves from its consequences—our Savior God has sent his Son to do what we could never do, to give us life and salvation forever.

What do you and I need to do? Absolutely nothing. Cast your eyes on Jesus! Trust him. He saves.

Prayer:
Jesus, help me cast my eyes on you and to trust you for all things now and forever. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Miracle and Mystery of Faith – May 29, 2024

[Jesus answered] “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John 3:6-8

The Miracle and Mystery of Faith

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 29, 2024

Devotion based on John 3:6-8

See series: Devotions

Having faith in others doesn’t come naturally to us. We instinctively trust ourselves, not others. We learn to mistrust others because so often frail humans are not trustworthy. They don’t earn our trust.

But God is always trustworthy, whether we believe that or not. So, our lack of faith in him is not a result of his failures; it’s a direct result of the brokenness we inherit from our parents. Jesus could not have been more right when he declared, “Flesh gives birth to flesh.” In other words, sinners give birth to sinners. We’re sinful from the time our mothers conceive us” (Psalm 51:5). And because we’re born sinners, we’re also born without true fear of God and true faith in him. We can’t help ourselves; we’re born spiritually dead (Eph 2:1).

So, how can we ever come to trust God if we’re spiritually stillborn at birth? It’s both a mystery and a miracle performed entirely by the Holy Spirit. Jesus explained that “the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” He means the Holy Spirit, and what does the Spirit do? He gives us new spiritual life by kindling our faith in God and fanning it into flame.

How does he do it? In so many ways, his work of bringing sinners to faith in Jesus is a sacred mystery. Jesus compared it to the comings and goings of the wind. “The wind blows where it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

But this much we can know: the Spirit uses God’s Word and sacraments, especially Holy Baptism, to work Christian faith and to save us eternally.

How can a few words and splash of water do such powerful things? Because God can do all things. Why would we trust him if he couldn’t?

Prayer:
Jesus, grant me your Spirit through Word and sacrament that I might trust you more each day. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

God’s Hidden, Saving Power – May 28, 2024

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”
John 3:4,5

God’s Hidden, Saving Power

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 28, 2024

Devotion based on John 3:4,5

See series: Devotions

Jesus had told his visitor Nicodemus that he needed to be born again to see the kingdom of God, that is, to see and understand how God works and rules in our broken lives to save us forever. The problem was Nicodemus didn’t understand. Born again? “How can someone be born when they are old?” he scoffed. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

It’s no wonder he reacted the way he did. How else can a person be “reborn”? Like us, Nicodemus naturally figured that God always works and saves in ways we can see with our eyes. His kingdom is certainly visible, right?

In some ways, yes. The psalmist David once marveled, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge” (Psalm 19:1,2). In other words, we can certainly see God’s kingdom—his ruling power—in the vast, starry heavens. We can feel God’s kingdom in raging winds and blustery storms. We can spot God’s kingdom when a tiny seedling explodes into a flowery burst of color.

But God works most powerfully in ways we can’t see with our eyes. Take baptism, for instance. It’s a splash of water and a few simple words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Yet that combination works the forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and bestows eternal salvation on all who believe its promise!

Jesus explained, “no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” He was pointing specifically to the hidden power of baptism, but he had an even greater lesson in mind: God works powerfully to save us in ways our eyes can’t fathom.

What’s left for us to do? Nothing. Just trust him.

Prayer:
Jesus, remind me daily how powerfully you’re working to save me in ways I simply can’t see. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Seeing Isn’t Believing – May 27, 2024

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
John 3:1-3

Seeing Isn’t Believing

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 27, 2024

Devotion based on John 3:1-3

See series: Devotions

The Pharisees were not Jesus’ friends. They were an ultra-conservative sect who considered themselves the gold standard of piety. They were “true believers” who made sure they followed the letter of God’s law to a tee, even adding their own restrictions to demonstrate just how holy they were.

But Jesus constantly upbraided them for their self-righteous attitudes and failure to show mercy toward others. They hated him for it. Even from the earliest days of Jesus’ ministry, they plotted to kill him.

That’s why the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisee Nicodemus—recorded in John chapter 3—is so fascinating. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, undoubtedly to avoid detection by his associates. He admitted to Jesus, “we know that you are a teacher who has come from God.” And how did they know? Because “no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In other words, as much as the Pharisees hated Jesus, they had to concede he had a divine mission because they witnessed his miracles.

But Jesus would teach Nicodemus an important lesson that bears repeating. Seeing isn’t believing. In other words, true faith is not a matter of what we see with our eyes, even when we see miracles. It’s a matter of trusting God’s promises despite what our eyes see. Jesus explained, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

A person who is born again trusts Jesus and his promises unconditionally, even when doing that doesn’t seem like a sure bet.

