The Big Picture – September 9, 2020

“Who has known the mind of the Lord.”
Romans 11:34

The Big Picture


Daily Devotion – September 9, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 11:34

See series: Devotions

We live in a crazy, chaotic world. ‘What is God doing?’ Perhaps you have heard that question asked a few times. Maybe you are wondering: ‘If God really cared about us, wouldn’t he stop this pandemic? Wouldn’t he bring an end to all this inequality? Wouldn’t he stop the violence?’

It certainly can be difficult to understand what God is doing. The Bible often reminds us that God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than our own. We do not always see the big picture of things. This can lead to frustration and anger when we do not understand why God allows certain things to happen. This, in turn, leads us to blame God or turn away from God.

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?” God may be tough to figure out at times, but just because we do not understand his plan does not mean that we can assume he does not love us. Quite the opposite, actually. When God sent Jesus into this world to die on the cross to pay for our sins, nobody understood that either. Even Jesus’ closest followers tried to stop it or to talk Jesus out of it. Yet, even though they could not understand what God was planning, it ended up being a huge blessing for them and the whole world. In sending Jesus to die on the cross, God made sure that there was a way for us all to be saved. Through faith in Jesus, we are forgiven, and on the way to heaven.

We cannot always understand God’s plan or know the mind of the Lord. But as we see his plan for saving us through Jesus, we can be assured of his love for us and his intent to bless us. This means we can trust him. As events around us seem to spin out of control, trust that God has a plan. He loves you and has saved you and will continue to carry out his will with you in mind.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for salvation in Jesus. While I do not always understand your plan, help me to trust you and your love for me. Help me to know that you will always take care of 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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A Memorial of Love – September 8, 2020

“These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
Joshua 4:7

A Memorial of Love


Daily Devotion – September 8, 2020

Devotion based on Joshua 4:7

See series: Devotions

Monuments have been the center of attention lately as a debate rages over which historical figures deserve a monument in their names. What are some reasons for having a monument in the first place? Above all else, a monument is designed to help people remember a certain person or event.

God instructed Joshua to construct a memorial on the bank of the Jordan River. The Lord had miraculously stopped the river from flowing and allowed the entire nation to cross over into the Promised Land—a land he was now going to give to them. This was truly a momentous event in the history of Israel, and the Lord wanted his people to always remember how he was there for them and had blessed them. So, Joshua instructed the people to set up a monument of stones to serve as a reminder of God’s goodness.

We have those too. As you think about your own life, what monuments to God’s goodness can you find? Perhaps you can review the clean bill of health from your doctor and rejoice in God’s goodness. Maybe you can look at the family picture on the wall and count all the children and grandchildren and thank God for the blessings that he has brought into your family. We all have different reminders of God’s blessings in our lives.

But there is one memorial we share: the cross of Jesus. The empty cross stands as a reminder that Jesus has taken our sins away and won for us the free gift of heaven. Throughout history, there will always be people who speak against the cross and tell us to take it down, but it is a visible reminder of the price Jesus paid to set us free from sin and death. It is a symbol of God’s love for all of mankind. Look to the cross today and every day and be reminded of God’s love for you.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for sending Jesus to be my Savior. In the cross, help me to see your love and forgiveness for me and the whole world. Help me to always remember that I am saved 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 Lord Alone is Faithful – September 7, 2020

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord.”
Exodus 6:2

The Lord Alone is Faithful


Daily Devotion – September 7, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 6:2

See series: Devotions

“I promise.” Those are words that should give us comfort. Those are words that should take away our worries. Those are words that should give us hope. But, when we hear the words, “I promise,” we often roll our eyes. We have grown accustomed to unkept promises.

It starts from little on. A young boy hears dad promise that he will play catch after work. But dad doesn’t get home from work until after the boy is in bed—far too late to play catch. An employee hears his boss promise that the promotion will be his, only to find out a week later that the job went to someone else. A bride hears her groom say, “I do”—and finds out later that he did not keep his promise to be faithful.

We are surrounded by unfaithfulness and also have been unfaithful in keeping promises. Because of this, we are often skeptical that anyone will keep a promise to us.

God is different from everyone else. He keeps his promises. In Exodus chapter six, verses 2-8, the Lord says, “I,” seventeen times. It jumps off the page. God says: “I am the Lord… I appeared to Abraham… I also established my covenant. I…I…I”—17 times! This reminds us that the Lord is unquestionably in charge. God lets us know that he has not forgotten us. He has heard our pleas. He WILL keep his Word.

And if you still doubt that, God points to his own track record. He proved his faithfulness once and for all on Good Friday. If there was ever a time for him to back out of a promise, this was it. There, hanging from a cross, was his own Son. Jesus did not deserve to die. He did not deserve to suffer. But, true to his Word, God kept his promise. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. God sent his Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. That promise is kept, and that promise is yours—forever. You are forgiven!

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for keeping your promise and sending Jesus to be my Savior. Help me to know that in him I am forgiven. Help me to trust your Word always. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God is Awesome – September 6, 2020

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11:33

God is Awesome


Daily Devotion – September 6, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 11:33

See series: Devotions

Look at a picture of the Grand Canyon sometime. As you look at that picture, the immensity of the canyon just takes your breath away. The bottom of the photograph shows the lip of the canyon, and then the ground just drops away and keeps going down, as the rift spreads to the left and the right. Imagine how much space there is when there used to be level ground. If you were to explore every nook and cranny, every space in that canyon, it would take a lifetime.

