Sweetness of the Love of God – March 15, 2021

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Sweetness of the Love of God


Daily Devotion – March 15, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

Grandpas carry them in their pockets. Restaurants have them stocked by the register. Some churches have them in a basket in the entryway. I even know one church that called them “Sermon Sweets.” For over a century, peppermint candy has been bringing fresh breath to millions of mouths.

But what’s the problem with it? Even though these classic candies have been around for a long time, they don’t always last long in our mouths. We let the flavor sit on our tongues for thirty seconds, but before long, we lose our patience and chomp it down, and before long, we wish we had another piece.

Do we ever treat God’s Word the same way, particularly the popular passages? For example, the Bible passage for our devotion today is John 3:16. It has topped the “Most Popular Bible Passages” for many years. It has made its way onto posters at football games and tattooed on many arms. But, specifically, because many of us have heard or read this passage so many times, it is easy to fail to savor what it really says.

Listen again: “God so loved the world.” Perhaps more now than any other time in our lifetime, love is what’s missing in this world. Mostly because we fail to define love, all too often, we’ve make love an emotion. With God, it’s an action. A selfless action that doesn’t count the cost. And that’s what we see so clearly when we let our mind’s eye picture Jesus on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins. That horrible death allows us to see the extent of God’s love for us. He wanted us to spend our eternity with him so much that he was willing to sacrifice his Son to make it happen.

Today, don’t let these words disappear from your thoughts too quickly. Savor them. Spend the day relaxing in the reality that the God of this universe loves you.

Prayer:
Lord, help me slow down and savor the sweetness of your love. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Question for You – March 14, 2021

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

A Question for You


Daily Devotion – March 14, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:32

See series: Devotions

How are you feeling about the future? For many people, thinking about what is going to happen fills them with a sense of fear and worry. They wonder things like: “What will happen with my job? What about my savings? What about my expenses?” The questions can also be about people we care about: “What about the kids? What about my parents on a fixed income?” And the questions we have might even be bigger: “What about my country? What’s going to happen to this nation—the place I call home?”

For all of our questions, the apostle Paul has a question for you. He asks, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” In other words, here you and I are with a God who loves us so much that he gave up his Son to wash us clean of our sins and to claim us as his own. The question from Paul is: If God kept that promise, don’t you think he’ll keep his other promises too?

Perhaps it’s time for each of us to take a break from the news, sit down with our Lord in a quiet place, and answer Paul’s question with a confident sigh of relief knowing that our gracious God will certainly give us all the things we need. After all, he was willing to give his own Son to save us.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in these troubled times, I often fill my mind with fearful questions. Through your word, fill me with the answer to the question that really matters. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Good News of the Bible – March 13, 2021

The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.
1 Corinthians 1:25

The Good News of the Bible


Daily Devotion – March 13, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:25

See series: Devotions

Author David Platt, in his book, Radical, tells the story of what happened when he was standing outside of a Buddhist temple in Indonesia. As he stood there, he got into a conversation with two people—a Buddhist leader and a Muslim leader. Both of them embraced what seemed to be a very reasonable belief. They believed that, while there were superficial differences among the major religions, all of them basically taught the same thing. Then they asked David Platt what he thought.

He said, “It sounds as though you both picture God at the top of a mountain. It seems as if you believe that we are all at the bottom of the mountain, and I may take one route up the mountain, you may take another, and in the end, we will all end up in the same place.”

To this, the Buddhist and the Muslim said, “Exactly! You understand!”

But then he leaned in and said, “Now let me ask you a question. What would you think if I told you that the God at the top of the mountain actually came down to where we are? What would you think if I told you that God doesn’t wait for people to find their way to him, but instead he comes to us?”

They both thought for a moment and then responded, “That would be great!”

David Platt then replied, “Let me introduce you to Jesus.”

Current human wisdom believes that all forms of spirituality are essentially the same. Such a belief seems logical. Without question, it’s very convenient. And it’s dead wrong.

Never forget how radical the message of the Bible really is. It’s not about our getting up to God. It’s about God coming down to us in the person of Jesus Christ. It’s not about making ourselves holy before God. It’s about God living a holy life in our place. And it’s not about cleansing ourselves of our wrongs. It’s about God going to the cross to wash our sins away.

Thank God that this is the good news the Bible has to share.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for coming down to save me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Was Zealous For Us – March 12, 2021

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
John 2:17

Jesus Was Zealous For Us


Daily Devotion – March 12, 2021

Devotion based on John 2:17

See series: Devotions

Jesus had the proper attitude for worship, and it is described in one word: zeal. Zeal is an inward passion for something. Jesus had it. This verse says he was devoured or consumed by it. Jesus loved the Lord’s house. He burned for it. He longed to be there and was righteously angry when others did not treat God’s house the same way.

