Jesus, Our Ascended King – May 25, 2017

God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.
Psalm 47:5-8

Jesus, Our Ascended King


Daily Devotion – May 25, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 47:5-8

See series: Devotions

Inauguration Day is a hopeful day for citizens of the United States. Imagine that your favorite candidate wins the presidential election. You watch him climb the steps of Capitol Hill and swear to uphold the duties of his new office. Loyal supporters cheer with delight as they line the parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue. They watch as their newly elected leader makes his way toward the White House. Citizens are hopeful that a new leader will bring significant improvement to their country and lives.

But year after year, decade after decade, we become disappointed. It doesn’t take long to realize that our leaders are only human and their course of governance struggles to bring about positive results. With each new election cycle it seems less and less likely that the next candidate will make any significant difference.

King David paints a much more optimistic picture in Psalm 47. He is not writing about a day that he or any other person would take office. He describes a much more joyful day. It is the day that God would ascend to his throne to rule the world.

The rule of a just, loving King who rules with all power while having complete concern for his people is hard for us to comprehend. What would it be like to live beyond the reach of our enemies and their terrorizing threats? What would it be like to have a leader provide for all of our needs? Can we even imagine a world without hurt or heartache or frustration?

Jesus came to make this type of kingdom a reality for us. Before he made his ascent to the throne, he made his descent into this world. He became one of us, sharing our humanity while, at the same time, remaining true God. He lived for us. He died for us and he rose from the dead for us. He is our champion over sin and death.

And when his saving work on earth was done, he ascended to the throne for us. Forty days after his resurrection Jesus went back to heaven. And we are told why. In the Apostles’ Creed we confess that Jesus “sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty.” In other words, like our verses for today proclaim, “He has ascended amid shouts of joy.” At this very moment Jesus rules the world in the best interest of his believers, his Church on earth, and will one day return as the judge of all mankind.

Today Jesus sits at God’s right hand and rules the world, but we cannot see him. He rules behind the scenes through the authorities that he has set in place. But we can still take comfort in the fact that he is in control and meets every one of our physical and spiritual needs. We also look forward to the day when this Psalm will be fulfilled completely. We will join the crowds who shout for joy and sing the praises of our ascended Savior and King.

Prayer:
Jesus, you are my ascended Lord. Continue to rule the world and my life in truth and love. I look forward to the day when you will return to this world and I will join in endless worship and praise. Amen.

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

Making Known the Unknown God – May 24, 2017

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.”
Acts 17:22-23

Making Known the Unknown God


Daily Devotion – May 24, 2017

Devotion based on Acts 17:22-23

See series: Devotions

Paul was disturbed by what he saw. Everywhere he looked in the city of Athens there were idols, idols, idols. He even found an altar dedicated “To an Unknown God.” Paul’s heart broke to see all these supposedly wise Athenians worshiping gods that weren’t anything at all. How desperately Paul wanted to tell them about the true God!

Paul’s opportunity to do just that came when the philosophers of the Areopagus invited him to speak to them. Although these pagan philosophers knew nothing of the true God, Paul started with something they did know. He started with that altar “To an Unknown God.” He talked about how the true God is not like pagan gods. He’s not confined to a man-made shrine, nor does he depend on human beings for his upkeep. He is rather the God who made all things and upon whom every human being depends. He is the God who wants all people to come to know him. His almighty power and divine wisdom are evident in the world so that people would reach out for him and find him. And he gave the greatest message about himself in one person—a man whom he raised from the dead!

Do you know someone who worships an “unknown god”? You probably won’t find anyone bowing before an actual altar with “To an Unknown God” inscribed on it as Paul did. But likely you know people who do not yet know the true God. They may worship Buddha or Allah or Krishna—or they may say that they worship no god at all. Our hearts break, as Paul’s did, when we see people trying to live without the true God in their lives. But how can we share the true God with them?

We can do as Paul did. We can take the time to get to know them and find out what is important to them. We can genuinely love them and be willing to meet them where they are. And we can unashamedly share with them the faith that God has given us. Like Paul, we can tell them about the true God who loved us so much that he sent his Son to live, die, and rise again for us.

Will those with whom we share the true God always listen? No. In fact, only a few of the people who listened to Paul speak in the Areopagus believed him. The rest thought he was crazy. Not everyone with whom we share the true God will believe. Ultimately, it’s not up to us to bring people to faith any more than it was up to Paul. Creating faith is God’s work, not ours. All God asks us to do is make him known to others. And whenever we do that, our effort is never wasted.

Prayer:
I thank you, Lord, for making yourself known to me. Help me take advantage of the opportunities you give me to make you known to others. Amen.

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

The Heart’s Unhindered Hope – May 23, 2017

In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. … For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
1 Peter 3:15,18

The Heart’s Unhindered Hope


Daily Devotion – May 23, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Peter 3:15,18

See series: Devotions

What hopes do you harbor in your heart? The human heart may swell with hope for good health, only to be dashed by tragic accidents or serious sicknesses. The heart may hope for a brighter tomorrow, but shortly that hope is dimmed by the specter of death. The sinful human heart is often broken by a fixated pursuit of fleeting hopes.

Christ fills the empty and broken heart with hope that never disappoints. Jesus provides healing hope. This hope springs eternal through his life-giving gospel. Jesus saw our hopeless debt of misspent years and misplaced hope. The Savior paid the ultimate price of his life to assure us of his healing hope. The Savior sacrificed himself for us—for all! Jesus dispels our hopelessness with the certainty of the forgiveness he won for us.

