Joy Victorious Over Grief – May 26, 2022

[Jesus said] “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”
John 16:20

Joy Victorious Over Grief

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 26, 2022

Devotion based on John 16:20

See series: Devotions

“You will grieve,” Jesus promised, “but your grief will turn to joy.”

Notice what he didn’t say. He didn’t say, “Your grief will be replaced by joy,” or “Your grief will be destroyed by joy,” or “Your grief will be swallowed up by joy.” He said, “Your grief will turn to joy.” In other words, the same thing that causes your grief will produce your joy. That might sound a bit strange. But this is what Easter is.

Easter turns a sad, seemingly hopeless situation into joy. It turns the ugly cross from which the disciples ran away into the focal point of the beautiful gospel they went into the world to proclaim. It turns the grave we spend so much effort to avoid into the red carpet leading us into the perfection of heaven. It turns Satan’s greatest win into ours. It turns the sad tears we cry when someone we love dies into tears of joy over their new and eternal paradise. It even turns those who are undeniably weak in so many ways into a source of seemingly impossible strength.

Nothing is impossible for our God. Nothing gets the best of him. Not one of his enemies will ever be able to boast that they were more powerful than him. Indeed, as the Bible says, “all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).

Even those things that cause our grief.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, keep me firmly rooted in my eternal victory won by you so that I live with an ongoing expectation of the joy you have promised. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Joy Victorious Over Feelings – May 25, 2022

[Jesus said] “Now is the time of your grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
John 16:22

Joy Victorious Over Feelings

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 25, 2022

Devotion based on John 16:22

See series: Devotions

Consider how many people in the Bible lost their joy between the Thursday when Jesus spoke these words and the following Sunday morning, the day of Jesus’ resurrection.

Think of Peter after the rooster crowed, running outside, and weeping bitterly over his sin. Think of Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, soaking Jesus’ tomb with her tears, blinded by so much sorrow that she didn’t even recognize Jesus when he was standing right next to her in the garden. Think of the other disciples, too scared or ashamed to stay with Jesus; too afraid of Jesus’ enemies to do anything but lock themselves away in a room and hope that no one would find them.

As you read through these moments of personal grief and pain, do you ever wonder why the Bible includes all of them? Do you ever wonder why God wanted us to know about these different people in their lowest moments?

There is one likely explanation.

God includes all these stories of personal pain because he wants you to be able to find yourself in his Word. He knew there would be times when you would feel like Peter, very guilty about something. Or like Mary when your heart is breaking because you lost someone you loved. He knew there would be times you would be paralyzed by fear or overwhelmed by guilt. God knew.

And he wanted you to know that, despite those powerful and painful feelings, “no one will take away your joy.” The joy of Jesus’ disciples did not at all depend on how well they reacted to Jesus’ suffering and death. It depended entirely on the fact that Jesus earned complete forgiveness for them by his death and on the certainty of his resurrection—just as it does for you.

No one will take away your joy: for Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, guide my emotions by the certainty of your completed work as my Savior. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Joy Victorious Over Waiting – May 24, 2022

Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
John 16:16

Joy Victorious Over Waiting

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 24, 2022

Devotion based on John 16:16

See series: Devotions

Jesus wanted his disciples to know that he would soon be gone from their sight, and he knew this wouldn’t be easy for them. Jesus knew that most of them wouldn’t see him after they abandoned him in the garden. He knew that most of them would be too scared or sad to even show up at his crucifixion. He knew their hearts would be crushed with grief and guilt when they would see his dead body taken down from the cross and buried.

But he also knew that just three days after this conversation, he was going to be standing in front of them, fully alive after he had died as their Savior, and fully victorious over sin, death, and Satan. He knew exactly how long their “little while” would be—just as he knows yours.

He knows how long you’ll be sick. He knows how long you’ll suffer. He knows how long you’ll grieve. He knows how long your heart will ache. He knows how long before you finally get to heaven to see your loved ones again. He knows that it will be just “a little while.”

It’s hard to suffer, grieve, and carry guilt for even “a little while.” But, as it happened for Jesus’ first disciples, all our “little whiles” have an expiration date. After “a little while,” our eyes will also see the Jesus, whose innocent death and resurrection prepared our place in God’s family. And then, as Scripture says, “we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), and there will no longer be any “little whiles.”

Prayer:
Gracious Savior, keep my faith firmly focused on your work as my Savior until the day you return to take me home. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Joy Victorious Over Circumstance – May 23, 2022

[Jesus said] “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
John 16:20-22

Joy Victorious Over Circumstance

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 23, 2022

Devotion based on John 16:20-22

See series: Devotions

Jesus statement that “a woman giving birth to a child has pain” needs no explanation for those who have given birth to a child. Childbirth is painful. His statement that “when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish” also needs no explanation for any new mother who has cradled her newborn in her arms for the very first time. It’s not that the labor pain didn’t happen. It’s not that the new mother’s body has healed in any way by the time the new child is delivered. Rather, the joy of holding her new child is so great it overwhelms all the immense pain.

Jesus promised the same type of experience for his disciples. “You will grieve,” he said, as he alluded to the grief that would consume them as they would soon witness Jesus’ arrest, suffering, crucifixion, and death. They would grieve in other ways as well, just as we do, living with sinful hearts in a sinful world that regularly rebels against God’s Word.

