Loving Our Enemies – July 3, 2021

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:43-45

Loving Our Enemies


Daily Devotion – July 3, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 5:43-45

See series: Devotions

When Jesus speaks of loving our enemies, he uses the Greek word, which means more than “to like.” It is a word that the Bible uses most often in regard to the love God has for totally undeserving sinners, a love that moved God to be merciful and act for our salvation. We may be unable to like some people because of their sinful habits. But as disciples of Jesus, we are to love our enemies. Why? Because we know and have experienced the love of God, his wonderful grace for us undeserving sinners that pardons our guilt for Jesus’ sake. By his love, God eternally embraces us as his children.

Faith in God’s redeeming love empowers us to love our enemies with a love like his. Though ours will never be a perfect love like that of our heavenly Father, yet his love compels us to love even those who hate us. This means that we show them love in word and deed with the highest aim that in extending our Christian love to them, they will be attracted to the saving message of the gospel, believe it, and be saved.

Jesus points out that by showing such love for those who hate us, we are recognized as the children of the Father. How wonderful to be known as children of God simply by the way we treat those who have mistreated us!

Prayer:
Dear God, through your Word renew in me daily a greater understanding and a deeper appreciation for your love in Christ. Help me to reflect your love to others, even toward those I have difficulty liking. 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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Storm – July 2 ,2021

[The disciples] were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:41

Storm


Daily Devotion – July 2 ,2021

Devotion based on Mark 4:41

See series: Devotions

When you have a moment, look up “Gardner Museum” online. When you get to the museum website, search Rembrandt, and you will find his extraordinary work of art, “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee.”

Look it over. Zoom in on the details. Rembrandt captures the moment when Jesus and his disciples are in a terrible squall while sailing in a small boat. Thanks to Rembrandt’s genius, you can almost hear the roar of the wind, the crash of the waves, the cries of the men. You can almost feel the cold spray on your face.

Study the disciples. Several of them are scrambling to control the sail. One is holding on to the tiller for dear life. One is about to get sick. One is clinging to the side, frozen over what to do next. One has his back to us, quietly shutting down in despair. One is in prayer. Two of them are yelling at Jesus in panic, waking him up from a sound sleep.

Finally, there is one disciple who is looking straight at you. He appears to have questioning eyes. He seems to be asking, “What about you? How would you react if you were in my place?”

When the storms of life hit, which one of the disciples are you? Do you scramble to figure things out on your own? Do you simply hold on to the tiller for dear life? Do you yell at Jesus in panic? Do you shut down, overwhelmed?

Time for some candor. There have been many times when you and I have reacted to the storms of life out of anxiety, panic, and fear instead of trust in the one who commands the wind and the waves.

But Jesus came here for more than stilling storms. He came to live a life of perfect trust on our behalf. Jesus came to wash away our every sinful failure at the cross, and then he rose from death. And because he has, he refreshes us in his forgiveness when we come to him in repentant hearts. Restored in him, you and I can rest easy, even in the storms of life.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when the storms come, you are here. All is well. 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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Shipwreck – July 1, 2021

“Last night, an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul.’”
Acts 27:23,24

Shipwreck


Daily Devotion – July 1, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 27:23,24

See series: Devotions

Let’s set the scene. The apostle Paul, in custody, is sailing to Rome to stand trial before Caesar. He’s sailing on a ship that is massive for its day, comparable in size to the great British warships of the early 1800s. There are 276 people on board.

Then, disaster. A “Northeaster,” a wind of hurricane force, sweeps down and takes over the ship. All the crew can do is ride along. Days pass, but the wind is relentless. The crew begins to throw the cargo overboard in hopes of lightening the load and saving the ship. But more days come and go. The storm continues. The sun and stars do not appear. Everything is bleak. Everything is desperate. It looks as though all is lost.

Then Paul gets up. There will be a shipwreck, yes. However, Paul says, “Last night, an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul.’” He goes on to assure them that his Lord has chosen to protect all 276 lives on board.

And so here is Paul, facing the certainty of a shipwreck. Nevertheless, because of a word of promise from the God who claims Paul as his own, Paul remains calm.

You can relate to the 276 people on that ship. Perhaps you’ve never spent days on a sailing ship in hurricane-force winds. You’ve had your turn, however, at feeling the winds of trouble blasting through your life. You’ve felt the dashed hopes. You’ve felt the uncertainty. You’ve felt the fear of shipwreck.

We all have. We are, after all, sinful, frail vessels in a sinful, stormy world.

But as Paul says, “The God to whom I belong and whom I serve” has bound himself to us through faith in Jesus Christ. The same God who has washed us clean in the blood of his Son is the same one who will see us through all things—even the shipwrecks of life.

Prayer:
Lord God, when the shipwrecks of life come, see me through. 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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Self – June 30, 2021

He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:15

Self


Daily Devotion – June 30, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:15

See series: Devotions

The Twilight Zone was a TV series in the early 1960s. Episodes typically included elements of science fiction or the supernatural. Almost every story ended with a twist in the plot. Many consider it one of the best-written TV shows of all time.

One particular episode featured a hardened criminal who had died but woke up in a pleasant place. A congenial host welcomed him and invited him to enjoy what he knew to be some of the criminal’s favorite amusements—playing cards, playing pool, etc. At first, the criminal had a marvelous time, for he discovered that he won every game he played. Over time, however, the novelty wore off. More time passed. The irritation of always winning had now turned into drudgery. More time passed. Finally, the criminal cried out in misery, “I wish I hadn’t gone to heaven. I wish I were in hell.” In reply, the congenial host laughed a terrible laugh and said, “You are.”

From the Bible, we know that hell is far, far worse than simple boredom. The criminal’s misery, however, highlights a real curse—the curse of an empty, meaningless life that has no other purpose than to revolve around me.