Jesus fills us with confident hope. Questions abound in the hearts of many people concerning mankind’s existence. “Where did we come from?” “Why are we here?” “Where are we going?” The Lord lovingly provides unchanging answers in the Bible. His word is truth. The Holy Spirit fills our hearts with faith to believe the Bible’s life-giving message. He also strengthens us to confidently share that message with those who are searching for the firm answers that only the Bible provides.

Jesus graciously gives us lasting hope. Earthly hopes can quickly erode; Easter hope endures forever. The heart that sets apart Christ as Lord has hope that will never fade. The Savior who died for sins once for all has risen! We eagerly look forward to the eternal life in heaven promised to us by the risen and ascended Lord.

Our Christ-centered hope will always give us rest in the unrest of the world. It will also give us reason to give an answer to others for the sure hope that we have.

Prayer:
Risen Lord Jesus, thank you for the living hope you have won for me through your life-giving gospel. Renew my heart to be set apart for you now and always. Amen.

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

If You Love Me – May 22, 2017

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
John 14:15

If You Love Me


Daily Devotion – May 22, 2017

Devotion based on John 14:15

See series: Devotions

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” When we don’t keep Jesus’ commands, we are loving that sin more than we love Jesus.

When you look at another person with lust in your heart, you are loving the sin of lust more than you are loving Jesus. When you choose to spread some juicy gossip about someone else, you are loving the sin of gossip more than Jesus. When you blurt out: “Oh my God!” or carelessly demand that God damn someone or something, you are loving the sin of misusing God’s name more than Jesus.

When we sin, we love that sin more than we love Jesus.

Jesus loves you more than you love him. And, Jesus loved you first. In love, Jesus came into this world filled with people who hate and trample on God’s commands. In love, Jesus lived in perfect obedience to all those commands we could not keep. In love, Jesus suffered and died for all the commands you, I and all people have broken. In love, Jesus rose and God declares you not guilty of breaking any of his commands.

That’s a ton of love from Jesus to the whole world, to you!

We get to respond to Jesus’ love by loving him. One of the ways we love Jesus is by keeping his commands. In what areas of your life can you do better in keeping Jesus’ commands? How can you better show your love for Jesus as you love other people? Pray for Jesus’ help and strength. Work faithfully to follow him, even when it’s difficult.

Increase your love for Jesus. We love Jesus more when we know and trust him more. The Holy Spirit grows your love and trust in Jesus through God’s Word. Go to worship. Get into a Bible study. Read God’s Word in your home. Get connected to your local church (find a local church here). Your love for Jesus will grow as you see Jesus’ great love for you.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for your immeasurably great love for me. Fill my heart and life with love for you as I follow your commands. Amen.

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

Heaven is Open – May 21, 2017

During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
Acts 16:9

Heaven is Open


Daily Devotion – May 21, 2017

Devotion based on Acts 16:9

See series: Devotions

How long will eternity last?

Seriously, stop and think about that question.

When you think about it, it’s mind-boggling. The hymn “Amazing Grace” reads, “When we’ve been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, then when we’d first begun.” And that’s true! Eternity will go on and on and on and on and …, well, you get the picture.

Of course, for us who are believers in Jesus, that’s an awesome thing! We’ll be enjoying God’s love and praising him, and it will be incredibly meaningful and joyful!

But for those who go to hell? It will be horrible, horrible, horrible! Separated forever from God and his love, suffering without end!

So can we understand the plea from the Macedonian man? What did the people in that area need? More than anything else they needed to know about Jesus and his forgiving love! More than anything else they needed to know that God loved them! More than anything else they needed to know that heaven was open for them because Jesus had died and risen!

And wonderfully God has brought that knowledge to you! God has “helped” you in bringing you to know that Jesus is your Savior! God has “helped” you in knowing that you’re on your way to heaven! Could anything be more important, more valuable than that?!

And now you get the honor of “helping” others, by leading them to Jesus. Whom can you “help” today?

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for “helping” me, leading me to trust that you have saved me. Fill me with appreciation! And lead me to be one who can “help” others to know you. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Enduring Temple – May 20, 2017

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


Daily Devotion – May 20, 2017

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 21st 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. In that temple you will find 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 us by your Spirit to find our refuge in you. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Those Who Persevere are Blessed – May 19, 2017

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12

Those Who Persevere are Blessed


Daily Devotion – May 19, 2017

Devotion based on James 1:12

See series: Devotions

It’s the season of graduations. Students have made it through the rigors of years of classes, projects, assignments and tests, and they are receiving the reward for their labors. The reward is usually a diploma, handed to them on a stage by someone representing the school. The students are often wearing a funny academic hat, showing everyone that they are graduates.

In our devotional verse for today, James talks about the rigors of life. He calls them trials, but he doesn’t mean things that happen in a courtroom. He means things that try our patience, and especially things that try to take our focus away from Jesus and his love. These life tests aren’t graded by teachers. But they are observed by our family and friends. People watch whether we keep our cool and whether we keep our faith in God.

James says that people who hang in there, who persevere, are blessed. When we keep our connection with God and his Word, even though we suffer, we receive the blessings that God promises in his Word: forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. The love of God that comes through faith in Jesus keeps us from despair. It gives us strength to keep going even when the going gets tough.

