Beautiful People – November 13, 2021

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.”
Jeremiah 23:5,6

Beautiful People


Daily Devotion – November 13, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 23:5,6

See series: Devotions

In the days of Jeremiah, the prophet, about 600 years before the birth of Jesus, many people of God’s chosen nation had turned away from God into unbelief. They followed false teachers that led them into idolatry. However, there were some people who remained faithful to the true God. Through Jeremiah, God promised that he would gather all his faithful ones and bless them.

The Lord announced that glorious time, “The days are coming when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.” With the word “branch,” God wants us to think of a shoot or sprout which grows out of a dying stump or from the ground where a tree stump is decaying. With this imagery, God pointed to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. His roots or ancestry were from the line of King David. But by the time of his arrival, the grandeur of the Davidic kingdom had died and decayed under David’s godless successors. The Messiah, however, came to reestablish the glory of David’s throne, although not in the same way as before.

Jesus Christ is a King, but his kingdom is new and different. His is a spiritual kingdom in which he benevolently rules over his people forever by faith.

God cares for his people, and he saves them. He sent Jesus to do what is “just and right in the land.” In contrast to the people who rejected God and lived in disobedience to his will, Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the will of God and was guiltless of any sin. He lived this way for our benefit. God charged the perfect righteousness of his Son to us. He is: THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Covered with the pure holiness of Jesus Christ, we are beautiful people in God’s eyes and blessed by him now and forever.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 376)
Jesus, your blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Mid flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head. 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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Two Judgment Days – November 12, 2021

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:27,28

Two Judgment Days


Daily Devotion – November 12, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 9:27,28

See series: Devotions

The Bible shows that the universe is steadily marching toward one big event: the Last Day. Because this is the day on which Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, it is also called judgment day.

But if all of history is leading to this final judgment, how can today’s Bible passage say that people are judged by God after they die? Does that mean that there are two judgment days?

Yes, in a certain respect, there are. The day that you die is your own personal judgment day. Your eternal destiny is determined the moment you die. Whoever dies with faith in Christ is given eternal life, and whoever dies in unbelief is condemned to eternal death.

When Jesus returns on the Last Day, all the dead will rise and stand before him for judgment. The verdict that he gives on judgment day will not be different from the one he gave when they died. Those who died in unbelief and went to hell will receive the same verdict, as will those who died in faith and went to heaven.

But if the verdict is the same, what is the point of judgement day? God wants to publicly announce the verdict that he has already given. Sinful humans have the nasty habit of questioning God’s justice and his love. So on the Last Day, God will assemble all people of all time and show them the justice of his judgments and the full extent of his love.

He will give evidence from the lives of unbelievers that they earned the judgment they have already received since their deaths. He will also show how those who died trusting in Jesus received enteral life as a gift, just like he promised. That is why Christ’s appearance on the Last Day is not something to be afraid of but to wait for!

Prayer:
Jesus Christ, give me faith to meet you when I die, and help me to wait expectantly for 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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Once for Always – November 11, 2021

Nor did [Christ] enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Hebrews 9:25,26

Once for Always


Daily Devotion – November 11, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 9:25,26

See series: Devotions

God is just. He has an absolutely perfect standard of right and wrong, and he judges according to that standard. God’s justice means that sin must be punished, and everything must be made right.

In the centuries before Jesus came, God had his people celebrate the Day of Atonement to balance the scales. On that day, the High Priest walked into the innermost room of the temple and stood before God with blood from animal sacrifices. That blood atoned for (that is, covered up) the sins of him and his people.

And the scales were balanced for a time. But every year, there was another Day of Atonement, and the high priest did the exact same thing that he had done the year before, over and over again for over a thousand years.

Why the repetition? Because God’s justice was not satisfied by killing animals. So why did God tell them to do it? Because the Day of Atonement was a picture of the one sacrifice that would balance the scales.

It pointed ahead to what Jesus would do. Jesus is our High Priest. He appeared for us in God’s presence, not with an animal sacrifice, but with the sacrifice of himself. And Jesus did not offer that sacrifice over and over again. He only offered it once.

And after Christ offered himself on the cross, God gave his verdict on Jesus’ sacrifice by raising him from the dead three days later. That was a clear indication of God’s verdict: sin has been taken away, forever! We do not need the yearly sacrifices of the Day of Atonement. We have been saved, once for always!

Prayer:
Lord, it is impossible for the blood of animals to take away sins. But the blood of Jesus, your Son, purifies me from all sin. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Good Works on the Last Day – November 10, 2021

[Jesus said] “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”
John 5:28,29

Good Works on the Last Day


Daily Devotion – November 10, 2021

Devotion based on John 5:28,29

See series: Devotions

When the Lord Jesus returns on the Last Day, he will judge every single human being who has ever lived. Even the people who died before that day will come out of their graves and stand before him for judgment.

The Bible teaches that Jesus will judge people based on whether or not they have faith in him. The apostle Paul, for example, wrote, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

This teaching is so clear that you have to wonder what Jesus meant in today’s Bible passage. Jesus made it sound like people’s good works will be the basis for judgment, with those who have done good receiving eternal life and those who have done evil being condemned to hell.

But before you assume that the Bible teaches two contradictory ways to heaven, remember what Jesus was talking about here: judgment. When someone is being judged in a courtroom, the best evidence is visible evidence.

Faith in Christ is a matter of the heart and therefore invisible. But faith in Christ produces good works that can be seen. Good works do not save people, but Jesus will point them out at the last judgment because they are visible proofs of invisible faith.