That’s the evil genius of sin, of course—your sin and mine. My sinful self makes a compelling case that the purpose of my life is the fulfillment of my pleasures, my dreams, my comforts, my priorities. All that creates, however, is a vacant, lonely, pointless life. My life has meaning only in connection with the God who made me. Absent that, nothing matters.

And that’s why Jesus came. As my substitute, God the Son lived a life of perfect trust in his heavenly Father’s will. As my substitute, God the Son went to the cross and washed away all my sins of self-absorption. Now, as the risen and ascended Christ, he sends me his Holy Spirit through his gospel, joining me to God through faith in his Son. The curse of my self-absorbed life is over.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have rescued me from the loneliness of self. Fill me with the joy of living 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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Shield – June 29, 2021

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Proverbs 30:5

Shield


Daily Devotion – June 29, 2021

Devotion based on Proverbs 30:5

See series: Devotions

In 2015, archaeologists discovered something very old. It was a wooden shield, rectangular in shape and reinforced with straps. Experts date the shield to several hundred years before the birth of Jesus.

To a soldier in the ancient world, the significance of a good shield was profound. In the universe of battle, when swords, spears, and projectiles were seeking to kill or maim, there was nothing a soldier treasured more than a reliable shield. He cared for it, repaired it, maintained it, and for good reason. To him, the shield he carried was a mobile, personal refuge from harm.

Perhaps you are in a moment of your life when you feel as though there are swords, spears, arrows, and projectiles coming at you from every direction. Some may be coming from your place of work. Others may be coming from your home, family, and finances. Others may be coming from a diagnosis from the doctor. Still, others may be coming from sharp regrets in your past or pointed fears about your future.

Such a feeling, of course, is nothing new. Ever since humanity severed its relationship with God in the Garden of Eden, we have been experiencing the consequences of our own sinful brokenness. One of those consequences is to feel as though we are, at times, in a chaotic, noisy battle.

God saw this. God saw us. He saw the madness, brokenness, and frantic despair. And so God sent his Son. On our behalf, Jesus fought the perfect fight against every sinful temptation. In our place, Jesus gave his life on the cross for our every sinful failure. Then, according to his promise, he rose from death, ascended into heaven, and filled the whole universe.

And because he has, you and I now stand forgiven through faith in him. Heaven is ours. He surrounds us in his presence. He guides all things for our good.

All of which means that, as you and I encounter the battles of life in this old world, we have a shield. We have a personal refuge. His name is Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when my battles come, you are my shield. Help me remember this. 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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Everything for Your Good – June 28, 2021

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?”
Job 38:1,2

Everything for Your Good


Daily Devotion – June 28, 2021

Devotion based on Job 38:1,2

See series: Devotions

The event was sold out. The featured speaker was a prominent British writer of television dramas and children’s literature. When a woman by the name of Malorie Blackman tried to get in, the ticket-takers at the door stopped her cold. “Do you have a ticket?” they demanded, with a nasty edge in their voices. “No, I’m afraid I don’t.” “Then you’ll have to leave. It’s sold out. You can’t come in.”

Malorie thought for a moment about this. Then she replied, “Well, if I leave, then so will everyone else. You see, they’ve all paid to hear me speak.” Immediately, according to Malorie, every ticket-taker there was wearing a red face of embarrassment. They simply had no idea to whom they were speaking.

The Old Testament book of Job is the moving account of what happened when a believer in the true God had to endure a titanic amount of severe suffering. Eventually, Job began to question God’s wisdom.

God’s reply? “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” God made it very clear to Job that Job was out of his depth when it came to challenging God and his wisdom. Job was beginning to lose sight of who his Savior-God really is.

How about you? Is this a period in your life when you’re beginning to forget who your Savior-God really is? Do you perceive him as distant, small, uncaring—perhaps even a bit irrelevant to the frantic urgencies of your life?

Stop. Listen. Listen to the Word of the Lord. Listen as the profound voice of your Savior-God calls you to repentance. As he does, listen further. Listen as he goes on to embrace you, all over again, in the forgiveness purchased by his Son on Calvary’s cross. That is the God who loves you. That is the God who guides everything—everything—for your good.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, forgive my words without knowledge. Forgive me for the sake of your Son. Refresh me in the greatness of who you truly are. 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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Out With the Old – June 27, 2021

If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Out With the Old


Daily Devotion – June 27, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:17

See series: Devotions

It had become kind of embarrassing. The shoes had served me well, but the scuff marks were getting pretty bad. No matter what I did to clean and polish them they still looked dirty. I had to walk carefully around puddles because a hole had formed in the sole of the left shoe. It didn’t matter how nicely I dressed, with those shoes on my feet I just felt a little grubby.

Finally, after putting it off longer than I should have, I bought a new pair. Ah… they were comfortable, and I didn’t have to worry about my socks getting soaked every time it rained. Now I was confident that I looked decent when I needed to dress up. I actually found myself walking with more of a spring in my step, confident in my brand-new shoes.

If new shoes or new clothes can have that kind of an impact, what would it be like to be a completely new person? Those who know Jesus and trust in him as their only Savior from sin and death don’t have to wonder. The Bible tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new here!”

Jesus died to remove your sin forever. Every impure thought, every hurtful action, every regret-producing decision, and shame-inducing failure—all have been washed away by the blood of Jesus. Everything that would make you look dirty and dingy in the eyes of your perfect Creator has been done away with. The old has gone!

Those who are in Christ—who believe that his blood washed away sin—have been made new. You can walk around confident that you look good to God. He sees you as his holy and perfect child, washed in the blood of his Son and made new.

Through faith in Jesus, you are a new creation!

