Sunrise is Coming – November 14, 2018

“For you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.”
Malachi 4:2

Sunrise is Coming


Daily Devotion – November 14, 2018

Devotion based on Malachi 4:2

See series: Devotions

There is something about a sunrise, isn’t there? Whether you’ve had to pull an all-nighter or if you’re an early morning riser, there’s something energizing about those first rays of sunshine piercing the darkness of the fading night. In a sense, it is healing.

For us who are believers in Jesus, that is what the end of the world will be about; it will be about healing. And what healing it will be! God’s healing rays will drive all of sin’s darkness out of us once and for all! When Jesus returns and takes us to heaven, there will be no more temptations, doubts, fears, anxieties, pride, bitterness, hurt, feelings of inadequacy, messed up relationships, substance abuse, broken promises, shading the truth, and the list could go on and on!

Wow! How much I need that healing! As I read through that list and look at myself, I see failure after failure after failure. I’ve wounded myself; I’ve wounded others! How much I need healing! I so often feel like I am in such deep darkness!

Sunrise is coming, my brothers and sisters in Christ! Jesus is coming back! Yes, the same Jesus who was willing to be laid in a manger, to be led to a cross—he is coming back! He loves you dearly! He paid for your sins in full! He won heaven for you!

And someday the darkness will be pierced once and for all! He’ll return in glory, driving out the darkness of sin forever! You and I will be healed, forever! Sunrise is coming!

Prayer:
Come quickly, Lord Jesus, to heal us! 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.
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Replace – November 13, 2018

[Christ] has appeared once for all…to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Hebrews 9:26

Replace


Daily Devotion – November 13, 2018

Devotion based on Hebrews 9:26

See series: Devotions

Harry Truman was taking a bath on the second floor of the White House one day when his bathtub nearly fell through the floor. If it had, the president would have landed in the middle of a tea party being hosted by Mrs. Truman for the Daughters of the American Revolution. He immediately called in experts to investigate the building’s condition. What they found was appalling. The 150-year-old structure was on the verge of collapse. As one inspector said, “The White House is staying up through force of habit alone.”

The inspection also revealed something ironic. It revealed that, over the years, every time there had been an effort to “improve” the White House, the improvement had only made matters worse. In light of all this, President Truman was determined not only to save the White House, but to do it in such a way that no future president would have to worry about such a project ever again.

Here’s what happened. Highly trained crews arrived. They carefully preserved the building’s outer shell. They constructed a new foundation, making sure it reached all the way down to solid rock, and not just sand. Finally, they replaced the entire inner structure. They took out all the tired, cracked wood and put in skyscraper-caliber steel. Thanks to Harry Truman, the saving of the White House is about as permanent as permanent can be in this temporary old world.

By nature, your life and mine resembles the condition of the White House when Harry Truman was taking his bath. On our own we may manage to maintain a decent-looking outer shell. But left to us our foundation rests on sand. Inside we are broken. Total collapse is just a matter of when. In addition, anything we do for self-improvement may seem helpful in the short term, but without a radical rescue it only makes matters worse.

And that’s why Jesus came. But when he did, he came not just to shore up our lives here and there for a little while longer. He came to deal with our problem in such a way that we would never have to worry about that problem again. He saw how our sin had broken us. He saw how our sin had given us only shifting sand, only the uncertainty of drifting from one thing to the next.

Then he addressed the problem. He confronted our sin head-on. He took it all to the cross and paid for it in full. In its place, he covered us in the holiness of his own perfect life. Now, through faith in him, we are new. Our foundation is Christ. Our future is secure. And because it is, our days of brokenness and uncertainty are no more.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, apart from you I am broken. In you I am whole. I am yours. 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.
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Perfect Harmony – November 12, 2018

Jesus gave [the Jews] this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
John 5:19

Perfect Harmony


Daily Devotion – November 12, 2018

Devotion based on John 5:19

See series: Devotions

Harmony is much desired but is often elusive. Wives and husbands desire it. Parents hope for it. Children yearn for it. Most people long for harmony even more than happiness. Unfortunately, harmony is shattered by selfishness, bitterness, and animosity.

Although I live in a world which lacks harmony, there is one place I can always find it. It is with God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. This is a precious gift I can never afford to ignore or take for granted.

As Jesus offered a rebuttal to the Jews who persecuted him, he offered a very simple yet profound truth. Jesus made it clear whatever the Father does the Son also does.

God is not divided. Father and Son work in perfect harmony. They are also completely united in working my rescue. Neither works independently, nor is in conflict with the other. It is because of this perfect harmony I find great comfort.

By nature, I rejected and rebelled against God. I stood opposed to his will. Yet, even though I didn’t deserve it, God reached out to rescue me.

In perfect harmony he accomplished everything required to save me. God the Father poured out his love for me in sending his Son. God the Son offered his life for me in dying on the cross. Because of the undivided purpose and perfect harmony of Father and Son, I am released from the just judgment I deserved.

It is because I enjoy the perfect harmony of the Father and Son that I need to take every opportunity to maintain it. I faithfully listen to his Word. I joyfully live in his love. I humbly walk according to his will. As I live in his grace, perfect harmony is fostered and preserved.

Prayer:
O blessed Savior, because of your faithfulness and the undeserved love of your Father, I am united with you by faith. Keep me in your grace, that I may enjoy perfect harmony with you, now and for all eternity. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Ready and Waiting – November 11, 2018

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.'”
Matthew 25:34

Ready and Waiting


Daily Devotion – November 11, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 25:34

See series: Devotions

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” These words not only sound a warning, they also offer practical advice. All too often a sweet deal goes sour, and what remains is the bitter after-taste of a lesson learned.