That is why “those who have done evil” have a lot to fear on the Last Day. There is no greater evil than rejecting the Savior in unbelief. But “those who have done good” have nothing to fear. Only believers in Jesus can do works that God considers good. And on the Last Day, Jesus will use their good works to show the whole world that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, empower me to live a life filled with good works while I wait for the Last Day. 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 Matter of Life and Death – November 9, 2021

[Jesus said] “Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”
John 5:25

A Matter of Life and Death


Daily Devotion – November 9, 2021

Devotion based on John 5:25

See series: Devotions

This is a strange Bible verse. Jesus said that the dead would hear his voice, but how could the dead hear? And how could the dead come to life from hearing? Was Jesus telling a joke?

No, Jesus was dead serious. He even said, “Very truly I tell you.” He was telling the truth. Jesus wanted to be heard by the dead. He still does because listening to Jesus is a matter of life and death.

To understand Jesus’ Words, you need to understand what the Bible teaches about death. According to the Bible, there are three kinds of death: spiritual death, physical death, and eternal death. Jesus was talking about spiritual death.

By nature, every human being enters this world alive physically but dead spiritually. You were, by nature, dead in sin. You were born a physically living, breathing baby. But spiritually, you were a corpse that had no faith in God.

Fixing this condition is not just a matter of making better choices or trying harder. A corpse cannot make a choice or do anything to improve itself.

A corpse must be raised to life by a power outside of itself. This is what the words of Jesus are able to do. His words are able to create faith in his listeners. This is what Jesus meant when he said that the dead would hear the voice of the Son of God and live.

How important it is, then, for us to hear Jesus’ words! They are powerful enough to give spiritual and eternal life. Thank you, Jesus, for your powerful voice!

Prayer:
Son of God, give me life through your Word. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Best Judge – November 8, 2021

[Jesus said] “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.”
John 5:22,23

The Best Judge


Daily Devotion – November 8, 2021

Devotion based on John 5:22,23

See series: Devotions

Many people think that Christians make too big a deal out of Jesus. However, when it comes to Jesus, his importance cannot be emphasized enough. Why? Because Jesus is your judge.

Judges have the authority to decide if you are guilty or innocent, and they can punish the guilty. Jesus has the authority to do that for all people. His judgment determines where you spend eternity. There are only two possible outcomes—heaven or hell.

This is the judgment that God the Father has entrusted to his Son. So, do you understand why Christians make such a big deal out of Jesus? Everything hinges on him. He is the judge. The eternal destiny of all people who have lived, are living, or will live is bound up in their relationship to Jesus. Everyone will be judged by him.

That can be a scary thought. After all, like all people, you are guilty of breaking God’s law and deserve an eternity apart from God and his blessings.

But remember who your judge is! He is the judge who arranged for another trial, one where he stood in your place. One where he accepted the consequences of your actions—the nails, the cross, and a lot of shed blood. He endured the full wrath of God.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that the one who will judge you one day is the same one who already paid the price for all your sins? Because he did, you can be sure that on that day, he will look at you and say, “Not guilty.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for making your Son my judge. 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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They Had It All Wrong – November 7, 2021

The soldiers also came up and mocked [Jesus]. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
Luke 23:36,37

They Had It All Wrong


Daily Devotion – November 7, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 23:36,37

See series: Devotions

No one likes to admit they are wrong. It is embarrassing. It wounds our pride. Even worse is admitting that we have said or done something wrong. The truth is that we say and do what is wrong more than we want to admit. Our wrong words and actions violate the will of God, who demands that we never be wrong.

That is why the Bible says that we are not the perfect people that can join God in heaven eternally. By all our wrongs, we have separated ourselves from God and are unable to live up to his standard of perfection.

But oh, the wonderful love of God! He did for us what we could not do. He sent his Son, Jesus, to earth to live among us, to live the perfect life we could not. Jesus suffered and died, becoming our substitute, paying for the sins we committed against God’s perfect will. Because of Jesus’ perfection, God now sees us as perfect. Our eternal future is now with God because of Jesus.

So, when the Roman soldiers viewed the suffering Jesus on the cross and mockingly said, “save yourself,” they had it all wrong. Jesus wasn’t going to save himself from earthly death. He was saving us from eternal death!

Prayer:
Dear Lord, may your love in sending your Son to die for my sins be reflected in my love for you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Most Precious Possession. – November 6, 2021

Then [Jesus] said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Luke 12:15

Our Most Precious Possession.


Daily Devotion – November 6, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 12:15

See series: Devotions

Have you ever cleaned out your basement or garage and discovered many things that you forgot you had? While you may be amused at rediscovering something you forgot about, perhaps you ask yourself, “Why do I have all this stuff?”

God truly blesses us with many physical blessings. Everything we have comes from him. He provides all the necessary things for life and is generous to give us many more things than we need. His blessings abundantly fill our lives, and for these, we thank our God.

Yet we must be careful not to begin to love the gifts more than God who gives them. It is easy for our hearts to become greedy and not be happy with what we have. It is so easy to want MORE … money… toys… houses… boats… cars… without end.

Yet none of these things can ever satisfy us completely or fill the place in our life and heart that can only belong to Jesus Christ. Jesus warns us, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). Jesus teaches us that there is more to life and more to us than earthly possessions. He is the source of all that we need spiritually and eternally.

Jesus is our most precious possession. He lived a perfect life for us. He suffered the death penalty for our sins that we deserved. Jesus rose from the dead and promises that we will live forever through faith in him alone. Wow! Nothing is more important than the gifts of forgiveness of sins and eternal life that Jesus gives us by faith in him.

If you want a possession that really satisfies, look to Jesus!