Sadly, we don’t always display this same kind of zeal for worshiping in God’s house. Often our zeal for God and his Word is replaced by laziness, indifference, or even contempt. We often have a zeal for other things: work, play, and sports. How often don’t we get more fired up for the big game than to hear a sermon? If given the option, would we prefer catching our limit out on the lake or taking part in a worship service? We can often be zealous for things, just not the most important things.

Thank God Jesus was not like us. The disciples noticed that Jesus was zealous. It is important for us to understand that Jesus was perfectly zealous. This zeal that is so obvious in this verse, is the same zeal that drove him all the way to the cross to die for our sins. Jesus was inwardly consumed to obey God’s will. In fact, he was so consumed with the idea of saving you from your sins that he was willing to suffer in your place. He was falsely accused. He was laughed at and made fun of. He was beaten and flogged. He was nailed to a cross and died for you.

Thank God that Jesus was zealous for us! Through him, we are saved and forgiven. Through him, heaven is our home. And Jesus has just as much zeal now to continue to lead you toward that heavenly home.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for your zeal in achieving my salvation. Forgive me for my sins and move me to be zealous for you today. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Distractions – March 11, 2021

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables changing money.
John 2:13,14

Distractions


Daily Devotion – March 11, 2021

Devotion based on John 2:13,14

See series: Devotions

It must have been quite the scene in the Temple that day. One might compare it to the opening day of the county fair. Try to picture it for a moment. As you walk through the gates, you hear the noises of cattle and the loud back-and-forth bartering between the moneychangers and their customers. You look around, and you get the impression that you are at a cattle auction. Oxen, sheep, and doves are everywhere. And then, of course, there would be the smell. Imagine the stench!

Yet, it was not the smell of cattle that aroused the righteous anger of Jesus that day. Far worse than the smell of animals in the courtyard was the spiritual stench in and around God’s house. The courtyard of the Temple was where non-Jewish believers were allowed to worship. Imagine how difficult this must have been with so many merchants buying and sheep bleating!

How many distractions are in your life that keeps you from focusing on God? How many different things are keeping you from worship or daily prayer and devotion? Life provides no shortage of things that daily distract us from our relationship with God. Unchecked, these distractions can drive us further and further away from the Lord.

Thankfully, God was never distracted from saving us. Our heavenly Father let nothing get in the way of his plan to win our salvation. Jesus, our Savior, let nothing distract him from his mission of going to the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. Our Savior was and is always focused on us. His life, death, and resurrection have assured us that we have a place in heaven through faith in him.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for your determination in winning forgiveness and eternal life in heaven for me. Help me to eliminate the distractions in my life and to focus on you today. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Filled With the Spirit – March 10, 2021

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
Romans 8:9

Filled With the Spirit


Daily Devotion – March 10, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:9

See series: Devotions

Is it in you? Do you remember those Gatorade commercials? If it, namely Gatorade, is in you, then you will be a far better athlete. If Gatorade is not in you, better luck next time. The commercials focus on athletes in their most crucial moments. They show Michael Jordan hitting the game-winning shot against the Cavaliers. They show Derek Jeter making a clutch out in the divisional playoffs. They show Kevin Garnett finally cutting down the net as an NBA champion.

The commercials help you relive those clutch moments in sports. And you are left with the distinct impression that if those all-world athletes had not been filled with Gatorade, they would not have come through in the clutch. Gatorade, that magic elixir, enabled those athletes to do amazing things. No Gatorade equals no victory. The screen goes black, and the question appears: Is it in you?

This verse from the book of Romans asks the same question: is it in you? Except the author is not talking about a sports drink loaded down with essential vitamins and nutrients; rather he is talking about the Holy Spirit of God. “Is the Spirit in you?” That is an important question. And the verse says, if we do not have the Spirit, we do not belong to Christ.