Heaven could be considered as one of those things which sound too good to be true. A place of perfect peace? A place where no sadness or pain exists? A place where only good will be enjoyed forever? While part of me longs for a place like heaven, another part remains incredulous.

While it may sound too good to be true, heaven is ready and waiting. It is the invitation given by my Lord which confirms its reality. God could never tell me to come, if heaven didn’t exist. What adds to my certainty is the way heaven is defined. It has existed before the creation of all things. So, from the very foundations of time the kingdom of heaven has been prepared by God and is waiting for me.

Even more convincing is the work of my Savior. Jesus is the one who gives me the confidence to know I will be called blessed by the Father. To be blessed by God doesn’t mean my life will suddenly become easier. Nor does it mean I will experience a heaven here on earth. What it does mean is that I will experience God’s blessing which comes through the precious life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He rescued me from the condemnation my sin deserved. He redeemed me from the bondage of hell. He even released me from the dreaded power of death and the grave. It is only through faith in Jesus that I know heaven is real, and that it is ready and waiting for me.

How blessed I am to know my Savior. How blessed I am to live every day looking forward to eternal life. How blessed I am to know heaven is ready and waiting.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, when I am troubled, when I am weary, or when I need encouragement, come to me with your promise of life in heaven. Let your life, your death, and your resurrection be my assurance heaven is ready and waiting. 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.

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Judgment Will Come – November 10, 2018

“As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”
Daniel 7:9-10

Judgment Will Come


Daily Devotion – November 10, 2018

Devotion based on Daniel 7:9-10

See series: Devotions

“Judgment will come!” Maybe the title of this devotion makes you feel that you don’t want to even continue with it. Who wants to talk about judgment? It’s not a popular idea in our day. It’s not a popular idea to us either. There’s something in us that doesn’t like the thought of being held accountable to anyone or anything. Maybe that’s why calling someone “judgmental” is one of the biggest insults you can throw at them.

But whether we like it or not, the Bible is clear. There will be a day when God will judge the living and the dead. The One who created every human being, and who formed the world and all that is in it, will judge those who have been given life and breathe and a soul. After seeing a vision of four beasts rising out of the sea, which represented the progression of different kingdoms that would rule the world, Daniel saw the Lord himself take his seat for judgment. It was an awesome picture. The Lord’s clothing and hair were gleaming white, there was fire, and thousands upon thousands of angels. But then silence. The books were opened.

It would be a terrifying vision if this is all that we had. We know our sins. We know what those books would say about us. “Guilty!” We are sinners who deserve to be sent out of God’s presence forever. Thankfully, a couple of verses later, we hear about someone else who is led into that courtroom. Daniel writes: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

It’s Jesus! It’s the One who has nothing against him in God’s books. It’s the perfect Son of God who lived in our place on earth and who gave himself on the cross for our sins, so that our record before God is cleared. This is why he is given all authority and power in heaven and on earth. He is the Lamb who was slain for us. Yes, judgment will come. But so has Jesus, and because of him you can stand confidently before the throne of God.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, as I await your second coming, please help me find my confidence in your perfect life and death. 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.

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Every Spot Is Gone – November 9, 2018

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Isaiah 1:18

Every Spot Is Gone


Daily Devotion – November 9, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 1:18

See series: Devotions

Lady Macbeth was confident that she and her husband had nothing to be concerned about. Yes, they both were guilty of murder, since Macbeth had stabbed King Duncan to death and she had insisted that he do it. Yes, they both had hands that were covered in King Duncan’s blood. But all they had to do, Lady Macbeth thought, was wash Duncan’s blood off their hands and then everything would be okay. “A little water clears us of this deed. How easy is it, then!” she said to her husband.

Lady Macbeth, however, soon learned that it wasn’t that easy. Washing Duncan’s blood off her hands may have rid her of the external evidence of her crime, but it did not wash away her guilt. That guilt gnawed at her and tormented her and drove her mad. Finally, she sleepwalked around her castle, trying in vain to wash away the spots of Duncan’s blood that she still saw staining her hands.

Sin is like that. When we do something wrong, something that we know God doesn’t want us to do, we like to think that we can easily remove the stain of that sin from ourselves. A little bit of doing good will clear us of our sin. A little bit of denying that the sin ever happened will clear us of our sin. A little bit of promising to do better next time will clear us of our sin. We tell ourselves that it is easy, but we soon find out that it’s not that easy. In spite of our best efforts to rid ourselves of the stain of our sins, the stain remains. And it only grows larger and darker with each subsequent sin.

So, are we, like Lady Macbeth, doomed to bear the blood-red stain of our sins forever? No. In our Bible passage today, God tells us, “Come now, let us settle the matter. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” But how can God cleanse such an indelible stain from us and make us clean? He does it by washing us in something much more powerful than water. He washes us in the blood of his Son, Jesus.

Normally, when we dip something in blood, it doesn’t come out clean. However, when God washes us in the blood of his Son, we do come out clean. Jesus’ blood, poured out on the cross, is the perfect payment for all our sins. And when we are washed in that blood, every stain of our sins disappears. Though our sins were like scarlet, in the blood of Jesus we become as pure as the freshly fallen snow. Though our sins were like crimson-red, in the blood of Jesus we become as white as wool.