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, you bless me with many good things in my life, but most importantly, I am blessed through your Son, Jesus. Help me treasure the spiritual life that I have by faith in him and not let anything else matter more. 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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Perfect Salvation – November 5, 2021

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire . . . They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
Daniel 3:26,27

Perfect Salvation


Daily Devotion – November 5, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:26,27

See series: Devotions

“I think it can be salvaged.” In other words, it wasn’t a total loss. Maybe the damage came as the result of a fire or flood. Maybe there was an accident that was a bit more serious than your average fender bender. Maybe some bodily extremity found itself up against something sharp and lost the battle. Damage was most definitely done, but a person with the skills to repair the damage—at least somewhat—says, “I think it can be salvaged.” Whew!

Is that the situation in which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found themselves after they were fished out of the fiery furnace? Did they survive the hellish blast, but just barely? Did they need to be rushed to the hospital with first, second, or third-degree burns? Did the doctors look at them after their ordeal and say with some hesitation, “I think their bodies can be salvaged”?

Nope.

The Old Testament prophet Daniel tells us what King Nebuchadnezzar, who had sentenced these men to the flames, and his officials witnessed. “They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” It wasn’t that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had just barely managed to survive their fiery ordeal. They hadn’t even been touched by it.

What does it prove? It proves that Jesus isn’t only the world’s perfect Savior; he also provides perfect salvation. His saving work is more than a reclamation or restoration job. It goes way beyond a new paint job to spruce up appearances for the time being. He doesn’t simply perform reconstructive surgery.

No, Jesus heals us perfectly. He forgives us perfectly. He saves us perfectly, once and for all and forever. Indeed, as the apostle Paul once wrote, “we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10).

Trust him. You won’t be disappointed. He guarantees it.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to understand that perfect salvation is found in you alone. 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 Committee of One – November 4, 2021

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Daniel 3:24,25

A Committee of One


Daily Devotion – November 4, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:24,25

See series: Devotions

Generally speaking, there is strength in numbers. The more people you have working together on a task, the more likely you are to be successful at completing that task, especially if it’s a big one. On the other hand, there are some tasks where the best way to accomplish them is by having a committee of one. No distractions. No wrong turns. No carrying someone else’s water. A single mind with a single-minded purpose. There are times when a committee of one is the perfect solution to a problem.

The Old Testament believers—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—were facing a truly life-threatening problem. They had just been tossed into the fiery furnace prepared for them by the great Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. Death was beyond certain. Even the soldiers who had thrown them into the fire were immediately incinerated by the hellish blast. If they were to be saved, how many people would it take?

As it turns out, just one.

Three men had been cast into the fire, but when the king went to witness the demise of his doomed triplets, he “leaped to his feet in amazement. . . He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around the first, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.'” Whether it was an angel of the Lord or the Lord Jesus himself, we cannot know for certain. What we can know is that those men were saved that day by a committee of One. The Lord saves his people now and forever, and he does it all by himself.

We wouldn’t want it any other way. Only Jesus is perfect. Only Jesus is all-powerful. Only Jesus is the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). So, when it comes to our salvation now and forever, Jesus is a committee of One. He must do it, and he does it. Perfectly.

Prayer:
Jesus, help me to trust you alone for my salvation, now and 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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Turning Up the Heat – November 3, 2021

Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.
Daniel 3:19-21

Turning Up the Heat


Daily Devotion – November 3, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:19-21

See series: Devotions

My wife and I love to engage in thermostat wars. She likes it warm. I like it cool. I won’t tell you who normally wins.

But there are times when it’s too hot for both of us—summertime in the kitchen, when the oven and all four stove burners are on. You can’t open the window; it’s 100 degrees outside. And the air conditioner can’t keep up. It’s gotten too hot in the kitchen. We agree!

The world loves to turn the heat up on God’s people, especially those who strive to remain faithful to his holy, saving Word. But that shouldn’t come as any particular surprise. Jesus promised it, and his promises are always perfectly fulfilled. The night before he died, he promised his disciples, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20).

In Matthew 24, he also promised that in the last days, the heat would become too much for some. “At that time,” he said, “many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” Why? Because the heat will get too hot in the kitchen.

Why does Jesus make such promises? So that when the world starts turning up the heat on his people, they’re not surprised. They’ll rejoice (Matthew 5:11,12; 1 Peter 4:12,13).

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to obey King Nebuchadnezzar’s ungodly order, the king turned up the heat and ordered them into the furnace. They didn’t kick and scream. They didn’t deny their faith. They didn’t complain about unfairness. They put their trust in God, knowing that in Jesus, the victory was already theirs.

God’s people will feel the heat. But when they do, they rejoice. Because Jesus always keeps his promises. It’s true.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for graciously giving us confidence in you by always keeping 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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The Bigger Picture – November 2, 2021

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Daniel 3:17,18

The Bigger Picture


Daily Devotion – November 2, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:17,18

See series: Devotions

Sometimes we get too caught up in life’s day-to-day hassles. We don’t keep an eye on the bigger picture.

The Bible teaches us, “Set your minds on things above, not only earthly things.” What we see in this world is transitory. It’s passing way. But what God promises to us in Jesus endures forever. In many ways, real life doesn’t begin until we finally see Jesus with our eyes.

Until then, the Christian life is lived under the cross. In other words, Christians expect to endure hatred and persecution when they remain faithful to Jesus and his Word. It’s no surprise. The Bible says, “Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18,19).

But Christians keep an eye on the bigger picture.

That’s what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did when they were facing the burning anger of King Nebuchadnezzar. While they were convinced that God would save them from the fiery furnace of the king’s fury, they were also prepared if God chose not to spare them in that moment. Indeed, they believed wholeheartedly, “the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Even when it may seem like the world defeats God’s people, God’s people keep an eye on the bigger picture. In the end, God wins forever, and he shares the spoils of his eternal victory with those who trust him, no matter what.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to understand and trust that I will be victorious in you forever. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Defense Rests – November 1, 2021

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.”
Daniel 3:16,17

The Defense Rests


Daily Devotion – November 1, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:16,17

See series: Devotions

I like TV courtroom dramas. But I also know enough about the world to know that what you see on TV often doesn’t happen in real life. Like when a defendant’s lawyers decide that it’s in their client’s best interest that they not offer a defense. They’re convinced the prosecution has not met their burden of proof. So instead of offering their own set of facts and expert witnesses, they simply tell the judge, “The defense rests.”