But though the circumstances of our lives in this world cause real grief, the victory of Jesus on our behalf is great enough to overwhelm it. One day, that will happen in eternity as God “will wipe every tear from [our] eyes” (Revelation 21:4). And, just as the woman in labor finds strength to endure her labor pains in the knowledge that her joy is coming, so also Christians find daily strength to endure our grief knowing our victory is coming; for Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins is completed and his victory over death is already won.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, by your death and resurrection, give me daily strength to endure the hard circumstances of earthly life in anticipation of my final victory that is already won. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Enduring Temple – May 22, 2022

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
Revelation 21:22

Enduring Temple

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 22, 2022

Devotion based on Revelation 21:22

See series: Devotions

Perhaps the most famous church building in all of England is St Paul’s Cathedral in London. It’s famous for many reasons. For one, it has dominated the London skyline since before the birth of the United States. For another, it’s been the site for numerous historic events, from royal weddings to state funerals.

Its greatest fame, however, may have come from World War II. If you go online and search the words “photo—St Paul’s—WWII,” you’ll see why. You’ll see a picture of London just after a severe German bombing raid. Every building in the picture is a smoking ruin of rubble—every building except St Paul’s. That picture rallied the spirits of the British people throughout the rest of the war.

In our society of the twenty-first century, it often feels as if we Christians are simply enduring one long bombing raid. Everything we believe seems to be under attack. Everything we hold dear seems to be a target.

But take a closer look at the picture. Yes, Christianity is under attack, as it has always been. And yes, the forces of Satan and sin have turned much of our society into a smoking ruin of rubble. But above the dust and debris of a fallen world, there still stands the enduring temple of our God. It endures because that temple is the Lamb of God himself.

In that temple you will find shelter and forgiveness. In that temple you will find refreshment and life and light. For that enduring temple is your Savior, who died and rose and lives for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, in the smoking rubble of this fallen world, you remain. You endure. Your promises never fail. Move me by your Spirit to find my refuge in you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Limitless Love – May 21, 2022

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:34

Limitless Love

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 21, 2022

Devotion based on John 13:34

See series: Devotions

The thing about love is that it almost always has limits.

You might love someone or something, but there is probably a limit to that love. You may love a certain food, but you will only pay so much for it. Perhaps you love a certain sports team, but after so many losing seasons, you may just give up. Even in a marriage, a lifelong love, we say our vows with, “Till death do us part.”

Even though almost every love we know has its bounds, we still crave truly limitless and unconditional love—a love without any end.

God filled our desire for limitless love by sending Jesus to win eternal life for us. God didn’t set a limit or an end to his love. With his limitless love, Jesus came to live and die for us to take away our sins and to win for us a place before God forever. This love will never end.

When God commands us to love one another as he has loved us, he gives us no small task. He says to love with the love that he has shown to us.

How can we do that? We can do the kinds of things that will make sure even death will not limit our love. If you want to love your spouse, pray for and encourage their faith. If you want to love your child, make sure that they grow up in a place where their faith can be nurtured. If you want to love your neighbor, do the kinds of things that allow you to share with them the hope you have in Jesus. Helping those you love to be in the Word of Christ and to follow his commands is one of the greatest expressions of love because it is the only thing that is truly limitless.

God loves you in an ultimate way by winning eternity for you. Go and love people by sharing that message with them.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus. Help us to love with the limitless love you have shown to us. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Love Is the Greatest – May 20, 2022

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Love Is the Greatest

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 20, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 13:13

See series: Devotions

Faith is terrifically important. Whoever believes in Jesus will be saved, and whoever does not believe in him will be condemned. Faith is your connection to the promises of God, the conduit through which you receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

Hope is terrifically important. Hope helps you through the darkest days of your life. If you have hope that things will get better, you wait patiently when things are difficult. One definition of hell is living without any hope of hope.

So how can love be even greater than faith and hope? Maybe it’s because faith and hope are looking forward to things that will be accomplished. Someday hope will not be necessary because you will have what you are hoping for. Someday faith will be fulfilled.

But the love of God will continue through eternity. The same love for the whole world that caused Jesus to live, die, and rise from the dead for you, will continue to surround you for all eternity. As time marches on into timelessness, God’s selfless love marches victoriously in an endless parade.

Believe it. Hope for it. And express your love for the people around you and for God himself as you bask in his perfect love.

Prayer:
I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor. In your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Full Knowledge – May 19, 2022

For now we see a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Full Knowledge

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 19, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 13:12

See series: Devotions

I always wondered why my parents were so strict about bedtimes. It didn’t seem to me like a minute or two should make a big difference, but if I went to bed on time, my parents were happy, and if I dawdled, they were unhappy.

Now that I am an adult, I realize how much healthier kids are when they have a reliable structure in their lives. I realize that my parents loved me and were willing to enforce some structure because they knew how good it was for me.

And now that I am an adult, I wonder why God allows some things to happen in my life and the lives of the people I love. I know that God loves me, and I try to figure out his purposes, but I realize it’s always like looking into a bathroom mirror covered by steam. I can’t completely see the whole picture.

But that’s ok. I don’t need to see the whole picture. I know God sees it. And I know I don’t have to fear because through faith in Jesus, I have his forgiveness and righteousness. And because I have his forgiveness and righteousness, I will see him in heaven one day. There, I will have a much clearer picture of things. I will know everything I need to know to be perfectly at peace. Won’t it be wonderful?

Prayer:
Lord God, Heavenly Father, give me confidence in your love and protection in my life and the lives of my loved ones. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What Is Permanent – May 18, 2022

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:8-11

What Is Permanent

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 18, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 13:8-11

See series: Devotions

Some things are built to be temporary. When you put up a tent, you don’t expect it to be a permanent shelter. When you build a sandcastle on the beach, you know that the waves from the rising tides will eventually wash it away.