Lady Macbeth tried and failed to remove the stain of her sins from her hands. Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on our own efforts to be cleansed of the stain of our sins. In the blood of Jesus, God has washed us and made us completely clean. We are now pure and holy in his sight, because in Jesus every spot of sin is gone.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I praise you for washing me in the blood of Jesus and making me clean. May I joyfully live in your forgiveness forever. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Established by God – November 8, 2018

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13:1

Established by God


Daily Devotion – November 8, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 13:1

See series: Devotions

God established governing authorities because human beings are not perfect. Sin doesn’t just affect our relationship with God; it affects our relationship with each other. Sinful humanity needs an institution to keep the peace, and God established the governing authorities to make the sin-infested world a safer place to live.

This is why the government does so much that is good. You experience that good whenever you drive on a highway or enjoy police protection. It’s a great blessing to worship and speak your faith without government interference. When God’s servants in government do their job, God’s servants in his kingdom can do theirs.

But sin always corrupts, and the governing authorities are no exception. Government often ignores God who established it and oppresses people rather than serves them. Jesus experienced affliction under government authority. He was unjustly arrested, tried, beaten, and crucified—all at the government’s command.

Why did Jesus endure it? Because he loves us. He perfectly submitted to the governing authorities and demonstrated that he was in complete control. Government gone wrong sent Jesus to the cross, and that is exactly where he wanted to go. Even bad government is part of God’s plan to save sinners, because it sent Jesus to Calvary to complete his work of salvation for us.

Governing authorities are not perfect, but they are a gift from God. Government is a gift for this life from the Savior who will still be King of kings and Lord of lords when all earthly governments have passed away.

Prayer:
Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for the gift of government. Bless and guide all who make, administer, enforce, and judge our laws, so that we may live in peace until we enter your eternal kingdom. 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.
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God the Potter – November 7, 2018

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
Jeremiah 18:1-6

God the Potter


Daily Devotion – November 7, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 18:1-6

See series: Devotions

Have you ever seen the potter at his wheel? It’s amazing! Starting with a lump of spinning clay, a good potter can form and shape until he has created a usable vessel, and often it’s a work of art!

But sometimes it just doesn’t seem to work. So what does the potter do? He reshapes, sometimes even beginning again.

How desperately I need God to reshape me, to reform me! I make a mess out of so many things, oh-so-often! I fail to listen to and focus on God and his Word. I fail to love God with all my heart. I fail to love my neighbor as myself. I make a mess out of myself and I often hurt others!

And yet God, the “potter,” continues to lovingly work with me! He continues to forgive me, love me, and assures me that I am his child. I deserve his wrath! He gives me his love!

And in love he, the potter, continues to shape me; a push here, a prod there, more—or less—pressure as needed. And in the end? I will be an amazing work of art, fashioned by THE Potter himself!

Prayer:
O God, continue to shape and form me that I might show your glory in my life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Pencil – November 6, 2018

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.
Revelation 14:6

Pencil


Daily Devotion – November 6, 2018

Devotion based on Revelation 14:6

See series: Devotions

Sixty years ago next month, a man by the name of Leonard Read wrote a short but extraordinary article. What made it so extraordinary was that it took the abstract and seemingly dull subject of economics and made it concrete. But his little article did more than that. With this piece, Leonard Read also filled countless readers with a sense of humility and a sense of awe.

The title of his essay was, “I, Pencil.” In it, Read demonstrates how even the making of a plain pencil involves all kinds of people in all kinds of circumstances from all over the world.

He starts with the wood. The wood had to come from a source of lumber—perhaps a place like the American Pacific Northwest. But the equipment to harvest the trees came from somewhere else, the metals for making the equipment came from somewhere else, and the transportation for moving the wood involved many scattered teams of individuals in various places. In addition, the human skill needed to transform massive loads of lumber into precise, delicate sizes involved many more.

In his article, Leonard Read then goes on to think through all the other parts of the pencil. What has to happen to get the graphite for the pencil? What has to happen to develop the yellow paint? What has to happen to construct a machine that will print the letters and numbers? What about the coats of lacquer that cover the pencil? What about the metal band on the end that fits just right? What about that mysterious piece of technology we call the eraser? What’s the nature of the glue that holds all the parts together? And finally, what does it take to assemble all of these different components in such a way that it does not cost a fortune to do it?

A major point in Read’s article is this. The creation of just a plain pencil does not involve a few select people. Rather, it involves wide swaths of people from multiple languages, multiple cultures.

In that way, it’s similar to how the Lord uses the gospel to create his Church. The Good News of what Jesus did on the cross to wash us clean is not for a select group or a select class. The gospel, John records, is for every nation, tribe, language, and people. The gospel is for everyone because everyone needs the gospel. And it is through this gospel that God builds his Church out of wide swaths of souls from multiple languages, multiple cultures; from Pakistan to China, from Cameroon to Germany, from the Navajo Nation to Brazil, from Siberia to Vietnam, from Montreal, Quebec, to Casa Grande, Arizona.

The next time you hold a pencil in your hand, think beyond the pencil. Think about the breathtaking miracle that is the Church.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your gospel. Move me to remember that your gospel is for everyone. 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.
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A Deadly Deception – November 5, 2018

Jesus said to [his disciples]: “Watch out that no one deceives you.”
Mark 13:5

A Deadly Deception


Daily Devotion – November 5, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 13:5

See series: Devotions

Jesus offered an earnest warning to his disciples. He knew what they would endure while he was on this earth. He also knew what they would endure after he ascended to his Father’s right hand in heaven. Jesus issued the warning because of his sincere love and care for their spiritual well-being. The warning still applies today. I need to take these words of caution to heart, “Watch out that no one deceives you.”

Deceptions abound. Their purpose is always the same because their author is the same. The devil who is a liar is also a master deceiver. He manufactures half-truths with impunity. He manipulates conversations to fit his dialogue. He molds perceptions to accommodate his purpose. Each is a deadly attack designed to destroy my faith.

