A Hand Stretched Out – July 4, 2022

Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me.
Ezekiel 2:9

A Hand Stretched Out

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Daily Devotion – July 4, 2022

Devotion based on Ezekiel 2:9

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“Help Wanted.” “Now Hiring.” “Apply Inside.” It seems like wherever you go, those signs greet you at the entrance. Businesses are trying desperately to field their teams so that production and performance can continue to meet demand.

Perhaps you’re experiencing the same thing at your local church. For a variety of reasons, it seems like the pastoral vacancy rates are high, resulting in empty pulpits. While that may be personally concerning for you, rest assured that the Lord has not forgotten about you. And he’s not forgotten about his Church. Even when his people have turned their backs on him, the Lord continues to stretch out his hand and call people to serve in his kingdom.

And those people aren’t always full-time prophets or pastors. Have you ever been amazed at the many people that God has used to proclaim his Word to you? Perhaps it was a parent, a friend, a neighbor, or a coach. Go ahead. Write the names down. Be amazed at the people God has used to be his instrument in reaching out to you. That’s not by accident, and it’s not a coincidence. The Lord continues to stretch out his hand to employ many people to further stretch his kingdom. And perhaps the Lord is stretching out his hand to you. Lift up your eyes. What do you see? The Lord’s hand is stretched out to you. May God bless you as you stretch out your hand, to pass along the good news of Jesus to someone else.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, increase my confidence in your control of the Church. And thank you for using so many people to reach out to me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Joy of Eternal Life – July 3, 2022

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” [Jesus] replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20

Joy of Eternal Life

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Daily Devotion – July 3, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 10:17-20

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On one occasion, Jesus sent his disciples into towns and villages to declare that the kingdom of God was near. Those who listened would find God’s kingdom in Jesus, the Son of God. The disciples felt the joy of spreading the good news. They were also quite impressed with the power God had given them to carry out this work.

The disciples returned overflowing with joy. Jesus rejoiced with the disciples over their success. He pointed out that when his followers faithfully proclaim forgiveness of sins in his name, Satan falls from heaven. That means Satan can no longer stand before God and accuse believers of deserving eternal death. Jesus promised continued success. The devil and his friends would not be able to stop them. God would see to that.

But Jesus did not want his disciples to get all wrapped up in the miracles they could perform. Rather, they were to rejoice that they had an eternal inheritance waiting for them in heaven.

And that is our joy too. Jesus, our loving Savior, gives us eternal life. He earned it for us by his holy life and his innocent death. Of all the things which we thank God, this is one of the greatest: the joy of eternal life with Jesus!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you that, because of what you have done for me, my name is written in heave. 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.
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God Is on Your Side – July 2, 2022

“The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
1 Kings 19:11,12

God Is on Your Side

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Daily Devotion – July 2, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:11,12

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It was oh so discouraging. The big success, which was anticipated, well, it just didn’t happen. Things looked hopeless. The work had been in vain. It was awful.

Felt that way before? Most of us have, sometime along the way. Well, you’re in good company. Elijah felt that way and told God so. As a result, God said to his prophet, “Come over here, Elijah. I want to show you some things.”

Then came the wind! And the earthquake! And the fire! But the Lord wasn’t in them.

The Lord revealed himself as a gentle whisper. It was a reminder to Elijah that our God is the God of faithful love. That our God works in ways which are often quiet, often different than what we’d expect. It was a reminder that God loves to forgive us and wrap his arms around us.

Every time you hear his Word, God is doing that for you. He’s reminding you that he loves you, that your sins are forgiven, he’s on your side. No matter how challenging life might look, if the faithful, loving God is on your side, you will be okay.

Prayer:
O faithful Lord, remind me of your love, that the things of this world might not discourage me unduly, but that I might focus on the eternal blessings which are mine because of your 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.
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Onward and Upward – July 1, 2022

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:61,62

Onward and Upward

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Daily Devotion – July 1, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:61,62

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“What’s the goal?” That’s an important bit of information if you’re being asked to do something. It’s important to know: what’s my purpose; what’s my goal? If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, you’re likely never going to meet your goal.

When it comes to being a disciple of Jesus, our Savior makes the goal exceedingly clear. Our ultimate goal is eternal life in heaven; that’s what we’re aiming for. The apostle Paul could not have stated it more plainly than he did in his letter to the Colossians. “Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (3:1,2).

When a person once told Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family,” Jesus immediately replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” His point was crystal clear: if you’re going to be my disciple, you’ll need to direct your eyes onward and upward. He knows that we are easily distracted by the things and people of this world. Don’t look back, he urges us. Don’t take your eyes off the goal.

But don’t get Jesus wrong either. He wants us to demonstrate love and concern for the people in our lives, especially our families. He has called us to serve them daily in every way we can. But he also wants us to realize that if the choice is between him and our families—between our lives in this dying world and life everlasting with him in heaven—there simply can be no contest. Jesus and the heaven he freely gives us must be our ultimate goal.

And how do we get there? Not by our own doing, but through Jesus and his powerful Word. Cherish that saving Word because it directs your eyes onward and upward.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, grant me your Spirit that I may always keep my heart and mind firmly fixed on 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.
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Jesus Wants Top Billing – June 30, 2022

He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:59,60

Jesus Wants Top Billing

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Daily Devotion – June 30, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:59,60

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When actors begin their careers, they don’t generally get the lead part after one audition. Instead, they endure years of playing insignificant roles before their big break. Most never get one. For every actor you can name, there are thousands whose names you’ll never know. It’s difficult—almost impossible—to get top billing. Most don’t ever see their name in bold letters over everyone else’s on the movie poster or theater marquee. That’s only reserved for the very best.

