Unite and Conquer – January 20, 2018

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
1 Corinthians 1:10-13

Unite and Conquer


Daily Devotion – January 20, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

See series: Devotions

“Divide and conquer” is an effective strategy in warfare. Once you divide your enemy’s forces, you can overwhelm each smaller group one by one.
“Divide and conquer” is also an effective strategy in spiritual warfare. It is one of the devil’s favorite tactics. He works hard to divide Christian congregations. He realizes that if Christians are busy fighting each other they will be too busy to fight him. He realizes that if Christians are shouting at one another they will be too busy to shout the Good News of sins forgiven to those around them. He knows that if Christians are jealous and angry and bitter toward one another they will be much less likely to love and honor and serve one another.
The apostle Paul understood these things. So, in his first letter to the Christians in the city of Corinth he encouraged them to fight against this effective strategy of their enemy. In the case of the Corinthians, they were divided over which of their leaders they liked better. Some preferred Paul, others Apollos, etc. Paul reminded them that Jesus was the only one who had paid for their sins on the cross. Rather than be divided over which of their leaders they liked, they ought to be united in their love for Christ.
If the devil is dividing you from your fellow Christians, let the love of Christ fill your heart and overcome the devil’s temptations. Do not allow the devil to “divide and conquer” you and your fellow Christians. Rather, “unite and conquer” him!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I know that the devil is a powerful enemy. But, I also know that you are a more powerful ally. Let there be no divisions in your Church. Unite us as one in the mission to love one another and to tell others of your great love for all. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

The Golden Rule – January 19, 2018

“In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”
Matthew 7:12

The Golden Rule


Daily Devotion – January 19, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 7:12

See series: Devotions

These words from Jesus in Matthew chapter 7 are commonly known as the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Many, if not all of us, have heard those words spoken to us often by parents, teachers, and anyone else trying to teach us good morals. Whether we were arguing with our siblings or squabbling with a classmate, we likely heard the encouragement to treat others as we would like to be treated.

It sounds nice, doesn’t it? It sounds reasonable. It sounds like a nice goal. If we all followed the Golden Rule, we would all get along wonderfully and we wouldn’t have problems or conflicts with anyone. That sounds great! It sounds so easy!

But it isn’t. Like most things Jesus teaches us in his Sermon on the Mount, putting the Golden Rule into practice in our lives is very difficult. More than that, it’s impossible. We’ d much rather, and so often, end up treating others the way they treat us—eye for an eye, insult for insult, and sarcastic comment for sarcastic comment. If someone cuts us off in traffic, we shout angrily. If someone offends us, we lash out at them. If someone slights us in the least, we strive to settle the score.

Isn’t it remarkable how Jesus is so very different from sinners like you and me? Had you and I been on that cross suffering for sins we didn’t commit, we would have shouted terrible things at those who insulted us. We would have called on God to strike those who were tormenting us. But in love for sinners, Jesus instead prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And to one crucified next to him he said: “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”

Our Savior Jesus, rather than retaliate and get back at us for every time we have sinned against him, willingly gave his life on the cross for you and for me. He is the only one who ever perfectly kept the Golden Rule. By the grace of God, you and I get the credit for our Savior’s perfect life and our sins are paid for through his innocent suffering and death in our place.

Jesus’ amazing love moves you and me to follow the Golden Rule in thankfulness for all he has done for our salvation.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for never getting even with me. Forgive me for the shabby way I have treated others. Fill me with your love that I may do to others what I would have them do to me. Amen.

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

Awesome Promise! – January 18, 2018

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

Awesome Promise!


Daily Devotion – January 18, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 10:13

See series: Devotions

“In sickness and in health… till death do us part.” “I’ll pay you back double, as soon as I get my check.” “We’ll play a game tomorrow night. I’m just too tired tonight.”

We make and receive promises all the time. Unfortunately, as you well know, sinful human beings also break their promises all the time. Whether it is a spouse, a friend, a parent, or really anyone else for that matter, not every promise, even the most well-intentioned, is kept.

God is not like people. When he makes a promise, he always keeps it. “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19). That means when we find a promise that God has shared with us on the pages of his Word, we know that promise will be kept.

There are some wonderful promises in the Bible. Today’s Bible verses voice one of them: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

No doubt you have experienced those times when you just felt completely stuck and seemingly there was nothing you could do but give in to temptation, whatever it may be. After all, you reason, “God will understand. This situation is unique.”

The reality is that you are never stuck. Why? Because God is faithful. He keeps his promises and he has promised that you will never be tempted beyond what you can bear. When you feel that God has overestimated you, and you are indeed in a situation that is too much for you, he promises to provide a way out. “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

How awesome this promise is! God doesn’t just tell us how he wants us to live our lives, he promises to help us when we are tempted to go against his will. We are never stuck. There is always a way out that is God-pleasing. But please notice what is not said here. God does not promise that it will be easy, quick, or fun, according to our sinful nature. What he does promise, and of this we can be absolutely sure, is that he will give us exactly the help we need to overcome temptation.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, there are times when I feel overwhelmed. Thank you for your promise to help when I am tempted. Help me to trust that promise because you are the One who sent your Son to die for me and you are faithful. In Jesus’ name. 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.