Looking at the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God is much like looking at a picture of the Grand Canyon. The magnitude and splendor of God’s wisdom and knowledge are just breathtaking. We can sit on the ledge and stare into its depths and never find the bottom. Frankly, it’s unsearchable. We would never be able to even begin to search just the surface of his wisdom. It is impossible for us to understand on our own.

But God, in his unsearchable wisdom, revealed to us what we would never be able to find out on our own. He sent his Son, Jesus, to make peace between sinners and himself by having Jesus take on the punishment for sin. Then God said to you; yes, even to you, that you are a recipient of that free grace. He sent his Son for you. Your sins were also taken away by Jesus.

Hearing that proclamation of grace, we can exclaim with gratitude, “How unsearchable his judgments, and his path beyond tracing out!”

Prayer:
God, though I cannot fathom the depths of all your wisdom or understand all of your ways, I rejoice in the knowledge that you have revealed about your Son and the salvation that he accomplished for me. Through the study of your Word, help me grow each day in my appreciation for 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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Faith Credited as Righteousness – September 5, 2020

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:1-6

Faith Credited as Righteousness


Daily Devotion – September 5, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 15:1-6

See series: Devotions

The name Abram means “exalted father.” The irony was probably not lost on him when he was over eighty years old and still childless. Especially since many years earlier, God himself had promised to make his offspring into a great nation. And what’s more, Abram was assured that one of those future descendants would be the long-awaited Savior of mankind. Still, here he was an old man without a single child to his name.

But Abram was a man of action. So, Abram had already hatched a plan to deal with his childlessness: his servant Eliezer would be his heir.

You and I can hardly point an accusing finger at Abram. After all, our hearts have harbored many of our own doubts regarding God’s promises. We have falsely believed that our lives were in our own hands, that we controlled our own future.

What a patient God we have! Instead of abandoning us to our doubts and an uncertain destiny, he graciously repeats his promises. God assured the childless old man that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars visible in the night sky. And God assures sinners like us that all his promises of forgiveness have been kept in his Son Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Lord God, I have no righteousness of my own to stand before you. But I believe you when you promise to forgive my sins for the sake of 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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Great Faith – September 4, 2020

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Matthew 15:28

Great Faith


Daily Devotion – September 4, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 15:28

See series: Devotions

Only twice in the Bible does Jesus call someone’s faith great. Was he talking about Peter or James or John on those occasions? Actually, when addressing his closest disciples, we hear him often say, “O you of little faith.” When he was highlighting great faith, he once was referring to a Roman Centurion. The other time he was talking to this Canaanite woman.

The woman’s daughter was demon-possessed. Doctors and home remedies were of no use. Only Jesus could help. Here’s where the “great faith” comes in. The Canaanite woman was humble. She realized she wasn’t entitled to good things from God so she offered a heartfelt plea, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me”… and knelt before him. “Lord help me!” She was persistent. Even when the disciples wanted to send her away, she continued to stand by Jesus. And most of all, she was dependent on Jesus. After all, it wasn’t her faith that healed her daughter. It wasn’t some kind of internal personal energy that drove her daughter’s demon away. It was Jesus, and Jesus alone. The Canaanite woman showed great faith by having a great dependency on Jesus.

What circumstances will challenge your faith today? What burdens are hard for you to carry? What worries occupy your inmost thoughts? Doctors and home remedies can sometimes help, but they have limitations. Only Jesus will walk with you every step of the way. Only Jesus deserves to be on the receiving end of your humble pleas, your persistent prayers, and your total dependency.

Do you have great faith? There’s no gauge or scale to measure that. In fact, the question is a bit misleading. It implies an emphasis on us. Instead, as you face today and whatever challenges that arise, be dependent on Jesus. He is great. His love for you is great. His interest in your life is great. His ability to bless you even when things look bleak is great. You are in great hands.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, strengthen my reliance and dependency on you. When I am weak, make me strong. When I am lonely, assure me of your presence. When I am down, lift me up with your promise to love and forgive. 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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An Odd Conversation – September 3, 2020

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Matthew 15:25-27

An Odd Conversation


Daily Devotion – September 3, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 15:25-27

See series: Devotions

What an odd conversation. One certainly doesn’t expect Jesus to carry on like this. He’s loving and kind. He is the one who welcomes sinners and tax collectors, isn’t he? Is he being rude, or is there something more here?

Something more, to be sure! For starters, it was Jesus’ idea to go to this region in the first place. This woman’s daughter was suffering from demon possession, and Jesus was going to help her. But first, before the miraculous healing, he would give her an opportunity to exercise her faith and, in the process, give us an inspiring example of trust.

Here’s the recap. The woman approaches Jesus. He ignores her. She kneels before him asking for help. He refers to her as a dog, implying she was not a rightful member of the Jewish family. And she replies, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs.”

In other words, she was saying: Jesus, I agree with you. I don’t deserve your love. I’m a sinner who is not worthy to approach your table, much less sit beside you. I’m not a direct descendant of Abraham, but I am his child by faith. But you, Jesus, have promised salvation for all people. I am clinging to that promise, even though some could get the impression you don’t care. I know you do care because you have made a promise to love all people and offer up your life as a sacrifice for the sins of all people. Have mercy on me, Lord.