When Jesus walked the earth, plenty of people were willing to follow him, but only to a certain point. St. Luke tells us in his gospel that there were large crowds traveling with Jesus (14:25), but they only wanted him to play the part of a movie extra in their lives. Yes, he could be a part of their lives but not the essential part. They weren’t ready to give him top billing, the starring role.

But Jesus isn’t interested in having disciples who are only willing to give him an insignificant role in their life story. He wants us to give him top billing. When he saw that large crowd following him, he told them in no uncertain terms what he expects. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26,27).

Of course, Jesus doesn’t really want us to hate anyone, any more than he wanted to keep his would-be disciple in Luke 9 from attending his father’s funeral. But Jesus does want us to understand this: nothing in our lives can outrank him and his saving Word. He must have top billing because he and his Word alone grant us the certain hope of everlasting life. That’s what Jesus has won for you and for all people, and he doesn’t want you to trade it for anything.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to give you and your Word top billing in my life. 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.
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Jesus Calls Us to Be All In – June 29, 2022

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Luke 9:57,58

Jesus Calls Us to Be All In

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Daily Devotion – June 29, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:57,58

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Once upon a time, I had grade school friends who were very important to me. We would ride bikes together, play hours of ball, go to the movies, and sleepover at one another’s homes. At times, my life revolved around them. They were that important.

And now they’re gone. We didn’t have a falling out. We just grew apart. We went to different schools and moved away from our hometown. At one time, we were so committed to one another, but no more. And that’s okay. God didn’t insist that we be committed to one another for the rest of our lives.

But it’s different when it comes to my wife. She and I have been friends for almost 25 years now and married for about 20 years. Unlike the relationships I had with my schoolmates, my wife and I made promises to one another before God. We promised to be faithful to one another as long as we both shall live. In other words, God has called us to be all in. It can’t be halfway or even 99 percent. It requires 100 percent commitment because being married to a sinner is hard. Just ask my wife how hard it is!

When Jesus once had a man say to him, “I will follow you wherever you go,” he seemed to be expressing 100 percent commitment to the Savior. What music to Jesus’ ears! But Jesus wanted this man to realize what following him meant. “Foxes have dens and birds have nests,” he replied, “but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” In other words, following Jesus in this world is no walk in the park; it’s a challenge. Yes, it’s an all-in proposition that requires us to deny ourselves and take up cross and follow him (Mark 8:34).

Yes, it’s difficult, but not impossible. And why? Because Jesus is 100 percent all in. Even when we’re unfaithful to him, he remains faithful to us. And that will never change. He’s promised to be our Savior-friend forever.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, empower me to be faithful to you by marveling at your faithfulness to me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Is Zealously Patient – June 28, 2022

And [Jesus] sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him. But the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.
Luke 9:52-56

Jesus Is Zealously Patient

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Daily Devotion – June 28, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:52-56

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Believe it or not, Jesus has not always been welcomed with open arms.

This man from Bethlehem is God from all eternity. By his powerful Word he created all things and gives life to all things, including us (John 1:1-4). Then he assumed our broken humanity— “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14)—in order to win forgiveness and eternal rescue from death for everyone. What’s not to like?

But by nature, we all reject Jesus—lock, stock, and barrel. Yes, we turn our backs on our only Creator and Savior. “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, and his own did not receive him” (John 1:10,11).

You might think our refusal of Jesus’ amazing gifts and unparalleled love would leave him hopping mad. Jesus would have every right and reason to seek revenge for our rebellious response and leave us in the dust forever. That’s what his disciples, James and John, suggested he do to the Samaritans when they refused to open their hearts and homes to him as the Savior journeyed to Jerusalem to sacrifice himself on a cross for the world’s sins. “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” they asked.

But Jesus didn’t seek revenge, instead he zealously pursued patience. Rather than striking these people with lightning, he rebuked his disciples and urged them to have patient and merciful hearts toward sinners. The same kind of patience and mercy that he had so often shown to James and John. Yes, the same patience he shows to you and me.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to be loving and patient toward others, just as you are forever patient with me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Determined to Save – June 27, 2022

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51

Determined to Save

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Daily Devotion – June 27, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:51

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There are different ways to describe people who are deeply committed to their mission. Sometimes they are called pit bulls, or maybe it is said of them that they have a laser focus. They’re the type of self-starters who carry out their assigned duties with no holds barred, and give 110 percent. Or perhaps they are described as true believers and people who are willing to do anything to get the job done right and on time. The point of all these descriptions is simple and straightforward: these folks are not halfway committed to their cause, they are bound and determined. Nothing and no one is going to stop them.

We might not naturally picture Jesus that way, as someone stepping over anyone who gets in his way to fulfill his mission. It’s more likely that we picture him the way Christian artists have traditionally portrayed him, as a soft, gentle, good shepherd type who wouldn’t hurt a flea. But while it’s true that Jesus is the world’s ultra-gentle Good Shepherd, who carries his lambs close to his heart (Isaiah 40:11), he’s also the mightiest of warriors, a singular soldier in God’s salvation army. He has a mission, and he is bound a determined to fulfill it.

That’s how St. Luke pictures Jesus for us today, as a man who “resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” And why was he going there? To die for the sins of the entire world.

Being bound and determined to face your death is not at all natural for human beings, especially when it promises to include the kind of brutality that Jesus’ death entailed. But not only was Jesus willing to endure that kind of death, he was bound and determined to do so.