Our reward is not a diploma. It’s a hat, but not a funny one! James calls it the crown of life, and he is using the picture of the crown that was placed on the head of the winners of races in his day. It’s the crown that Jesus has already won, and has already promised us through faith in him.

When we realize that the crown does not depend on our effort but on Jesus’ love, it makes the race of life much easier. Yes, there will be trials and tests, but God’s promises help us through. God gives us the faith, the strength to persevere, and the crown of eternal life in heaven.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship – A Lutheran Hymnal: 141)
Father, who the crown shall give,
Savior, by whose death we live,
Spirit, guide through all our days,
Three in One, your name we praise. Alleluia!

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

Confidence in God – May 18, 2017

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Confidence in God


Daily Devotion – May 18, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 15:13

See series: Devotions

Having confidence in someone is a beautiful thing. At work when I have confidence in my fellow employees, I don’t have to stress about deadlines. I don’t worry about work falling through the cracks. Having trust in the people around me makes for a great working environment.

Confidence in my spouse is even better. Not only do I trust my wife to be faithful to me, but we also work as a team on everything from raising our children to household chores to budgeting and planning for retirement. I thank God that our relationship continues to grow even after 20 years of marriage.

As the apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Rome, he identifies the ultimate type of confidence in a relationship. It is the trust and confidence that we can have in God. And God has worked hard throughout history to earn that trust. In a general way you can look at the Bible as God’s resume’ for why he can be trusted. Throughout history he showed his faithfulness to people like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and David—as well as the entire nation of Israel.

God has proven himself trustworthy to you as well. Just look at the life of Jesus. He came into the world to be your Savior. He lived the life that God demands of you and then freely gave it on the cross to pay for your sin. He showed his power over death on Easter when he walked out of his grave as our champion. And he desires nothing more than a relationship with you that is based on trust and mutual love.

Can you see how having a loving, trust-based relationship with God will result in joy and peace? The joy comes when we no longer have to live with guilt and shame over past transgressions. Instead we can live with a clear conscience looking to our future instead of our past. We also have peace in our relationship with God. With this newfound peace we see God as our ally, not our enemy. When difficulties come in life, we don’t run from God thinking he is punishing us, instead we run to him for protection, comfort and strength.

Working in the middle of all God’s promises is the Holy Spirit. He works through God’s Word and sacraments to do everything from convicting us of sin to comforting us with the gospel. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we recognize and trust Jesus as our Savior. It is also through Holy Spirit that we live in thanks for all that God has done for us.

One special gift that the Holy Spirit gives us is hope. This hope isn’t just a feeling or expectation that something good might happen, but it is a confidence that an expected outcome will happen. We have a certain hope that Jesus will return sometime soon. We know that one day God will take us to be with him in heaven, just like he promised. We have hope as we lay hold of all of God’s promises even when we experience pain and hurt and heartache.

I encourage you to make time each day to spend with God in his Word. It is in this personal devotion time that the Holy Spirit will continue to build your relationship with God and strengthen your faith in him. Find out for yourself the joy of living at peace with God with a certain hope for the future.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, I thank you that I can have complete trust in you. When difficulties and hardships come in my life, remind me to turn to you for all the help I need. Please continue to fill me with your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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

You are a Chosen People – May 17, 2017

In Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” … You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:6,9

You are a Chosen People


Daily Devotion – May 17, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Peter 2:6,9

See series: Devotions

The Bible comforts me with the profound promise that God chose me to be his own. Before he created me–even before he created the world–God chose me! This promise powerfully proclaims that I am not an afterthought in the mind of God. He knew me in the timelessness of eternity and intensely treasures me to this day.

Yet how can I be so certain that I am God’s chosen child? The devil assaults me with his personal accusations. He points out the glaring guilt of my many sins. He reminds me of my ever-present sinful nature that still desires to rebel against my gracious God and his holy will. With each passing day, the old evil foe threatens to drive me into the darkness of doubt and despair.

In my distress Christ calls to me through the light of his gospel. He refreshes me with the good news that I am a chosen child of God because he was chosen to be my Savior from sin. He was chosen to be the holy, unblemished Lamb of God, whose perfect innocence now covers me.

He was chosen to be the suffering Lamb of sacrifice, who carried the deep debt of my every sin to the cross and satisfied that debt with his own lifeblood. I live each day assured that I belong to him and that he is forever committed to caring for me with his perpetual gift of grace.

Jesus is the chosen and precious cornerstone. He forever stands as the foundation of my confidence and the light of my life. Although the world rejects Christ and treats his people as outcasts, those who trust in Jesus will never be put to shame. His unyielding love compels me to continually declare his praises with my lips and my life.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you are the rock of my faith. Thank you for clearly and constantly revealing the light of your forgiveness and grace to me, your chosen child. Amen.

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

The Word Works – May 16, 2017

When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. … As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
Acts 17:1-5,10-12

The Word Works


Daily Devotion – May 16, 2017

Devotion based on Acts 17:1-5,10-12

See series: Devotions

Although the apostle Paul had been stoned and left for dead at Lystra for calling Jesus the “Christ” or “Messiah,” he continued preaching Jesus in Thessalonica. In this commercial center at the crossroads of the empire, once again Paul was talking Bible, Christ, Good Friday, and Easter in the synagogue.

In the holy writings of the Scriptures there are two absolute certainties. The first: Jesus had to die. He sacrificed his body and shed his blood to pay for the guilt of our sin. Jesus had to die because by his death he destroyed death and the one who uses death’s power to terrify, the devil. Jesus is our Victor and our King.