This is why Jesus’ exhortation is paramount. I need to be on my guard and keep my eyes open. There is never a “time out” from the devil’s attacks. His deceptions come when I least expect them, and they are compelling at my most vulnerable times. I can never let my guard down for a moment.

While my heartfelt desire is to keep watch, I know what often happens. My eyes grow weary because of the strain. I fall asleep because I am exhausted from the battle. Even worse, I tend to minimize the deadly nature of the devil’s deceptions. I need to rely on Jesus’ encouragement. I also need to rely on his strength. He was faithful. He was unyielding. He was victorious. He endured every deadly deception I would ever have to experience, and he overcame them without fault or failure.

Through Jesus I am able to recognize the devil’s deadly deceptions. Through Jesus I have perseverance to keep watch. Through Jesus I have strength to be victorious.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 472)
Rise, my soul to watch and pray; from your sleep awaken!
Be not by the evil day unawares o’ertaken.
For the foe, well we know, is a harvest reaping
While the saints are sleeping.

But while watching also pray to the Lord unceasing.
God protects you day by day, strength and faith increasing,
So that still mind and will shall unite to serve him
And forever love him.

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.
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Persecution Preservation Perseverance – November 4, 2018

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Matthew 10:22

Persecution Preservation Perseverance


Daily Devotion – November 4, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 10:22

See series: Devotions

In love Jesus took his disciples aside to prepare them for the time when his earthly ministry would come to an end. He warned them about the persecutions they would face. He also encouraged them through his promise that he would preserve them. He even offered them the assurance that they would persevere.

In love Jesus provides me with the same preparation for my life. As a disciple of Jesus I need to understand the world in which I live is not my friend. There are distractions and deceptions. Each proves destructive to my faith because they draw me away from my Savior and his will for my life. Even more dangerous are the persecutions I will have to endure. These deadly attacks are designed by the devil to destroy my faith and rob me of heaven. Jesus alerts me to these dangers. He also makes me aware of the preservation he provides.

Jesus tells me I will be able to stand firm to the end. My confidence to remain steadfast comes through faith in his precious work. Jesus’ ministry brought him to this earth to secure the victory I could never win on my own. Through his death on the cross, he defeated the terror of death and the grave. Through his descent into hell, he proved that he destroyed the devil’s power and control. Through his resurrection he proclaimed the victory was won. Jesus further assures me he will preserve me from all harm and danger, and guard and protect me from all evil.

It is because of Jesus’ precious work that I will be able to persevere. Life can be wearisome and discouraging. I will have to endure troubles and persecution. The enemies of my faith will seek to strike terror into my heart and rob me of heaven. Jesus not only tells me, “Do not be afraid,” he also assures me I will persevere. Because of his strength and his victory I can endure and overcome all things.

How blessed I am to know that my Savior will preserve me so that I can persevere in every time of distress and persecution. How blessed I am to know he will be with me to save me.

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, by your death you have overcome death. By your resurrection you have declared your victory. Bless me through your work so that I can remain faithful to you in this life, and in the end, receive the gift of eternal 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.

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Courageous Faith – November 3, 2018

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Daniel 6:19-23

Courageous Faith


Daily Devotion – November 3, 2018

Devotion based on Daniel 6:19-23

See series: Devotions

They couldn’t believe that Daniel, the do-gooder Jew from Jerusalem, was being promoted to one of the most powerful positions in the kingdom. But no matter how hard they tried, they just couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Amazingly, after 70 years of public service, there wasn’t one intern who spoke against him, or proof of one underhanded deal, or one case where he fixed the books just a little to his advantage. If they were going to get him, it had to be with his religion. So they got the king to issue a decree that anyone who prayed to any god or man, except the king, would be thrown to the lions.

When Daniel heard the decree, he did what he always did. He went home, opened the windows, turned toward Jerusalem, got down on his knees and gave thanks to God. Instead of giving in to the threats of his enemies, instead of rationalizing reasons to hide his faith, he chose to courageously put it on display. And even though he didn’t seem to have any specific promise from God that he would be delivered from the lions, he trusted in the Lord. In this case, the Lord rescued him from bodily harm.

We don’t have a promise from God that nothing bad will ever happen to us as we follow Jesus and glorify him with our lives. But we do have this same marvelous promise from God that served as the foundation for Daniel’s faith: God has forgiven all of our sins, made us his children, and he will be with us in every circumstance and even use everything that happens to us for our eternal good. We live in a culture that seems to be growing more and more opposed to Christ and his followers. But like Daniel we can trust in God. His promises give us the confidence to courageously live our faith and look for ways that we can glorify God with our lives.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, remind me of your promises to be with me and to bless me in every circumstance. Help me by the power of your Spirit to courageously live for 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.

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Chosen People – November 2, 2018

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

Chosen People


Daily Devotion – November 2, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 2:9

See series: Devotions

When you hear the words “chosen people,” who do you think of? If you’re familiar with Old Testament history, you probably think of the Old Testament people of Israel. Throughout the Old Testament God repeatedly refers to the people of Israel as his “chosen people.” For example, as the people of Israel were camped at Mount Sinai on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan, God told them, “If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). Forty years later, as the people of Israel finally prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses reiterated God’s declaration when he said, “You are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6).

In our Bible passage today, the apostle Peter echoes those Old Testament words about the people of Israel. Only now, he’s not using them to refer only to the Old Testament people of Israel. He’s not even using them to refer just to those who might be physically descended from the Old Testament people of Israel. Instead, he’s using them to describe all believers regardless of their ethnic heritage. He’s using them to refer even to you and me. Everyone who believes in Jesus, regardless of their ancestry, is now a part of this “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.”