Prayer:
Jesus, my Savior, thank you for removing the old and making me new. Help me to live as the new creation you have made me. In your name I ask it. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Will Never Give Up on You – June 26, 2021

“‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain…Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches . . . I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’”
Ezekiel 17:22-24

God Will Never Give Up on You


Daily Devotion – June 26, 2021

Devotion based on Ezekiel 17:22-24

See series: Devotions

It’s not a great feeling when people give up on us. Maybe it was the coach who decided you were never going to get it, and so he banished you to the bench. Maybe it was the employer who decided you weren’t fast enough to keep up with the job and fired you after only a few weeks of work. Or perhaps it was the spouse who was no longer willing to be patient with you to make some necessary changes and decided it was time to move on without you.

The believers in Ezekiel’s day had the mistaken impression that God had given up on them. They were languishing in captivity in the far-off land of Babylon, far away from home and country, far away from their house of worship. Yes, they had sinned. And now it seemed to them that God had given up on them and moved on.

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God gave his people a wonderful and much-needed reminder that he would never give up on them. He had promised to save them many times and through many generations, and he intended to keep that promise. In beautiful words, Ezekiel records God’s determination to keep his promise to his people. He let them know that a Savior was coming—one who would take away everyone’s sins and provide refuge for all who seek him.

God will never give up on you either, no matter how unlikely that may seem. God has proven that already by keeping his promise in sending Jesus. The cross of Calvary is God’s guarantee that he will never give up on you. He loves you, has saved you, and will always be with you. Wherever you are, whatever your circumstance, God says to you: “I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.”

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for giving yourself in my place and for giving me the gift of heaven. Lead me to trust you and to live as your child. 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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Full and Free Forgiveness – June 25, 2021

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 3:10

Full and Free Forgiveness


Daily Devotion – June 25, 2021

Devotion based on Jonah 3:10

See series: Devotions

The ancient city of Nineveh was known for its violence. As the capital of the Assyrian empire, Nineveh dominated the region, and its influence was felt in many directions. Many other nations fell under its power, including the Kingdom of Israel. Assyrian armies laid waste to almost everything in their path, subjugating and enslaving many people and cruelly torturing those who dared to resist. As a result, they earned God’s anger, and he sent his prophet Jonah with the message: “In forty days, Nineveh will be destroyed.”

But when Jonah hesitated to heed God’s call, it wasn’t for the reason we might have expected. It wasn’t that he feared for his life or thought that he might be in danger. Once he finally arrived, Jonah seemed to go fearlessly about the city proclaiming God’s message of impending punishment. What Jonah was afraid of was exactly what happened: the people listened to the message and repented of their wicked ways. They understood from the forty-day warning that the holy God of Israel was willing to relent and show them mercy. And that is what happened.

Jonah selfishly disapproved of God’s grace toward these enemies of God’s people. He would rather see them destroyed and punished without warning as their sins deserved. But God’s kingdom comes by grace in this world. In fact, there is no other way to enter it. The Ninevites could not lay claim to God’s kingdom by force, but neither could the Israelites claim it by merit.

Grace is God’s unmerited love for those who deserve his anger instead. Grace is found only in Jesus Christ, who took our many offenses against God upon himself and accepted the punishment that we all deserved. We enter into God’s kingdom, under his almighty protection and inside of his eternal love, only by recognizing that we shouldn’t be there at all. Repenting of our sins and renouncing our selfishness, we find that we have full and free forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I know that I have angered you and deserve your punishment. But ask for your mercy, and I cling to your gracious promises of forgiveness 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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Live by Faith – June 24, 2021

For we live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7

Live by Faith


Daily Devotion – June 24, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:7

See series: Devotions

Was it any wonder that Pontius Pilate found it hard to believe that Jesus was truly a king? That was the “crime” that Jesus was being accused of by his enemies—a rebel and an upstart who was trying to set up his own kingdom. But who could believe that to look at him? Isaiah described him this way: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). What few disciples Jesus had had all fled, abandoning their rabbi when he was arrested. Now he stood alone before the Roman governor, “despised and rejected by men.” You can hear the incredulity in Pilate’s voice as he asks, “Are you a king?”

We may have the same doubts about those who are followers of this king. Christians around the world are often harassed and persecuted for their faith in the Nazarene Jesus, who was crucified as a criminal. Their lives are full of the same suffering and pain as those around them, despite their allegiance to the God who they believe created the universe. They say that God is their Father and that he loves them, but Christians also get sick and die, just like everyone else.

But Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. And his followers live by faith, not by sight. They know God’s promises are true because they know that he is truthful. They put their faith in him because he is faithful. God kept his promise to send his Son as Savior of mankind, so he will also keep his promise to love us as his dear children for the sake of Jesus. And finally, God will keep his last promises when he comes to take us to live with him forever in heaven. These bodies we live in may be fragile, and the world we live in full of peril, but we live by faith, not by sight. Our king, the Lord Jesus Christ, will never disappoint us.

Prayer:
Lord God, I pray that you would increase my faith to trust your word even when my eyes tell me there is reason to doubt. Keep my faith focused on Jesus, who rose from the dead and who will give me eternal life by his side. 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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Growth Through the Gospel – June 23, 2021

In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.
Colossians 1:6

Growth Through the Gospel


Daily Devotion – June 23, 2021

Devotion based on Colossians 1:6

See series: Devotions

Many missionaries were unable to travel during the worldwide pandemic. Sometimes that meant staying in the mission field for longer than they had planned, putting off trips to visit family back stateside for another year. Others were stuck outside of their field of labor for months at a time while borders were closed to international travel. All of them were grateful for modern technology that allowed them to communicate with people on the other side of the world almost instantaneously. It was only last century that missionaries usually had to wait weeks or even months for correspondence to be delivered either way.

Of course, even today, there are places where Christian missionaries do not always have Internet access. But those sent overseas in the name of Christ know they do not depend primarily on modern communication technology. Their confidence lies not in the speed of the Internet but the power of the gospel. Whether the good news of Jesus is preached over a loudspeaker, hand-written in a letter, shared quietly around a village campfire, or sent as bytes and bits through cyberspace, it has the same power of God to transform human hearts.