Oh, how I want her words to be my words!

Jesus wasn’t showing indifference; he was exercising her faith. In the face of opposition, the Canaanite woman didn’t run away; she ran to Jesus. She didn’t sit on a bed of self-pity; she stood on the sure promises of Jesus.

Oh, how I want to stand where she stood—on the promises of Jesus!

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for promising to be with me today. When testing comes, help me run to you. Help me find rest and comfort in your promises. 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 For All People – September 2, 2020

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
Matthew 15:21-23

Jesus Is For All People


Daily Devotion – September 2, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 15:21-23

See series: Devotions

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is for all people! Perhaps that’s why we see Jesus intentionally leaving the area of Galilee and withdrawing to an area populated heavily by people who did not have a lot of opportunities to hear about him. If there was a mission field, Jesus would enter it. If there were people in need of support, Jesus would seek them out.

The immediate comfort is this:

• No matter what your ethnicity, your background, your physical characteristics—Jesus is for you!
• No matter how much (or little) you know about the Bible—Jesus wants to have a meaningful relationship with you!
• No matter where you live or what vocation you have—Jesus loves you and wants to draw you ever closer to him!

Jesus’ disciples apparently did not get that memo.

We often learn from others what NOT to do. The disciples provide a prime example. How did they react to this woman in need? “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” Were they too busy or too tired? Did they think themselves too important to deal with ordinary people with ordinary problems?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know I don’t want to be heartless and distant when I deal with the people around me. I don’t want to be so self-absorbed with my own life that I miss opportunities to be kind and generous to others. In fact, maybe the Lord will place someone into my life today who just may need a helping hand or a listening ear. Maybe he’ll do the same for you.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for seeking me out, finding me, and giving me an opportunity to learn about your love. You were not too busy for me. Help me, Lord, to never be too busy or too distracted for those around 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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Welcome to the Club – September 1, 2020

I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.
Isaiah 56:8

Welcome to the Club


Daily Devotion – September 1, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 56:8

See series: Devotions

Some clubs are easier to get into than others. In many cases, you fill out the form, pay the annual fee, and you’re in! Not so with the Hurlingham Club in London, touted as one of the most exclusive clubs in the world–especially if you like polo, golf, and being treated like royalty. The bad news? Currently, there’s a 30-year waiting list before one could even be considered for membership. That’s pretty exclusive!

Exclusivity. You’d think if there was ever a club or group that could claim elite status and keep commoners and riff-raff at bay, it would be the family of God. Instead, he throws the doors open and exclaims, I will gather still others.

700 years before the time of Christ, Isaiah spoke of God not keeping the riff-raff away but inviting them into his personal household. The promises God made to Abraham and his descendants would spill over to people of all nations, of every tribe and language. God doesn’t want to keep anyone out; he wants all people to be brought in.

Jesus made that clear too. “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen,” he said. “I must bring them also” (John 10:16). That same Good Shepherd who sought to bring more and more sheep into his fold didn’t just seek them out, he paid their entrance fee in full. The apostle John spoke of that all-inclusive sacrifice—”He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2).

Guess what? You and I will never belong to the Hurlingham Club. In fact, there are probably a thousand clubs that are too exclusive for us, too rich for our blood, and too out of our reach. The good news? Jesus has removed your sins. He has paid your way in full. He wants you to have all the perks and blessings of his family. Welcome to the club!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for seeking me out and saving me. As a forgiven member of your family, use me in your task of seeking out and saving 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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Simply Remarkable – August 31, 2020

For the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.
Joshua 2:11

Simply Remarkable


Daily Devotion – August 31, 2020

Devotion based on Joshua 2:11

See series: Devotions

If you’re looking for a thrilling story filled with suspense, espionage, and escapes, look no further than Joshua chapter 2. Joshua, the successor to Moses, had sent spies to a city called Jericho. The local king found out and tried to track down and capture the scouts. With the help of an unexpected ally, the Israelite spies narrowly escaped. Remarkable!

But not as remarkable as this confession of faith: “the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.” Did Joshua say that? Or maybe one of the spies who had been spared? No. Rahab, a harlot living in Jericho spoke those words. News of the Lord had made it to Jericho, to Rahab’s ears, and her very heart. She believed in the Lord God.

Of course, the spotlight doesn’t belong on Rahab but on God. The God of free and faithful grace sought out Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho. His forgiveness covered her sins and his tender heart accepted her into his family. God’s love is remarkable!

Rahab’s confession of faith is a reminder to you that God loves all people, and he wants all people to be part of his believing family. Whatever sins may lurk in your past, be assured that Jesus paid for them when he died on the cross. Whatever skeletons clatter around in your closet, be assured that because of Jesus, you have a fresh start and a clean slate before God. That’s simply remarkable!

Prayer:
Gracious Savior, my past is filled with sins too numerous to count. Remind me every day that you love me and that your death on the cross has removed my sins. Help me to live today in the joy of that forgiveness. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Undying Hope – August 30, 2020

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
1 Kings 19:3-5

Undying Hope


Daily Devotion – August 30, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:3-5

See series: Devotions

American poet Robert Frost wrote: “I turned to speak to God / About the world’s despair; / But to make bad matters worse / I found God wasn’t there.” Maybe you’ve felt that way too. Desperate and downcast from the suffering in your own life or seeing evil appear to go unchecked around you, you may wonder where God is in all of this mess. And when God doesn’t appear to answer prayer, the future looks even darker than it did before.