Though it happens rarely, the Old Testament prophet Daniel tells us how his Jewish compatriots, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did just this when the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, accused them of treason. The king had commanded every one of his subjects to worship a ninety-foot image of gold he had built to honor himself. These three men refused. But instead of offering a single fact or argument as to why their refusal was lawful, they bravely told the king, “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.” The defense rests.

Why rest? Because they were right. God commands his people not to worship anyone or anything other than him. They were more concerned with obeying God than obeying any human being, even a king. And they knew that their God was perfectly capable of rescuing them if he so chose. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace,” they told the king, “the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.”

The model of these three men is important for us to ponder. Sometimes we are tempted to “argue people” into believing the truth about Jesus. But why? There is certainly a time and place for defending God’s Word, but I need to remember that God’s Word first defends me. I don’t back God up; he and his Word back me up.

God tells us that he forgives all sinners in Jesus, the risen Savior. In Jesus, he gives eternal life freely. That includes you. It’s just the truth. The defense rests.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me simply to listen to and trust your Word of 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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Do it for Love – October 31, 2021

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Galatians 5:6

Do it for Love


Daily Devotion – October 31, 2021

Devotion based on Galatians 5:6

See series: Devotions

Lutheran Christians celebrate a Reformation that happened over 500 years ago. Today is the 504th anniversary of the Reformation. Lutheran Christians remembered how God used a man named Martin Luther to reform the Church.

Perhaps you are wondering, “Why celebrate something that took place so long ago?” Good question.

The Reformation answers this big question, “How do I become right with a holy God?”

We can’t do it on our own. You and I inherited the sinful condition of our parents. Each day, we sin against God and fall miserably short of living the perfect life that God demands of us. Because we are sinners, we deserve to spend our eternity apart from God and his blessings. And nothing can change that! I can try to be a better Christian. I can try to be more loving and kind to my family and other people. But doing many good things won’t help anyone’s relationship with God.

God’s Son, Jesus, is the answer. God sent Jesus to save us. Jesus lived the perfect life that we failed to live. He died on the cross to fully pay for everyone’s sins. And he rose from the dead on Easter so that we can be sure that we have a right relationship with God.

The only thing that counts is Jesus and embracing him by faith. Through the good news about our Savior, the Holy Spirit works saving faith in our hearts. And faith will show itself! Faith is alive and active in the Christian’s heart.

A mother asked her seven-year-old daughter to wash the dishes after supper. The mother gave Samantha a dollar bill when the job was finished. Later that evening, the mother found the bill, along with a note, on the dresser in the bedroom. Samantha’s note read, “Dear Mommy, I did it for love.”

Why do we do good works? Not to get something from God. God has given us everything in Jesus. No, like Samantha, we “do it for love” too!

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for doing everything necessary to save me from my sin. Use that good news to motivate me to serve you and the people you bring into 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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The Struggle – October 30, 2021

[Jesus said] “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. . . . And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.”
Mark 9:43,45-47

The Struggle


Daily Devotion – October 30, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:43,45-47

See series: Devotions

Does today’s Bible passage seem like strange words from Jesus’ lips and make you raise your eyebrows a bit? Am I really supposed to mutilate my body so I don’t end up in hell?

No. Jesus hasn’t lost his mind. And no, you are not to start cutting off body parts.

But Jesus does want you to understand that there is a part of you that would like nothing more than to spend forever apart from him, suffering in a place of pain, loneliness, and death. This ugly part of you is called your sinful nature. You were born with it. You received it from your parents. It’s the part of you that is bad to the bone—totally selfish, utterly hateful, and completely opposed to God’s will for you.

Fight against the desires of your sinful flesh every moment of every day! Say “no” to all that is sinful and “yes” to all that is pleasing to God. For spiritual strength, work out and exercise each day with God’s Word and prayer. Attend a worship service each week to “pump up” your new self (the part of you that loves God, trusts him, and wants to do his will). When you give in to your sinful nature and sin, don’t despair. Take your sin to Jesus and confess it. Stand beneath his cross and see him on it for you, wounded, bleeding, and dying to pay the full price for your sins.

Restored and forgiven by Jesus, continue with confidence the struggle that is your life. It won’t be easy on this side of heaven. But in Jesus, you will win eternally!

Prayer:
Jesus, help me in my daily struggle against my sinful nature. When I fail, forgive me. Give me strength to overcome temptation and live a life that pleases you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Upside Down Glory – October 29, 2021

[Jesus said] “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:43-45

Upside Down Glory


Daily Devotion – October 29, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 10:43-45

See series: Devotions

Martin Luther King Jr. once observed, “We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction. This quest for recognition is the basic impulse of human life. Our first cry as a baby was a bid for attention. Children are a little bundle of ego. Now in adult life, we still have it, and we really never get by it.” (The Drum Major Instinct, 4 February 1968)

But Jesus tells us, “That is not the way it is to be among you.” Instead, we are to put others before ourselves—just like Jesus did.

Jesus is true God, but he didn’t hang on to living like God. He came to serve. He came to save. It took him to the depths of hell. He walked through the jaws of death. He was humbled to the point of death for one reason: he loved us. He wanted to set free all who have sinned, suffered, been separated from the love of God. And, by rising from the dead, he became the source of eternal salvation and the promise of a new world for everyone who believes in him.