How did this happen? Was there something in us that caught God’s attention and led him to choose us? Did we do something to deserve this inestimable privilege? Not at all. Nothing in us and nothing that we could have done could ever have led God to choose us as his special people. But that was the case for God’s Old Testament people as well. God didn’t choose them because they were bigger or stronger than all the other people on the earth. Instead he chose them because he loved them (Deuteronomy 7:8). That was it. God loved them and, in his love, he chose them to be his special people. That ultimately is why God has chosen us as well. He loved us. In spite of the sinful, damnable, unlovable people that we were by nature, God loved us. And he demonstrated that love by sending his Son Jesus to live, die, and rise again for us. Now, through faith in Jesus, we are exactly what the Bible says we are: we are God’s chosen people. We are kings and priests, ruling with God and having direct access to him through Jesus. We are holy, for we are covered in Christ’s holiness. We are a people belonging to God, purchased with the blood of his Son and invaluably precious to him.

All this makes us eager to do what God has chosen us to do. As God’s chosen people, we are eager to declare his praises to all those who are around us. May God use us, whom he has called out of the darkness of unbelief into the light of faith, to share this good news with others, so that many more may come to faith in Jesus and join us as God’s chosen, holy people.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, all praise to you for making me a part of your chosen people through faith in Jesus. Lead me to declare your praises that many more may become a part of your holy people. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Hope Fulfilling and Fulfilled – November 1, 2018

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
Ephesians 1:18

Hope Fulfilling and Fulfilled


Daily Devotion – November 1, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:18

See series: Devotions

If a loved one of yours left this earth for heaven this past year, you are freshly aware of the feelings of grief and loss. Even if the funeral service was an uplifting celebration of God’s grace in Christ, you still miss your loved one on all those special days of the year: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. They all are missing that someone special.

If that has been your experience, then today is your day. It is possible that we have all lost someone special this past 12 months, so today is for all of us. For 1300 years, on November 1, Christians have been remembering those believers who have gone on to heaven on a day that is called All Saints Day.

On this All Saints Day, we join the apostle Paul in praying that the eyes of our heart would be opened to see two glorious things: The hope—that is the “present certainty of a blessed future reality” that we have now—it is a fulfilling hope. God blesses the believers, the saints here with the promise of heaven—a glorious eternal life with Jesus and our dear departed loved ones.

We also have the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, that is, the assurance that we will have a glorious inheritance which is heaven or that we will be God’s inheritance in heaven. We can understand the words either way, but the result is the same: The fulfilling hope of heaven yet to come will become the fulfilled hope of heaven when we leave this world and take up residence there in the glory of God.

God called the saints to this hope when he brought us to faith in Jesus who lived perfectly, died sacrificially, and rose victoriously for us so that hope in Christ is never just wishful thinking.

So if you have been feeling loss, take time today and every day to also feel gain—the joy of heaven for your loved ones and the joy of heaven for you—the glorious inheritance of the saints.

Prayer:
Jesus, my Savior, fill my heart with the hope you gave the world. Lead me to rejoice in the heaven that is mine by your grace through faith. 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.
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The Change That Brings Us Home – October 31, 2018

This is what the LORD says: “Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, ‘O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’ See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.”
Jeremiah 31:7-9

The Change That Brings Us Home


Daily Devotion – October 31, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:7-9

See series: Devotions

A year ago, Christians, especially Lutheran Christians, celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Five hundred years ago, all of Europe was caught up in a time of unparalleled change. The Reformation changed how people looked at God and at themselves. Five hundred one years later, very little has changed.

Lutheran Christians still look upon God as a God of grace—a God known primarily for his loving forgiveness of sins, based on Christ’s sacrifice.

Lutheran Christians look upon themselves as sinners and saints at the same time. They believe in and practice confession and absolution. They have a sure and blessed hope of heaven based on the promises of God and the completed work of Christ.

So, while little has changed for Lutheran Christians, we can also say everything is changing and that change happens every day. Every day the Holy Spirit is bringing people to faith or renewing faith that had faltered and waned. Of course, this is not just a Lutheran or Reformation thing. This is the work of God that Jeremiah prophesied about.

In our reading, we see sharp contrasts indicative of great change. The people of God—the ones he saved for his own glory “sing for joy” and “come with weeping.” They “shout” and they “pray.” The blind, the lame, and the expectant mothers return to their God on a “level path where they will not stumble.”

Everything changed for God’s Old Testament people Israel when they heeded the words of the prophets. When they listened carefully to men like Jeremiah and Isaiah, they saw God’s grace and mercy—his loving desire to be in relationship with them. They saw their sin and their need to repent and everything changed.

There was reformation well before there was the Reformation. God has been changing people since the fall into sin. He has been and still is calling us home on the path of salvation he established through Christ, leading us by faith step by step. This reformation is the change that brings us home.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for calling me heavenward in Christ. Lead me safely home by faith in him as my Savior. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Nobody Knows the Trouble I Have Seen – October 30, 2018

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:7-10

Nobody Knows the Trouble I Have Seen


Daily Devotion – October 30, 2018

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:7-10

See series: Devotions

“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…” Since 1867, the words of that song have been performed by many successful artists. However, they were originally composed and sung by struggling slaves.

Times change, but troubles don’t. Children have trouble with bullies. Adolescents have trouble with peer pressure. Adults have financial, health, relationship, and work troubles. We all have troubles because we all have sin. What we feel we may not have is someone who can empathize with us. And so, we find ourselves echoing the words of that African-American spiritual: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”

But the song doesn’t end there. The chorus continues, “Nobody knows but Jesus.”