The prophet Elijah came to a point in his life where he had abandoned all hope. Wicked Queen Jezebel was putting to death the prophets of the true God. The people had turned to worship false idols. By his calculations, Elijah was the last faithful believer left, and now he was running for his life too. Exhausted after fleeing through the wilderness, he plopped himself down under a broom bush and told God that he had had enough. In his desperation, Elijah wanted to die under that tree, but it would have served no good purpose.

Hundreds of years later, a man did die–not under a tree, but on a tree. He was nailed to it by Roman soldiers. His name was Jesus Christ, and his death did serve a good purpose. His sacrifice paid for the sins of all people of all time. It shows how much God loves the people of this world, sinful as we are.

Remember this when you become discouraged by the evil in the world. God has not abandoned us. He has not abandoned you. The sacrifice of his Son proves it. May it give you courage and confidence this day.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, when I am frustrated with evil and ready to give up, remind me how you gave yourself up to defeat evil for 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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A Reason to Show Mercy – August 29, 2020

You who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience.
Romans 11:30

A Reason to Show Mercy


Daily Devotion – August 29, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 11:30

See series: Devotions

If you’ve taken an English Literature class somewhere along the way, perhaps the name of Robert Browning rings a bell. Robert Browning was one of the most famous and successful English poets of the nineteenth century. Even more extraordinary than his poetry, however, was Robert’s wife, Elizabeth.

Before she met Robert, Elizabeth was a highly respected poet in her own right. But she lived at the home of her possessive and tyrannical father. When Elizabeth and Robert married, her father—for reasons perhaps known only to him—refused to talk to her. For the next ten years, Elizabeth faithfully wrote beautiful, loving letters to her father, patiently working to reconcile their relationship.

Then her father died. Around that time, she received a package in the mail from her father’s address. The package contained all of the letters she had sent over the previous ten years. He had never opened a single one.

A sad story? Yes. But there’s a larger story here that’s beautiful. That package of unopened letters was her expression of love for the most important person in her life. Over the years, Elizabeth had made no secret of her love for Jesus Christ as her Savior from sin. She knew all about the mercy and forgiveness he had won for her at the cross. His flood of undeserved love in her life empowered her to show mercy to others—even to an unforgiving father.

You and I have the same Savior. We have received the same forgiveness and undeserved love as Elizabeth. And we have the same reason to show mercy toward others—especially those who have hurt us.

After all, being merciful to others reflects our thanks to Jesus, who had such great mercy on us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you know the people in my life who have hurt me. Point me to the cross. Empower me to show mercy. Empower me to forgive. 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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Do Not Be Afraid – August 28, 2020

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” . . . Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Matthew 14:25-27,33

Do Not Be Afraid


Daily Devotion – August 28, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 14:25-27,33

See series: Devotions

What are you afraid of? Failure, the future, loneliness, love, rejection, disease, death—everyone is afraid of something. But we learn from Jesus that, in him, we have nothing to fear.

Jesus’ disciples were sailing through the night across the Sea of Galilee. While they were still a fair distance from shore, wind and waves were pounding against the boat. As they were busy battling the elements, Jesus came strolling atop the water toward them. The disciples were terrified. But Jesus quickly took away their fears.

He gave them courage by reminding them of who he is. He is the LORD, the unchanging Savior God. He is the God who set boundaries for the waters of the earth, saying, “This far you may come and no farther” (Job 38:11). He is the God who used water to deliver the Israelites from the Egyptians. He is the God who made it rain after 3 years of drought during the days of Elijah. He is the God who gave Peter the confidence to walk on water and the faith to call on his Savior when doubt caused him to sink. He is God who stopped the waves from battering the boat without saying a word.

You have nothing to fear. Jesus is your God, your Savior. He is the God who stretched out his hands on the cross to save you from your sea of sins that would have pulled you under the waves of God’s righteous anger. He is the God who loosened death’s grip when he rose from the grave so that he could give you eternal life. He is the God who speaks courage into your heart when fear batters your spirit and faith into your heart when you are sinking in doubt. Because of Jesus, your God, you have nothing to fear.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I praise you for delivering me from death, calming my fears, and removing my doubts. 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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Find Joy in Trials – August 27, 2020

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. . . . Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James 1:2-4,12

Find Joy in Trials


Daily Devotion – August 27, 2020

Devotion based on James 1:2-4,12

See series: Devotions

Dr. Wayne Dyer, a self-help author, once said: “A bar of iron costs $5, made into horseshoes its worth is $12, made into needles its worth is $3500, made into balance springs for watches, its worth is $300,000.” To be worth that much, iron must go through quite a trial by fire. The more it passes through the heat, is hammered and polished, the greater its value.

As a rule, we try to avoid going through the heat. We don’t like experiencing trials in our lives. But James, the half-brother of Jesus, challenges us to change our perspective. He says that God uses trials to make us better. In that sense, they are a blessing from God. Our gracious God has a good goal in allowing us to face all kinds of trials. Trials build and strengthen the character of our faith. The testing of our faith helps us to focus on the right things, eternal things.