Speak, O Lord – January 17, 2018

The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me. “But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
1 Samuel 3:1-10

Speak, O Lord


Daily Devotion – January 17, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 3:1-10

See series: Devotions

“I prayed hard about this new opportunity, and I just feel as though God is telling me I should pursue it.”

“My life is in upheaval. God, what are you trying to tell me?”

Does God’s voice seem to be silent in your life? Do you wonder what, if any, direction God is giving you?

We are naturally inquisitive creatures. We want answers. We have the Bible, but the Bible doesn’t tell us everything. Can we count on God to communicate with us as he did with Samuel?

God has not promised to speak to us that way (Hebrews 1:2). However, God’s voice has never been more readily accessible than it is today. It is the recorded Word of God in the Bible. Even though there are days when I don’t pick up my Bible, I can count on it being there. Even if I don’t have a copy, I can easily buy one. I can read the Bible online. With a swipe of my finger, I can look up a passage in multiple versions and even in various languages. If we cannot hear God speaking to us, God is not the problem. The problem is that we are not listening.

No, the Bible doesn’t tell us everything we want to know. It does tell us everything we need to know. God will not tell us what college to attend, what job to take, the person to marry, or how many children to have. He does say whatever we do, we are to do for the glory of God. He doesn’t tell us if we will avoid trouble today. He does promise to work everything out for the eternal good of those who love him. He does not tell us why we are suffering. He does invite us to find comfort in him. He does not tell us how or when we will die. He does tell us that whoever believes in Jesus, who willingly offered up his life to pay for our sins, has eternal life.

Prayer:
Forgive me, Lord, for listening more to the world than your Word. Lead me, Lord, to delight in your Word and to turn a deaf ear to wicked advice. Speak, O Lord, for your servant is listening. Amen.

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

A Mystery Solved – January 16, 2018

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ…This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 3:4,6

A Mystery Solved


Daily Devotion – January 16, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 3:4,6

See series: Devotions

Do you enjoy a good mystery? As the author offers clues, anticipation grows until the book’s end, the mystery is solved and we pass it on!

Today’s Spirit-inspired author is the apostle Paul. This “mystery of Christ” is not a mystery to remain hidden nor beyond human comprehending. There are Bible mysteries like that, such as, the truth that God is a Trinity: one God in three separate but equal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Another example would be the conception and birth of Jesus. The Son of God came to our world as a truly human infant while continuing to be true God! We accept those profound truths by Spirit-given faith. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

Paul speaks here, however, of a mystery that requires revelation but can be solved!

The Old Testament held several clues. Adam and Eve heard God tell the devil, “He—the offspring of the woman—will crush your head” (Genesis 3:15). God told Abram, the human forefather of the Messiah, “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). Isaiah foretold that God “has laid on him (the Messiah, Jesus) the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). The actual event culminated in three New Testament days that included a cross, a grave, and on the third day, an empty tomb. Jesus’ payment was complete and sufficient. The apostles wrote the final chapters: “Through the gospel the Gentiles (all non-Jews) are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

Though first sent to the nation of Israel, Jesus came to save all people. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Because Jesus was sent for all people, we have the certainty of our own salvation by faith in him. Additionally, we see the urgency of our mission, to spread the gospel far and wide that many more may hear and believe.

Who is the Savior sent for all mankind? Jesus, your Savior! Mystery solved! Pass it on!

Prayer:
Lord, let the light of your gospel shine worldwide, through me, too! Amen.

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

Follow Me – January 15, 2018

[Jesus] said to [Philip], “Follow me.”
John 1:43

Follow Me


Daily Devotion – January 15, 2018

Devotion based on John 1:43

See series: Devotions

Now I don’t think we would say this out loud, but do you ever wonder, “Is Jesus really worth following?” I mean, we have access to the latest and greatest ideas, philosophies, and scientific discoveries. Sure, Jesus said and did some great things, but isn’t he just one great thinker among many? What could Jesus really offer, when we have access to so many other great leaders?

If you have ever had such thoughts, you’re not alone. When Jesus called his first disciples, there was a man named Nathaniel. When his friend Philip invited him to come and see Jesus of Nazareth, Nathaniel replied, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46). Nathaniel wondered why he should go see someone from some no-name town, born into a no-name family. What could he possibly offer Nathaniel? Jesus wasn’t from Jerusalem, the place of great scholarship and clout; he was just from some insignificant town in the north.

Nevertheless, Nathaniel did concede and went to see Jesus, and when he did, he was surprised. Jesus didn’t rebuke him for asking his skeptical question. In fact, he almost praised him, calling Nathaniel “a true Israelite in whom there is nothing false.” Then Jesus told him that he knew him and saw him, when he was sitting under a fig tree before Philip spoke to him.

Hearing Jesus’ words, Nathaniel realized and believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the one God sent to bring salvation.

Even after Nathaniel’s change of heart, Jesus had more to say. He told Nathaniel, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:50-51).

Jesus was saying, “Nathaniel, I’m not only worth listening to, I am THE WAY back to the God of heaven. I am the one you need to follow above everybody else.”

Jesus extends that same message to you. He is the way back to our Father in heaven. Jesus made this vital claim. He didn’t say that he was just one way among many, or one variation of truth, or one possible way to life. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Then he backed up his claims by rising from the dead.

Now Jesus is calling out to you to believe in him as your Savior and follow him as your loving Lord and Master.