You might feel like a speck of sand on the shore, a nameless face in a sea of people, vapor in the wind. You are, in fact, great to God. In Jesus, you have all the rights of sons. You have a place in his family, a piece of his future, and a purpose for your present.

You are free to serve your neighbor. You are free to love your neighbor. And there’s great glory in that. They get to see Jesus in you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, like you, help me not so much seek to be served as to serve. For it is in serving that you are glorified. 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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Something for Something – October 28, 2021

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. . . I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:19,22,23

Something for Something


Daily Devotion – October 28, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 9:19,22,23

See series: Devotions

Quid pro quo.

That’s Latin for “something for something.” If I give you something, I expect you to give me something fair in return. If I work for a company, I deserve to get paid a fair wage. It’s my right.

And that’s all fine and good, as long as we remember that it goes both ways. If I put in the work, I deserve fair wages. But if I don’t put in the work, I deserve to be fired.

But God works a strange economy. He doesn’t give us what we deserve. He gives us what we don’t deserve. For our sins of crossing the line with God or not measuring up to his standards, we deserve to be punished. Instead, God, who is rich in mercy, gave us his Son.

Jesus had equal status with God because he is God. But he wasn’t so full of pride that he had to hold on to that status. No! He set aside his divine privileges and enslaved himself to his Father’s will so that he might save us. In perfect obedience to his Father, Jesus lived a selfless life and died a selfless death. And as a result, we are free from sin’s curse and Satan’s accusations.

Now, we are free to be all things to all people. For the sake of other people’s souls, I don’t have to insist on my way or my rights. I can meet people where they are at. I can listen to their point of view and try to understand. Then, I can point them to Jesus so they might share in the freedom that comes from his forgiveness.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, teach me true humility, so that I help rather than hinder the cause of your Gospel. 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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Strive for Rest – October 27, 2021

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.
Hebrews 4:9-11

Strive for Rest


Daily Devotion – October 27, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 4:9-11

See series: Devotions

The soldiers, rough and run down, file out of the truck. Their clothes are ragged. Their bodies are stiff and sore. For months, they fought hard and slept little. To say that these soldiers are tired would be an understatement. They have been on the battlefront too long.

As they line up, the commanding officer reminds them why they are here. They must use this time wisely. They have only one responsibility: rest and recuperate. It will take a few days for their bodies to respond, but gradually their energy will return as they find rest.

Is your soul tired? Are you worn down by your battle against your spiritual enemies–the devil and your own sinful flesh? Are you exhausted from trying to live up to God’s standard only to realize day after day that you fail?

Let God’s promise in today’s Bible reading comfort you. It promises that it is not our efforts that make us worthy to be with God. Jesus has already done that work. He carefully carried out his Father’s orders in everything. You don’t have to sweat or strain to soften God’s anger or try to win his love. Jesus has dismissed you from that wearying and worrying work.

So, you can rest. You can rest in him.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, when I am weary, help me find rest in you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Arrogant Pride – October 26, 2021

After Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
2 Chronicles 26:16

Arrogant Pride


Daily Devotion – October 26, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Chronicles 26:16

See series: Devotions

What were you doing at the age of sixteen?

For most of us, our teenage years were typical. Our time was consumed with dating, school, sports, and getting our driver’s license. Uzziah didn’t have a typical teenage experience. By the time he was sixteen, Uzziah was ruling the nation of Judah.

Uzziah was a great king. But the legacy he left behind is that arrogant pride will result in personal ruin. His name means the Lord is my strength and early in his reign Uzziah lived up to that name. He followed God faithfully. He lived in humble obedience before the Lord. As long as he did, God gave him tremendous success. Uzziah became the greatest ruler since Solomon.

Unfortunately, greatness went to Uzziah’s head. He forgot that the Lord’s hand, not his own, had achieved these great things. In arrogant pride, Uzziah forgot his place, strutted into the temple, and took over. The priests tried to stop him. Uzziah lost his temper. God struck him with a skin disease that stuck with him. He had to live out the rest of his reign in quarantine.

Uzziah serves as a reminder for all of us: In all things, give God glory. He is the source of all our successes. His hand, not ours, accomplishes great things for us. We would have nothing if God did not give it to us.

But even when pride goes to our head, and we fall flat, God remains faithful in his goodness. He lifts our eyes so we can see Jesus, who lived in perfect humility before God, as our substitute. And although he was without sin, God inflicted him and caused him to suffer the guilt of our arrogant pride.

So, whether it is success we have in this life or our hope of eternal life in heaven, we owe it all to God. May this reality keep us thankfully humble.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, make me mindful that all I have is a gift from you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Great Redeemer – October 25, 2021

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin . . . the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand . . . By his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many . . . Therefore I will give him a portion among the great.
Isaiah 53:10-12

Our Great Redeemer


Daily Devotion – October 25, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 53:10-12

See series: Devotions

You are a hardened criminal. For as long as you can remember, you have been in trouble with the law. When the authorities finally apprehend you, they charge you with society’s worst imaginable crimes and drag you to court.

You stand with your court-appointed attorney in front of the judge. Over the next twelve hours, the prosecution presents witness after witness and produces evidence after evidence. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, you are guilty. The judge sentences you to 10 consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole.

Just as the judge is about to close the case, your attorney speaks up. “Your honor,” he says, “I am willing to take responsibility for this person’s crimes. I will assume his guilt. I will accept the consequences. I will satisfy the sentence.”

“Very well,” the judge responds. “I will allow it. The accused is free to go.”

You can’t believe your ears. This is great!

As great as this news would be, the good news of what Jesus has done for us is even greater.