The trials God allows us to face remind us that this is not our home. A better life now is not the goal. God has already prepared the best life for those who love him in the world to come. It is an eternal home with him that Jesus made possible for us by his life, death, and resurrection. He faced every trial common to humanity and persevered. And when he passed through God’s fiery wrath on the cross for our sin, he forged the crown of life for all who love him.

So, when God calls you to face all kinds of trials, don’t sigh and say, “Oh, boy.” Remember the goal that God has in store for you after you have passed through them, look up and say, “Oh, joy!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me to be faithful to you in trials so I may receive the crown of life you have prepared for 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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The Value of Knowing Jesus – August 26, 2020

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Romans 9:1-5

The Value of Knowing Jesus


Daily Devotion – August 26, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 9:1-5

See series: Devotions

In 1991, Teri Horton was looking for a gift for a friend. In a thrift store, she came across a large canvas covered with colorful drips and splatters. Even though Teri thought it was ugly, she bought it for five dollars. Her friend thought it was ugly too and gave it back to Teri. So, Teri tried selling the painting at a garage sale. An art teacher spotted the painting and suggested that it might be the work of the famous artist, Jackson Pollock. Teri responded, “Who is Jackson Pollock?” She had no idea that her five-dollar painting might be worth millions of dollars.

Many of the Jewish people living in the first century were in a similar situation. They had something extremely valuable but did not realize it. God had given the Jewish people a special place in his family and had promised that the Savior of the world would come from them. But when the Savior came, they saw no value in him. They rejected him and hung him on a cross. Even though Jesus proved that he was the Messiah, they doubted.

But the apostle Paul, a Jewish man by birth, knew the value of Jesus. His heart broke because his people rejected Jesus. They were rejecting God’s gift of undeserved love, free forgiveness, and eternal life. Paul loved his people so much that he was willing to give up those incomparable gifts if it would save them from eternal death.

But only One can save and has saved us. He is Jesus Christ. We are saved because of Jesus’ sinless life and his death for our sins. Trust him! His splattered blood beautifully covers over the sin-stained canvas of humanity. Don’t underestimate the value of Jesus. Believe it and celebrate it.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me to know you and the value of your 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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The Lord Fights for You – August 25, 2020

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” . . . And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him.
Exodus 14:13,14,31

The Lord Fights for You


Daily Devotion – August 25, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 14:13,14,31

See series: Devotions

The future was full of promise. School lay behind him. His career and his bride-to-be stood before him. But then came the terminal diagnosis of cancer. Going back couldn’t save him. Going forward seemed impossible. He was terrified. Why had God led him to this seeming dead end?

The Israelites found themselves in a similar place of fear. God was leading them from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. But then Pharaoh summoned his army and pursued the Israelites to the Red Sea. With the sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s army behind them, the Israelites were terrified.

That night, the Lord drove the Red Sea back and divided its waters to save the Israelites and drown their pursuers. When the Israelites saw God’s might in action, they honored the Lord and put their faith in him.

God still answers our fears. Doctors gave that graduate a grim prognosis. There was nothing he could do but quiet his heart and go forward. And the Lord fought for him. Within months, his cancer was gone. He has been happily married for 17 years and blessed with two daughters.

The Lord also fights for you. He already has. Jesus endured the cross and overcame its curse for you. By his resurrection, he opened a way through death to the Promised Land of heaven for you.

When there is no way back and seems to be no way forward, remember to honor the Lord by trusting him. The Lord fights for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I am afraid, help me to trust that you will fight for 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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A Soothing Sound of Grace – August 24, 2020

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. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
1 Kings 19:11-13

A Soothing Sound of Grace


Daily Devotion – August 24, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:11-13

See series: Devotions

At some point, we all struggle with our identity. We doubt our purpose. When God’s plans for us are puzzling, we question our relationship with him. Why does God seem far away and silent?

Elijah felt a similar doubt and discouragement. One of God’s Old Testament prophets, Elijah, had proven that the day’s popular idol, Baal, was a false god. But the people didn’t listen to Elijah. And when the queen put a price on Elijah’s head, he had to flee for his life. His faith was shaken. God seemed silent and far away.

So, Elijah confronted God. And God answered in a surprising way. He wasn’t in the violent wind, earthquake, or raging fire. He revealed himself in a gentle whisper. With that soothing sound of grace, God quieted Elijah’s doubts. Elijah wasn’t alone. He couldn’t see it, but through his work, God had preserved seven thousand who remained faithful. Everything was happening according to God’s good plan and purpose.

God still answers our doubts in the same way. Not with great signs and wonders, but with the soothing sound of grace in the Good News about Jesus. In Jesus, we find that we are free from the punishment our sins deserve. In Jesus, we find that God’s plan for us includes the glorious inheritance of heaven. In Jesus, we find our purpose, to declare God’s praises wherever he plants us.

Are you frustrated with your place and purpose in life? Is your faith in God shaken? Remember this simple truth: God is not silent. He is not far away. He is near you with his grace.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, when I am troubled, quiet my heart to hear your gentle grace and to listen. 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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Keeping Your Head Above Water – August 23, 2020

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Matthew 14:28-33

Keeping Your Head Above Water


Daily Devotion – August 23, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 14:28-33

See series: Devotions

Jesus is true God. He proved this by doing things that are impossible for humans to do. The Bible clearly states numerous times that Jesus did the impossible. He fed more than 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and two fish. He miraculously healed people. He raised people from the dead. And, as we hear in this section of Matthew’s Gospel, he walked on water toward his disciples who were struggling against high winds and waves.