The second: Jesus had to rise. On the third day, “just as he said,” Jesus had guaranteed that he would rise. His single sacrifice for sin would never need repeating. Jesus rose to confirm, “Paid in full.” Now the glorious King comforts his people with his victory over sin, Satan, hell, and the grave. Jesus lives to say, “One sacrifice offered once for all.”

So wherever and whenever the gospel is preached according to the Scriptures, there will be a response to Jesus. In Thessalonica, there was an immediate and favorable response by both Jews and Greeks, by both men and women. But there was also opposition to the gospel. Rabble rousers caused confusion. Even so, gospel preaching continued in Thessalonica, though Paul was forced to flee. It continued, but under a cloud of intense persecution. The word keeps on working despite opposition.

In Berea people listened too, not just to the apostles, but first and foremost they listened to the Scriptures. They opened their Bibles to test what Paul said, and only when they found that his words matched those of the Bible did they listen. And when they listened, many believed. The word keeps on working by grace alone.

Prayer:
God, help us listen to your words which have your power for our salvation. Amen.

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

Calm for Troubled Hearts – May 15, 2017

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:1-3

Calm for Troubled Hearts


Daily Devotion – May 15, 2017

Devotion based on John 14:1-3

See series: Devotions

An American band has an album called “Trouble Will Find Me.” It’s altogether too true. It’s not just that trouble may find me. Trouble will find me. I don’t know when or what or how, but there’s no way to always avoid trouble. That can be troubling news.

What’s worse, is that you and I sometimes seek trouble and make trouble. Remember the last time you picked a fight? Remember the times you’ve lied or gossiped? Remember when you wrote something hurtful online or saw something inappropriate online? Sometimes we see temptation, pick it up and build some trouble—trouble for ourselves and for others.

Yes, sometimes trouble finds us. Sometimes we make trouble.

And when trouble comes—whether from our own hand or someone else’s—what happens to our hearts? Our hearts are anxious, worried, sad, angry, confused… Our hearts are troubled.

Jesus calmly tells you and me: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Why? We should expect our holy God to want to stay far away from troublemakers like us. Yet, in love, God sent Jesus to take all the troubles and sins of this world on himself. In our place and because of our sins, Jesus suffered and died. God raised Jesus and forgives the troubles we make and the sins we commit.

And in love, God even calms our troubled hearts. What troubles you? Is it heart-breaking world news or the newest heartache that has rocked your home? Is it an uncertain future or certain news about your health or finances? Whatever it is, God who’s forgiven you and prepared a room for you in his heavenly house says: “Trust in me.” In heaven, God will keep all trouble far from you. Your heart will never be troubled because all troubles will be removed.

The troubles of this world may surround you. Don’t let them trouble your heart. Trust in God. He has taken care of your past. He has prepared your future. He is with you today.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for forgiving all my sins. Help me to face trouble confidently. Thank you for the room you prepare for me in your Father’s house. Keep my trust in you strong and growing until you take me to be with you forever. Amen.

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

Jesus Won the Victory – May 14, 2017

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Revelation 21:3-5

Jesus Won the Victory


Daily Devotion – May 14, 2017

Devotion based on Revelation 21:3-5

See series: Devotions

Individuals with dark hearts set off explosions that kill and maim and injure dozens of people. Flooding destroys farmland and cripples a local economy. A distracted driver loses control and runs down a young student… Sometimes it seems that everywhere we turn we find destruction and heartache in our world.

What a beautiful comfort it is to know that one day that will all change. One day our all-powerful and living Savior will make everything new.

Right now, sin, death, and the devil have a firm hold on this world. We see the effects of their devastating attacks all around us. The war is fierce, and at times it certainly seems as though evil is winning. In the end, however, Jesus is victorious.

In fact, the victory has already been won. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, Satan’s power to accuse and condemn us was destroyed. His accusations are empty because our sin has been removed by the blood of Jesus. When he rose from the grave, he destroyed the power of death. That powerful enemy no longer has the ability to terrify us because we know that we who believe in Jesus as our Savior will live just as he does.

In the end, the victory Jesus won will be fully experienced by all who believe in him. In heaven, all of the evils of this world will not even be a distant memory—they will be gone forever. None of the things that cause pain and heartache will pass through the gates of heaven. There will be no more tears because every reason for crying will have been removed.

We can persevere through all the hardships of this world with our eyes focused on Jesus. He has won the victory for us, and one day, he will make everything new.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, lift my eyes from the pain of this world to see the victory you have won for me. Help me to look forward with eager anticipation to the glory of my heavenly home where everything will be made new. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Love One Another – May 13, 2017

“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 all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:33-35

Love One Another


Daily Devotion – May 13, 2017

Devotion based on John 13:33-35

See series: Devotions

“Clean up the kitchen after you eat. Feed the dog and let him out. Make sure you get your homework finished and get to bed by 9:00.” 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 very 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 that 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 of ourselves to see others and their needs, and then working to meet those needs even if it means personal sacrifice on our part, 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.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Praise His Name – May 12, 2017

O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
Isaiah 25:1

Praise His Name


Daily Devotion – May 12, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:1

See series: Devotions

What’s in a name? Often a name conjures up a bunch of images. For example, if I say, “Michael Jordan,” most people probably think, “Basketball.” If I say “Adolph Hitler,” most of us probably cringe because of the horrible things he did. A name usually does far more than merely identify someone; it also reminds us of talents or weaknesses or abilities or reputation.