Does he really? Is it possible for first century Jesus to understand twenty-first century problems? Is it possible for God to understand the problems of mankind? It is, and he does. Jesus is God, but he shared fully in our humanity except for one important difference. He was without sin. He was tempted in the same ways we are. He knew sibling rivalry. He knew what it was to not be understood. He knew loneliness, poverty, and hunger. He knew sorrow and suffering. He knew betrayal and bullying. Because he himself suffered, he empathizes with us when we suffer.

And because Jesus was without sin, he was able to do something about our troubles. He submitted himself to the suffering, scorn, and shame of the cross. Because he allowed sin to crush him and he passed from death to life, he is the source of our eternal salvation. God uses death to pull us, who are connected to Jesus by faith, safely from this trouble-filled world to the trouble-free existence with him in heaven.

“Glory hallelujah!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, our Great High Priest, help us to call on you in our weakness and to sing your praises in our troubles. 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.
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Jesus is There for You – October 29, 2018

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Mark 10:46-52

Jesus is There for You


Daily Devotion – October 29, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 10:46-52

See series: Devotions

“Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!'” How often do you think Bartimaeus was told to be quiet? How many times was the blind man shoved into the corner and ignored? How frequently was he out of sight and out of mind?

It can certainly feel demoralizing to be ignored or marginalized in any way. It can be lonely to feel like no one cares or notices us. When life gets us down, we can easily feel like God treats us the same way everyone else seems to. At such times, we may falsely assume that God is ignoring us or that he wants us to be quiet and stop bothering him. Satan knows us well and he seeks to drive us down into the depths of despair. Too often we follow his lead. Such despair is sinful and shows a lack of faith.

As hopeless as things looked for Bartimaeus, he knew where he could put his trust. Even as people were trying to quiet him down, “he kept on shouting all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!'” It’s hard to imagine a more powerful and worthwhile prayer than the one the blind man shouted to Jesus. His prayer was heard. Miraculously, Jesus immediately gave the man sight and vindicated his faith.

Thank God that Jesus doesn’t ever marginalize or ignore us! He never shoves us to the side or brushes us off. Rather, he pays attention to our every need and takes good care of us. Like Bartimaeus, keep on shouting! Keep on taking your prayers to Jesus. Don’t let the devil or this world quiet you or fill you with despair. Your Savior Jesus stands ready and willing to come to your aid.

Nowhere was that more evident than when Jesus went to the cross to meet our greatest need. We were in grave need of help—even more in need than blind Bartimaeus. We needed a Savior. We needed someone to suffer and die to take away the punishment that our sins deserved and to rescue us from eternal damnation. Jesus willingly took our place on that cross and earned our forgiveness and salvation. In his great love, he took care of our greatest need. In that same love, he stands ready to come to our aid today and every day.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for going to the cross and taking care of my greatest need. Help me never to despair, but to always look to you for help and to trust in your loving care. 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.
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Persistent Prayer – October 28, 2018

Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice quickly.”
Luke 18:1-8a

Persistent Prayer


Daily Devotion – October 28, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 18:1-8a

See series: Devotions

Prayer is such a wonderful gift and privilege from God. His disciples can pray to him at any time. We can ask him for anything we need, and he promises to hear us and help us. Still, we find that it isn’t always easy to use the gift of prayer as God intends it to be used. We might treat prayer like it’s our duty, rather than our privilege. We might pray thoughtlessly. We might forget to pray all together.

It’s easy to think that the key to improving our prayer life is just try harder. So, we think of weak spots in our prayer life and say, “Well, I’m just going to have to buckle down and do better next time.” But our commitment isn’t the key to improvement.

The key to a stronger prayer life is to remember that through faith in our Savior Jesus we are God’s own dear children. As dear children of God, we can pray confidently to him just as dearly-loved children confidently ask their parents. We can ask our Father for anything, and we can trust that he will always give us what’s best for us.

In today’s reading Jesus tells the parable of a persistent widow who keeps asking an unjust judge for justice against her adversary. Since he’s an unjust judge, he ignores her. But she keeps at him, and because of her constant pestering, he finally helps her. Jesus’ point is clear. If even an unjust judge is willing to help someone who keeps bothering him, how much more will our loving Father in heaven want to receive the prayers of his dearly loved children and answer them!

Is there something in your life you’ve been praying about? Does it seem as though God hasn’t answered you yet? Don’t give up. Pray persistently in Jesus’ name. Your dear Father in heaven will most certainly hear you and help you.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, lead me to pray boldly and persistently without giving up, trusting you to give me the best answer at the best time. In Jesus’ name I ask it. 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.

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Chains – October 27, 2018

This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.
2 Timothy 2:8b-9

Chains


Daily Devotion – October 27, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 2:8b-9

See series: Devotions

There Paul sat. He was in a dungeon in Rome. His execution was near. And as he wrote his last letter, he also had to deal with something we don’t always consider. He had to deal with the reality of wearing a chain.

In the 1st Century, chains for prisoners were made of rough iron. They weighed an average of 15 pounds. How the authorities placed the chain on you could vary. They might place your chain on one of your legs or both of your legs, on one of your wrists or both of your wrists. Or they might decide to place it around your neck. They might chain you to another prisoner, or they might chain you to all the other prisoners who are there.

The chain you wore could be painful. The rough iron would easily rust from your perspiration. The sheer weight of your chain could be debilitating. And the noisy creaking of your chain would be constant.

In the darkness of that dungeon, therefore, Paul understood the limitations he faced as a Christian proclaimer of the gospel. All he had to do was see, and feel, and hear the chain on his body.

But he knew something else. He also knew that God’s Word was not chained.