The Lord also gave Peter the ability to walk on the water. Jesus told him to “Come!” and, trusting in the almighty power of Jesus, Peter did. But then the waves broke Peter’s “eye contact” with Jesus. Instead of focusing on the strength of Jesus’ promise, he focused on the size of the waves, and the precariousness of his position. Peter started to sink quickly.

What are the waves in your life? What are the problems that make you doubt his power and promises to still help and uphold you? Do you sometimes fear that you will not be able to keep your head above the waters of life’s adversities?

Peter changed his focus back to Jesus and cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus’ response was to pull Peter back to safety. When you feel like you are sinking, focus your attention on Jesus, the almighty Son of God. He promises to help you; he can and he will!

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal, 446)
I am trusting you, Lord Jesus, trusting only you,
Trusting you for full salvation, free and true.
I am trusting you, Lord Jesus; never let me fall.
I am trusting you forever and for all. 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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Take Courage – August 22, 2020

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 14:25-27

Take Courage


Daily Devotion – August 22, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 14:25-27

See series: Devotions

The disciples had left Jesus and embarked in their fishing boat to get to the other side of the lake. But the strong wind and high waves impeded their progress. In fact, they were rowing for about 10 hours and had traveled only about half the distance they intended to go. Tired and scared, they must have wished for Jesus to be with them. They recalled how Jesus saved them from the storm on the lake only a few months earlier. On that occasion, he was with them in the boat and simply commanded the wind to be still, and it was so. But this time, as far as they knew, Jesus was still at the place they left him, several miles away.

So they were surprised when Jesus appeared, miraculously walking on the water toward them. Instead of Jesus, they thought that they were seeing a ghost. This increased their fear because they thought that the appearance of a ghost was an omen of something terrible about to happen.

But nothing terrible was going to happen to them because Jesus was there. He spoke above the whirling of the wind and sound of the surf. “Take courage. It is I.” The familiar voice of Jesus was enough to drive away their fear.

Jesus is close to us. His voice sounds clearly through his promises in the Bible that he is always with us and that he will never leave nor forsake us. No matter how strong the winds of adversity blow in our face or as challenging as the waves of trouble might be in our lives, we can take courage in our Savior’s continual presence. He loves us dearly and assures us that he will help us overcome our circumstances, no matter how great the need or the danger may be.

Take courage. Jesus is with you!

Prayer:
Jesus, lead me to trust your promise that you are always with me to help and encourage me through every ordeal and detail of 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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Eat What is Good – August 21, 2020

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”
Isaiah 55:1-5

Eat What is Good


Daily Devotion – August 21, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:1-5

See series: Devotions

Do you click on those mouth-watering food pictures on social media? Have you noticed what happens? The companies who sell the food realize that you might buy something, so they arrange to show you more good pictures with links to purchase. They show you reviews of people who have bought, tasted, and enjoyed their food. They invite you to join a group of fans who love their product.

God offers you satisfying, rich spiritual food. He promises you the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation through faith in Jesus. He says you can live without guilt now because he has removed it. God’s food is free for you because Jesus has paid for it.

God invites you to read David’s review in Psalm 34:8: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

God invites you to see the splendor of people who trust him and to become a fan, no matter where you live. You can trust this offer because God is perfectly holy. You can enjoy this offer because God is love.

What are you waiting for? Listen to God and eat what is good!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for supplying me with my salvation without money and without cost, through Jesus Christ, my Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 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 Allows Hardship – August 20, 2020

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

God Allows Hardship


Daily Devotion – August 20, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 8:35-39

See series: Devotions

People who become Christians in order to avoid hardship are going to be surprised.

Christians suffer hardship in spite of being Christian. They have problems in life, both personal and family troubles. They go through whatever their countries are going through, even war or famine.

Christians suffer hardship because of being Christian. They take moral stands that do not match what is socially acceptable. They believe things that are considered foolish. Sometimes their lives are even in danger.

But it is still worthwhile to become a Christian. How can that be true?

Christians receive the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. God loves them because of what Jesus did for them. Jesus was slaughtered for their sins. They are forgiven. Jesus faced death and hell in their place. They will go to heaven.

God’s love is so powerful that nothing is able to separate Christians from it. Time cannot dim God’s love, and evil things cannot talk him out of it. Through Christ Jesus their Lord, Christians are confident of God’s continuing love.

Does God still love them even when bad things happen to them? Absolutely and completely. Nothing will be able to separate them from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus their Lord.

Prayer:
Thank you for your love even through hardship, Lord. 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 Gives Times of Plenty – August 19, 2020

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” . . . Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.
Genesis 41:41-43,46-49

God Gives Times of Plenty


Daily Devotion – August 19, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 41:41-43,46-49

See series: Devotions

Joseph saw a lot of ups and downs. By the age of thirty, he had been his father’s favorite, then a slave; a trusted servant, then a prisoner. Most of those dramatic changes had been unforeseen, but when God gave Joseph the ability to interpret some important dreams, Joseph realized that seven years of abundance would be followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, realized it too, and he put Joseph in charge of making the most of those seven years of abundance.