And why? Because of his unchanging and unconditional love for you and me and every sinner. Yes, Jesus is bound and determined to save us not because we’ve deserved it; but because we need him to do it so desperately.

And nothing will stop him from carrying out his saving mission perfectly.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for being so bound and determined to save me and all sinners. Lead me always to trust in your unfailing love and 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.
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Detours – June 26, 2022

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51

Detours

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Daily Devotion – June 26, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:51

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Rod was getting more anxious by the moment. He began to wonder if he was ever going to reach his final destination. The miles continued to mount after he followed the designated detour. As a result, he couldn’t rid himself of the feeling, “Am I going in the right direction?”

When the time came for Jesus to go to Jerusalem, there were many detours he could have taken. The disciples certainly wanted more time with him. There were more people to be healed and helped. There was even the very real temptation for Jesus to avoid his capture and crucifixion. Jesus refused to take any of these detours, and as Luke records, “He resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Nothing could have kept him from accomplishing the work his Father set before him. There was never a doubt in his mind if he was going in the right direction.

Jesus’ refusal to even consider a detour is a cause for celebration in your life. Jesus not only came to your rescue but also walked the path you could never have walked. Because of his selfless love he now invites and makes it possible for you to walk on the path to heaven.

His path takes you past the detours of disillusionment, disobedience, and death. His path leads you safely past guilt, disappointment, and despair. Because Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem according to his Father’s will, you can now safely and confidently remain on a heavenward journey.

Certainly, your life will be filled with distractions and detours. It would be easy for you to stray. However, your Savior comes to the rescue. Not only does he bring you back to the right path, he also lovingly keeps you going in the right direction. It is because of what Jesus has done and continues to do that you can rejoice and say: “Wherever you lead, Lord, I will follow.”

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 439):
Lord, take my hand and lead me along life’s way;
Direct, protect, and feed me from day to day.
Without your grace and favor I go astray;
So, take my hand, O Savior, and lead the way.

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.
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The Gift of the Holy Spirit – June 25, 2022

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

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Daily Devotion – June 25, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:7

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Do you ever feel timid or weak in your spiritual struggles?

Fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, God sent his Holy Spirit to his believers. Wouldn’t it be strange if the Holy Spirit made the disciples more timid? More fearful? More hesitant? Wouldn’t it be strange if it turned out that the Holy Spirit was a spineless, powerless, timid spirit? Wouldn’t it be strange if the Holy Spirit led us to cave in or give up in our spiritual struggles?

The Bible teaches us what kind of spirit the Holy Spirit is and what kind of spirit he produces inside us— “a spirit not of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.”

A spirit of power. The power God used to make the universe. The power that God used to raise his Son from the dead after paying for our sins. That power is at work in us by his Holy Spirit.

A spirit of love. This power at work in us is not power over financial problems, health problems, or social problems. It’s power to resist the devil, to put off the sinful nature’s anger, hate, and envy. It’s power to love as Christ has loved us.

A spirit of self-discipline. Our sinful nature wants to run rampant. The devil tempts us to indulge self. But the Holy Spirit gives us power to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus.

When you feel weak in faith, helpless against the devil, or fearful in the face of life’s challenges, remember this, the Holy Spirit is not weak or timid. And your spirit, given by the Holy Spirit in you, is a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. As God gave you forgiveness of all your sins by Christ’s death, as God gave you eternal life in heaven by Christ’s resurrection from the dead, God also gives you the Holy Spirit. Trust him to help you and empower you in your spiritual struggles.

Prayer:
Dear Father, thank you for your love and forgiveness through Jesus. Empower me by your Spirit to be strong in faith in Jesus and to deny myself and follow 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.
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Jesus Crushes Evil – June 24, 2022

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:9,10

Jesus Crushes Evil

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Daily Devotion – June 24, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:9,10

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When you think about it, the Christian faith doesn’t make a lot of sense. Sin, which comes so naturally to every human being, is out of bounds? And the guilt of any sin is enough to earn a one-way ticket to the opposite of everything good? And despite our best efforts, we can’t scrub that guilt off? And the only way out of guilt and into peace is through the actions of a Jewish carpenter who lived under Roman occupation far away and long ago?

It didn’t make any more natural sense to Paul, Timothy, or any who followed Jesus because of them. This trust and the resultant holy living are supernatural—the work of the Holy Spirit. The Christian faith is something no one could have thought up on their own. So, the apostle Paul tells us, it was revealed from the Holy Spirit through the words of the Bible.

And what has been revealed? Grace given before your parents gave you a name, victory over death, a vibrant life that will never end. And all of this won for you and given to you by a hero named Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have won. Your victory is my victory. Lead me in that new reality that I might live for you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Connected to Jesus – June 23, 2022

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.
2 Timothy 1:8

Connected to Jesus

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Daily Devotion – June 23, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:8

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He was a pastor in a country where Christianity was illegal. So, he went by his initial “L”—not his real name—for safety. He drove a truck full of Bibles to distribute them in rural villages—illegal. He ran Sunday Schools where children were taught Jesus—illegal. He ran worship services and taught Bible studies outside the state-controlled church—illegal. Things got really bad, so he boarded a plane in search of asylum. Before the plane took off, authorities boarded and removed “L.” He wasn’t under arrest, but he also wasn’t free to go.

The apostle Paul knew what it was to suffer for sharing God’s Word. In this case, he was writing to his friend, Timothy, from prison. But telling others about Jesus was so important that no amount of suffering would stop him from doing so.

Has suffering, or the fear of it, stopped you from living and sharing your faith in Jesus? In America, the consequences of being an “outed” Christian do not include imprisonment or torture. But have you allowed the fear of what might happen keep you from telling others about Jesus?