Like tents and sandcastles, the apostle Paul points out in our Bible reading today that the prophecies spoken by the early Christians were meant to be temporary. Eventually, they were fulfilled. The practice of speaking in tongues was also meant to be temporary. After Christians had the whole New Testament, the gift of speaking in other languages was no longer necessary for the quick transmission of the message about Jesus.

Unfortunately, some early Christians put too much stock in prophesies and speaking in tongues. They became proud of these special spiritual gifts. So, the apostle Paul needed to knock them off their spiritual high horse by reminding them that these gifts, while given by God, were not the most important gift from God. Rather than boast about these gifts and look down on others, they were to look on others with love.

God’s love for you as his child is permanent. It will never be washed away. It is built to transcend even death. Because Jesus rose from the dead, his love goes on forever, and nothing can stop it. It is complete. It never fails. When there is nothing else to hold on to, the love of Jesus is solid, secure, and stable.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your remarkable and steadfast love. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

God Is Love – May 17, 2022

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

God Is Love

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 17, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

See series: Devotions

Have you ever heard a pastor read these words at a wedding? Couples often choose this text for their marriage ceremony as a beautiful description of the love they are celebrating by saying their vows to one another. It is moving to think about the power of selfless love.

Read the text again, but this time, substitute your name for the words “love” and “it.” For example, “Jim is patient, Jim is kind. Jim does not envy, etc.” When you get to the word “always,” slow down a little, and realize that it’s not true. You don’t always protect, trust, hope, or persevere. Regardless of the strength of your love, you have moments when your selfishness overcomes your love.

But now, read the text once more. This time, put Jesus’ name in the place where you had put your name. Now the words ring true. Jesus was patient and kind. He kept no record of wrongs. He always protected. He always persevered. Jesus did all these things perfectly, not simply to serve as an example for us but to serve as a substitute for us. Through Jesus, God sees Jesus’ disciples as perfectly loving. Through Jesus, we sinners are saved.

When you are angry because other people do not love you the way they promised, remember the love of Jesus, and forgive them. When you are disappointed in yourself because you realize that you are self-seeking, remember the love of Jesus, and relax in his forgiveness and faithfulness.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your kindness. Lead me always to trust you for forgiveness and love. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Why God Gives Gifts – May 16, 2022

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Why God Gives Gifts

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 16, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

See series: Devotions

You may have some amazing personal gifts. You may be able to speak more than one language fluently. You may be able to understand things that mystify other people. You may have confidence where others cower in fear. You may be willing and able to endure hardships that cause other people to wither. Even if it’s none of those things, you know what your special gifts are.

Have you ever wondered why God has given you those gifts? It might surprise you that the reason is not so that you can feel better about yourself. In fact, pride in and boasting about your gifts goes against God’s purposes. Your gifts aren’t about you. They are about those around you. God wants you to use your gifts to help the people around you.

That’s precisely what Jesus did. Jesus had more spiritual gifts than anyone, ever. But he didn’t boast about it. Instead, he used those gifts to serve us. He used those gifts to save us. That’s love.

And that is precisely how God wants you to use the gifts he has given you—to serve the people he has brought into your life. Then, like Jesus, your gifts will give glory to God and be a blessing to others.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving and forgiving me. Lead me to use all my gifts in loving service to others. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Love One Another – May 15, 2022

[Jesus said] “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:33-35

Love One Another

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 15, 2022

Devotion based on John 13:33-35

See series: Devotions

“Clean up the kitchen after you eat. Feed the dog and let it out. Make sure to finish your homework and get to bed by 9 o’clock.” Similar instructions are given to responsible children in countless households by parents who are about to leave them home alone for an evening.

Jesus gave his disciples some instructions when he knew that he would be leaving them soon. His instructions were simple: “Love one another.” By dealing with one another in love, not only would the followers of Jesus be obeying his command, they would also be making it clear to others exactly who they are—disciples of Jesus.

What is this love that we are to have for one another? Jesus tells us that it is to be the same kind of love he has for us. His love caused him to go to the cross and give up his life for us so that we don’t have to be punished for our sins. His love focused on our greatest need and was willing to do whatever it took to meet it, even if that meant he would have to suffer tremendous pain and even die.

Because of his love for us and what that love caused him to do, we know that our sins have been forgiven and our relationship with God restored. Such wonderful news motivates us to want to live for Jesus, and he tells us how to do so: “Love one another.”

By lifting our eyes off ourselves to see others and their needs and then working to meet those needs, even if it means personal sacrifice, we obey our Savior’s command to love one another. When we do, other people will notice that there is something different about us. They will recognize that we are disciples of Jesus.

Prayer:
Jesus, my Savior, thank you for loving me enough to make the ultimate sacrifice for my sins. Help me to show that same sacrificial love to others that it may be evident to them that I follow and obey you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No Riddles – May 14, 2022

The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
John 10:24-30

No Riddles

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 14, 2022

Devotion based on John 10:24-30

See series: Devotions

Riddles can be used to strengthen the way you think. They can also be aggravating if you don’t have the answer. Many people who listened to Jesus saw him as a riddle. They couldn’t figure out if he was the Christ or not. So finally, they came up to ask him. ‘If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” No more mystery, no more cloak and dagger. They wanted a straight answer.

Jesus gave them a straight answer. “I did tell you.” He did perform miracles in their presence. He did reveal who he was as he taught the crowds who followed him. The problem is that they rejected the miracles and the words Jesus spoke to them. They did not believe Jesus as he proclaimed he was the Son of God.