So what’s in God’s name? In Exodus 34:6-7 God himself says about his name: “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” When we hear the name “LORD,” God wants us to hear things like, “compassion, grace, patience, forgiveness, faithfulness.”

For a sinner like me, what could be better? While I fail to be compassionate, the LORD is perfectly compassionate to me. While I struggle to show grace to people, to forgive people, to be patient, the LORD overflows with grace and mercy for me, he’s always willing to forgive me, he’s wonderfully patient with me. While I struggle to be faithful, God never struggles to be faithful. In fact, he’s perfectly faithful, and he’s perfectly faithful to me! And to you too. And because of his grace, mercy, compassion and faithfulness, he chose to do wonderful things for you and me, including coming to this earth to win salvation for us!

So it makes sense that we use God’s name with adoration; that we exalt his name and lift it high because God’s name reminds us that he is our wonderful Savior!

Prayer:
O LORD, lead me to praise your name with my words, attitudes and activities. Amen.

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

Compassion and Forgiveness – May 11, 2017

…put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:24

Compassion and Forgiveness


Daily Devotion – May 11, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:24

See series: Devotions

A mother took her youngest daughter to the doctor for a check-up and some shots. She also had to take along her two older daughters, both of whom were under the age of 7. She expected to have the hardest time with her youngest, since she was the one getting the shots. As it turned out, her two older daughters cried more than the youngest, who barely cried at all. Why did the older two cry more? Because they didn’t want their little sister to be in pain. They hurt at the thought of their sister hurting. That is what compassion is: to be so concerned for someone that when they hurt you hurt.

Compassion is something God wants us to have for others. He calls upon us to put ourselves in the place of other people, to be so concerned for each other that our hearts hurt when we see the hurt of others. Maybe you’ve had compassion for people in heartbreaking situations. But what about those who do wrong to you, who hurt you? For sinners like us, anger and a desire for vengeance flow forth much more easily than compassion does.

In contrast, there is the example of the widow of an Egyptian Christian who was killed while worshipping at church this past Palm Sunday. She said that she forgives the attackers. If you watch the video of an interview she gave on Egyptian TV, you’ll see that she genuinely did not harbor any ill will. Instead, in the very people who had taken the life of her husband she saw a desperate need for forgiveness and salvation.

Where does that come from? Where do you get that kind of compassion? You get it from the King of Compassion, Jesus. God saw our sinful and lost condition and his heart hurt for us. He not only felt for us, in the person of Jesus Christ, God became one of us. God’s concern for us and our souls drove him to bear our sins on the cross. In the ultimate act of compassion, the sinless Son of God gave his precious life to save us, the sinful. Through faith in Jesus, God forgives our sin and gives us life everlasting.

Now having poured his love into our hearts, God tells us to pour out that love for others. God was kind to us. So be kind to others. God showed compassion to us and for us. Now show compassion for others. In Jesus, God forgives us. Now go and forgive others.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, what compassion you have shown to me in dying on the cross to pay for all my sin! Help me to reflect the same kindness, compassion and forgiveness to others which you have given to me. Amen.

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

That’s Not Fair! – May 10, 2017

Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 7:55-60

That’s Not Fair!


Daily Devotion – May 10, 2017

Devotion based on Acts 7:55-60

See series: Devotions

In the years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the believers in Jerusalem asked Stephen and six other men to oversee the care for their widows. Stephen faithfully served these women in need and spent his time sharing Jesus’ love with many other people.

The Jewish leaders became angry that Stephen was claiming Jesus was God and had died for the sins of all people. They put Stephen on trial for abusing God’s name. The verses tell us how that trial ended.

Stephen had spent his life helping others. He had shared God’s love with everyone he could. What did all his service and love get him? Condemnation and death.

That’s not fair!

It wasn’t. It also wasn’t fair what happened to Stephen after he died. Jesus welcomed Stephen into heaven. Despite all Stephen’s good work, he still had disobeyed God plenty of times. The fair thing for God to do would have been to condemn Stephen. Instead, God placed Stephen’s sins on Jesus so Stephen could go to heaven. That wasn’t fair!

God has done the same thing for you. Maybe you got into trouble for doing the right thing. Maybe people took advantage of you. Maybe you played by the rules and the cheater won instead of you. You have every right to cry out, “That’s not fair!” You might be tempted to blame God for being unfair to you.

But don’t blame him, praise God for not being fair. He heard your lies and your complaining. He felt your distrust of his plans for your life. He knew your worries and heard your accusations. Instead of condemning you for these sins, which would have been fair, God was unfair to you.

Just as he did with Stephen, God blamed Jesus for all you’ve done wrong. God punished Jesus in your place. Then God unfairly reserved a spot for you in heaven—because of Jesus.

No matter what you suffer and endure in life, you can thank God that he has and will treat you unfairly. He will welcome you into heaven, just as he did Stephen—because of Jesus!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for being “unfair” with me. When I struggle, when people do wrong to me, remind me how God punished you so I could go to heaven. Amen.

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

Clarity – May 9, 2017

To this you were called…
1 Peter 2:21

Clarity


Daily Devotion – May 9, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Peter 2:21

See series: Devotions

The story of the Titanic is the most famous sea disaster in modern history. Everything about the story seems unforgettable. It was the largest vessel in the world. It was the most luxurious. It was believed to be unsinkable. Nevertheless, on its maiden voyage in 1912, Titanic struck an iceberg and sank, taking over 1500 people to their deaths.