This message is for all people everywhere. The Bible tells us, “There is no difference … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24). And all around the world, this gospel message has been bearing fruit and growing, as people of all nations come to know and believe that Jesus Christ has died for the sins of the whole world.

And you are no different. The gospel is also for you and your family. You can read it in a book (or an emailed devotion!), listen to it live at church or a streamed broadcast, or hear it from a friend or a friendly missionary. But no matter the method, the message of forgiveness through Christ is powerful to save.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for sending your gospel into the world. May it also remain with me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Thy Kingdom Come – June 22, 2021

[Jesus] said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29

Thy Kingdom Come


Daily Devotion – June 22, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-29

See series: Devotions

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come.” But what is God’s kingdom? And how does it come? In his Small Catechism, Martin Luther explained it this way: “God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives his Holy Spirit so that by his grace we believe his holy Word and lead a godly life now on earth and forever in heaven.”

Has God answered your prayer? Has his kingdom come to you and others, as you’ve requested every time you’ve prayed the Lord’s Prayer? Perhaps it doesn’t seem so. I know I don’t always live in a way that shows that God is the king of my heart. And while I do believe that Jesus died for me and that my sins are forgiven because of him, I don’t know that I would compare my struggling faith in him to a “kingdom.” In fact, all too often, I’ve become frustrated with not seeing enough evidence of spiritual growth—either in my life or the lives of other Christians.

But Jesus helps us to understand the way that God answers our prayer for his kingdom to come. Just as a seed grows after it has been planted, so God’s kingdom comes slowly but surely, almost imperceptibly at times. Just as God works through the laws of nature that he established to give life and maturity to a growing plant, so the Holy Spirit works faith in us through the gospel of Jesus so that over time we produce its fruits in the form of love and good deeds.

So have patience with yourself and have confidence in the power of God’s word. Even at this moment, it is quietly at work within you.

Prayer:
Dear Father, your kingdom comes even without my asking. But I pray that it comes to me and my loved ones also. 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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Kingdom Aspirations – June 21, 2021

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
Mark 4:30-32

Kingdom Aspirations


Daily Devotion – June 21, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 4:30-32

See series: Devotions

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Adults sometimes chuckle when they hear the four-year-old claim that he wants to be a ninja firefighter or even when the second-grader asserts that she will be the first person to walk on Mars. The children’s heart-felt aspirations can seem far-fetched to the practically-minded—and all the more so when the “future astronaut” stands before you, currently missing her two front teeth!

Might the disciples have been tempted to chuckle at Jesus’ suggestion that his kingdom, his church, would grow to the point of including followers from “all nations”? How could a dozen insignificant men following a homeless and harassed prophet ever dream that their movement would one day number in the billions of souls? How could these Aramaic-speaking apostles begin to understand that the letters and gospels they would write in Greek would eventually be translated into thousands of different languages? How could their humble teacher, once crucified and publicly shamed as a criminal, one day be glorified and worshipped by believers on every continent?

How? Only by Jesus’ power and blessing. By his power and blessing, he established a kingdom of grace, earned by his death on a cross and established by his resurrection from the dead. The purpose of this kingdom is to rescue sinners from their otherwise inevitable destruction in hell, and its goal is to bring people of every nation, tribe, and language out of darkness and into the light of his forgiving love.

As Jesus went to the cross, his hope for the future was for you to join him in paradise. His aspiration was to be your Savior. No matter how large his church grows, Jesus’ eye is always on every individual soul, and his ear is tuned in to their every prayer.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I am grateful that there is room in your kingdom 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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An Eternal House – June 20, 2021

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
2 Corinthians 5:1

An Eternal House


Daily Devotion – June 20, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:1

See series: Devotions

My father would sometimes take me camping while I was growing up. We went often enough that I don’t remember every camping trip. But there is one I will likely never forget.

We borrowed a tent from a friend. When we arrived at the campsite and began to set up, we realized that some of the tent poles were missing. So my father grabbed some rope from the trunk of the car and used it to tie parts of the tent to tree branches to hold it up. We finished setting up the tent just in time for dinner, which is when we were attacked by hungry seagulls dive-bombing at our hotdogs. Evening finally came, which is when a thunderstorm rolled in and revealed two things: we hadn’t tied down the tent as securely as we had thought, and the tent wasn’t as waterproof as the packaging had promised. By midnight that evening, our camping trip was done, and we were back home resting comfortably in our own beds.

In today’s Bible verse, the apostle Paul compares our human bodies to a tent. Like the tent on our camping trip, they’re not entirely immune to destruction. We get sick, suffer injuries, get attacked by cancer, or some other debilitating diseases that dive-bomb into our lives. As healthy as we might eat, as often as we might exercise, we get to a point where our bodies don’t operate as quickly and pain-free as they did when we were young. And then, of course, every funeral is another reminder that one day death will roll in like a powerful thunderstorm and completely overwhelm our fragile bodies.

But Paul also tells us that our bodies are simply tents. As long as we’re in them, we’re never really at home. But one day, we will be. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, our heavenly Father forgave our sin and gave us the right to look forward to our eventual arrival at an eternal house in heaven, where we will finally rest comfortably.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, when I am reminded of how fragile my body really is, keep my faith focused on the eternal and perfect home you have prepared for me through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Joy Story – June 19, 2021

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
Genesis 3:15

A Joy Story


Daily Devotion – June 19, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 3:15

See series: Devotions

When Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin against God, they deliberately disobeyed God and justly deserved the divine sentence of eternal death on themselves and the whole human race. But God demonstrated his great love not only for Adam and Eve but also for all their descendants. He made a promise! He would send a Savior to suffer the punishment for the sins of all people!