Do not become like those people who gathered around Jesus. Do not think that Jesus doesn’t give a clear answer about who he is or what he came to do. There is no riddle. Jesus also speaks plainly to you. He is God; he stated, “I and the Father are one.” He came to save you from your sins; he came to give you eternal life. Jesus doesn’t speak in riddles about who he is or what he came to do. He speaks plainly to you, his sheep, so that “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

Listen to the clear words of Jesus and hold on to them in faith. Look with hope to the eternal life he brings.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I give thanks that you have given me life through your Son, Jesus. Continue to preserve my faith until I am with you in heaven. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Encouragement – May 13, 2022

“These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.”
Revelation 7:14,15

Encouragement

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 13, 2022

Devotion based on Revelation 7:14,15

See series: Devotions

The Christians to whom the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation needed encouragement. They lived at a time when the Roman government was severely persecuting them. Being a Christian was illegal. If you were discovered to be a Christian and refused to renounce your faith in Jesus, you could be killed.

To these Christians, it may have seemed as if Jesus had abandoned them. He had promised always to be with them, care for them, and protect them. But their friends and even family members were being killed. Their own lives were constantly in danger. Where was Jesus when his people so desperately needed him?

Jesus gave John a vision that gave these Christians the encouragement they needed. He showed John a huge crowd of people, all dressed in white and waving palm branches. He was told that these were those “who have come out of the great tribulation.” In other words, these were all God’s people who had died but now were with Jesus in heaven. It may have seemed Rome had won, and they had lost. But in reality, the Christians were the victors because they were with Jesus. Jesus blood, shed for them on the cross, had washed them and made them clean. And Jesus would keep with close to him forever. Nothing would ever separate them from him.

We may not face the same type of physical persecution that those early Christians did. But we still need the same encouragement. If ever we wonder whether Jesus is keeping his promise to us and protecting us, we can look at that same crowd of people that John saw. There we see all of God’s people who have been washed clean in Jesus’ blood. There we see where we will one day be as well. A time is coming soon when we will stand in the shelter of Jesus’ presence. And we will be with him forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, hold me tightly until you take me to be with you forever. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

God Kept His Word – May 12, 2022

“We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.”
Acts 13:32,33

God Kept His Word

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 12, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 13:32,33

See series: Devotions

Talk is cheap. Whether it’s an advertiser, a politician, a friend, or a family member, it’s easy for people to say things that they won’t back up with actions. A restaurant may claim to have the best pizza in town. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they do. Politicians constantly make huge promises when they are seeking election. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will keep them. A friend or family member can say that they will do anything to help you. But those words really don’t mean anything if they are not followed by actions.

Throughout the Old Testament, God promised that he would send a Savior who would rescue all people from sin. He made that promise to Adam and Eve right after they fell into sin. He made that promise to Abraham when he promised, “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). He repeated that promise to Isaac and Jacob and generation after generation of Israelites. Even when the people of Judah were taken into exile in Babylon, God still promised that he would bring them back so that the Savior could be born just as he had promised.

All these promises would mean nothing if God did not do what he had promised. Without actions to back up these promises, they would be the cheapest of cheap talk. But God did back up his promises with actions. Just as he had said he would, he sent his only Son, Jesus, to be our Savior. In keeping with everything that God had promised, Jesus lived the perfect life that God requires and died the death necessary to pay for all our sins. And the definitive proof that God has kept all his promises is the fact that Jesus has risen from the dead.

Easter, which we celebrated just a few weeks ago, is our guarantee that God has done everything that he promised to do. In Jesus, he has forgiven all our sins. In Jesus, he has declared us holy in his sight. God has kept his word. That truly is good news!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, all praise to you for keeping all your promises in Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Our Good Shepherd – May 11, 2022

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
John 10:28

Our Good Shepherd

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 11, 2022

Devotion based on John 10:28

See series: Devotions

Sheep are prey animals. They don’t hunt other animals. Other animals hunt them. Bears, wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, and even dogs can attack sheep and try to drag them away from the flock. When that happens, sheep don’t have much they can do besides try to run away. They don’t have sharp teeth or claws that they can use to defend themselves.

That’s why a shepherd is so important. In many ways, the shepherd is the sheep’s most powerful defense. When a predator tries to snatch a sheep, the watchful shepherd will drive the predator off. He will do whatever he can to prevent anyone or anything from snatching even one of his sheep. David, the Old Testament king who was once a shepherd, is a good example. He once said, “When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it, and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it” (1 Samuel 17:34-35).

Spiritually, we are sheep. We are the prey. Satan and all his allies are our predators. The Bible says, “The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). When the devil attacks, we are not able to defend ourselves. Spiritually, we are defenseless unless someone comes to our rescue.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has come to our rescue. When Satan was seeking to devour us, Jesus came and fought Satan directly. He willingly put his own life on the line—actually, he willingly laid down his life to rescue us from Satan. Now that Jesus has given his life to keep us from being taken from him, we can be sure that there’s nothing he won’t do to keep us close to him. Satan will still try to snatch us away from Jesus. But he will not succeed. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, holds us tightly in his hand. And no one can snatch us from his hand.

Prayer:
Good Shepherd who laid down your life for me, hold me close to you forever. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Jesus’ Sheep Listen to Him – May 10, 2022

“You do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
John 10:26,27

Jesus’ Sheep Listen to Him

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 10, 2022

Devotion based on John 10:26,27

See series: Devotions

A group of tourists was visiting a farm in Norway when the farmer took them to see his sheep. The farmer taught the group the call he used to summon his sheep. He then allowed three of the tourists to try to use that call to summon the sheep. The first tourist stepped up to the fence and gave the call. The sheep just kept grazing as if nothing had happened. The second tourist gave the call. The sheep still just kept grazing. The third tourist took her turn, still nothing. None of those voices could summon the sheep, even though they gave the farmer’s call.