Just like he said to his first disciples, he now says to you, “Come, follow me.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive us for times we doubt who you are. You are the only way, truth, and life. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may follow you in everything we do. Amen.

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

The Passover – January 14, 2018

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

The Passover


Daily Devotion – January 14, 2018

Devotion based on John 1:29

See series: Devotions

By calling Jesus “the Lamb of God” John the Baptist pointed the people to one of their familiar festival—the Passover which commemorated God’s deliverance of his people from their bondage in the land of Egypt.
The LORD commissioned Moses and his brother Aaron to speak repeatedly to Egypt’s ruler informing him that the true God said: “Let my people go!” Nine times God sent a debilitating plague, but the ruler refused. In response to his stubbornness, God sent one last plague.
“At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn of Egypt.”(Exodus 12:29). However, the Israelites were spared because they did what God had commanded: they sacrificed the very best male lamb from their flock and spread its blood over the outer doorframe of their homes. When the LORD saw the blood of the unblemished lamb, he “passed over” the house and spared the firstborn. Immediately Egypt’s ruler released God’s people. By the blood of the sacrificial lamb the people were freed from slavery.
So when John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and proclaimed that he is “the Lamb of God,” he identified Jesus as the long-awaited Savior. Jesus is God’s Lamb by whose blood people are freed from the slavery of sin and death.
Jesus—the Lamb of God—loved us so much to offer his sinless life into death on a cross to secure our pardon before God the Father and flood our troubled souls with the peace that God gives us through Jesus. Let that truth flood your soul with the mercy we all desperately need and confident assurance we all urgently desire.

Prayer:
LORD God, work faith in my heart to believe in Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” 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.

Your God Will Not Let You Fall – January 13, 2018

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1 Corinthians 1:7-9

Your God Will Not Let You Fall


Daily Devotion – January 13, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:7-9

See series: Devotions

The scene has been played out in countless movies and television shows. Someone has fallen off the edge of a cliff or tall building and is holding on for dear life to the hand of a person above him. The tension builds as the person’s hand starts to slip and he shouts, “I can’t hold on much longer!”
Christians sometimes feel this way about their faith. Challenges and tragedies have pummeled them to the point where they feel weak and wonder if they might very well lose their connection to Christ. “I can’t hold on much longer!” they think. Perhaps you are feeling this way today.
God’s Word has good news for you. Your connection to Christ does not depend on your ability to hold on to him. He is holding on to you. After all, he is the One who grabbed you out of the depths of sin and pulled you to himself in the first place. He called you to be his child and, like any loving parent, he loves you too much to let you go.
When you feel like you can’t hold on much longer, your loving Lord quietly, firmly and lovingly replies, “I can.”

Prayer:
Lord, you know how weak my faith often is. You know how easily I doubt your Word and promises. I thank you that you have called me to be your child and ask that you grant me a faith that is firm and unshakable. When I waver, hold me close. Keep me safe in your arms until I am safely home with 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.

See yourself as God sees you – January 12, 2018

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:26-28

See yourself as God sees you


Daily Devotion – January 12, 2018

Devotion based on Galatians 3:26-28

See series: Devotions

A person’s view of himself tends to be relative—relative to the people around him. For example, I am below average in height. Most of the time, when I am with a group of people, I am looking up and feel quite short. But when I am with my extended family, I am one of the tallest people in the room. And when I am asked to reach something from the top shelf of the pantry, I feel quite tall.

People often view their morality in a similar way. They compare themselves to the people around them and feel either good or bad about themselves depending upon what they see in those other people.

But we do not have a God who compares us to other people. He compares us to himself. He expects us to be as holy, and loving, and caring, and selfless as he is. Unlike when we compare ourselves to other people, when we compare ourselves to the one, true God, we cannot see ourselves as anything but complete moral failures.

Which is why it is such a shock—a wonderful shock—to hear what the apostle Paul tell us in Galatians, chapter 3: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

What a glorious surprise! Regardless of how you see yourself, regardless of how you stack up when compared to other people, God sees you as sinless because you are clothed in the perfect life of Jesus. He sees every baptized follower of Christ this way. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, what color you are, what kind of job you hold, what kind of grades you get, or what language you speak. Through faith in Christ you are a child of the living God!

Now, how does THAT make you feel?

Prayer:
Thank you, Father, for making me your child though faith in your Son, Jesus. Cleanse my guilty conscience with the knowledge that I am holy in your sight. And lead me to live as your child this 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.

When You Feel Stuck – January 11, 2018

In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
Psalm 118:5–6

When You Feel Stuck


Daily Devotion – January 11, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 118:5–6

See series: Devotions

Several years ago, there was a popular book and movie about Aron Ralston, a climber who got trapped in Utah’s Bluejohn Canyon after an accident in which a large dislodged boulder pinned his arm against the narrow canyon wall. Ralston had not told anyone about his hiking plans, nor did he have anyway to call for help. There is an unforgettable scene in the movie where he realizes that his arm is stuck and he is not going to be able to free himself. He cries out for help, but his cry simply echoes through the vast canyon walls. There is no one to hear him. No one to help. Finally, after five days of surviving on a meager amount of food and water, Ralston broke his ulna and radius bones and amputated his trapped arm to escape.