It’s easy to do. And it’s why we need a sacrifice who suffered for our sake. A Savior who was not ashamed to be counted among the fearful so that he might rescue people like you.

Because he did, suffering for my faith becomes a chance to be connected to Jesus, to be the mirror that reflects the love of my Savior to a dying world. Just like “L,” just like Paul.

For the closing prayer today, let’s use the words of Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius was an early Christian, so early that he learned about Jesus under the apostle John. May his prayer be our prayer as we face suffering.

Prayer:
“Let fire and the cross; let the crowds of wild beasts; let tearings, breakings, and dislocations of bones; let cutting off of members; let shatterings of the whole body; and let all the dreadful torments of the devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ. 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.
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God-given Gifts – June 22, 2022

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6,7

God-given Gifts

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Daily Devotion – June 22, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:6,7

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God has made me a learner, self-assured, eager for the input of others, value-driven, and able to put things and people in the places that set them up for success. How has God gifted you? Has he made you comfortable in front of crowds? Hard-working? Attentive to detail? A careful thinker? He has made you: body, soul, and mind. That means you have characteristics as unique to you as that birthmark behind your left elbow. Those gifts that he’s given to you have been laid at your feet for a purpose, “for the good of those who love him.”

That was certainly true of Timothy. He had gifts. And his spiritual father, Paul, saw them and encouraged them. “Fan them into flames,” he told Timothy. Don’t be content just to have them, but cultivate them, develop them, and lean into them. “They have been given to you; now make the most of them!”

Are you asking, “How do I fan my gifts into flame?” Fair question. Maybe the acronym ILPF will help (Identify – Learn – Practice – Feedback). Identify those gifts that you have. Maybe that’s a reputable assessment or asking a trusted mentor, “What do you see in me?” Then, learn about those gifts. What are they like? Who else has them? What is the danger of misusing them? Next, practice. You don’t get good at anything without endless cycles of trying and failing. That’s practice. And finally, get feedback. Ask those close to you, “I tried to use my gift. How do you think it went? What should I think about the next time?” As you live in your God-given gifts, watch as the Lord carries out his will.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for these gifts I have. I know they are from you. Help me to use them in a way that builds your kingdom. 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.
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From Generation to Generation – June 21, 2022

Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
2 Timothy 1:4,5

From Generation to Generation

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Daily Devotion – June 21, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:4,5

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I remember visiting my grandparents every summer. They were farmers who lived in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. One reason I loved to visit was the copious amounts of ice cream my Grandma Eunice had hidden away for us. Another reason was the chance to ride big machines. But do you know what I remember, to this day, even more than push pops or tractors? I remember my Grandfather Lois read to us from his Bible after breakfast. He never read for very long, and it was never a big deal. But in those few minutes of reading, he modeled for the family what was important, and even a seasoned Christian regularly gets into God’s Word.

Young Pastor Timothy had models in his life too. A grandmother and mother who prioritized a relationship with the living God. Women who passed their faith down to their son and grandson. Their faith meant so much to them that they gave it to those they loved most. And look what God accomplished in that generational gift! How many more generations have come to faith because Lois and Eunice passed down their faith!

Maybe you never had that: a family that spent time in God’s Word—maybe you didn’t even go to church growing up. Maybe your family went to church, but that was the extent of “Jesus talk” during the week. That’s not easy, but you aren’t alone. God has a habit of calling the unlikely into his kingdom and making them family.

One final thought, consider this your calling to be a Lois or Eunice to the children in your life—to your kids, your grandkids, a niece or nephew, or the kids in your classroom. What you and I believe is too good to not pass on.

Prayer:
Dear Holy Spirit, thank you for giving me a family of faith, for those who have played spiritual mom and dad in my life. Keep them safe from harm and temptation. Give me opportunities to pass on what I believe to the next generation. 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.
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Keep Praying – June 20, 2022

I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
2 Timothy 1:3

Keep Praying

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Daily Devotion – June 20, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:3

See series: Devotions

It was the little boy’s turn to say prayers at family devotion. With head bowed, eyes closed, and a solemn voice, he said, “Dear Jesus, make all the bad people good, and make all the good people nice.”

Whom have you prayed for lately? A family member? A coworker? A neighbor? Maybe your list is long and constantly changing. Maybe your list is short and hasn’t changed since bell-bottom jeans were in style. But you pray.

You pray because you know that God has invited you to pray. The door to his throne room is open just for you. As you walk in, the King of kings who conducts the affairs of the universe leans forward with eyes locked on you, ready to hear what and who is on your mind.

The apostle Paul made the most of that power for young pastor Timothy, his student, protege, and friend. Paul constantly prayed. He knew that prayer was wrestling with God for the good of God’s kingdom. He knew that in the hearing of prayer, the Lord of heaven blocked out the attacks of Satan and crushed any evil plans. Paul knew that prayer realigned Paul’s dreams and desired to reflect God’s dreams and desires more fully. And so, Paul prayed for Timothy.

Like Paul, keep on praying. God is eager to hear what you have to say and carry out his plan for the world. A plan that has only your good in mind and crushes evil, now and for your eternity.

Prayer:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thank you for hearing my prayers. May I be emboldened to pray more often and with bigger prayers because you have invited me to pray. Take my prayers and answer them as you know best. Crush evil and bring about your good. In Jesus’ name, I pray. 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.
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The Difference – June 19, 2022

Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3,4

The Difference

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Daily Devotion – June 19, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 5:3,4

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For many, it is the stuff of nightmares, a physical condition too horrific to contemplate, the worst of worst-case scenarios. But for a young boy by the name of Nick Vujicic [pronounced, VOY-yitch-itch], this nightmare was real.