And not only has the sinking of the ship itself become famous. The experiences of many of its passengers have become famous too. There is, however, the story of one passenger that not many have heard.

John Harper was a widower. He was on his way to Chicago. With him was his only child, his six-year-old daughter. After Titanic struck the iceberg and it became clear that the ship was going to sink, John placed his daughter in a lifeboat and said goodbye, telling her she would see him again someday.

Many other fathers were saying similar things to their loved ones that terrible night. What’s distinctive about John Harper, however, is what he did with the time he had left. John Harper spent the time he had left telling others about Jesus.

Near the end, when Titanic had sunk and John was in the frigid water, he swam up to a man floating on some wreckage. John shared Jesus with him, but the man refused to believe. John then gave the man his lifejacket, telling him, “Here…you need this more than I do.” Soon after, John succumbed to the cold and sank beneath the waves.

According to the accounts, at least one man came to faith in Jesus that night, perhaps many more. The Holy Spirit accomplished this through the power of the gospel that John Harper courageously shared.

By God’s grace, John understood the treasure of forgiveness he had in his Savior. He understood that his calling as a Christian was to share that treasure with others. His mission was clear.

Ours is too.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me clarity. Give me clarity as to why I am here. Give me clarity to spend my days as a living witness for you. Amen.

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

Enter Here! – May 8, 2017

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”
John 10:9

Enter Here!


Daily Devotion – May 8, 2017

Devotion based on John 10:9

See series: Devotions

Mike was distracted. He ignored his wife’s warning, “You can’t turn here!” He also didn’t see the sign which clearly indicated: Do Not Enter. Soon he came to the stark realization turning was the wrong thing to do. Fortunately, there was a driveway where he corrected his mistake and avoided on-coming traffic.

Often I find myself in the same predicament. However, it usually doesn’t happen when I drive the car. I see it in the way I live my life. The Lord has clearly marked the way I should go. He has also clearly warned me about the places where I should not go. Even though there are numerous words and warnings which forbid entry, I decide I know better.

My only hope to avoid the on-coming disaster of my poor choices is to focus on Jesus. When he says, “I am the gate,” he shows me the sure, safe, and God-pleasing way through life and to heaven. It is as if he posts a sign which says: Enter Here!

When I acknowledge Jesus is the only way, I soon know the blessing which comes from following him. He clearly promises, “Whoever enters through me will be saved.” With Jesus, there is never any doubt I am on the right path. With Jesus, there is no question about what is prepared and waiting for me.

This is the life my Savior invites me to enter. He even makes it possible for me to enjoy that life. He purifies me to release me from my guilt and shame. He forgives me to remove my disobedience and rebellion. He sets me apart for a life of faithful love to replace my sinful, selfish ways.

Knowing what the Lord promises and the power of his precious work, I want to follow his direction. In love, he has told me he is the gate to life in heaven. In love, he has also told me: Enter Here!

Prayer:
O gracious Lord and living Savior, your precious work and your sacred Word assure me heaven is prepared and waiting, and that I enter through faith in you. Amen.

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

Sing the Song of the Saints – May 7, 2017

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. … And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” …Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; … Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. … And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7:9-17 (selected verses)

Sing the Song of the Saints


Daily Devotion – May 7, 2017

Devotion based on Revelation 7:9-17 (selected verses)

See series: Devotions

People say Christianity is elitist. They don’t want to live by anyone else’s rules but their own. Is it any wonder that one of the most requested songs at funerals is Frank Sinatra’s, “My Way”?

Is that your song? Or does your song echo that of the saints in heaven? –“Salvation belongs to our God, … and to the Lamb.” Followers of Christ don’t boast in themselves. They boast in their Savior God. Jesus is the only thing that really matters in this life. Only he has provided deliverance from sin, all fears, and a hopeless future.

And who benefits? A select few? No! “A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.”

It’s not easy to sing the song of the saints. It’s easy to lose heart in this wicked world. The saints in heaven know it. They are those “who have come out of the great tribulation.” But what do those saints have to say to us? “Hang in there!”

How? Don’t rely on yourself. Trust in him who is truly wise and powerful. God gives you the strength to handle whatever you’re suffering.

Just remember that your suffering doesn’t begin to compare to what’s waiting for you in heaven. “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

From tribulation to triumph. Hang in there. Heaven is worth it!

Prayer:
Give me strength, Lord, when life gets hard. Keep me focused on the glory you have waiting for me in heaven together with all your saints. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

The Word Reveals the Savior – May 6, 2017

After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to Paul and Barnabas, saying, “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.” Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: … “Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.”
Acts 13:15-16, 26-33

The Word Reveals the Savior


Daily Devotion – May 6, 2017

Devotion based on Acts 13:15-16, 26-33

See series: Devotions

He used to be called Saul. Now he is known as Paul. But that’s not all that changed. He used to hate Jesus; he used to persecute everyone who believed in Jesus. Now look at him; in today’s reading we see Paul standing up in a crowd telling everyone what it means that Jesus has died on the cross and has been raised again to life. Clearly, it wasn’t just Jesus who had been raised to life. Paul had been raised to life, too.