God explained his eternal plan for the salvation of sinners. One born of the woman—that’s Jesus—would “crush [Satan’s] head.” Yes, Satan would “strike his heel”—Jesus would suffer and die—but by his death and resurrection, Jesus would rescue all humanity from the power of the devil and free them from the curse of sin.

This promise of God revealed God’s eternal plan of salvation. It was a promise that, like a flower not yet seen on the plant from which it will grow, is nevertheless coming into bud. It would be fulfilled! The promise would one day flower and flourish. This was the hope of the people in the Old Testament.

Finally, God fulfilled his promise, and in his love for all people, sent Jesus into the world to save us. Our gracious God took the sad story of man’s fall and changed the outcome into good news for us. The devil’s horrifying deed was overcome by the power of God’s sweet promise. Now that’s a true story that fills our life with real joy!

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for your great love that moved you to promise and send your Son to rescue me from the power of Satan. Fill my heart with the joy of knowing Jesus as my Savior from sin and death. 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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Focus – June 18, 2021

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

Focus


Daily Devotion – June 18, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:18

See series: Devotions

Where are your eyes fixed these days? Are they fixed on debt as you keep going over the financial statements wondering how you are going to make it? Maybe your eyes are focused on deadlines, as you worry and stress about whether you will be able to get everything done for everyone who has expectations of you. Perhaps your eyes keep staring at your phone, waiting for the doctor to call with the results from a recent test. So often, our eyes are focused on things that fill us with stress and anxiety. We pace the halls. We fill our minds with what-ifs and worst-case scenarios. And, of course, we have little or no control over any of it. These situations are temporary as our Bible reading today reminds us, but certainly, a new set of temporary troubles will come our way whenever the old ones are resolved.

There is a solution to this problem. That is, to fix our eyes on what is unseen. Namely, on Jesus and the heavenly home that he has waiting for us. Everything we face on earth is by nature temporary. But spiritual blessings in Christ are eternal. Because Jesus died on the cross in our place and rose from the dead, we have been given eternal life which far outweighs anything this life can throw at us.

But it is always easier to focus on the here and now than it is on things unseen. God invites and encourages us to lift our eyes to things above. To always have Jesus and his Word in our thoughts and our hearts. To think about and look forward to our heavenly home. To eagerly anticipate eternity with Jesus and all believers in heaven—a place where we will not pace the halls with worry or anxiety, but a place where we will live stress-free in perfect peace and joy. Fix your eyes on that!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for the heavenly home you have prepared for me. Help me to fix my eyes on things eternal. 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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Earthly Troubles – June 17, 2021

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4:17

Earthly Troubles


Daily Devotion – June 17, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:17

See series: Devotions

Cancer. Alzheimer’s. Broken relationships. Job loss. Depression. Persecution. Life in this world is not short of troubles. We all have them. It is just a question of which troubles we have at any given time. So many things we experience weigh us down, and we are so often under pressure. So much so that these things can often seem unbearable.

So, who does the author of this verse think he is to call such troubles “light or momentary”? In a world that seems to care little or nothing for what we are going through, it is important to understand that God is not insensitive to what we are experiencing. Nor should we assume that he does not care about us or love us. It can be an easy thing for us to get angry with God or assume that he does not love us or is not there for us. God has not forgotten us!

But God does want us to see things from his perspective. Our heavenly Father sees all eternity and knows that our life span is but a tiny blip on the eternal timeline. He knows that if we stay the course and trust in Jesus, we have an eternal future waiting for us. When we leave this world, we have a place waiting for us, where we will experience perfect joy that will never end. This is all through Jesus, who endured his own momentary troubles for us. Because of his troubles on that day, Jesus has opened eternal life for us all.

Whatever it is you are going through right now, God wants you to view your troubles in comparison to the eternal joys of heaven. Our joy and the glory in heaven will not be momentary, and whatever we endured on earth will be “light” in comparison. Keep your eyes on your heavenly home and trust the Lord to bring you through all your earthly troubles into the glories of heaven.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, give me strength for the troubles of today. Help me to see things from your perspective and to keep my eyes on my heavenly home. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Victory – June 16, 2021

He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
Genesis 3:15

Victory


Daily Devotion – June 16, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 3:15

See series: Devotions

Satan was victorious. Can you picture him strutting around the Garden of Eden with his hands held high over his head in victory? He had gone up against the world’s only two perfect people, and he had come out victorious. And it sure had not taken long! Satan, quite quickly it seems, had successfully led Adam and Eve away from God and into sin, and he has been winning battles ever since.

It happens all too often in your life and mine. Sometimes before we even know it, and often without much of a fight, the devil defeats us with a quick temptation, and there he stands, gloating in victory over us. Maybe it happens when we are scrolling social media, and he tempts us to click on some inappropriate content. Maybe, it happens after a long day, and conversation is strained, and he tempts us to lash out with our temper. Maybe, it happens when we are at work, and no one is looking, and he tempts us to steal from our employer.

However, it happens Satan has defeated us more times than we care to admit. And because of our dismal record in fighting against his temptations, we were doomed for all eternity. Truthfully, one sin is all it took for us to be worthy of God’s punishment.

But God did something unexpected. He made a promise. Right as Satan was on his victory lap in the Garden of Eden, God promised to send someone to crush this seemingly unstoppable enemy. And he indicated it would not be a close contest. This One to come would CRUSH Satan’s head.

The wonderful news is that God has kept his promise. Jesus came and defeated Satan through his life, death, and resurrection. Just as God promised, Christ came and went toe-to-toe with Satan and has forever crushed him. Better yet, Jesus has given you the victory! In Jesus, we are forgiven and saved, and heaven is our home. And Satan will not be able to harm us for all eternity. Praise be to God for his victory over Satan!