Finally, the farmer himself stepped up to the fence and gave his call. Immediately, the sheep stopped grazing and looked up. He gave his call again. The sheep looked directly at him. A couple more calls from the shepherd and the entire herd ran toward him. The farmer was able to do what no one else could do because his sheep recognized his voice and would follow only him.

The people who had gathered around Jesus refused to believe that he was the Messiah, even though he clearly had told them that he was the Messiah. To Jesus, this was not surprising. They were not his sheep, so how could they listen to him? If they were his sheep, they would listen to him because sheep know their shepherd’s voice. When the sheep hear their shepherd’s call, they eagerly follow him.

We are Jesus’ sheep when we believe in him. When God the Holy Spirit leads us to trust in Jesus as our Savior, he opens our ears to recognize Jesus’ voice. We hear Jesus speaking to us in his Word. We hear how he rescued us from all our sins through his perfect life and his death on the cross. We hear his promise always to care for us and bring us safely home to him in heaven. Like sheep who know their shepherd’s voice, we recognize Jesus’ voice and eagerly follow him wherever he may lead us.

Prayer:
Jesus, my Shepherd, I praise you that you have opened my ears to hear and recognize your voice. Lead me to follow you always. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Right in Front of You – May 9, 2022

The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me.”
John 10:24,25

Right in Front of You

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 9, 2022

Devotion based on John 10:24,25

See series: Devotions

Sometimes people simply refuse to see what is right in front of their eyes. The Jewish people who gathered around Jesus in today’s Bible reading are a perfect example of this. They still weren’t sure whether Jesus was God’s promised Messiah. They felt as if Jesus was keeping them in suspense. Why wouldn’t he just come right out and tell them if he was the Messiah?

Jesus, however, had been telling them plainly that he was the Messiah. In fact, he’d done it many times. He’d spoken that truth to them repeatedly using words. In addition, he had spoken to them using his actions.

If they wanted to know if Jesus was the Messiah, all they needed to do was open their eyes and see what Jesus was doing. Who else but God’s chosen Messiah could heal the sick as Jesus did? Or cast out demons with a single command? Or feed thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and fish? Or raise the dead? Or give sight to the blind? Or do any of the countless other miracles that Jesus was doing?

The miracles that Jesus performed demonstrated who he was. He was indeed the Messiah God had promised to send. But they refused to see it. Even though all the evidence they needed was right in front of their eyes, they could not see it because they didn’t want to see it.

On our own, we couldn’t see the evidence that Jesus is the Messiah any more than the people in today’s Bible reading could. But God the Holy Spirit has worked faith in our hearts so that we see all that Jesus has done. Jesus’ miracles, his perfect life, his death on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead clearly show us that Jesus is our Savior who has paid for all our sins. Praise God that he has opened our eyes to see!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for opening my eyes to see that you are my Savior. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Real Messiah – May 8, 2022

“We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.”
Acts 13:32,33

The Real Messiah

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 8, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 13:32,33

See series: Devotions

Menachem Mendel Schneerson served as the seventh and final Rebbe (spiritual leader) of the Chabad Lubavitch movement. In 1991 he told his followers that he had done everything he could to bring the Messiah to this world.

Some followers believed that this message revealed Rebbe Schneerson as the Messiah. They sang in his presence, “Long live our Master, our teacher, and our Rabbi, King Messiah, forever and ever!” He did not tell them to stop singing.

Rebbe Schneerson died in 1994. Some of his disciples gathered at his grave, expecting him to rise from the dead and reveal himself as the Messiah. He has remained dead. True believers expect him to return soon to show himself to the world as the Messiah.

Almost 2,000 years ago the apostle Paul and his companion Barnabas spoke in the Jewish synagogue of Pisidian Antioch. They revealed a message about a certain rabbi named Jesus. Paul said, “God has brought the Savior Jesus, as he promised” (Acts 13:23).

Paul taught a Bible lesson in the synagogue. He demonstrated how the history of Israel pointed to the coming of Jesus. Even the death of Jesus fulfilled the words of the prophets read every Sabbath. Paul told them the good news that Jesus had risen from his grave. This astounding miracle revealed Jesus’ death as the fulfillment of God’s promise to punish one man for the sins of all.

Paul concluded, “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38,39).

Rebbe Schneerson. Dead. Buried. All other false messiahs—the same. Jesus Christ. Died. Buried. Rose again on the third day. The one true Messiah. We tell you the good news: What God promised he has fulfilled for us by raising up Jesus.

Prayer:
God of the prophets, make your message clear to the world so that all may know the good news that has come to all through Jesus Christ, our one and only Savior. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Lost and Found – May 7, 2022

Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 9:17

Lost and Found

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 7, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 9:17

See series: Devotions

A person can get lost without knowing it. A little boy in a mall wanders off from his parents to play with some toys. Two friends on a cross-country road trip miss their exit; they’re so caught up in the conversation that they drive many miles out of the way.

A man named Saul was lost, but he didn’t know it. He thought that by keeping the laws and traditions of the Old Testament, he could make himself right with God. In fact, Saul was so convinced he was right that he went after those who disagreed to bring them down. He didn’t want to hear that Jesus was the Savior, risen from the dead. Saul was a persecutor of Christians.

It’s easy to think about our relationship with God the way Saul did. It’s easy to think the way to be right with God is to do the right things. It’s easy to think we don’t need a Savior from sin. And when we think that way, we’re just as lost as Saul was.

One day God found Saul. There was a bright light from heaven, a visit from Jesus, and a bout of blindness. As terrifying as it all must have seemed to Saul at the time, clearly, God loved Saul. For the three days Saul’s blindness lasted, God gave him time to reflect on things. Jesus had been right all along; he was the only way to God. Jesus wasn’t dead; he was alive! Best of all, when the three days were up, Saul was baptized. Jesus had died for Saul’s sins too. God had forgiven Saul, and now Saul knew it.