Before it happened, Paul had been spiritually dead. You and I were born the same way. The Bible says so: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). To be spiritually dead is to be spiritually separated from God and helpless to do anything about it. Being spiritually dead rules out any hope we may have of “finding” God. Dead people can’t “find” things. God had to find Paul (see Acts 19:1-19) and God has to find us, too.

God gives the gift of faith to us the same way he gave it to Paul. He uses the message about Jesus. What a message! You can hear Paul speaking it in today’s lesson. Jesus accepted God’s punishment for sin which we deserved. He gave his life for ours. He rescued us from spiritual death. With this message, God does something so wonderful and miraculous that we wouldn’t be any less amazed if we saw a corpse brought back to life: he awakens our trust in Jesus. He makes us spiritually alive. He lets us see his love clearly, and he holds us close to him and his blessings in this life and the next.

Jesus’ death and resurrection happened only once, but God gives him to us over and over again through the message of what Jesus has done. Whenever God uses his Word to reveal the world’s Savior, he gives hopeless sinners hope. He gives condemned sinners a bright future. He raises spiritual corpses from the dead, and gives the gift of spiritual life. The gift is for you and me again today. Because of Jesus, all of your sin is forgiven. In him, you have the gift of life.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, risen Savior, you were dead and have now been raised to life. Take away every impulse in me that wants to run from you, and raise me to spiritual life every day by the power of your forgiving love. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Thanking God – May 5, 2017

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Thanking God


Daily Devotion – May 5, 2017

Devotion based on Philippians 4:6-7

See series: Devotions

I can’t remember the last time I gave thanks for tires. But can you imagine life without tires? It would be hard! And I can’t remember the last time I gave thanks for silverware, but knives, forks and spoons sure make life easier! I’m not sure when I last thanked God for socks, for towels, for soap, for running water, for trees, for light bulbs, for birds, for the alphabet. Oh, how I fail to give thanks for the gifts God has showered upon me! You too?

While I can’t remember the last time I gave thanks for oh-so-many things, I can easily remember the last time I was anxious about something. Yeah, that was today. And I had some anxious moments the day before too. And I fear that when tomorrow comes, I may struggle with some more anxious moments. Oh, they probably won’t last real long or be all that strong, but they’ll still be there. And sometimes those moments of anxiousness will stretch into hours, or even days. You too?

God gives us several points to ponder. First, he invites us to present our requests to him. After all, he’s the all-powerful ruler of the universe! He can do anything about anything, for anyone! And he invites us to come and talk to him about … whatever! That helps to drive anxiety away.

Second, he encourages us to give thanks. Try it! Purposely thank God for your shoelace, your TV, your shirt, your fingernails, your paper towel, your coffee filter. And what happens? Your eyes are opened to the showers of blessings which God pours out upon you! That helps to drive anxiety away.

Finally, and most importantly, God has blessed you and me with a peace that surpasses understanding. When I close my eyes for the final time, I know what I’ll see next–the glories of heaven! I know that’s what I’ll see, because Jesus won forgiveness for me–even for all those anxious moments and for my lack of thanks. He won forgiveness for me by dying, and proved that I was forgiven by rising from the dead. I know I’m a child of God because God adopted me into his family through baptism, so I know that God loves me! All of that’s true for you too. That helps to drive the anxiety away.

So, go ahead. Thank God for tires.

Prayer:
May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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

Don’t Hold Back – May 4, 2017

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Romans 12:11

Don’t Hold Back


Daily Devotion – May 4, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 12:11

See series: Devotions

A budding martial artist spars with his instructor. As time goes on and more and more energy is expended, the student’s technique becomes sloppy. His kicks and punches don’t land with much impact. It becomes clear that he is no longer giving his best effort. The instructor urges him, “Don’t hold back! Give it all you have, all the time!”

As Christians, how often do we feel like that? Our daily struggle with the lies of the devil, the influence of a godless world, and the temptations of our own sinful nature wear us down. So we hold back from serving the Lord and serving others in love. The husband holds back from being a selfless, loving leader of his family. The business professional holds back from being forgiving and understanding with her fellow employees when there is conflict among them. A young man at school holds back from defending and speaking well of a classmate who is being ridiculed by others. How easy is it for our service to God and to others to become sloppy, inconsistent, and lazy.

So what is the solution to that very real problem? Try harder? Beat ourselves up over it? If our zeal to serve God is lukewarm, then concentrate on the love of God shown to us in his Son, our Savior, Jesus. The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us.” God’s love for us sinners never cooled. His desire to serve us in our greatest need never waned. His love for us burned so intensely that Jesus, our Savior, gave his holy life on the cross to forgive sloppy, inconsistent and lazy service. The Lord Jesus didn’t hold back from us. He gave his all for us to save us from sin and death, and to give us eternity with him.

Now by his grace and blessing, we offer ourselves out of thanks to him. Jesus didn’t hold back from us. So don’t hold back in showing his love to others. Give it all you have, all the time.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive me for being lazy in my service to you and to those around me. Fuel the fire of my faith with your love. Help me to share that love with all the people in my life. Amen.

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

Fixing Huge Mistakes – May 3, 2017

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Acts 2:36-39

Fixing Huge Mistakes


Daily Devotion – May 3, 2017

Devotion based on Acts 2:36-39

See series: Devotions

What do you do when you realize you’ve made a huge mistake? How do you fix it?