We fall short of God’s approval. He has his limits, and we continually cross the line. He has his demands, and we keep missing the mark. There is no such thing as a misdemeanor in God’s courtroom. If we break one law, we are guilty of breaking them all. It’s a death sentence—hell without parole.

But Jesus is our God-appointed attorney. And since he could not argue our innocence, he stepped in and assumed our guilt. When he went to the cross, he suffered our punishment. With his dying breath, Jesus satisfied God’s sentence against us. By raising Jesus from the dead, God drives away all doubt for the sake of Jesus; we are forgiven. We are free!

Isn’t Jesus great?

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, thank you for being my great Redeemer, for suffering my sentence and setting me free. 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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Perfection – October 24, 2021

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.
Hebrews 3:1,2

Perfection


Daily Devotion – October 24, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 3:1,2

See series: Devotions

In the 1986 fighter pilot movie “Top Gun,” the theme was the need to be perfect. The fighter pilots often heard the phrase “there are no points for second place.” That meant as a fighter pilot you needed to be perfect because anything less meant that you would likely die in an encounter with the enemy.

We live in a very competitive world. People strive to be the best they can be. But how good do we have to be for God to accept us? How can we reach the level of perfection that God demands?

The truth is that if we try to be perfect before God, we’re always going to fail. It is the hard cold reality of sin. God demands that we be perfect. Yet just one wrong deed or a single bad thought causes us to fail.

But there is hope in Jesus! “He was faithful to the one who appointed him.” God appointed his eternal Son, Jesus, to be the world’s Savior. Jesus accepted that mission and accomplished it. He left heaven and lived a perfect life here on earth. Yes, he never sinned once. That’s important because God, in his love for us, credits Jesus’ perfection to us. Jesus was also faithful to his heavenly Father by submitting himself to death. He didn’t deserve to die because he was perfect, but he died because we are not. God laid the guilt of all our imperfections—our sins—on Jesus for which he paid the penalty of death in our place.

By faith in our faithful Savior, we will stand before God with the assurance of a blessed eternity in heaven!

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for being faithful to your Father and saving me from my sins. Keep my eyes fixed on you and the hope of eternal life you provide. 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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Peace in Our Hearts – October 23, 2021

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1

Peace in Our Hearts


Daily Devotion – October 23, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 5:1

See series: Devotions

Do you know the story of the little boy who loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart? The boy had a very serious heart problem, so serious that the surgeon found it necessary to operate on his heart. The surgeon told the boy, “Tomorrow morning, I will open up your heart….” “You will find Jesus there,” the little boy interrupted. Being a bit annoyed, the surgeon took the boy by the hand and explained, “I will cut your heart open. I have to see how much damage has been done…” “But when you open up my heart, you will find Jesus in there,” the little boy said again.

The next day following the surgery, the surgeon recorded the notes “…damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, muscle degeneration. No hope for transplant or a cure.” Tears flowed from his eyes as he recalled the faith in this little boy’s heart. When he awoke from the surgery, he whispered to the surgeon, “Did you cut open my heart?” “Yes,” said the surgeon. “What did you find?” asked the boy. “I found Jesus there,” said the surgeon.

In this story a well-educated and learned surgeon learned from a child. He learned what it meant to have child-like faith and to believe in Jesus so that even in the face of death, we need not worry but be at peace and have the confident hope that we will be with him in heaven. All this is because Jesus suffered, died, and rose again to pay for all of our sins.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me a child-like faith, a faith that does not doubt or question what God’s plans are for me, but a faith which trusts his precious promises for my physical and eternal well-being. 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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Ouch – October 22, 2021

[Jesus] said, “Go, sell everything you have . . . Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Mark 10:21,22

Ouch


Daily Devotion – October 22, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 10:21,22

See series: Devotions

You have an area on your left side that has become uncomfortable. You go to a doctor. The doctor seems to examine everything except the area in question, “I see no problems. You look just fine,” he says. As you go home, you’re uneasy. For while you’ve just been to a doctor who’s given you a clean bill of health, you sense he has failed to put his finger on the problem.

In Mark chapter 10, the man who approaches Jesus presumes that his spiritual health is in good shape. He believes he has lived a decent life. He does not see any glaring problems in his relationship with God.

Jesus, however, is the Great Physician. He conducts his diagnosis of this man in a way that the man discovers he is hurting where he did not even realize he was hurting. The man happens to be quite wealthy. When Jesus challenges him to part with all his wealth for the sake of following Jesus, the man is crestfallen. He walks away sad. In love, the Great Physician has placed his finger on the area that hurts. He has gotten the man to say, “Ouch.”

In my sinful weakness, I often possess a genius for sliding into the presumption that my spiritual health is in pretty good condition. Sure, there are garden-variety sins here and there, but my self-diagnosis frequently comes up with a clean bill of health.

And this is why we need our Savior. Through his Word and his hand in my life, our Great Physician puts his finger on that area of my life where I am truly hurting. In love, he gets me to say, “Ouch.”

Is this pleasant when he does this? No, it isn’t. But Jesus loves me enough to do it. For when he causes me to wince, I then realize even more how much I need his blood to wash me clean, to forgive my sin, to bring me his healing.

And through faith in him, that’s what I have—you and I both.

Prayer:
Great Physician, you make me realize how much I need you. Thank you for the healing I possess in your blood. 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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Tender Subject – October 21, 2021

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Hebrews 13:4

Tender Subject


Daily Devotion – October 21, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 13:4

See series: Devotions

Today’s Bible verse touches on a tender subject. Many of us carry deep emotional wounds from the misuse of God’s gifts of marriage and sex. These wounds may be self-inflicted. Or we may be carrying them due to the actions of others. Our Lord cares about us enough, however, to speak to us about it in loving candor.