We can learn a couple of things from the life of Joseph. When we are in the lean years, when things are going poorly, we can be confident that God will also give times of plenty. He did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all. Along with him, he will graciously give us all things. (See Romans 8:32.)

When we are in the abundant years, it is prudent for us not to live in wild abandon, but instead to store things up for the lean years. We do not know how successful that will be, since moths and vermin destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But above all, we listen to the Word of God, and store up for ourselves treasures in heaven. (See Matthew 6:19,20.)

Prayer:
When life is a roller coaster, Lord, give me stability in your promises. 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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Recognize Gifts from Jesus – August 18, 2020

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
1 Timothy 4:4,5

Recognize Gifts from Jesus


Daily Devotion – August 18, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 4:4,5

See series: Devotions

I wonder if I should feel guilty. I see all of the people suffering in the worldwide pandemic, and I have enough food. I hear about the increase in domestic violence when people are forced to stay at home, but my marriage seems to improve as I spend more time with my spouse.

God encourages me not to feel guilty when I have enough food. In fact, he encourages me to thank him for providing such abundance even though I don’t deserve it. When I am tempted to take my food for granted, God reminds me to pray before I eat and read his Word after I eat. God gave me this food, so I know it’s good.

God encourages me not to feel guilty when I have good family relationships. Marriage and family are gifts from God, who knows that it’s not good for me to be alone. When I’m honest, I know I don’t deserve unconditional love from parents, spouse, children, or grandchildren, but God provides it and encourages me to be thankful for it. God gave me this family, so I know it’s good.

When I have an abundance of food, I have the wherewithal to help meet the food needs of people in my community. When things in my own family life are good, I have the emotional stability to encourage other people in a loving, godly way. I act from a thankful heart, not a guilty one.

And that’s because God has taken away my guilt by giving me forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus. He is the Bread of Life, satisfying my spiritual hunger. He is my brother, and he has brought me into the Christian family. When I’m clear on those facts, I recognize all of his other gifts to me.

Prayer:
Give me the awareness to thank you for my blessings, Lord, and to share them with joy. 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 Works Miracles – August 17, 2020

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Matthew 14:14-21

Jesus Works Miracles


Daily Devotion – August 17, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 14:14-21

See series: Devotions

When the doctor says you have six months to live, is it okay to pray for a miracle?

Yes, it’s okay to pray for a miracle.

Jesus did miracles. He fed over five thousand people from just five loaves and two fish. He proved to his disciples that he was God.

Jesus is still God, and he still does miracles. People are cured with no medical explanation. People with diseases live much longer than predicted or expected.

Sometimes when Jesus has compassion on you, he heals your sickness. At other times, your sickness lingers, but Jesus still has compassion on you. You can be sure of that because he has already taken care of the greater sickness in your life—the sickness of your sinfulness. Jesus took the punishment for your sinfulness when he was wounded on the cross, suffering hell, and he promises that your sinfulness will not lead to eternal death. Instead, Jesus shows compassion for you and gives you eternal life through faith in him.

God performs miracles every day when he brings people to faith in Jesus. Pray for that miracle. And feel free to pray for the miracle of healing. God may answer that prayer in a way you don’t expect, but it will still be good.

Prayer:
Jesus, let me find healing in your precious wounds. 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 are Winners – August 16, 2020

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:35-37

We are Winners


Daily Devotion – August 16, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 8:35-37

See series: Devotions

Not everyone wins in an election. It is the same way in most contests in life—there are winners, and there are losers. Our children often learn this at an early age when they play in little league, flag football, basketball, or some other sport. There is a winner and a loser at the end of each game. If you have ever participated in any type of contest and won, you know the exhilarating feeling that you have had. However, if you have lost, you also know the feeling of having been defeated.

When it comes to the contest of life and our final destiny, the good news for God’s people is that we are winners. Even if things in our lives don’t seem to be going that well, the Bible assures us that God is with us, and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

God is for us. He proved it in sacrificing his only Son in our place. He shows it every day as he freely gives us all we need and works all things for our eternal good. He’s with us as he daily forgives us and defends us.

As we encounter personal problems and troubles, as we are faced with our many sins, the fear may arise that the Lord no longer loves us. However, God tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. In him, we win.

Prayer:
My God and Savior, help me face the challenges of my life with the knowledge that you are always with me and that nothing can separate me from 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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True Character – August 15, 2020

Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.
Psalm 119:97

True Character


Daily Devotion – August 15, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 119:97

See series: Devotions

What do you think when you read or hear the words of our Bible reading for today? The Psalmist said that he loved God’s Word and that he meditates on it all day long. Does that cause a twinge of guilt to arise in your heart? Does it make you think about those times when you have not loved what the Bible had to say about the way you are to live your life? Does it make you think about how little you think about what God says in his Word? The truth is, no one loves all of what the Bible says all the time, and no one thinks about God’s Word as often as they ought.

No one, that is, except Jesus. Jesus loved every single aspect of God’s Word. Jesus perfectly meditated on what God says—every single moment of every single day. And he did this, not just for his own benefit but for yours. The Bible says that Jesus gives you his perfect life as a gift even as he took all of your sins on himself when he died on the cross.