So how do we get the Spirit? Not through our feelings, as some would say. Rather, the Holy Spirit comes to us as we hear and read the Bible. The Spirit works through the wonderful message about Jesus—the one who gave his life in our place to pay for sin and give us the free gift of eternal life. When we hear God’s Word and read about Jesus’ love, the Spirit is at work. As we get to know more about our Savior Jesus, the Holy Spirit fills our hearts and lives and leads us to live for our Lord. Then, filled with the Spirit, we will receive the ultimate victory of eternal life in heaven.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of your Word. Bless my time in the Bible that I may be filled with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Is a Loving God – March 9, 2021

“But showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.”
Exodus 20:6

God Is a Loving God


Daily Devotion – March 9, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 20:6

See series: Devotions

Of all the ways God describes himself in the Bible, love is perhaps his most important attribute. God wants to show us his love. The word for love in this verse is a word that the Bible only uses to describe the love God has for sinners. It is a faithful love. It is an unfailing, devoted, and loyal love. How remarkable that even as we have been cheating on God, he has been loyal to us. We have never been and will never be perfectly loyal to God, but that did not stop him from being perfectly loyal to us.

Even though he knew we would sin and often turn away from him, God resolved to prove his loyalty to us beyond a shadow of a doubt, and he proved it like this: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. When it came time to show what place we had in God’s heart, he did not hold back. He did not cheat on us or back out of the deal. Instead, he gave up his very own Son to take our place and die a sinner’s death.

Do you see how committed God is to you? See it in the blood that drips down from the cross. See it in the restraint he shows by allowing Jesus to remain on the cross to endure the full judgment over sin. See it in the way he forgives you anew and grants you a new day every morning. See it in the way God continues to patiently wait and hope for us to call on him in prayer.

God is a loving God. He is forgiving, generous, and kind. God wants you to be with him forever. He wants to be number one in your life. He will work hard to keep you with him forever. In response to his amazing love for you, be faithful to him.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for your faithful love to me in Christ Jesus. Filled with his love, move me to be faithful to you. Amen.

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

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”
Exodus 20:5

A Jealous God


Daily Devotion – March 8, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 20:5

See series: Devotions

We like to think about God as a loving, forgiving, generous, patient, our friend, everything we need. He certainly is all those things and more!

Thinking of God as a jealous God makes us a little uneasy. To our English ears, that sounds bad or even sinful. That sounds like God wishes he had what we have or that he could somehow be like us. But that is not what it means when the Bible says that God is a jealous God.

When God describes himself as jealous, he means that he has an all-consuming zeal to see that we are okay. It means that he wants to be with us. More than that, though, it means that he wants us to be with him. He wants to be our God. In fact, when God says that he is a jealous God, what he is saying is that he wants to be exclusive with us. He does not want us to have any other gods. He wants all our attention and worship and praise. He does not want to share us with any of the countless false gods and idols in this world.

God wants us to be exclusive with him. But, sadly, we aren’t. How many times have we cheated on God just in the last week–when we loved our friends or our hobbies or ourselves more than we loved him?

Still, in spite of how often we have been unfaithful to him, God showed his unwavering commitment to us when he sent his own Son to die on the cross to pay for all our sins so that we could belong to God now and forever. That is how jealous God is of our relationship with him.

Now, aren’t you glad your God is a jealous God?

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for being committed to me and for saving me through Jesus. Help me to look only to you as my salvation. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Ten Commandments – March 7, 2021

You shall have no other gods before me. . . . You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God. . . . Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. . . . Honor your father and your mother. . . . You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet.
Exodus 20:1-17 (selected verses)

The Ten Commandments


Daily Devotion – March 7, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 20:1-17

See series: Devotions

Are you sure you want to read this?

These are scary words. They are so scary that after the Lord spoke these words to the people of Israel from the top of Mt. Sinai, they asked that Moses speak to them and not God. Most people know these words as the Ten Commandments. These are God’s righteous demands on all people. Jesus summarized them by saying, “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37,39). But who does that? No one!

And not keeping these commandments is no small thing. God says, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law” (Galatians 3:10). No wonder the people of Israel didn’t like to hear these words. They offer no comfort, no relief, no hope. But that is their power. That is their purpose.

Having condemned us as law-breaking sinners, that same God who thundered down the Ten Commandments says with a tenderness that only this God can have, “I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). God sent his Son, Jesus, to take on our sins against the Ten Commandments and pay for them with his death on the cross. “God was reconciling the world unto himself in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19). “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

The Ten Commandments are scary words. But they are also beautiful words because they chase us to Jesus.

Prayer:
For all the times I have broken your Ten Commandments, Lord, I ask you to forgive me. I am confident of your forgiveness because of what Jesus did for me. Amen.

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

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3,4

The Difference


Daily Devotion – March 6, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 5:3,4

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as I struggle through this world, open my eyes to see my life as you see my life. Empower me to live a life that proclaims you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Simple Math – March 5, 2021

[Jesus said], “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Mark 8:36,37

Simple Math


Daily Devotion – March 5, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:36,37

See series: Devotions

I like simple math. It’s beautiful. One thing that makes it beautiful is if you work the problem correctly, the answer is always the same. No matter what, if you add three plus four correctly, it always equals seven.