Nick was born with no arms and no legs. Let that sink in for a moment. He was born with no arms and no legs. What you and I could not imagine facing for one month or one day, Nick was facing for his entire life. By the age of 8, the darkness of his circumstances was about to swallow him. “I have no life,” he thought. “I’ll never get married. I’ll never be able to do anything. I’ll never be able to be anything. I have no life.”

Fast forward 25 years. Today, Nick travels around the world giving motivational speeches to children, adults, business leaders, prisoners, and everyone in-between. He’s a college graduate. He drives a car, goes fishing, records music, plays soccer, and swims. And he is also married and the father of a young son.

What happened? What made such a difference? Nick’s physical circumstances did not change. He still has no arms and no legs. What made the difference was the gospel. What made the difference was Jesus Christ.

Through the message of sins forgiven and new life in Jesus, Nick came to see his life very differently. As a redeemed child of God through faith in his Savior, Nick recognized that he had a unique opportunity to encourage others with the good news of Christ. Now his heart overflows in thankfulness. As Nick likes to say, “I’ve never met a thankful person who was bitter. And I’ve never met a bitter person who was thankful.”

Don’t misunderstand. Nick’s life is still difficult. It’s still full of struggle. But seeing his life as Jesus sees his life has made all the difference. That is what makes all the difference for you and me too.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as I struggle through this world, open my eyes to see my life as you see my life. Empower me to live a life that proclaims 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.
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Turn Towards – June 18, 2022

“The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:26

Turn Towards

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Daily Devotion – June 18, 2022

Devotion based on Numbers 6:26

See series: Devotions

Dr. John Gottman and his wife, Dr. Julie Gottman, are researchers who have spent several decades studying marriage relationships. They have drawn many conclusions, and their conclusions make for powerful reading. Here is one conclusion. For years the conventional wisdom was that a way to deepen your marriage relationship was through a big romantic getaway—a trip to Paris or a Caribbean cruise. Not so, say the Gottmans. While a romantic getaway certainly has its place, the Gottmans have learned that a key to deepening a marriage relationship—or any relationship—lies in the countless moments you have, in their words, to “turn towards” each other.

Throughout the week, couples will give each other what the Gottmans call, “bids for connection.” These “bids for connection” almost always seem quite ordinary. For example, a spouse might say, “I had one crazy day today.” That, say the Gottmans, is a “bid for connection.” It is an opportunity for two spouses to “turn towards” each other in that moment and to share the details of what made the day so crazy.

This need for couples to “turn towards” each other is vital. In their exhaustive research, the Gottmans found that happily married couples turned towards each other two-and-one-half times more often than couples whose marriages ended in divorce.

All of which brings us to God’s attitude towards you and me.

The Lord has his face turned toward you. Not sometimes. Not frequently. The Lord has his face turned toward you always. With you in mind, he came to this earth and became one of us and lived a sinless life as our substitute—the life you and I have failed to live. With you in mind, he carried your wasted moments and mine to the cross and washed them all away.

And today, he continues to turn toward you. He turns toward you through every word of the Bible you read and hear, through every message from him you encounter. He turns toward you at this very moment, in this daily devotion. Spend this day in the comfort and assurance of knowing the Lord’s face is turned toward you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when my face is downcast because of doubt or despair, remind me that your face is always turned toward me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Glory in Suffering – June 17, 2022

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

We Glory in Suffering

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Daily Devotion – June 17, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 5:3-5

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Which sounds better to you? “Avoid suffering at all costs” or “We glory in our sufferings.” Your initial reaction is probably that the first one sounds better. But after you think about it, you realize that even trying as hard as you can to avoid it, you can’t avoid all suffering.

You can eat clean and exercise, but you could still get sick. You can take a defensive driving course, obey the speed limit and rules of the road, but it might not be enough to protect you from the distracted driver. You can be selfless and loving, but it doesn’t mean you won’t face rejection or that your heart won’t be broken. Sometimes it seems like life is a winepress, and you are the grape.

Okay, you can’t avoid suffering, but how do you find glory in it? Christians know the ultimate source of suffering is sin. And they also know that God doesn’t waste that suffering. God uses suffering as a means for drawing believers to himself. When suffering happens, Christians can rely on God’s Word and promises. Faith in God grows, and so the suffering produces perseverance.

When Christians depend on God through tough times, again and again, that produces character. And a Christian who has been tried and tested by the trials and suffering of this world has a confident hope. This world and all its suffering will eventually come to an end.

God poured out his love by sending his Son, Jesus, to suffer the ultimate punishment of sin. Because of that suffering, God sends his Holy Spirit into the hearts of believers to strengthen them through their suffering. And so, yes, you can glory in suffering. God’s using it to draw you closer to him.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for suffering for my sin in my place. Help me to find comfort knowing that my present suffering will come to an end and draw me closer to you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Access to God – June 16, 2022

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:1,2

Access to God

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Daily Devotion – June 16, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 5:1,2

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There is a lot of privilege and prestige that comes with free access. Very few people have direct and free access to the world’s most powerful leaders. It’s a privilege granted only to a few. For the average person to gain even one encounter with someone like the President of the United States, it would take a lot of back-channeling and knowing the right people. Most of us don’t have that access.

Which makes the words in the Bible reading today even more amazing. The apostle Paul writes that we have gained access to the almighty and holy God. But it gets even more amazing. God is holy and perfect and just. And we are not. We sin, make mistakes, and mess up. If we stood before God in this sinful condition, we could not survive.