Isn’t that great!? It makes you want to thank him, doesn’t it? How can you thank him? By listening to what he says in his Word and living the way he instructs you there. And, you will discover that the more you read and listen to what he says in the Bible, the more you will fall in love with what he says. You, too, will want to meditate on it all day long.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, I praise you that God has declared me holy in his sight on the basis of your perfect life for me. Free me from all that stands between me and you, so that I may meditate upon your word all day long. 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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Your Treasure – August 14, 2020

[Jesus said] “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
Matthew 13:44

Your Treasure


Daily Devotion – August 14, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 13:44

See series: Devotions

What do you treasure? Your family? Your stuff? Your teams? Your money? You treasure all sorts of things. Your treasure is what you sink your time into and talk about. It’s what your thoughts turn to again and again. The people you spend time with probably have a pretty good idea what you treasure.

It is certainly easy to see what the man in Jesus’ parable valued. After all, he sold everything he had to get it! He realized that the treasure in that field was more valuable than everything else he had put together.

Jesus told this parable to help us understand that being part of his kingdom, his family, is more valuable than everything else we have put together. Your house won’t last forever. Your car won’t last forever. Your career won’t last forever. Even your relationships won’t last forever. But, the kingdom of heaven will last forever.

So, don’t be fooled. Don’t think that anything or anyone in your life is as valuable as a relationship with your Creator—a relationship only made possible through Jesus and his saving work. Hold on to that relationship more tightly than anything else. Let it be what you sink your time into and talk about. Let it be what your thoughts turn to again and again. You can be sure it will be worth it!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me to treasure you and your kingdom most of all. 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 – August 13, 2020

Those [God] called, he also justified.
Romans 8:30

Justified


Daily Devotion – August 13, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 8:30

See series: Devotions

Imagine you are in God’s courtroom. He is the judge. You are on trial for breaking his law: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

Be perfect. No sin. Every thought, always perfect, all the time. Every word, always perfect, all the time. Everything you do, always perfect, all the time. Are you that good? No. So, how are you going to defend yourself?

Self-justification? Justify means to declare not guilty. But no courtroom allows the person on trial to declare him or herself not guilty. The Judge has to do that. So self-justification simply won’t work.

But there is hope for you. Just don’t look inside yourself for defense in this trial. Look outside yourself.

Look to a manger where the newborn Son of God lies. Look to the perfect life Jesus lived for you; every temptation trounced. Look to a bloody cross, where sin’s wage was paid. Look to an empty tomb, where sin was buried, and death was broken. Look to Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

So, how do you defend yourself? Try this: “Your honor, I admit that I deserve to be separated from you forever. But I know One who suffered on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He has taken away my sin.”

And just like that, the trial is over. The verdict? Not guilty. God justifies you for Jesus’ sake. Who could ever have imagined? Only a God as good as ours.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for serving my sentence, on the cross, in my place to justify 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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Good in All Things – August 12, 2020

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Good in All Things


Daily Devotion – August 12, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 8:28

See series: Devotions

How can the Bible say that God works all things for our good? It’s not that we don’t want the statement to be true. It’s just that it does not seem to be true. That little word “all” makes it hard to believe.

How can God work all things for our good when so much badness piles up? Think of the cancer diagnosis, or the lost job, or the car accident, or the sick friend. Take your pick of any awful scenario that has happened to you or someone you care about. How can it be good? Why does God allow it?

Is it maybe because you don’t love God enough? After all, the verse says that God works all things for the good “of those who love him,” and you can probably think of many times when you have not loved God.

Don’t go down that path. It only leads to uncertainty and despair. Instead, focus on how “those who love God” are further described as people “who have been called according to [God’s] purpose.” What a relief! God’s calling was not of your doing or deserving; it was according to God’s purpose. He loves you, and his plan has always been to work bad things for your good.

He did this in the past when he sent Jesus, who “took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). Jesus knew a thing or two about badness. And yet God worked Jesus’ horrific suffering and death for the greatest good of all: your eternal salvation.

He continues to work all things for your good in the present. Your life is also part of God’s purpose. He is in control and makes sure that everything that happens to you will fit together in a good way. You may not understand the plan, but he does. And in the end, you know that the outcome will be perfect because that is God’s promise.

Prayer:
Lord God, help me to accept your good purpose for me in bad times as well as good. 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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Life That is Truly Life – August 11, 2020

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19

Life That is Truly Life


Daily Devotion – August 11, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 6:17-19

See series: Devotions

What makes you rich? The money you earn? The things you have? A good job? Plenty of friends and family? A full stock portfolio? That is what the world calls rich.

But what happens when a virus comes and pops those balloons one by one?

You learn in whom to really put your hope. If you think wealth in this present world makes you truly rich, give it time, it will disappoint you. Why? Because it is what the Bible calls uncertain—it cannot be depended on. Just look at how a few months of disease and isolation have evaporated so much. A life built on the uncertain will ultimately fail you.

So life that is truly life has to be built on something other than earthly riches. It has to be built on the God who provides you with everything.

You are so important to God that he richly provided his perfect Son to pour out his precious blood to free you from sin. Then God raised him to life again to leave no doubt in your mind that you will live forever with him in the coming age. Because of Jesus, you have “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). That’s certain!

That certainty frees you to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous and willing to share. In other words, you get to be a shining light of God’s goodness in this world. And you do it with the certainty that your eternal riches are completely secure. What a life!

Prayer:
God, thank you for richly providing everything I need. 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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