When you are lost and know it; then there’s nothing better than being found. You probably haven’t been rescued from a deserted island, but you can imagine what joy there would be in hearing the beat of a helicopter blade. The account of Saul’s conversion is a ray of hope for all who are spiritually shipwrecked. Jesus paid for Saul’s sins, and he paid for yours too. It doesn’t take miraculous healing or light from heaven to turn you around. The Holy Spirit works through the message of what Jesus has done for you. Help has come.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, risen Savior, thank you for shining the light of your forgiveness on me too. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Shared Experience – May 6, 2022

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
John 21:4

Shared Experience

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 6, 2022

Devotion based on John 21:4

See series: Devotions

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, how many times did his disciples tell the story of what happened near the beginning of that ministry—the time when Jesus told Peter to let down his fishing nets into deep water for a catch? When Peter, James, and John let down their nets as Jesus had directed, pure pandemonium broke out. Before these sleepy fishermen knew it, the nets were so full of fish that the nets began to break. And when they hauled the fish into the boats, the boats were so full that they began to sink.

It’s not hard to imagine watching one of the disciples tell that story around a campfire, backed up by good-natured laughter. It’s also not hard to imagine Jesus and his disciples exchanging looks with each other during the story—looks and nods and knowing smiles. After all, that’s typically what happens when people bond over a shared experience.

That bond of shared experience must have become poignant the day the resurrected Christ showed up on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Here’s what happened: Peter, James, John, and several others had decided to go fishing overnight, but they caught nothing. Suddenly there was a man on shore, but they couldn’t make out who he was. The man called out, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” They did. And suddenly, they had on their hands a repeat of the fishing story they knew so well. The man on shore was Jesus. The man on shore was their Savior, their dear, dear friend.

Jesus has that same bond with you and me. Not only is he the One who lived a sinless life in our place and who suffered and died to cleanse us from every wrong. As our living Lord, he has been with you and me every moment of our lives. Every experience we’ve had, good and bad—Jesus has been there for it. He’s been there to carry us through. He’s been there to guide it all for our good.

That’s the kind of friend we have in Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for being by my side always. And thank you for being my dearest friend. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The End – May 5, 2022

In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
Revelation 5:12

The End

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 5, 2022

Devotion based on Revelation 5:12

See series: Devotions

God has wired us for stories. Our own experience reflects this. If someone presents us with endless bullets of factoids on a PowerPoint screen, we will likely lose interest. Weave that same information into a gripping story, however, and our attention remains. It’s simply how our Creator has put us together.

This probably should come as no surprise. After all, Christianity is the greatest story of all time, and a story that happens to be absolutely true. It starts with Creation, then the Fall into sin, then God’s promise to send a Savior from sin. Then, God guides the twists and turns of history until the moment is right for the Savior to arrive. When he does, Jesus Christ does exactly what needs to be done to live a holy life on our behalf and suffer and die for our every sin. Then, according to his promise, he rises from the dead.

And this drama is still unfolding. You and I are fighting the good fight. We battle the temptations of the world, the temptations of Satan, the temptations of our old sinful natures. Often we overcome, but sometimes we stumble. Sometimes we fall. When we do, The Bible brings us to repentance, Jesus refreshes us in his forgiveness, and his gospel empowers us to get back up.

Through all of this, you and I are collecting scars, but that’s all right. We know it’s all right because our Lord has chosen to tell us how this ultimate adventure is going to end. In the last book of the Bible, the apostle John receives a revelation of what you and I are going to see. In the end, there is victory and peace and joy, unbridled and pure. Jesus is at the center. Multitudes of angels are there. You and I are there, along with all those of all time who have trusted in Jesus. And we fill the heavens with our shouts and songs.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for showing me how all this is going to end. Refresh me day by day as I fight the good fight. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

God’s Plans – May 4, 2022

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man [Saul] and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem . . .” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name before the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.”
Acts 9:13,15

God’s Plans

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 4, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 9:13,15

See series: Devotions

Let’s take a moment to set up this extraordinary scene. Ananias is a Christian. He lives in a town called Damascus. He’s been receiving reports about a Jewish man by the name of Saul of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus has made it his mission to crush Christianity. In Damascus, the mere mention of Saul’s name very likely creates a corkscrew sensation running up the back of every Christian.

And now the risen Lord Jesus appears to Ananias in a vision. In this vision, he tells Ananias to go to a certain house in Damascus and to ask for Saul of Tarsus, who’s staying there.

Saul of Tarsus? Poor Ananias. In that moment, Ananias cannot see the wisdom in seeking out the one who brings so much terror to many Christians. Every impulse in Ananias tells him to take a pass on paying a visit to Saul of Tarsus. The Lord’s plans, however, are different.

Ananias is not alone, of course. As Christians, you and I battle all kinds of impulses that tell us to back away from the Lord’s will for our lives. Such impulses can come in many forms. There’s the impulse of fear and resentment, There’s the impulse of convenience and the status quo or to remain where it’s comfortable and familiar.

However, the Lord’s plans are not for the sake of what’s comfortable. Often, they are for the sake of reaching the next blood-bought soul with the good news about Jesus. And that can make for some uncomfortable, inconvenient moments indeed.