As we walk through this life, the Lord calls upon us to share the gospel with others. As we work to do that, however, you and I are painfully aware of our limitations. We know how lazy we can get. We know how fearful we can be. And no one has to tell us how often our sinful behavior has threatened to drown out the very message the Lord wants to proclaim through us.

The chains of our sinful limitations can be many. But God’s Word is not chained. The Good News of full forgiveness through faith alone in Jesus Christ—this Good News has a power and a vigor all its own. It is the gospel that pierces stone-cold hearts. It is the gospel that makes alive. It is the gospel that changes destinies—one soul at a time.

With all that in mind, Paul continued to share the unchained gospel, chains and all. You and I can too.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, never let the chains of my own limitations discourage me from sharing your gospel. I may be chained, but your Word is not. 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.

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Always Prepared – October 26, 2018

In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 Peter 3:15

Always Prepared


Daily Devotion – October 26, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 3:15

See series: Devotions

As I write this devotion, another hurricane is bearing down on U.S. soil. It is predicted to be the most powerful storm that region has seen in over 150 years of weather records.

Residents need to prepare for what’s coming to protect life and property from the storm. Meanwhile, people in other areas are preparing to help those affected by the storm.

God’s Word commands us to be prepared. The apostle Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

Peter was writing to people who were facing all kinds of troubles. They were being persecuted, arrested, and even killed because they trusted Jesus as their Savior and set apart Christ as Lord.

But Peter knew that God is always in control, and he wanted Christians to see even these troubles and hardships as opportunities. When they were arrested and ordered to defend themselves, they would have the chance to talk about Jesus.

They could talk about the difference Jesus made in their lives. They could talk about the sure hope they had even in the darkest moments of life.

They had hope because Jesus too was put on trial and faithfully spoke the truth about who he was and what he came to do. Through his innocent suffering and death at the hands of his enemies and his resurrection three days later, death was destroyed, and every sin was forgiven. Eternal life was theirs! And it is ours!

We too have the certainty of forgiveness and the sure hope of eternal life through Jesus. And we never know when our conversation with someone will lead to the opportunity to give the reason for the hope that we have. And so, we always want to be prepared.

We prepare by listening to God’s Word, by learning more about what God has prepared for us in his perfect love. Keep listening. Keep learning. And be prepared to share your hope in Christ.

And if you are among those affected by hurricanes or other hardships, we are praying for you. May God’s Word give you hope for yourself and hope to share.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have prepared heaven for us. Now prepare us to share our hope 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.
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Scattered Preachers – October 25, 2018

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
Acts 8:4

Scattered Preachers


Daily Devotion – October 25, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 8:4

See series: Devotions

The pastor looks so dignified as he gets up to preach a sermon. He has spent long hours studying a portion of God’s Word and in a well-prepared and polished fashion he delivers a message that clearly shows you your sin and points you to the cross of your Savior Jesus. At least that’s the ideal! When pastors strive for this ideal, they strive to follow in the footsteps of Jesus’ closest followers who were commissioned by the risen Lord himself (Matthew 28:19). Throughout the Book of Acts the apostles looked so confident, polished, and prepared as they preached Christ boldly. But what do we see here in Acts chapter 8? “A great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1). How terrible! Because of violent opposition to Christianity, believing men and women were scattered! They were forced away from their loving and supportive church home in Jerusalem. They no longer had the apostles that God sent to preach to them. What could they do now? In verse 4, God tells us that “those who were scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

How amazing! These men and women were not divinely called to take a leading role in the church like the apostles were. They were mostly new believers in Christ. They were not sent preachers in the sense that Christ sent them out with a divine call. They were scattered preachers! Painful events in their life had forced them away from familiar people and places. Once scattered, they came into contact with new people and places. Many of them did what often comes naturally to a new believer. They shared the good news of Jesus wherever they went! Were they as bold, as persuasive, and as powerful as the apostles? Probably not. But through their testimony to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, people were saved and the church grew. It is amazing how God worked through these scattered preachers!

Sometimes people today may get the impression that because they are not as polished and prepared as a pastor, they have no business sharing the gospel with people. Nonsense! A professional football player doesn’t always need the perfect moves to score some points. Sometimes, all they need to do is push ahead, stumble, and bumble their way across the goal line. The reality of a Savior who died on a cross to forgive our stumbling and bumbling attempts to preach the gospel is certainly a source of great comfort for pastors who have been sent to preach. Let that same gospel comfort empower your efforts to share Jesus as a “scattered preacher.” You may not have been sent to preach in the same way as your pastor has been sent. But God has used events in your life to move you around and put you into contact with people who need to hear about Jesus. You have been “scattered” for a purpose. The Book of Acts shows us what wonderful things God can do with his “scattered preachers.”

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, thank you for using the events of my life to bring me into contact with people who need your love and forgiveness. Bless me with opportunities to share your love and forgiveness that have been shared with me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Message for All Seasons – October 24, 2018

It was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53:10-12

The Message for All Seasons


Daily Devotion – October 24, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 53:10-12

See series: Devotions

For Christians around the world who annually observe the season of Lent (the 40 days before Easter—reviewing the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus), Isaiah’s amazing chapter 53 prophecy is, at that time, a common reading. But now it’s mid-fall! Many thoughts are trending toward mission festivals, the Reformation, and Thanksgiving! Yet, Isaiah’s Spirit-inspired prophecy continues to be “The Message for All Seasons.” It is a message that foretells the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ!

At first reading, or first hearing, today’s lesson seems complex and even confusing. That is because of the personal pronouns. Let’s repeat the lesson, identifying the pronouns and descriptive titles. The power of Isaiah’s chapter 53 prophecy lies in its precision. It was exactly fulfilled by Jesus!