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for sending Jesus to crush my enemy. Thank you for the eternal victory you have given me. Help me always to look to Jesus in times of temptation. 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 Blame Game – June 15, 2021

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” The Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”
Genesis 3:12,13

The Blame Game


Daily Devotion – June 15, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 3:12,13

See series: Devotions

We are all good at playing the blame game. In fact, we learned it at a young age. How often did we not shout out while pointing at a classmate or sibling: “He did it first!” or, “She made me do it!” As we have aged, we have honed our ability to duck responsibility for our actions. We may do it more subtly now, but when it comes to being confronted with our sin, we still like to deflect, dodge, or deny. We try to shift the blame or point the finger at somebody else. Just like Adam and Eve, we try to blame someone else for our sinful actions.

For example, rather than own up to our sinful habit, perhaps we shrug our shoulders and say, “Well, that is how I was raised.” Or, instead of taking responsibility for missing a deadline at work, we throw a co-worker under the bus for not getting us the information we needed on time. Or maybe instead of apologizing to our spouse for the insensitive way we spoke, we hold a grudge and blame them for starting the argument.

Thankfully, there is one who did not deflect or dodge. Jesus went to the cross and took the punishment that we deserved for our sin. He did not point the finger of blame at us. He did not try to dodge the consequences even though the sins were ours rather than his. He had every right to shift the blame to us, but he refused to play that game. Instead, he bore the burden of our sin and gave himself up in our place. His loving sacrifice for us has forever removed our sin and has given us the gift of eternal life.

Cling to Jesus and his cross. Instead of playing the blame game, humbly confess your sin and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness that only he can provide.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for paying the penalty for my sins. Help me not to blame others, but to be honest with you about my sin and to trust in you for 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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Come Clean – June 14, 2021

The Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Genesis 3:9

Come Clean


Daily Devotion – June 14, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 3:9

See series: Devotions

“Where are you?” The almighty and all-knowing God of the universe was not asking that question because he was unable to locate Adam. He asked the question because he was giving the man a chance to come clean. Like any parent who knows exactly what his child has done, the Lord God was lovingly giving Adam an opportunity to be honest about what he did.

God could ask the same question of us today. “Where are you?” Are we hiding from God in a busy schedule—filling up our days with so many things that it is never convenient to address issues in our spiritual lives? Or maybe we are burying ourselves in social media and websites so that we never have to face reality about a specific failing in our lives. Perhaps we are spiraling downward in a cycle of addiction or despair over the guilt that we have so far refused to come to terms with. Where are you?

Wherever we are, God lovingly calls out to us and invites us to run to him and come clean and find our loving Father in heaven. He patiently calls out to us and invites us to turn toward him. God wants nothing more than for us to come out of hiding and confess our sin and turn toward him to receive love and compassion and free and full forgiveness. God’s will is that we all repent and find eternal salvation in Jesus.

We may not always want to be found by God, but he made every effort to seek us. In love, he sent Jesus as our Savior from sin to die on the cross and give his life in our place. Jesus then rose from the dead to guarantee our forgiveness and our place in heaven. In Christ, we are God’s forgiven children who have no need to hide. Where are you? By the grace of God, one day, the answer to that question will be: “I am in heaven forever with Jesus.”

Prayer:
Dear Lord God, forgive me for my sin and for all the times I have hidden from you. Thank you for seeking me out and for the forgiveness that is mine in Christ 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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Fix Your Eyes – June 13, 2021

We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Fix Your Eyes


Daily Devotion – June 13, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

See series: Devotions

When the apostle Paul wrote that his troubles were light and temporary, it sounds like he had a common cold or maybe a headache. But listen to some of the things he was talking about. He wrote, “three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked,” etc. Nothing light or temporary there. Eventually, he would end up being imprisoned and martyred for his faith. Light and temporary? No. But Paul was comparing the troubles he had on earth with the glory that would be his in heaven.

The joys of heaven, won for us by Jesus, are so amazing that the things we suffer here are light and temporary by comparison. Most of us have not been through all the things that Paul went through. Still, there are times when we could sit down and make quite a list. They may not look as bad as Paul’s problems, but they are OUR problems and concern us greatly.

Paul’s advice to us on those days is pretty amazing, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen.” How can you fix your eyes on something you can’t see? He is impressing on us the truth that no matter how bad things may be in our lives now, they will come to an end someday. Like Paul, we don’t lose heart because no matter how complicated and difficult life may become, we can fix our eyes on the joy and peace that we know are waiting for us in heaven through Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of eternal life with you in heaven. When life here gets difficult, help me fix my eyes on that goal and never lose 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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Strength to Endure – June 12, 2021

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8,9

Strength to Endure


Daily Devotion – June 12, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:8,9

See series: Devotions

It was not easy being the apostle Paul. Wherever he went to tell other people about Jesus, he inevitably faced violent opposition. Repeatedly he was thrown in prison and people tried to kill him. From the Jewish authorities, he received thirty-nine lashes on five separate occasions. From the Romans, he received three beatings with rods. Forty men once vowed that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. And on top of all this, he was shipwrecked three times, was constantly on the move, and often went without sleep or food. All this Paul suffered because he was a follower of Jesus. He most certainly was “hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, struck down.”

Yet, even in all this suffering, Paul did not lose hope. It’s not that he expected God to relieve him of his suffering. No, he knew that as long as he remained on this earth, he would continue to be hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and even struck down. Yet, he knew that none of those sufferings would ever be able to completely defeat him. There was one who was crushed and abandoned for him and for all people. That one was Jesus, and in him, Paul held both ultimate victory over all his enemies and the strength to endure all his sufferings.

Jesus was his strength. Even when he became discouraged, Paul did not slide into despair. Jesus was his sure hope. In the midst of the most savage persecution, Paul knew that he would never be alone. Jesus had promised to be with him always. Even if his enemies succeeded in striking him down, Paul knew that he would not be destroyed. Jesus was his life, and in him, Paul would live forever.