And when you trust him, guess what you’ll see? You’ll see God’s kingdom–how he rules behind the scenes to safeguard your salvation forever.

Prayer:
Jesus, give me the eyes of faith so that I always trust your promises, no matter what. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No More Slavery to Fear – May 26, 2024

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
Romans 8:15

No More Slavery to Fear

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 26, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 8:15

See series: Devotions

An Oscar-winning film, “The King’s Speech” is based on the true story of Albert Windsor, a shy, stammering member of the British royal family. Albert had a severe stammering problem all his life, and the very idea of giving a speech in public filled him with terror. Then, the unthinkable happened. His older brother, the King, abdicated his throne in the 1930s. Albert was the next in line. Duty demanded that he accept the crown. Not long after, World War II broke out. Suddenly, the stammering man who feared public speaking more than anything had to give a radio speech broadcast to millions of people.

By a seeming miracle, he did it. In fact, he did it with hardly a stammer. The secret was his speech therapist. Over time, his speech therapist had removed much of Albert’s fear of public speaking. When the paralyzing fear left, Albert was able to do what needed to be done.

The day the Holy Spirit brought you to faith in Jesus was the day you didn’t have to be afraid anymore. But the devil hopes you won’t remember that. Satan hopes that you’ll still stay paralyzed in your old fears, your old guilt, your old regrets, your dark memories of past failures. After all, if he can get you to forget what you have in Christ, he’s won the battle for the day.

Today, give the devil a bad day. Remember the forgiveness you possess in the Son of God. Stop and recall that you are a child in God’s family by faith. Take your old fear and have it washed away in the blood of the Lamb.

When you do, you can live free of the old slavery to fear. And fluently with your life, you can do some of the wonderful things God desires for you to do.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, apart from you I am afraid. In you, however, I have nothing to fear. Empower me by your Spirit to remember that. Use me to do your good work. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Can these bones live? – May 25, 2024

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'”
Ezekiel 37:1-6

Can these bones live?

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 25, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 37:1-6

See series: Devotions

Have you ever gone into a natural history museum that had bones of dinosaurs, birds, and other creatures displayed? As you look at these bones, your mind may start to put flesh on them, give them a personality and imagine what it would have been like to see these bones covered by flesh and alive. But, of course, you know this can’t happen.

As the prophet Ezekiel stared at a valley of human bones in a vision God gave him, The LORD asked him, “Son of man can these bones live?” The natural response would have been, “No way!” However, Ezekiel said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” Ezekiel knew that he could not do something so miraculous, but the true God could. And he did. God gave Ezekiel the words to speak, and life came into the bones.

Ezekiel’s vision was a picture of what God can do for spiritually dead people, people like you and I were by birth. We had no spiritual life. But, through his promise of forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus, God creates faith in our hearts to believe what he has promised. And, just like that, we are spiritually alive.

Be thankful today that yours is a God who can make the dead live!

Prayer:
Jesus, keep me spiritually alive by believing all that you have promised. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Wonders of God – May 24, 2024

“We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Acts 2:11-13

The Wonders of God

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 24, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 2:11-13

See series: Devotions

If you’ve ever walked through a busy international airport terminal, you’ve been bombarded with the discord of multiple foreign languages. The words you cannot understand sound like gibberish. And when you hear your native tongue, it is a welcome relief.

Foreigners crowded the streets and temple in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Harvest. Different languages and dialects filled the air. Suddenly, those foreigners could understand someone speaking to them in their language.

It was amazing to hear their own language. It was also perplexing because the ones speaking were from Israel, not from all over the ancient world. But what was truly refreshing was the message they heard. The disciples of Jesus were declaring the wonders of God. They shared the good news of God sending the Messiah, Jesus Christ, into the world. They spoke of the many proofs of Jesus’ divinity, culminating with his death and resurrection from the grave.

As is always the case, though, there were some who rejected this message. It was gibberish to them, and they excused this miraculous event as drunkenness.

There will always be some who reject the wonders of God. Without the Holy Spirit, those words will always be gibberish. But there will be others who hear the wonders of God and to them, there is no greater relief or comfort. The Holy Spirit comforts them with the message of the forgiveness of sins. The Spirit reassures them of God’s grace and love for them. The Spirit helps them to delight in God’s law and commands. They never tire of hearing of God’s wonders.

When you hear the wonders of God, may they be a welcome relief to you. May you find comfort and reassurance in Jesus—the Savior from your sin.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, come and make known the wonders of God to me. Help me always to delight in your Word and work. Amen.

Daily 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email