But the true joy of life is in God’s plans, not ours. In him, we find our forgiveness, purchased at the cross, where we find true belonging and meaning. And in him, his gospel empowers us to embrace the Lord’s plans, leaving ours behind.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, move me to trust your plans for my life. I am yours. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

When Life Stops – May 3, 2022

For three days [Saul] was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
Acts 9:9

When Life Stops

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 3, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 9:9

See series: Devotions

For a Jewish man by the name of Saul, life had suddenly stopped. He had been embracing the presumption that the followers of a crucified teacher named Jesus were all wrong about his being the promised Savior of the world. As a result, Saul had made it his mission to persecute and root out the Jesus followers wherever he could find them.

But then the risen Lord Jesus himself had confronted Saul. After that encounter, Saul was physically blind for three days. The Bible records that, during those three days, Saul did not eat or drink anything. The Bible also records that Saul spent much of that time in prayer.

What were those three days like for Saul? No doubt they were not easy. No doubt they contained for Saul some long, difficult hours of reflection; long, difficult hours of realizing how wrong he had been and how right Jesus was about everything.

When was the last time your life suddenly stopped? When was the last time it was all you could do to sit down and try to absorb something that had just happened? Was it the abrupt loss of your job? Was it the collapse of a close relationship or heartbreak in your family? Was it the diagnosis of a life-changing illness or the death of someone close to you? Or was it something else that still, somehow, put your life into a pause or a sobering picture frame? Perhaps your life is at a full stop right now.

When life stops, Jesus is there. He’s there to bless those difficult hours of seeing those things I need to see—whether it has to do with where I’ve gone wrong, what I have forgotten about the Lord’s will for my life and his promises, or what I have forgotten about my absolute dependence upon God’s grace.

He’s also there with his forgiveness. He’s also there to cleanse me in the blood from Calvary’s cross. He’s there to start my life all over again.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when my life stops, sit with me. Move me to see what I need to see. And by your forgiveness, empower me to begin again. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Question – May 2, 2022

He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
Acts 9:4

The Question

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 2, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 9:4

See series: Devotions

Pat Flynn felt overwhelmed. He was struggling to develop an online course, but it seemed as though the harder he worked, the more complicated it became. It was then that he had a chance to sit down with an author by the name of Tim Ferriss. During their discussion, Tim Ferriss asked a key question: “If [developing this course] were easy, what would it look like?” The question was a game-changer for Pat. It tore down his false presumption that the setup of his course had to be complex to be good. He re-thought everything he had been doing, stopped feeling overwhelmed, and ended up with a much better course.

In Acts chapter 9, a Jewish man by the name of Saul embraced a powerful presumption. He presumed that the followers of a crucified teacher by the name of Jesus were wrong about his being the promised Savior of the world. For that reason, Saul had made it his business to persecute and root out these Jesus followers wherever he could find them.

That all changed, however, when the risen Jesus himself confronted Saul with a question: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Such a question challenged Saul’s entire presumption. And with that question, Jesus, his gospel, and the power of his Holy Spirit quickly brought Saul to faith and changed his life forever.

Perhaps the Lord could confront us with some “Why” questions: Why do you continue to worry your way through your day? Why do you spend so much time on social media but not so much in God’s Word? Why do you tell yourself you’re too busy for the things you know are truly important? Why do you behave as though the Lord Jesus is not in control? Why do you avoid taking a moment to tell your child or grandchild what Jesus means to you?

Whatever the question is, the Lord can use it for great blessing. It can bring us to repentance. And through his Gospel, he can refresh us all over again in the forgiveness he purchased for us at the cross.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, confront me with the question I need to hear. Bring me to repentance. Refresh me in your forgiveness. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Lamb – May 1, 2022

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain.”
Revelation 5:12

The Lamb

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – May 1, 2022

Devotion based on Revelation 5:12

See series: Devotions

What comes to mind when you think of God? Perhaps words like “big,” “powerful,” maybe even “angry with me” come to mind. I doubt you would say “an animal.” But in the book of Revelation, Jesus is called “the Lamb.” And we’re told he was slain.

In the Old Testament, thousands upon thousands of lambs, goats, bulls, rams, and other animals were slain. Why? In directing his Old Testament people of Israel to bring animal sacrifices, God was teaching them that disobeying God is extremely serious. In his holiness, God’s justice demanded the thing of ultimate value: one’s soul for one’s sin.

But in his tremendous mercy, God provided substitutes. He allowed animals to be sacrificed in substitution for sinners. These animals pointed to Jesus, “the Lamb, who was slain,” in substitution for us. Jesus allowed his life to be taken in place of sinners’ lives so we could have a God who is not “angry with me” but a God who is at peace with us. The Bible says that “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Why would Jesus do that for us—give up his own life to save ours? The Bible says that Jesus could bear our sins more easily than he could bear the thought of our eternal hopelessness. He could endure the dishonor of being damned for sin if it meant we would not be.

It’s astounding that he would do that for us! This is why the Bible says, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive . . . honor and glory and praise . . . for ever and ever!”

Prayer:
Lamb of God, comfort my troubled conscience with the truth that you were slain to forgive all my sins. All glory and honor to you for dying in my place so I could live eternally! Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Go and Tell – April 30, 2022

The high priest and all his associates . . . arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people . . . “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” the high priest said . . . Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!”
Acts 5:17-21,28,29

Go and Tell

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – April 30, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 5:17-21,28,29

See series: Devotions

“Go…and tell,” the angel told the apostles. That’s the Easter imperative—the Easter command. Jesus is alive! He’s risen from the dead. He has conquered death. Go and tell.

There is a part of us called the sinful nature that says, “Don’t go and tell.” Some people warn us that we should never talk about politics and religion. Sometimes, as in the Bible reading for today, even the authorities of the world forbid us to speak about the risen Christ. But through his angel messengers, God told the apostles, “Go…and tell.”

So why would we go and tell? We do it out of love for the Lord who told us to do so. But there is also another reason.