The Lord tells us, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure”—the “marriage bed” referring to God’s wedding gift of sexual intimacy. Our Heavenly Father is clear on this matter. His wedding gift of sexual intimacy is for a husband and wife to enjoy within the exclusive security of marriage—not before it and not outside of it. To emphasize his serious concern about this, his Word goes on to say, for God will judge the adulterer” (that is, anyone who is unfaithful in marriage) “and all the sexually immoral” (that is, anyone who misuses God’s wedding gift of sexual intimacy in any way, whether that person is married or single).

Several decades ago, our culture, to a great degree, bought into the premise that what God’s Word says about marriage is unnecessary. The implied promise was that if you threw off the old notions about marriage and sex, your life would be happier, healthier, more pleasurable, more free.

Sadly, the results are in: broken homes, broken trust, emotional scars for both parents and children, resentment, isolation, loneliness. Such is the nature of sin, of course—your sin and mine. It promises a better life if we only ignore God’s will for our lives. But sin can never deliver on its promise.

Jesus, however, does. Always. In our place, he lived a life of purity, a life of perfect obedience to God’s will. At the cross, his blood washed away our every unfaithfulness, our every dark sin. When we fix our eyes on him in repentant hearts, all is forgiven. All!

Which empowers us to begin again when it comes to our approach to marriage. All to the glory of our Savior.

Prayer:
Forgive me, Lord, for where I have fallen in this area of my life. Empower me to trust your will. 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 – October 20, 2021

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers.
Hebrews 13:2

Welcome


Daily Devotion – October 20, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 13:2

See series: Devotions

Sometimes a simple book title can say all that needs to be said. In 2019 an author by the name of Alisha Anderson came out with a book with just such a title. The title of her book is The Lost Art of Hospitality.

Many observers of our present culture have remarked that more and more people seem to feel uncomfortable when it comes to practicing hospitality on a personal level. There could be many social reasons for this, of course. Perhaps the “professional” side of hospitality has been elbowing out the personal side. Perhaps the frantic pace of Twenty-first Century life has discouraged personal hospitality. Or perhaps the term coined back in the 90s, “cocooning,” which describes the tendency for people to curl up by themselves within their own homes—perhaps that is making an impact too.

Whatever the reasons, you and I do well to pause and give this some thought. Have I given in to the self-absorbed culture to such a degree that I no longer focus on making someone else feel appreciated, accepted, comfortable, welcome? To the degree that I have fallen short in this area of my life, I need to come to repentance before the God who calls upon me to do just that in my relationships with others.

And this is where Jesus comes in. Wherever he traveled, he took deliberate care to make others feel valued and welcome. Jesus did this on our behalf. He also went to the cross to wash us clean of all of our self-absorbed moments. Through faith in him, we stand forgiven, embraced, accepted.

How can I thank him for this? I don’t necessarily need to go out and compel a family to stay in my home for a week. But maybe I could invite someone out for a cup of coffee and give that person my undivided attention. Or invite someone out to a park with a couple of fast-food milkshakes. Or maybe I could open my humble home for a couple of hours to share a pizza. Whatever I do, I do it to thank the Lord Jesus for all he has done to care about me.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for seeking me out. Move me to show the same kind of care for 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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The Builder – October 19, 2021

For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.
Hebrews 3:4

The Builder


Daily Devotion – October 19, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 3:4

See series: Devotions

Near Iceland lies a cluster of islands called the Faroe Islands. In these islands stands one of the oldest continuously occupied houses in the world. It’s called “The Viking Farmhouse.” It’s a cozy, wood-framed home. The family currently occupying the house has had it for some time—17 generations to be exact. The Viking Farmhouse is about one thousand years old.

There are no records that survive for who designed it, gathered the materials, or built the house. Its very existence, however, declares that someone did.

In the Bible, God engages us in various ways when it comes to his existence. In the New Testament book of Hebrews, he invites us to stand in front of a house—any house—and give that house a good look. As we stand before that house, we may not see the architect or contractor; we may not see the carpenters, plumbers, and electricians who were once there. However, the very existence of the house gives testimony to their work.

With that, God invites us to take in something a bit bigger. He invites us to look at the creation around us and give it a good look. Look at the heavens. Look at the stars. Look at the precise orbit of our planet around the sun. Look at the breathtaking orchestration of our ecosystem. Look at the overwhelming sophistication of just one single cell in our human bodies. God invites us to look at all of this, for it all points to him. He is the builder.

But he is far more than just the builder. When humanity, the crown of his creation, chose to sever its relationship with God, God did what he had to do to bring us home. The builder became one of us. He walked among us in the person of Jesus Christ. As our substitute, Jesus lived the life we failed to live. He suffered and died for our every wrong, all to set things right.

That’s the love the builder has for you.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for creating me. And thank you for saving me. I am doubly yours. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Beach – October 18, 2021

Seek the LORD and live.
Amos 5:6

The Beach


Daily Devotion – October 18, 2021

Devotion based on Amos 5:6

See series: Devotions

Colonel George Taylor had a problem. It was D-Day. His men had just landed on a Normandy beach to begin the invasion of Nazi-occupied France. The problem was that his men felt trapped on the beach. Their position was alive with enemy gunfire, and everyone was afraid to move forward.

But above the roar of gunfire and the explosion of mortars and the cries of the wounded, Colonel Taylor simply shouted this: “There are only two kinds of men on this beach—those who are dead, and those who are about to die. Let’s get out of here.”

His simple logic worked. His men realized that the beach meant only death. The sooner they moved forward and moved off the beach, the sooner they would find life.

In the Old Testament book of Amos, God’s people found themselves on a similar beach of sorts. It was not a beach threatened with gunfire, however. Rather it was a beach of their own making. It was a beach of their own sin. In spiritual terms, there were only two kinds of people on their beach—those who were dead, and those who were about to die.