Someone not only needed to give us access to God but also make us ready to stand before God. That person is Jesus. Jesus opened the door to God’s throne room for us because he fixed our relationship with God.

Jesus lived the perfect life we never could, and now he gives us his perfection. Jesus takes our sin and gives us his holiness through faith. Simply by believing that Jesus has done this for us, we can stand in the grace of God.

To stand in God’s grace means we know Jesus has won peace between God and us, and that we will live forever in the presence of God’s glory.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for giving me access to God and for giving me your perfect life. Help me to always make use of the privilege you have given to me to go before God with every care and concern. 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.
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God Puts His Name on His People – June 15, 2022

“They will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
Numbers 6:27

God Puts His Name on His People

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Daily Devotion – June 15, 2022

Devotion based on Numbers 6:27

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In the popular Toy Story movies, toys come to life with personalities of their own when humans are not present. The main character, Woody, is a cowboy sheriff doll. When Woody gets anxious, worried, or forgets his identity, he lifts his boot and sees the name “ANDY” scribbled on the underside. It’s the name of his owner. Woody then remembers who he is and his purpose. He finds meaning in his identity.

God wanted to put his name on his people. One of the jobs of the priests of ancient Israel was to speak a blessing using God’s name. It was God’s way of putting his name on the people he loved. It was their reminder of their purpose, meaning, and identity.

God still puts his name on his people. Many churches close their worship services with the words of this ancient blessing. It’s a reminder that God’s name is on the people he loves.

When we hear that blessing, it’s a reminder of who we are. It’s like Woody checking the bottom of his boot and seeing the name “ANDY” scrawled there. With this blessing, God puts his name on his children.

When you feel anxious or afraid, remember God’s name is on you. When you forget who you are, remember that God has claimed you. He’s put his name on you. When your sins weigh you down, remember Jesus has washed them away. He’s made you his child, and God loves to bless his children.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for putting your name on me and claiming me as your child. Help me to always find my purpose and identity in the simple fact that you love me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Blesses His People – June 14, 2022

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

God Blesses His People

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Daily Devotion – June 14, 2022

Devotion based on Numbers 6:24-26

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A father sat on the edge of his young daughter’s bed. She had been a terror that day—fighting with her sister, talking back to her mother, scribbling on the walls, and refusing to finish her green beans. She had not done anything to earn or deserve any love from anyone that day. Yet, her father still sat near her, smiled at her, and had a full heart of love for her. As she fell asleep, her father leaned over and spoke the blessing recorded in our Bible reading today. Her father was comforted knowing that as much as he loved his daughter, God loved her even more.

The words of this blessing have been spoken to God’s people for over 3,500 years, even though we all act like terrors before God. When we sin, when we go our way instead of God’s way, we are not deserving of a blessing like this. We deserve punishment, not love. But instead of turning his face away from us, God chose to turn his face away from his Son, Jesus, as he hung on the cross. Jesus took our place. He died as our substitute paying the penalty for our sins.

Because of what Jesus did, God now makes his face shine on us. Like we might break out a big, broad smile when we see someone we love, God smiles on us. Instead of turning away from us, God graciously turns to look right at us. His face shines with love and recognition. He knows each of us individually. And to each one of us, he gives the greatest blessing he can give to any sinner; he gives peace.

God gives the peace of knowing that no matter what is going on in our lives, whether we are going through good times or bad times, our relationship is right with God. God gives the peace of knowing that our many sins are forgiven in Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for smiling on me and blessing me, even though I don’t deserve it. 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.
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The Spirit of Truth – June 13, 2022

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 16:13

The Spirit of Truth

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Daily Devotion – June 13, 2022

Devotion based on John 16:13

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Try teaching a preschool student some high school geometry. Unless you’re working with a very rare math prodigy, it’s not going to go very well. It’s hard enough to teach a three-year-old the names of the shapes, let alone how to find the angles of an isosceles triangle. You start with the basics.

When Jesus spoke these words to his disciples, it was the night before his crucifixion. Jesus had been training his disciples for three years. They had learned a lot about the kingdom of God and the mission of Jesus. Yet there was still so much that they did not know.

Instead of trying to cram all his teachings into their brains in one night like a procrastinating college student the night before an exam, Jesus promised them the gift of the Holy Spirit who would teach them truths they had yet to learn.

The disciples received that gift on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus went into heaven. The Holy Spirit opened their hearts and minds to God’s Word so that they could share that Word with others.

Jesus still sends the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works through God’s Word. When people join a church, they often take a Bible information class. They learn the basics of Christianity from the Bible before progressing in their knowledge of the truth. Growing in that truth takes time.

So, take the time. Take the time to read and study the Bible. You have Jesus’ promise that, when you do, he will send the Holy Spirit to help you grow in your knowledge of the truth.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to reveal the truth. Help me to want to always keep learning more about 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.
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Justified – June 12, 2022

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1

Justified

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Daily Devotion – June 12, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 5:1

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Consider how the word justify is used in the following statement: “I just don’t know how we can justify the cost of a brand-new football stadium.” This example shows us how the word justify is used nowadays. To justify means to “give a good reason for, rationalize or defend.”

However, God uses the word justify in another way. In Romans 5:1, justify means “to declare not guilty. It’s like a judge who looks at a guilty criminal and says to him, “You’re free to go!” That’s a miscarriage of justice, isn’t it? It seems so until we realize that God, the Father, took our every attempt to rationalize our wrongdoing and every lame excuse for sin and stacked them all on the broad shoulders of Jesus. Jesus took that whole mess and paid for it on the cross. In its place, he gives us innocence and peace with him, and, just as importantly, he gives us the faith to believe it.