While it might not be a life or death situation, there are times in our lives when we feel stuck. Whether it be in a relationship, a job, or even our own struggle with sin and guilt. Even when we cry out to God for help, sometimes it seems like the cry of that trapped climber reverberating off the empty canyon walls. Who is going to help me? Who is going to save me from death?

In the midst of betrayal and abandonment, with the weight of the world’s sins on his back and the impending punishment for their guilt looming on the horizon, Jesus called out to his heavenly Father. In faith he cried out to God and that cry did not simply echo into the void. God answered his prayer. Yes, Jesus had to suffer the pain and the shame of the cross for our benefit. But God did not abandon him. On the third day he raised him victoriously from the dead.

Because of Jesus we can be sure that God will answer our deepest cry for help as well. Through faith in Jesus as our Savior, we are intimately joined with him. His Father is our Father, and just as God ultimately answered his Son’s prayers for deliverance, he will answer ours too. Sometimes he miraculously delivers us from our current problems and trials. Sometimes he doesn’t. But in any case, we can be confident that God is working all things to bring us ultimate deliverance.

So next time you feel stuck, next time you are hard pressed and in anguish, cry out to your heavenly Father. Cry out trusting that the Lord hears and answers your prayers. Know that because of Jesus, you can say, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.”

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, when I feel like I am stuck and in anguish I feel life’s difficulties and problems pressing down, help me to trust in you and your unfailing deliverance. Through Jesus my Savior. Amen.

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

Small Things – January 10, 2018

And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength—he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Isaiah 49:5–6

Small Things


Daily Devotion – January 10, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:5–6

See series: Devotions

A leading expert on stress, cardiologist Robert Eliot, gives the following prescription for dealing with stress: Rule No. 1 is—don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule No. 2 is—it’s all small stuff.

Looking back at your celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s, do you feel like so much of what you did was hurried and stress-filled, yet ultimately all small stuff? The gifts you gave and got, the gatherings you were part of, and the games you watched really were not that big of a deal. Still, you stressed over the giving, gatherings and games.

Perhaps you are even feeling remorseful regret over having not made more of a season filled with opportunities for witness and worship. If you have sinned through selfish indulgence; if you have sinned through wasted worship times or by worshipping games and players at the price of worshipping the God of glory, then behold, “I bring you tidings of great joy which will be for all the people.”

Entering our small lives is the Lord for whom salvation for his special people Israel was “too small a thing.” Entering our lives is the God of greatness and glory—the God of our salvation—Jesus servant of the Lord. Jesus is the designated Savior who is a light for the Gentiles which is 99.8% of the world’s population. Jesus is the one who brings salvation to the ends of the earth. He came to rescue the world from sin.

That means he brings salvation to the homes of those who gathered, gifted and watched games until they had their fill, but let Christmas and Christ pass by with little notice. It is a new year and it is not too late to shake things up and change. It is not too late to reflect upon the smallness of life here and the greatness of life hereafter.

The game-changer is Jesus. His plan and purpose is to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. His plan is to gather us to himself. Don’t settle for small when you can marvel at great!

Prayer:
Gracious God, we marvel at the task you laid upon your Son to rescue and save us all. By the Spirit, cause us to embrace and receive that salvation as our own. 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.

Patience – January 9, 2018

Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.
2 Peter 3:15a

Patience


Daily Devotion – January 9, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Peter 3:15a

See series: Devotions

There’s an old Jewish story about Abraham. Abraham was sitting outside his tent when an old, weary man came by. Abraham invited him in and fixed him a meal. As they sat down to eat, however, the old man dived right into his food without even a prayer.

“Don’t you believe in God?” asked Abraham. “No,” the man replied. Indignant, Abraham sent the man away without another word.

Later, the Lord came to Abraham. “Where’s the stranger?” the Lord asked. “Lord, he did not believe in you, and so I sent him away.” And the Lord replied, “Abraham, I’ve been patient with that man for eighty years. Couldn’t you be patient with him for one night?”

It’s just a non-biblical story, of course. Nevertheless, it does illustrate a very biblical truth. Before we get too far into the new year, take a moment to look back into the old. How many times did you and I come up with noble-sounding reasons for giving in to raw impatience towards others? How I treated that new co-worker who was just learning the ropes? How I treated the nurses at the hospital when they were clearly short-staffed? How I treated my elderly parent who tends to repeat things?

How many times, under the guise of righteous indignation, did you and I write off the souls around us—the souls of those who do not yet know Jesus as their Savior from sin?

Thank God that he has been patient with us. Thank God that he brings us to repentance again and again. Thank God that he comes to us with his forgiveness in Jesus again and again. As Peter says to us, it’s the Lord’s patience that means salvation.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for your patience in my life. Thank you for your forgiveness of my sins in Jesus. Strengthen my resolve to demonstrate patience towards 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.

Proud or Pleased – January 8, 2018

A voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Mark 1:11

Proud or Pleased


Daily Devotion – January 8, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 1:11

See series: Devotions

Ken was always proud of his son. His academic and athletic achievements spoke for themselves. At the same time, Ken was not always pleased with his son. There were numerous indiscretions which made Ken question his son’s judgment.

What Ken experienced with his son, God the Father also experiences with me. He can be proud of me as part of his wonderful creation. He can be proud of the way I strive to follow his law written in my heart. At the same time, he is not always pleased with me. My willful disobedience, my poor judgment, and my selfish choices regularly become a source of displeasure. As a result, God has every right to abandon me and let me deal with disastrous outcomes of my life.