God’s people had made a huge mistake. For centuries God had given them specific gifts to make them ready to be the home of the Savior of the world. When everything was ready, God sent his Son, Jesus. God’s people responded by rejecting Jesus. They even drove him to the cross and killed him, though he was innocent of all crimes. They were so out of sync with God, they thought they were doing him a favor with this murder!

Almost two months after their crime, they gathered together in their capital city of Jerusalem for a festival to God. At this feast, they learned how badly they had sinned. One of Jesus’ faithful followers proved to them that Jesus, the man they had crucified, was the Savior whom God had promised. Jesus was their Messiah, and they killed him. But God raised him from the dead.

What they had done hit them like a ton of bricks. After all those blessings, after all those promises, they had thrown away God’s one and only Son! How could they fix this huge sin?

They couldn’t, but God could and did. Jesus’ death on the cross paid for all sins, including theirs. The Word of God that Peter proclaimed to them on that day made them sorry for what they had done wrong. Therefore, Peter told them to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. He told them to trust God’s promise of forgiveness because Jesus died for them. God’s promise of forgiveness was for all people, including their children and even strangers who lived in far-away lands.

Have you made a huge mistake with God’s Son? Dishonored his name by throwing it around carelessly? Ignored him for days at a time as if he was totally unimportant? Worshipped him a few times a year as if he hasn’t done much for you?

You can’t fix huge mistakes you’ve made before God. But God did. He fixed all your sins–huge and small–with the sacrifice of his Son. Jesus died and God forgave all your sins. His complete forgiveness is for you, for your children, for all people wherever they live.

We don’t fix our mistakes with God. God fixed them when he made Jesus, whom we sinners crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Prayer:
Lord, forgive my sins. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for Jesus dying for me. Amen.

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

Empty – May 2, 2017

…you were redeemed from the empty way of life…
1 Peter 1:18

Empty


Daily Devotion – May 2, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:18

See series: Devotions

To live in certain parts of Siberia means to live in some extreme conditions. Over the years, observers of people who live in those extreme conditions of Siberia have described an unsettling phenomenon. The phenomenon has come to be known as “Siberian Hysteria.”

A Japanese author has described Siberian Hysteria in this way. He says, “Try to imagine this: You’re a farmer, living all alone on the Siberian tundra. Day after day you plow your fields. As far as the eye can see, nothing. To the north, the horizon, to the east, the horizon, to the south, to the west, more of the same. Every morning, when the sun rises in the east, you go out to work in your fields. When it’s directly overhead, you take a break for lunch. When it sinks in the west, you go home to sleep. And then one day, something inside you dies. Day after day you watch the sun rise in the east, pass across the sky, then sink in the west, and something breaks inside you and dies. You toss your plow aside and, your head completely empty of thought, begin walking toward the west. Heading toward a land that lies west of the sun. Like someone, possessed, you walk on, day after day, not eating or drinking, until you collapse on the ground and die.” This is a description of Siberian Hysteria.

It is also a description of your life and mine without Jesus.

Think about that for a moment. Isn’t it true that the worst part of living as a lost soul in a broken world is just the sheer emptiness of it all? I can do things to occupy my time. I can find enough to eat. I can find a place to sleep. But if I am doing all this in a vacuum, if I am doing all this surrounded by emptiness–emptiness of meaning, emptiness of hope, emptiness of anything that matters–isn’t it true that I am just a case of Siberian Hysteria waiting to happen?

That’s why God chose to invade my emptiness. He invaded my emptiness in the Person of Jesus. Where once was the awful nothingness created by my own sin, there now is my Savior. His perfect life and death on my behalf destroyed the chasm that had surrounded me, isolated me, made me so alone.

Then he rose from death to assure me that my days of emptiness were over; to assure me that I would never be alone again. Ever.

And he has done the same for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, apart from you, my life is empty. But now you are here. My sins are forgiven. Heaven is mine. The emptiness is gone. Thank you. Amen.

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

The Simple Truth – May 1, 2017

He [Jesus] said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”
Luke 24:25

The Simple Truth


Daily Devotion – May 1, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 24:25

See series: Devotions

People have a hard time accepting the simple truth. It is just too simple, and often it conflicts with their personal expectations. This is what happened to the two Emmaus disciples. They had their hopes regarding what Jesus should have been. Never once did they consider the simple truth.

Jesus needed to correct his disciples, and he started with the truth. It is also where I need to start. Certainly there is nothing wrong with having my own hopes and dreams. I have to be on my guard, however. I can never allow my personal expectations to become unrealistic. Nor can I allow them to replace the truth. This is why I need to start with, and continue to rely on the simple truth.

God’s Word, the Bible, teaches the simple truth. In the Scriptures I come to know that Jesus is the Savior God provided. He is the one who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one who has opened heaven for us. If I try to make Jesus into something more or less than this, I will be just like the disciples–adrift in a sea of personal expectations.

The simple truth of the Bible also assures me Jesus will attend to my daily needs. He strengthens me to resist the devil’s deceptions. He encourages me to remain faithful. He accompanies me so I follow him without detour or distraction. In addition to all of this, he offers me peace to guard and guide my life. While all of this seems so simple, it is this truth which creates a profound change in my life.

The disciples came to realize the simple truth was exactly what they needed. How blessed I am when I rely on that same truth. My uncertainty is replaced with confidence. My fear is replaced with calm. My confusion is replaced with clarity. The best part is, the simple truth will never fail me.

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, I thank you for coming to me in my confusion. Strengthen my faith so I cling to your truth, follow its direction, and receive its blessing. Amen.

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