Through that faith, there is peace between you and God. Whether you die today or years from now, the gates of heaven are open for you. Whether you feel emotionally at peace or not, whether your body is strong or falling apart, whether you are ill or healthy, God still declares you innocent through Jesus. And he still maintains that peace between himself and you by faith.

Today, whether you feel peace in response to these truths or not, believe this, “Since you have been justified through faith, you have peace with God through your Lord Jesus Christ.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, when I am troubled by my sin and wonder how I might appear in you sight, direct me to the cross of my Savior, Jesus, where the full price of my sin was paid. Fill my heart with the peace of forgiveness. Assure me by faith in Christ that you declare me to be holy in your sight and an heir of 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.
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God’s Desire for Us – June 11, 2022

The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
Genesis 11:6,7

God’s Desire for Us

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Daily Devotion – June 11, 2022

Devotion based on Genesis 11:6,7

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What is God’s desire for us? What does he want for you and me?

God’s will is simple: God wants us to be with him for time and eternity. Because of that, God stepped into human history in a big way. Humanity was on the fast pace to completely rejecting God and his love. They were all about “making a name for themselves.” They were in rebellion against God, refusing to spread out around the world as God had instructed.

So, in amazing grace God confused their languages. Amazing grace? Yes!

Did you notice the name used for God? It’s “LORD.” With this name for God, we are reminded that our God is faithful; he is faithful to his justice but also faithful to his love. And so, in amazing grace, the Lord confused their languages. Why?

Because ultimately, that would result in the circumstances for the most people possible to turn their attention to him, believe in the Lord and end up in heaven.

And that’s God’s desire for us. He desires that as many of us as possible end up in heaven. And thank God; he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get us there!

Prayer:
Oh Savior, work in my life in whatever way necessary so that through your Word, I stay on the way to heaven. In your name I pray. 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.
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The Spirit Brings Peace – June 10, 2022

[Jesus said] “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:26,27

The Spirit Brings Peace

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Daily Devotion – June 10, 2022

Devotion based on John 14:26,27

See series: Devotions

Are you looking for peace? We want there to be peace in the world, but then war is waged. We want to live peaceful and quite lives, but riots break out in the streets. We want there to be peace in our relationships, but sharp words stir things up. At the end of a long day, we just want some peace and quiet, but we come home to more work—a stack of laundry, something to fix, something to clean.

What is it that troubles you? What is happening in your life, internally or externally, that robs you of a sense of peace? Externally a war of evil is being waged. Internally, we wrestle sinful desires or guilt. We just want peace. We just need peace!

In this world the concept of peace is so elusive, and it always will be. The peace that our world dangles in front of us is just a concept. It’s an ideal that we’re striving for but never seem to find it.

The peace that Jesus gives is not merely a state of mind. It’s something that God declares. You have peace with God through the forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. God declares that you are at peace with him. You have the peace of a complete salvation—there is nothing left for you to do. Rest in the peace of Jesus and his love!

As Jesus was about to leave this world, he gave his disciples an out-of-this-world peace! He promised to send his Spirit to remind and to teach. Jesus hasn’t left us in this world to find our own peace. He gives us his Spirit to remind and teach by his Word that even as the battles rage internally and externally, we have peace. Peace with God. An out-of-this-world peace in Jesus and by his Spirit.

Prayer:
Come, Holy Spirit, and continually bring eternal, out-of-this-world peace 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.
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The Spirit Unites Us with Each Other – June 9. 2022

“How is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”
Acts 2:8-11

The Spirit Unites Us with Each Other

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Daily Devotion – June 9, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 2:8-11

See series: Devotions

He recently moved from overseas with his family. Everything was new. The language was not his native tongue. The food was not what he was accustomed to. He had to drive on new roads with new rules. Working and interacting in a new culture was not always easy.

Imagine the relief when he came across something familiar. Christianity was not predominate in his home country, but this man was a Christian. When he came to a Christian church in a country and culture not his own, he walked into something familiar. As his voice joined with others in praise to God, he and his family suddenly didn’t feel like strangers anymore.

After the worship service, he ran up to the pastor, service folder in hand. He exclaimed, “Pastor! In my country, in my language we say the same thing!” He pointed to prayers, lessons, words spoken in unison that confessed the triune God.

That is the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works through the Word to unite us with God. In doing so, he also unites us with each other. No matter where you are from or what language you speak, together we hear and read the same powerful Word of God translated into our own native tongues.

When we read and study the Bible, or when we walk through those church doors, we’re stepping into a place where we find unity amid diversity. The Spirit takes us to a place that transcends time, language, and culture. With our unique backgrounds and cultures and languages we hear the same wonders of God proclaimed—the wonderful news of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the nations. Then our varied voices blend into one as we praise and proclaim one Lord and Savior. You’re no longer a stranger in a new place. You belong here now.

Prayer:
Come, Holy Spirit, unite and strengthen my bond with all believers everywhere by the power of your Word! 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.
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The Spirit Unites Us With God – June 8, 2022

‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. . . . And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Acts 2:17,21

The Spirit Unites Us With God

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Daily Devotion – June 8, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 2:17,21

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“Daddy? Mommy? Help me!” The little girl calls out frantically. She was downstairs playing by herself when she tripped. It hurts. She feels all alone. For a moment, she doesn’t know where her parents are. Can they hear her? Will they come to help her? The cries intensify.