When God could have subjected me to his divine displeasure, he showed his love instead. This moved him to send his Son into my world. Jesus became my substitute to do what I could never do. He secured God the Father’s good pleasure by living a sinless life and perfectly accomplishing everything his Father commanded. God signaled his acceptance of his perfectly obedient Son when he said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

God was more than proud. He proclaimed Jesus had come to accomplish the impossible on my behalf. Through faith in Jesus and in his perfect, pleasing life, God now credits me with what Jesus did. God the Father now says to me through Jesus, “I am well pleased with you.”

This precious work on the part of my Savior releases me from the burden of trying to please God on my own. It also frees me from the horror of not measuring up to his divine standards. It finally moves me to live my life in loving service to the praise of my God and Savior. What a comfort it is to know God is more than proud of me; he is pleased with me through faith in Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Gracious Lord, Heavenly Father, I can only disappoint you with my rebellious and selfish ways. How blessed I am to know the comfort of forgiveness and the joy of perfect obedience through faith in Jesus my Savior. Amen.

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

Justice – January 7, 2018

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.” This is what God the Lord says—he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”
Isaiah 42:1-7

Justice


Daily Devotion – January 7, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 42:1-7

See series: Devotions

React to this statement: “The Lord will bring justice to the nations; he will establish justice on earth.”

If you are focused on all the evil and atrocities in the world and society, you are probably cheering, “Finally, the wicked will receive their ‘just deserts.’ Finally, some fairness.”

I get your applause. I can’t stand the evil either. But be careful of sounding and acting like a Pharisee. Because, if you are focused on the real evil and atrocities in life, you’d search your own heart. With an honest search, I don’t imagine you are as excited about justice coming. Justice strikes grave fear because we know the evil of our heart deserves the grave. Justice coming to others is one thing. But justice coming to us is the scariest thing.

But when you read about “justice” in Isaiah 42:1-7, do you read anything about destruction? Do you read anything about fire and brimstone? Do you read anything about hell? No. Rather you read about a Servant, chosen by God, to bring a different justice than you would expect.

This servant doesn’t bully you into a corner, start yelling at you, and beat you up, like you might expect. He doesn’t make you feel worse than you already feel. If you are broken because of your sin, he doesn’t break you more. If you feel like your faith is dying out, he doesn’t extinguish it for you. Instead he treats you with gentleness and care.

  • He opens your eyes to his sacrificing love on a cross where he received your “just deserts.”
  • He frees you from your prison sentence of hell by having been sentenced himself.
  • He brightens your life with the promise of paradise.

This servant has a name. His name is Jesus. His name is his message to you: “The Lord saves.” That’s his promise.

Prayer:
Dear Lord God, thank you for choosing Jesus to be my Savior. 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.

Follow the Signs – January 6, 2018

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:1-2

Follow the Signs


Daily Devotion – January 6, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 2:1-2

See series: Devotions

“Lord, give me a sign!” Often this request accompanies my prayers. Give me a sign that you’re listening. Give me a sign that you care about me. Give me a sign which inspires my trust in you. There is only one minor complication. Even if the Lord does provide a sign, I may not always understand it or pay attention to it.

Take the Magi who came from the east. They saw the star. They investigated what it meant. Still, when they arrived in Jerusalem, they had to ask the question, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” Their experience led them to realize a sign can only take one so far.

This is why the Lord has provided his Word of Truth. Not only does it offer much needed signs, it also provides the direction which says, “Look here!” This is what eventually brought the Magi to Bethlehem to see the Savior God had provided for all people. It also led them to worship him as their Lord and Savior.

I need to learn from their experience. While it would be nice to request and receive a sign, the Lord gives me something even more reliable. In his Word I have his unbroken promise of a Savior. In his Word I have the faithful fulfillment of that promise in the birth of the Savior. In the same Word I have the comfort and peace of sins forgiven through the death and resurrection of that Savior.

Still the Lord doesn’t leave me without signs which reveal Jesus is that Savior. He leads me to the stable and the manger to see the birth of Jesus. He leads me through the hills and valleys of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria to witness the miraculous ministry of Jesus. He even leads me to the cross on Calvary and the empty tomb to view the undeserved love secured by Jesus.

How blessed I am to have God’s precious Word which tells me about Jesus. How blessed I am to have the clear signs which direct me to Jesus. This is why I pray: Lord, focus my eyes to see the great things you have done; open my ears to hear the truth you have recorded; fill my heart with faith to follow every sign you have provided.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, give me the faith I need to trust your holy Word. There not only do I see my Savior and the great things he has done for me, I also see the great signs and wonders which lead me to put my trust in him. 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.

Stay Focused – January 5, 2018

Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13

Stay Focused


Daily Devotion – January 5, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:13

See series: Devotions

It is getting more difficult to be focused. Have you noticed this? Our modern world is filled with distractions. For example: You are in the middle of an important conversation with a friend when you hear a familiar bing from your phone. You know someone has sent you a text. Who sent it? What does it say? The curiosity is killing you. Suddenly, you are no longer listening to a thing your friend is saying. You have lost your focus.

When you lose your focus during a conversation with your friend, it can be embarrassing and frustrating for your friend. When you lose your focus spiritually, it is more than embarrassing. It is dangerous.