The Lord, however, loved his people. That love moved him to speak to them in a clarity that was both piercing and beautiful. “Seek the LORD and live,” he said.

How about you? Do you feel as though you are trapped on a beach right now—a beach of your own making? If so, perhaps you know exactly how you ended up on this beach, or perhaps you don’t. Either way, you sense that this awful beach of yours is not where you’re supposed to be. And what was true of that beach in Normandy is true of your beach too. On it, there are only two kinds of people— “those who are dead, and those who are about to die.”

But Jesus has come to the rescue. On your behalf, he has lived a sinless life. On your behalf, he has washed you clean at the cross. Now, through his Word, he proclaims to you his gospel invitation: “Seek the LORD and live.” The way off your beach has arrived. His name is Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my rescue. I am yours. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Looks at the Heart – October 17, 2021

But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”
1 Samuel 13:14

God Looks at the Heart


Daily Devotion – October 17, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 13:14

See series: Devotions

Researchers claim that we form our first impressions of people in the first six seconds after we meet them. We form our opinions quickly, based on what we see—facial appearance, age, skin color, clothing, and the like.

This is how it was for the people of Israel and King Saul. Based on a quick first impression, many Israelites concluded that Saul would be an excellent king. There he was, the perfect physical specimen. What more could they want in a ruler? The peoples’ first impressions, however, were greatly misleading. Soon Saul’s heart became corrupt. As time went by, Saul hardened his heart more and more until royal convenience and expediency took full precedence over obedience to God. Finally, the Lord had enough. God would choose another king—one after his own heart.

God sent the prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse to choose the new king. As Samuel observed seven of Jesse’s sons, he looked only at the outward appearance. Samuel looked at each of them thinking that he was God’s choice, but the Lord said, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

When the last son, David, was brought in, Samuel saw a handsome young man with honest and alert eyes, the picture of health, but his youthful good looks did not suggest one strong enough to rule Israel. But God knew better. David’s humility and trusting heart were exactly what God was looking for!

What does God see when he looks at us? Does he see hearts that admit their sin and seek God’s forgiveness? Does he see faith that looks to Jesus’ cross for pardon? Does he see people who are willing to follow Jesus as faithful disciples? If so, then we are people after God’s own heart!

Prayer:
Lord, forgive me for the times I have followed my own sinful ways rather than your holy ways. Give me your heart. 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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Compassion – October 16, 2021

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 9:35,36

Compassion


Daily Devotion – October 16, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 9:35,36

See series: Devotions

Compassion. There often isn’t much of it in our dog-eat-dog world. Survival of the fittest. Win at all costs. Look out only for yourself. Climb the corporate ladder no matter who you have to step on. Show compassion? Ha! That’s for the weak.

But our Bible reading for today tells us that Jesus had compassion on people when he lived in this compassionless world. He healed the sick and injured. Most compassionately of all, he preached and taught the good news of free forgiveness and eternal life to souls burdened by guilt and sin.

You are on the receiving end of God’s compassion. In compassion, God sent his Son in the flesh to save you from the guilt and punishment of your sins. In compassion, God brought you into his family through his Holy Spirit who brought you to faith. In compassion, God daily protects you with his angels and provides for all your needs. In compassion, God hears all your prayers and is preparing a room for you in heaven. In compassion, God is working out everything that happens to you (even the bad and sad) for your eternal good.

God has shown you compassion. With an appreciative heart, go and show others compassion with your words and actions. You can’t heal the sick as Jesus did. But you can help ease someone’s pain. Above all, you can tell a burdened soul about a compassionate and forgiving God.

Prayer:
God, thank you for treating me daily with compassion. Help me to share your compassionate love with others. May they see your compassion and love through 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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Not Ashamed – October 15, 2021

Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
Hebrews 2:11

Not Ashamed


Daily Devotion – October 15, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:11

See series: Devotions

Real Men Love Jesus. The slogan appears on t-shirts, hoodies, coffee cups, and drink coasters. But why sell such items? Who would purchase them?

It’s a bit of a reaction to an unfortunate trend. Christians are often pressured to feel ashamed of Jesus and to hide their faith in Jesus. The Real Men Love Jesus slogan is a marketing strategy designed to reverse that trend. It’s time for Christians to let their light shine, not hide it. Don’t be ashamed of Jesus!

But have you ever wondered, “Could Jesus be ashamed of us?” After all, we are part of a human race that seems so self-absorbed. There’s so much chaos and disharmony in our communities. News outlets run stories about riots, wars, assaults, and trafficking. Could Jesus love a world like this?

On a more personal note, I have a good deal of chaos and disharmony in my own heart. I’m supposed to love Jesus above all else. In reality, I’ve set my heart on so many other things. I’m supposed to trust Jesus. Instead, I stress myself out with worry or try to take matters into my own hands. I’m supposed to honor Jesus by the things I think, say, and do. Oh, how I’ve failed! Could Jesus love a person like me?

He could. In fact, he does! John 3:16 reminds us that God loved the world so much, he sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus didn’t walk away from our self-absorbed humanity but willingly came running to our rescue. He took all the selfishness, sin, dishonor, and chaos of our hearts and communities—he took it all to the cross. And there on the cross, he suffered and died and made a perfect payment.

The result? The sins of the world have been paid for by Jesus! On a more personal note, the sins of my past have been taken away. The times I’ve dishonored or distrusted my God—those have been forgiven. Jesus, my Savior, has washed me clean.

What a way to start or end your day, knowing that Jesus loves you, has paid for all your sins, and isn’t ashamed to call you his brother or sister!

Prayer:
Savior, Jesus, since you have loved me so dearly, help me never to be ashamed of you. Amen.

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