But as soon as he heard his daughter cry for help, Daddy leaped up from his desk and ran downstairs to help his daughter. All she needed was to be picked up, comforted, and to know that she was not alone as she rested in the arms of her father.

“Lord, help me!” We are down here, and God is in heaven. We trip and stumble. We experience something that hurts or something that terrifies us. At times, we may feel all alone. For a moment, we may wonder, “Can God hear me? Will he come to help me?” The cries intensify.

But before you ever cried out to the Lord, he has come to help you. First, he sent his Son to rescue you from the punishment of sin. By his dying and rising from the dead, Jesus has saved you eternally. Because of Jesus, you can call the God who made you “Father,” and he listens.

God also sent his Spirit, the Comforter. God is not far away. He’s closer than we might often realize. He sends his Spirit to dwell in you and in the heart of every believer. The Spirit unites us with the triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are not left hanging in this life wondering if God still listens, cares, and will help us. He has come to help and comfort.

The Lord will come again to rescue you one last time from this world of troubles. Until then, he has given you his Spirit to comfort and assure you that you are not alone—you rest in the tender love and care of your God and your Father!

Prayer:
Come, Holy Spirt, and comfort me when I am hurt, strengthen me when I am weak, and keep me in your tender care. 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.
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The Spirit Breaks Barriers – June 7, 2022

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues [languages] as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:4

The Spirit Breaks Barriers

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Daily Devotion – June 7, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 2:4

See series: Devotions

Have you ever experienced a language barrier? I was traveling in a foreign country and found myself at a loss for words. I knew what I wanted to say. I even tried as I pulled up the language learning app on my phone. But either a poor translation or mispronounced words made the native speaker laugh instead of understand. The barrier still remained.

Those language barriers have existed ever since tower of Babel. Early in human history, recorded in the Bible, everyone spoke a common language. However, when they united around a sinful purpose, God said, “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other” (Genesis 11:7). And the barrier has remained to this day.

Those language barriers are also a reminder of a bigger barrier that once stood between us and God. That barrier didn’t cause embarrassment, or confusion. Sin once separated us from God eternally.

But the Spirit of God breaks those barriers. He broke the barrier of language on Pentecost, 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection, when he sent the Holy Sprit. All of a sudden, the language barriers were torn down by the Spirit. Jesus’ disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they were able to speak in other languages. Travels from all over the world heard the good news of Jesus in their very own language. And the barrier came down.

By the written Word of God, which has been translated into your language and many more, the Spirit is at work to tear down that barrier that once stood between you and God. By the good news of Jesus that you hear and read in your own language the Spirit creates and strengthens faith. In your very own language, you hear the good news that no barrier remains between you and God because Jesus paid your price. Jesus was crucified for you! Jesus was raised to life for you! Sin no longer separates you from God. It has been taken away.

Prayer:
Come, Holy Spirit, and tear down the barriers I have created. By your Word, strengthen my faith to know the love of God and complete forgiveness I have through Christ. 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.
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Pride Divides, The Spirit Unites – June 6, 2022

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But the Lord came down.
Genesis 11:4,5

Pride Divides, The Spirit Unites

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Daily Devotion – June 6, 2022

Devotion based on Genesis 11:4,5

See series: Devotions

It didn’t seem like they were doing anything wrong. They wanted to build a tower to reach the skies. They united around a building project. They were getting along.

But God had different plans for them. After the flood, he told Noah and his family to “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). But the generations following Noah wanted to stay put. They were comfortable. They wanted to build more than just a tower. They wanted to build a name for themselves. Their pride led to their divide.

“The Lord came down” and confused their language, so that their building efforts came to screeching halt. They could not understand each other, so they parted ways.

Haven’t we wanted to build something and accomplish something to make a name for ourselves? Haven’t we planned according to our will above God’s will? Haven’t we made comfort and convenience a higher priority than doing what God wants us to do? That sinful pride divides.

But God unites. The Lord came down another time. This time he did not come to scatter. He came to gather. Jesus, true God and true man, came down from heaven to mend the divide your pride has caused between you and God. He came to save all who are scattered throughout the world. By his perfect life and death on the cross he made peace between you and God. He rose from the dead and promised to send the Holy Spirit.

And he did. He sent his Spirit 50 days after he rose from the dead on a day called Pentecost. He sends his Spirit to you through his Word and through baptism. The Spirit unites. He unites you with the God who created you and saved you. He unites you with his family—the church.

By the power of the Spirit, you are no longer separated from God; you are united to him, now and forever!

Prayer:
Come, Holy Spirit, and kindle in me the fire of your 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.
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Call on Him Who Listens and Saves – June 5, 2022

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Acts 2:21

Call on Him Who Listens and Saves

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Daily Devotion – June 5, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 2:21

See series: Devotions

Have you ever tried to phone someone only to discover that the number was changed and is now unlisted? This can be very frustrating, especially if you really need to reach that person.

Imagine not being able to reach God, or worse, having him hang up on you! But don’t be afraid of that. The apostle Peter tells us that a call to God, based on true faith in him as our Lord, will always get through. The “line” to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will never be disconnected for those who call on him.

These words also remind us that the day of judgment is fast approaching. It could come this year. It could come next week. Today is our time of grace; our time to call on the name of the Lord in faith and live with the blessing of being connected to him now and forever. This is also our time to point others to Jesus Christ who is the only source of their salvation, so that they too may call on the Lord in faith and be saved.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I thank and praise you for not turning a deaf ear to my cries for mercy and for sending your one and only Son to take the punishment my sins deserve. Help me call on you in faith for my eternal salvation and help me share this wonderful news 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.
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