The devil knows this. It is why he works so doggedly to distract us. He wants us to take our eyes off the prize. He wants us to forget what is most important. And it doesn’t matter to him what he uses to distract us. If he can get us to lose our focus, he may eventually be able to get us to lose our faith. And then he will have us forever.

Do not let this happen! Do not lose your focus! That is what the apostle Peter seems to shout when he writes, “Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” In other words, stay focused! Remember what is important! In the end, only your relationship with Jesus matters. Do not let yourself be distracted!

Take Peter’s encouragement into this new year. Make Jesus your priority. And no matter what the devil uses to distract you…stay focused!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I know that nothing is more important than my relationship with you. But I also know how easily I am distracted. Grant me the strength and focus to keep this from happening this year, and every year, until you take me home to heaven. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin a New Year – January 4, 2018

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

A Prayer to Begin a New Year


Daily Devotion – January 4, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 90:12

See series: Devotions

I remember my grandpa telling me, “The older you get, the faster the years pass by.” As a ten-year-old this was just one of those puzzling things that older people said that really didn’t make much sense. How could time go faster or slower? How could years speed up and slow down?

We’ve just entered a new year. Whether this is the 98th time you’ve changed calendars or just the 27th, you are one day closer to the end of your life here on earth. A couple of verses earlier, the writer of this psalm wrote, “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away (Psalm 90:10). Whether they knew it or not, the 70’s progressive rock band, Kansas, was simply summarizing a truth taught throughout Scripture when they sang, “All we are is dust in the wind.” We are here one moment and blown away with the breeze the next.

So, what does this mean for us? Is the point to simply make the most of every moment recognizing that our time is short? Should we just eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die? Or should we just despair over the ever-shortening length of time we have left? No, none of these are real solutions. Instead we can pray, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Numbering our days means acknowledging that our time is short. It means not pretending that we are immortal, and will somehow escape death. But God doesn’t encourage us to number our days, just so we are aware of how little time we have. He wants us to do this so that “we may gain a heart of wisdom.” He wants us to look away from ourselves to his compassion and mercy, because it is there we will find true wisdom. It is there we will find wisdom born in a manger in Bethlehem. In Jesus we find forgiveness, salvation, and new life. In him our lives are charged with meaning and purpose, no matter how short they may seem right now. This is a prayer to begin the New Year:

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”—Psalm 90:12

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.

Beware Easy Idols – January 3, 2018

“Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it—let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”
Isaiah 45:20-22

Beware Easy Idols


Daily Devotion – January 3, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 45:20-22

See series: Devotions

Writing a devotion, the week before Christmas, on the topic of idols seems almost too easy. For weeks, ads of all kinds pushed our “idol buttons.” I succumbed early on to a larger TV, reasoning there was no need to wait to get what I wanted to use now. That is the danger of the materialism idol. You can pick up that idol right now. You don’t even have to leave your home to get it. “One-click shopping” and it is on its way.

In many ways, all idolatry is easy. Easy on the part of the idol, that is. The idol answers no prayers and saves no lives. The idol being nothing does nothing but head toward inevitable decay. It is “wood” as God’s Word declares.

By contrast, the true God does all the hard work for us. In idolatry, you give to your idol and your idol gives back nothing of lasting value. In Christianity, God gives to you and what he gives is hard, but lasts forever.

He gives righteousness and salvation. That is hard work. For example, try to be righteous for a day. Magnify that. Take on the task Jesus did. Thirty-three years of daily righteousness, lived out in a real world of temptation and sin, yet he was without sin, so that his righteousness could be credited to our account.

He also gives salvation, which is rescue from sin. Salvation required a sacrifice for sin, and this, too, Jesus did on our behalf. The depictions of Jesus’ death on the cross are devastating from the physical perspective. What we cannot fully comprehend is the spiritual anguish of separation from his Father.

There is no idol who will live and die for you as Jesus did. There are too many who live and die for their idols. Do not be among the ignorant. Instead heed the words of God: “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in this New Year turn me repeatedly to you, to the righteousness and salvation of Jesus my Lord. Keep me from false idols and wasted worship. In Jesus’ name, I pray. 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.

Impartial – January 2, 2018

Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
1 Peter 1:17

Impartial


Daily Devotion – January 2, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:17

See series: Devotions

Are you a “Christian-By-Association”? In other words, do you consider yourself a Christian because you can point to your familiarity with the trappings of Christianity? Perhaps you can rattle off happy memories of going to Sunday School or a Christian Day School. Perhaps you can recall what it was like to be in a children’s Christmas program on Christmas Eve. Perhaps your parents and grandparents were active in church life and you’ve inherited some family connections with various pastors and teachers.

If that’s all you’ve gotten out of your exposure to Christianity, however, you’ve got nothing.

God is impartial. It does not matter to God how active your parents or grandparents were at church. It does not matter to God how many songs you sang in Christmas Eve services of your childhood. It does not matter to God how many Christian pastors and teachers you know by name. If you or I think God will accept us because we’re familiar with some trappings of Christianity, then we are not hearing him. And a moment is coming when we’ll be in for a real shock.

What matters to God is our relationship with Jesus. What matters to God is our trust in Christ as our Savior from sin. What matters to God is the forgiveness we possess through faith in Jesus’ perfect life and death in our place. What matters to God is that my personal eyes of faith are fixed upon his Son.