“It was the Lord’s (God the Father’s) will to crush him (Jesus, our Savior) and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord (God the Father) makes his (Jesus’) life a guilt offering, he (the Father) will see his offspring (Jesus) and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his (Jesus’) hand. After the suffering of his (Jesus’) soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my (the Father’s) righteous servant (Jesus) will justify many (i.e. the great mass—all sinners), and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I (the Father) will give him (Jesus) a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.”

That’s “The Message for All Seasons” and for all people! Think about it, and if you can, yet today, read Philippians 2:6-11 as a glorious post log to Isaiah’s precious prophecy.

Prayer:
Lord, when a portion of your Word seems very deep to me, grant me the Spirit’s help to understand, and/or give me courage to ask a pastor about it. The message of salvation, foretold and fulfilled, is my peace and joy. 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.
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Our Perfect Substitute – October 23, 2018

Since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16

Our Perfect Substitute


Daily Devotion – October 23, 2018

Devotion based on Hebrews 4:14-16

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I remember being a teenager and believing, “my parents just don’t understand. They don’t know what it’s like to be me. They don’t understand the pressure to be popular, the pain of gossip, and the shame of being left out.” I didn’t realize that my parents still remembered what it was like to be a teenager.

I have young children and the cycle continues. They just can’t believe that I can remember how hard it is to be a kid. But I do. I do know what they are going through.

On a much higher level, we struggle to believe that the almighty God knows what it’s like to be human. So, we struggle to pray to God with transparency because it’s difficult to understand how he can relate to our pain.

That is why we love these words from Hebrews chapter four. The writer says that Jesus is our High Priest. That means Jesus is the mediator between us and our heavenly Father. But he is not a high priest that is out-of-touch with our feelings. Jesus came into this world and experienced everything we do. He was tempted in every way that we are.

The only difference: Jesus did not sin.

The writer reminds us of Jesus’ holiness, not to shame us, but to encourage us. Jesus is our perfect substitute and Savior. Jesus gives us his perfect record as a gift. Therefore, we can approach God with absolute confidence. We can tell him what we struggle with and all our guilt and pain. He hears us and even empathizes with us. And most of all, he forgives us.

Prayer:
Lord God, you know what it’s like to be misunderstood, even hated. You know what it’s like to be tempted. I pray that you would both forgive my sins and lead me to walk in your ways. And I will give you all the glory. Amen.

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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Saved to Serve – October 22, 2018

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to [Jesus]. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask. … Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” … When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:35,37,41-45

Saved to Serve


Daily Devotion – October 22, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 10:35,37,41-45

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James and John were ambitious. They knew that great things were in store for Jesus and those who followed him. They wanted to be rewarded and recognized as Jesus’ closest disciples.

We are ambitious. We like to be acknowledged. We want God to bless and prosper us right here, right now. We want mom and dad’s approval. We want classmates to envy us. We want the corner office at work. We want to be the Joneses in our neighborhood. But because of our sin, we all fall short. We fall short of other’s expectations, of personal goals, of God’s glory.

Jesus had ambitions too, and he did not fall short. He did not come to earth to push people around. He had his sights set on saving humanity from the damning consequence of sin. He came to serve the world by offering his holy life as a payment for all sin. And God gave his approval of Jesus’ work by raising him from the dead.

By faith in Jesus, we have God’s full acceptance. We are his beloved children in whom he is well-pleased. Since we already have God’s full recognition, we don’t need to seek it from the world. Motivated by the Son of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are free to use our energy to serve others. Our ambition is that others see Jesus in us and hear about him from us, so they become God’s children too.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, forgive me for my selfish ambition. Grant me a spirit of humility and a heart that looks out for the needs of 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.
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God Heals Our Brokenness – October 21, 2018

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. … Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. … When she heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. … Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” … Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her. … Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
Ruth 1:1-19 (selected verses)

God Heals Our Brokenness


Daily Devotion – October 21, 2018

Devotion based on Ruth 1:1-19 (selected verses)

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What was Ruth thinking? She had married into a family from Israel after they had immigrated into her country of Moab. This family experienced great misfortune. They had left Israel because of a famine. The father of the family died before Ruth married his son. Then both sons died, leaving only Ruth, her mother-in-law Naomi, and a sister-in-law.

When Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem in Israel, Ruth went with her. Why?

If Ruth went back with Naomi, what did her future hold? Ruth would be living in a foreign land far from her parents and siblings. Customs would be different. Ruth’s chances of remarriage were slim. When Ruth swore faithful, unwavering love to her mother-in-law, what was she thinking?

Could Ruth have been thinking about the God her new family had shared with her? This God promised to rescue his people from their guilt and sin. Were his promises more important to Ruth than a comfortable life in Moab?

We can find “spiritual” people who promise to make us prosper, give us a fantastic marriage or career success. God’s promises are different. He doesn’t promise a pain-free life filled with success. He promises to take care of our deepest needs—our brokenness because we have insisted on living our lives on our terms, not God’s. God sent his Son Jesus to heal us of our brokenness and take away our guilt. Jesus suffered in our place to restore us into God’s family. Jesus fills our hearts with joy, peace, contentment no matter how pleasant or painful our life is right now.

Ruth knew God’s forgiveness was far greater than any short-term struggles she faced in Israel. She wanted to stay with the God of undeserved love who healed broken people.

God makes the same promises to us!

Prayer:
Lord, help me look past my current struggles and heartache to see your promises of forgiveness, comfort, rescue, and healing. Strengthen my faith to think about my eternal hope. 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.

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