When the pressure seems too much for you and you’re struggling to stand up under it, remember where your strength lies. It lies, not in you, but in Jesus who was crushed and abandoned for you. In him, you hold both ultimate victory over all your enemies and the strength to endure until he takes you to heaven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, uphold me with your strength so that in you I may always stand. 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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Stand Strong – June 11, 2021

“I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.”
Acts 26:25

Stand Strong


Daily Devotion – June 11, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 26:25

See series: Devotions

Some of the central teachings of Christianity are these: God became a human being in Jesus. He lived, died, and rose from the dead. And he promises to come back to resurrect our bodies and renew all of creation.

Such teachings seem illogical, unreasonable, even insane. The Almighty God shouldn’t be able to become human. Dead humans stay dead. And this world seems like it is headed towards decomposition, not renewal. These teachings make no sense to our human reason.

That’s what the Roman governor, Festus, thought as he listened to the apostle Paul explain Christianity. Paul testified that Jesus is the Messiah who suffered death and rose again to save all people, even the governor. The governor responded, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane” (Acts 26:24).

But Paul didn’t back down. He had met the resurrected Jesus on his way to Damascus. He had been changed by God’s grace and convinced that it was his life’s mission to preach this message to all people no matter who they were or how they responded.

Perhaps some of the things Christianity teaches seem strange or even insane to you. If so, you’re not alone. But what we think about those teachings does not make them any less true.

Jesus is true God. He really did rise from the dead, and he is coming back again. In his wisdom, Jesus made the unreasonable reasonable and the impossible possible. He did it so that he could make all things new, including you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me faith to trust what your Word tells 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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Faith or Facts – June 10, 2021

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:31

Faith or Facts


Daily Devotion – June 10, 2021

Devotion based on John 20:31

See series: Devotions

Is the Christian faith blind faith? What I mean is, do Christians believe without looking at the evidence? Or, to say it another way, is faith in opposition to knowing facts?

At first glance, that’s the kind of Christianity that Jesus seems to have been advocating when he spoke to his disciple, Thomas. After Jesus’ resurrection, Thomas demanded to see Jesus’ scarred hands and side before he would believe. When Jesus showed up and let him touch his hands and feet, he scolded Thomas, saying, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). So was Jesus saying that we are more blessed if we just thoughtlessly follow whatever Christianity says?

Not exactly. The writer John says in the next verse, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30,31). Did you catch that? John recorded a number of Jesus’ miracles so that we would believe that Jesus is the Christ. John was saying that Jesus gave all of us, including Thomas, plenty of “signs” that revealed that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.

Faith is not against facts. The reality is we have more than enough facts about Jesus to believe. We have the facts of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies that were all fulfilled in Jesus. We have the facts of Jesus’ miracles and signs that convinced his early followers. And we have the facts of Jesus’ resurrection that emboldened almost all his apostles to give up their lives for him.

We have enough facts about Jesus. Trust that these facts are true.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me all I need to trust you in this life and the life to come. 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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Fear of Death – June 9, 2021

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20

Fear of Death


Daily Devotion – June 9, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:20

See series: Devotions

Death is the one experience that all humans share, and yet it is the one topic that we seem to avoid. Why is that? I believe it is because it is the one problem that we haven’t been able to solve. We might be able to stop cancer from spreading. We might be able to stop a virus from multiplying. But we can’t stop death, and that can be terrifying. So instead of facing the hopeless situation, we ignore it.

But I have good news. Jesus really did pass through death ahead of us and came out on the other side. He not only conquered death for himself but now gives his victory to us as a gift. The apostle Paul says it this way, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). In other words, just like the first human, Adam died because of sin. We all die because we have all sinned. But in Jesus, we will all be made alive. We will all come out the other side of death by being resurrected on the Last Day.

How can we be so sure of our resurrection? Paul calls Jesus the “firstfruits” of the resurrection. The first fruits on the vine are a promise that there is more crop to come. Jesus’ resurrection is a promise that what happened to Jesus is what will happen to all of us to follow him. That’s why Paul goes on to say, “Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him” (1 Corinthians 15:23).

Our biggest problem, the one we couldn’t solve, has been destroyed by Jesus. God has given us victory over death through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That means we don’t need to be afraid of death. We can still grieve when we lose a loved one. We can still have our concerns. But let us not avoid death because of fear or hopelessness. “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you won the victory over sin and death. Lead me to trust in your resurrection and look forward to the day you return to resurrect my body. 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 Resurrection – June 8, 2021

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:22

The Resurrection


Daily Devotion – June 8, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:22

See series: Devotions

Did you know that the goal of Christianity is not just for a person’s soul to go to heaven when they die? Yes, when Christians die, their souls are with Christ. But that is not the final goal. The Bible promises that one day, their bodies will be raised back to life to be reunited with their souls.

Maybe that is new information for you. Maybe you have never heard about the resurrection of your body. And maybe you struggle to see the importance of the resurrection of our bodies. If you feel that way, you are not alone. There were some Christians in the first century who didn’t believe in the resurrection of the body or at least didn’t see its importance.

So the apostle Paul wrote to these Christians explaining the connection between Jesus’ resurrection on Easter and our final resurrection when Jesus returns. He said, “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? . . . For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:12,16-17).

Paul is stringing together a few powerful ideas. If dead bodies cannot be raised back to life, then Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. And if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then we are still stuck in our sins because it is Jesus’ resurrection that proves he paid for our sins.

If this is new information for you, I want to encourage you to expand your understanding and belief in God’s great rescue plan. Jesus died and rose again. And what happened to Jesus will happen to all of his followers. One day they will be raised from the dead. They will have transformed bodies and will dwell in a transformed world. That means death is not the end. For followers of Jesus, their best days are yet to come!