No more pretending. Only Jesus. He alone makes all the difference in the world. Your world too.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, forgive me for all the times I have not focused on your Son. Wash me in his blood. Renew my zeal for the good news of salvation through Jesus. Amen.

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

A Miracle in the Making – January 1, 2018

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
Luke 2:25

A Miracle in the Making


Daily Devotion – January 1, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 2:25

See series: Devotions

It’s easy to assume a miracle must be something big. It has to be dramatic and out of the ordinary. So, it’s not surprising that Jesus’ circumcision could be easily overlooked. However, when I take a closer look at what Luke was recording, I see a miracle in the making.

In order to understand the miraculous nature of this simple account, I need to see how it fits in with the whole context of the Scriptures. Here I learn, “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

When Jesus was circumcised, God set in motion the miracle which would result in my rescue. I was trapped under the curse of God’s law. No matter what I would do, I could not change the just condemnation I deserved. Yet, in his undeserved love God sent his Son into the world to undertake the dramatic work needed to change my status before God.

It was a miracle that Jesus, who is true God, was conceived and born of Mary. It was a miracle that Jesus was circumcised and placed under the obligation of God’s law. It was a miracle that Jesus received the name which declared, “he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). This miracle assures me I am innocent of all charges against me. This miracle declares I am child of God. This miracle proclaims I am an heir of eternal life and heaven.

While many may look for miracles to be something out of the ordinary, by faith I see God doesn’t always work that way. Often, he uses the simple, and even the ordinary, to accomplish his will. This is the wonder of Jesus’ circumcision. Certainly, it could be easily overlooked. Nonetheless, through faith, I see a miracle in the making—a miracle which results in my rescue.

Prayer:
O gracious God and Lord, open my eyes to see your all-surpassing power and your undeserved love, especially in the simple testimony you offer regarding your Son, my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

God will come to Our Rescue – December 31, 2017

I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us—yes the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. He said, “Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me”; and so he became their Savior. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
Isaiah 63:7-9

God will come to Our Rescue


Daily Devotion – December 31, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 63:7-9

See series: Devotions

There is a story you can tell of the New Year before it even unfolds. You can tell it because it will be the same story as last year. It is a story that is old and never gets old at the same time. Out of the overflow of the heart, you must tell it.

There will be sin in your New Year. And even if it is the same old story, it is anything but “ho-hum.” Just like the children of Israel when they were in slavery in Egypt or wandering in the desert of Sinai or doing their own thing during the period of the Judges, you will cry, kick, scream and complain in the New Year. You will doubt God, blame him, maybe even shake your fist at him, or worse. You will challenge God, “Why the bondage in my life? Why the aimless wandering? Why the chaos?” You know you will. You did it last year. So one day into the New Year, and you are already hanging your head in shame. Same pathetic story.

But then there is the other part of your story that never gets old. Again, you can tell it even before it unfolds in the New Year. God will see your distress, your pain, your fear, your frustration, and he will come to your rescue. Even in spite of your sin, he will do this. He will because you are his people, and he is your Savior. He will free you from your bondage with his forgiveness. He will give your life meaning with his promise of paradise. He will carry you through the chaos with his enduring love. You know he will. He did it last year. It’s the only reason you survived.

Is there a kindness or goodness or compassion that compares to your God and Lord? Not when you realize that what God continues to do for you each and every year, he did in the flesh, born in a manger, crucified on a cross, for sins the world. Yes, you have to say, “It never gets old.”

Prayer:
Dear Lord, I praise you for your compassion and kindnesses to me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Our All-knowing God – December 30, 2017

When the Magi had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Matthew 2:13-15

Our All-knowing God


Daily Devotion – December 30, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 2:13-15

See series: Devotions

It’s usually not a good thing to be called a “know-it-all!” That probably means that you are a little too eager to share your wisdom. It probably means that you are coming off to others as a show-off. You might be rubbing people the wrong way. They might think you are trying to get others to notice just how smart you are!

Our God is a know-it-all! And that’s not being a “smart-aleck.” He really does know it all! He created our earth and all that is in it. He knit each person together in their mother’s womb. He knows everything about everyone. He is our all-knowing God.

But that can be a scary thought, too. God not only sees my actions, but he knows my thoughts and attitudes, too. That means that God knows the evil thought that I had about my neighbor yesterday. That means that God saw the lustful way I looked at that woman who wasn’t my wife. He heard the complaint I issued under my breath. He knows my sins, even the ones that I’ve kept secret from others. He even knows the sins that I don’t even know.

But he knows how to forgive my sins, too. He knows how to make right what I have wronged. He sent his Son Jesus to be my Savior. He sent him on every step in his life for you and for me. He sent him to Bethlehem’s manger, to a safe house in Egypt, to a cross outside Jerusalem—for us. He walked the perfect life and died an innocent death for you and for me and for the world.

And God, who knew how to keep his precious Son safe from danger, knows how to keep you, his sons and daughters through faith, safe from danger, too. He knows how to deliver us from evil. The proof is found in the baby that came with Mary and Joseph back from Egypt. So surely will God keep us safe as we journey through this life, until we reach our final destination—eternal life with Jesus in heaven. God who kept Jesus safe in life, through death, to his resurrection and ascension, promises the same for us. He will keep us safe in life, through death, to our own resurrection and ascension. There, with new and glorified bodies he will welcome us to eternal life at Jesus’ side in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for your wisdom and guidance in my life, thank you for sending me your Son, for keeping him safe, and for accepting his payment for my sins. Guard and guide me through this life, until I rest at your side in heaven. Amen.