We live in a world where people are dying spiritually and eternally, and we have the only real antidote for death. Through faith in the risen Jesus, we can and will live eternally. In the risen Jesus, we have the prescription to living joyfully forever! Love for others will move us to go and tell them.

Yes, there will be some who will reject that truth, deny that possibility, and suggest that the notion of joyous everlasting life through Jesus and him alone is nothing but foolishness.

But God will bring others to faith, and they will thank you for sharing that life-saving message of the crucified and risen Christ. Then experience the wonder and joy of sharing that message with others. Yes, go and tell.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, you have saved me for a life of joy in heaven with you. Moved by your wondrous love, help me to go and tell others about it, too! Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Resurrection Peace – April 29, 2022

Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:26

Resurrection Peace

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – April 29, 2022

Devotion based on John 20:26

See series: Devotions

Jesus came and stood among them. Since those disciples had been through so much, Jesus stood among them and gave them peace. Oh, that he would do the same for us.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if Jesus would appear while sitting in the ICU waiting room to assure us that dad is in good hands?

Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus was there at our side in our lonely, quiet moments, when all others have left us or forgotten about us?

Wouldn’t it be beneficial if Jesus was there for us when we’re at our lowest? You know, when we start recalling all our mistakes and the internal guilt is tearing us apart.

We might sometimes think the original disciples had it so easy; Jesus was right there, standing in the same room. But keep in mind, in just a matter of weeks, Jesus would ascend into heaven, and his disciples would no longer have his physical, visible presence to assure them. They would have to rely upon his promises. And those promises are just as comforting and dependable for us today as they were for the disciples then.

Jesus doesn’t suddenly appear to us in our living rooms or medical waiting rooms, but he does offer this solemn pledge: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20) and “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

He doesn’t ring our doorbells and give us a show-and-tell display of his scarred hands every time our consciences act up. Instead, he promises that our sins have been removed from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).

He may not put a hand on our shoulders. Instead, he puts his Word in print, and he puts that printed Word, the Bible, into our hands. There in the Bible he promises peace—the peace of sins forgiven, the peace only the living Lord Jesus can give.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I feel weak or alone, remind me that you are near. When I am pressed by a guilty conscience, remind me that you have already paid for my sins. When I hurt, remind me of your love. Help me to share that same love with others. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Resurrection Proof – April 28, 2022

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
John 20:26,27

Resurrection Proof

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – April 28, 2022

Devotion based on John 20:26,27

See series: Devotions

Have you ever been channel surfing late at night and come across one of those infomercials with the super energetic spokesperson? After a few minutes, you start thinking, “Maybe I do need one of those salad spinners. After all, they do come in six amazing colors. And I really should eat more salads.” Those infomercial producers know you won’t purchase something on blind faith; you need proof. And if you see that proof—that the product really works—maybe you’ll consider buying theirs. That’s why the spokesperson for the salad spinner is energetic, happy, and in great shape. If you act now, this can all be yours for just $19.99.

The disciples wanted proof. They had seen Jesus die. His body had been taken off the cross and placed into the tomb. The disciples had been shaken. What they didn’t know yet was that Jesus had risen from the grave. He was alive. Jesus, on Easter evening, appeared to those shaken disciples and set their minds and hearts at ease.

But Thomas wasn’t there. So, Jesus appeared to him a week later. He didn’t have to, but our patient Savior reached out to Thomas and gave him what he was looking for: proof. What was unbelievable just a few days ago, wasn’t so far-fetched now that Thomas could see Jesus with his own eyes.

We have doubts, fears, and struggles too. Our patient Savior comes to us with promises that are always reliable. He points us to the cross—proof our sins are forgiven. He points us to the empty tomb—proof that he lives and that the Father has accepted and approved of his payment for sin. He holds out his scarred hands and assures us we have peace with God. No need to act now or make a payment; Jesus already has!

Prayer:
Lord, in my times of doubt, strengthen me with your promises. You died for me. You rose again. You are with me always! Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Courageous Witnesses – April 27, 2022

“We must obey God rather than human beings!”
Acts 5:29

Courageous Witnesses

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – April 27, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 5:29

See series: Devotions

How do you define courage? I’m not looking for a wordy definition you’d find in a dictionary; I’m looking for a practical description of courage. Peter and the other apostles provide that for us in Acts chapter 5. Shortly after Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles faced fierce opposition. Jesus had commissioned them to be his witnesses. However, the people of power had commanded them to keep quiet. To whom would they listen? To continue preaching and teaching about Jesus would not only be unpopular, it could be deadly.

“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” the authorities lectured to Peter and the others. You can almost see the apostles dig in their heels and stiffen their backbones as they reply, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” What courage! But from where did it come? Wasn’t Peter the same one who lied about knowing Jesus several weeks earlier? Weren’t these the same apostles who locked themselves into a room after Christ’s death?

Peter and the apostles found courage in the same place we do—in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! You can almost see Jesus dig in his heels and stiffen his backbone as the Roman soldiers crown him with thorns and force a cross onto his shoulders. Resolutely, courageously Jesus faces the mockery, the suffering, and even the cruel crucifixion. Courageously he dies. Victoriously he rises. You will be my witnesses; he says to you and me.

This courageous Jesus carried our sins to the cross; he now asks us to carry his name to the world. Some will thank us for it. Some will urge us to keep quiet. With strength and courage that comes only from Jesus, we can dig in our heels, stiffen our backbones, and continue to preach and teach about Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord, you have told me to be your witness, to share your love with a world full of people who so badly need to learn of you. Give me courage, not in myself but in you. Help me to seize the opportunities to speak of your saving work whenever they arise. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email