Prayer:
Open my eyes to believe in your great rescue mission. 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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Stop Doubting and Believe – June 7, 2021

“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
John 20:25

Stop Doubting and Believe


Daily Devotion – June 7, 2021

Devotion based on John 20:25

See series: Devotions

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the Bible is that it tells even the embarrassing stories of its heroes. For example, one of Jesus’ closest followers, named Thomas, doubted that Jesus rose from the dead. Thomas told the other disciples, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

I appreciate that John recorded Thomas’s moment of doubt because I have been there myself. I have doubted that Christianity was true, that Jesus rose from the dead, and that God cares about me now and in the life to come.

How about you? Have you ever found yourself demanding more evidence? Have you ever thought, Unless God does something special to prove that he really exists and cares for me, I will not believe?

Surprisingly, Jesus responded to Thomas’s doubt by visiting him in person. Jesus told him, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27).

And he did. Thomas stopped doubting and believed that Jesus was his living Lord. Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

Now maybe you are thinking, Well, that’s great for Thomas. He overcame his doubts because he got to see Jesus. But how am I supposed to overcome my doubts?

The writer John tells us. He said that “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). In other words, we overcome our doubts as we read the words of the Bible. Through the Word of God, Jesus shows up in our lives in a similar way that he showed up for Thomas. The words in the Bible are not just simple letters on a page, they are living words coming from our living Savior.

Put your finger in your Bible. See it. Reach out your hand, turn its pages and meditate on God’s story for you. Stop doubting and believe.

Prayer:
Lord, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief. 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 Precious Pearl – June 6, 2021

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
Matthew 13:45,46

Our Precious Pearl


Daily Devotion – June 6, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 13:45,46

See series: Devotions

At the time in which Jesus lived, pearls were considered extremely precious. Incredible amounts of wealth were offered for rare, perfectly shaped, and colored naturally produced pearls. The merchant in Jesus’ parable was an expert on pearl quality. He searched long and hard to find the perfect pearl. How many he discarded in his search, we are not told, but finally, he came upon one of pure excellence. That one precious pearl, he recognized, was worth more to him than the sum of all of his possessions.

That’s the point of Jesus’ story. The kingdom of God is worth more than anything and everything we have and hold in our life. Our earthly possessions are temporal; heavenly possessions are eternal. Our earthly wealth is fleeting; heavenly wealth is enduring. Temporal belongings deteriorate; God’s spiritual blessings continue to benefit. Life can be burdensome; in Christ, the burden of sin is lifted. Now things can get confusing and unsettling; Jesus gives us the peace that the world cannot give.

Remember this the next time you are tempted to allow the things of this world to become more important to you than your relationship with Jesus. Remember what is truly valuable!

Prayer:
Jesus, precious Savior, Teach me to value most highly the eternal blessings that you won for me by your life and death. 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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Confrontation – June 5, 2021

You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.
Romans 8:15

Confrontation


Daily Devotion – June 5, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:15

See series: Devotions

For the past two years, Rebekah Gregory has had nightmares. She has had good reasons to have them.

In 2013, Rebekah was standing near the finish line at the Boston Marathon. A man with a heavy backpack was standing close to her. At one point the backpack even brushed up against her. It was the backpack that contained a homemade bomb.

Minutes later, the bomb went off. The blast threw Rebekah backwards. Her body was in tatters. She remembers an emergency responder telling her she was going to be okay and then yelling, “We have an amputee.”

Rebekah went to the sentencing phase for the surviving Boston bomber. She entered the courtroom. As she took the stand to tell her account, she was also, for the first time, looking into the eyes of the man who had brought so much horror into her life.

After she gave her testimony, a powerful thing happened. As she later wrote, she realized she “wasn’t afraid anymore.” For Rebekah, her confrontation with the bomber was just what she needed for her fear to go away.

Because of our sin, we live in a world soaked in fear. In such an environment, fear can easily become our master. Painful episodes from our past can haunt us in the present. Anxiety over what others think of us can dominate our thoughts. Uncertainties about everything from finances and family to our job and health can poison our minds with dread.

And that’s why Jesus came. When our Champion arrived on this earth, however, he did not just look at the source of our fear in the face. He crushed it by taking the entire toxic mess upon himself and paying for it in full at the cross.

It comes as no surprise that the phrase, “Don’t be afraid,” is a repeated directive from our God throughout the Bible. He’s trying to tell us that because Jesus has already confronted and crushed the source of our fears, you and I don’t have to be afraid anymore.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, the ultimate source of my fear is sin. Through your death and resurrection, the source of my fear is now gone. By your Spirit, move me to remember this. 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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Evidence of Love – June 4, 2021

For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (CSB)
John 3:16

Evidence of Love


Daily Devotion – June 4, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

How can you tell if someone truly loves you? Is it enough if that person simply says, “I love you?” Or would you like to see more evidence of their love than just those words? No one can deny the importance of hearing someone say, “I love you.” But far more powerful and meaningful are actions that demonstrate the love that the person says they have for you.

Part of the reason that actions demonstrate love much better than words is that it’s harder to fake sincerity through actions. People often say things they do not mean. How many politicians’ promises do you really trust they will keep? And a person’s actions can easily contradict the words that they say. But if someone willingly sacrifices themself to serve you, you have more powerful evidence of their love than mere words could ever give.

The triune God tells us repeatedly in the Bible that he loves you. And, since God cannot lie, those words truly would have been enough to convince us of his love, even if he had done nothing else. But God wasn’t content just to tell us that he loves us. He also demonstrated his love for us in the most powerful way possible.

Here is how God demonstrated his love for us: He gave his one and only Son. He sent his Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life in our place. On the cross, he punished his Son, Jesus, instead of punishing you, me, and every other sinner who has ever lived. He willingly sacrificed his Son as the perfect payment for the sins of the world. And he did all this so that everyone who believes in his Son will live with him forever.

God’s giving of his Son provides us with clear and incontrovertible evidence of his incredible love for us. The triune God truly does love you. Both his words and his actions prove it.

Prayer:
O triune God, thank you for demonstrating your love for me through the giving of your Son. 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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