This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

God’s Servant to Do Us Good – December 29, 2017

For he [the one in authority] is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:4

God’s Servant to Do Us Good


Daily Devotion – December 29, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 13:4

See series: Devotions

The U.S. pledge of allegiance reads, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God…” Some might think that the phrase “one nation under God” is a uniquely American characteristic. But the same phrase could be said of Canada, France, Peru, Zambia, and every other country in the world. All nations, all governments, and all authorities are under God. No authority exists except that which God has established (Romans 13:1).

Our verse today reminds us why God established the governing authorities. Governing authorities are God’s servants to do us good. Ponder the comfort contained in that phrase “God’s servants to do us good”. All kings and kingdoms serve the eternal King. God remains in firm control “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21). God has even shared the guiding principle of his governance of earthly authorities and of all things. He rules over everything for the good of his church (Ephesians 1:22). Jesus bought the church with his blood, made her holy through the waters of baptism, and rules to gather and bring her safely to his heavenly kingdom.

Now ponder the good God provides through his servants. In addition to caring for our souls and our eternity, our good and gracious God also cares for our bodies and lives. He seeks to provide care, order, and protection for life in a sinful and evil world. He has servants who serve these good purposes by punishing wrong-doing, and promoting and doing good.

Will we see failures, weaknesses, and evil in God’s servants who are to do us good? Yes, just as we see these things in our own hearts and lives. This is why we ponder God’s perfect servant most of all. God sent his own perfect Son into this world who came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). God’s perfect servant Jesus gives us peace as we live in this temporary kingdom and look forward to his eternal kingdom.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for the good you provide me through your governing servants and through your perfect servant, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

Servants of God – December 28, 2017

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. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
Romans 13:1-5

Servants of God


Daily Devotion – December 28, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 13:1-5

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The President of the United States was recently visiting various countries around the world. As he arrived in one country, some citizens carried out violent protests against him, American flags were burned, and pictures of the President were defamed or destroyed. As he arrived in another country, some of those citizens hailed the President as a hero. Two very different attitudes toward the same person.

Scripture urges one consistent attitude toward all those in positions of authority. Whether or not we like them or agree with their policies, we must treat them as we would treat any other servant of God.

The apostle Paul says very clearly, “The one in authority is God’s servant.” Some rulers may or may not believe that they are God’s servant. The Emperor in Rome, at the time Paul wrote this letter, certainly did not believe in God nor see any value in those who did. Yet a ruler’s unbelief does not diminish or negate God’s promise to use human authority to serve his divine purposes.

We see that promise kept on Calvary, where the governing authorities, to whom Paul urges Christians “to submit,” killed Jesus. They killed him because they hated him and his message. Yet God used their hatred for the Son of God to serve his divine purpose of saving the world and forgiving our sins. It is the clearest example we have that human authorities are limited in what they can accomplish. God’s good plan and purposes will always prevail.

When we subject ourselves to the governing authorities and are active in helping to improve our system of government, when we treat our leaders with respect and encourage others to do the same—we honor God by obeying his Word and place our confidence in his loving purposes through Christ.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for establishing our governing authorities, and for promising to use them as your servants for our good. Be gracious to them as they carry out difficult tasks. Lead us to honor you by honoring them. 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.

Eternal King – December 27, 2017

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. “‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'”
2 Samuel 7:8-15

Eternal King


Daily Devotion – December 27, 2017

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 7:8-15

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Leave it to God to answer our prayers by giving us gifts that are bigger, better, and greater than anything we could ask for or imagine! Not only that, his gifts are global in reach and eternal in scope. They are “forever and ever!”

It’s not hard to imagine the “small” prayers prayed by David, the last son of Jesse as he tended his father’s flocks. “Kill the bear, Lord.” “Save me from the lion, O God.” But did he pray that he would one day sit on the throne of Israel? Doubtful!

Yet the Lord who found him in the pasture placed him on the throne of Israel. The Lord defeated his enemies. The Lord made David famous and firmly established the kingdom of Israel with David as king. The Lord gave David and his people rest from all their enemies. There was a period of national peace and prosperity in Israel which was never equaled again.

The Lord’s promises to David did not stop at the end of David’s life. God had bigger, better and greater things in mind. The eternal God made eternal promises. Long after David died, God raised up one of his descendants to establish his throne forever in a kingdom that endures forever. Great David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ, became an eternal King in an eternal kingdom. Though David desired to build a material, temporal house for the LORD, Jesus built the spiritual, permanent house of God. Jesus built his Father’s house by establishing peace between us and God through his sacrificial death on the cross for us. By his resurrection from the dead, complete victory over our enemy Satan is ours to enjoy forever.

Jesus builds his Father’s house today by making us part of God’s kingdom through the gospel. By faith in David’s great descendant, Jesus Christ, we are privileged members of his glorious kingdom. Eternal promises from our eternal King belong to us who enjoy the kingdom and the power and the glory of God forever and ever.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord God, for building an eternal house for us by the eternal King, great David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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