That’s no accident. God created it that way. A feature of God’s goodness to us is the creative order he has put in place. Whether we realize it or not, we rely on that order every day. Just think how difficult and confusing life would be if, on one day, three plus four equaled eight, and then on another day, it equaled five. Everything would be thrown into utter chaos.

Jesus taught his disciples some simple math in Mark chapter 8. He asked, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

Our Savior’s point was simple and straightforward. He was pointing out that there are two alternatives for how to approach our lives in this world. Either we can be selfish, self-serving, self-indulgent, self-interested in an effort to “gain the whole world,” or we can be selfless, self-sacrificing, and self-giving to others in unconditional love. If we choose the first alternative, Jesus says, the outcome is certain. Such a person will “forfeit their soul” and face eternal destruction and despair. If we pursue the second alternative—and follow in Jesus’ footsteps—we will “save” our lives and reap an eternal reward.

This isn’t complicated, Jesus points out. It’s simple math.

The apostle Paul taught the same lesson in Galatians chapter 6. He presented the equation this way. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

How thankful we can be that God sent his only Son, Jesus, to rescue us from our sinful selfishness and give us new life!

How will you use your new life? You do the math.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, inspire me to use my new life in service to you and others in love. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Came To Save Us From Ourselves – March 4, 2021

Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
Mark 8:34,35

Jesus Came To Save Us From Ourselves


Daily Devotion – March 4, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:34,35

See series: Devotions

Jesus once had a notable conversation with some people who expressed faith in him. He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The crowd took offense. What did Jesus mean, they would be set free? They had never been slaves to anyone! But he responded, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:31-34).

It’s the perfect definition of sin. Sin is slavery to yourself.

That’s why we sin, right? We do things that are wrong because we love ourselves. We sin because we believe that we will gain some advantage for ourselves. When we survey the situation and conclude, “This won’t benefit me at all,” we immediately cease and desist. Sin is nothing more than self-love, selfishness, self-indulgence. Sin is all about me.

And that’s why Jesus came, to save us from ourselves. He did that by taking the burden of us and our sinfulness on himself rather than being selfish and saying, “You fix it.” Even though Jesus had no sin, he foisted on himself the burden and guilt of the world’s sin (1 John 2:1,2). We have forgiveness freely. Jesus gives us his perfection. Why? Because he loves us, and everyone (1 John 4:10).

But remember why Jesus came? To save us from ourselves! That’s why he says that whoever wants to be his disciple “must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” God’s people don’t run back to their selfish way of living after Jesus saves them. They strive to be selfless toward others just as he has been perfectly selfless toward us.

When we “lose our lives” this way—surrendering our selfishness and living in the freedom of a life serving others—we find out what true life is really all about. It’s not about me. It’s all about others.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for saving me from myself. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Big Picture – March 3, 2021

“Get behind me, Satan!” [Jesus] said, “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Mark 8:33

The Big Picture


Daily Devotion – March 3, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:33

See series: Devotions

Are you a “big picture” kind of person? Do you have the ability to anticipate what might happen in the future as you weigh this alternative versus that one? Can you analyze the pros and cons?

Some people seem to have the uncanny ability to foresee the future and stave off disaster. We call that gift wisdom or prudence. Especially when making big decisions, it’s important to see and consider the big picture.

But no sinful human being has perfect prudence. Worldly wisdom often fails. The reason for this is simple. We cannot know with certainty what the future holds based on our human understanding and intuition. At best, we make educated guesses. But our calculated wisdom and painstaking prudence offer no guarantees. The Bible says, “No one knows what is coming—who can tell someone else what will happen after them?” (Ecclesiastes 10:14).

Peter thought he was prudent by imploring Jesus to avoid his cross. It made perfect sense! Why would anyone purposefully go up to Jerusalem so that he could “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law,” only to “be killed” (Mark 8:31)? Which one of us would have argued that Peter was wrong?

We wouldn’t have, but Jesus did. And why? Because our Savior sees the big picture. Unlike us, he knew the future and understood what lay ahead on the road for sinners like you and me should he listen to Peter’s prudence and shun his suffering and cross. His evasion would mean our devastation.

Jesus didn’t mince words. He knew who was hiding behind Peter’s iron-clad logic. It was the devil himself, who would have loved nothing more than to watch Jesus abandon us to the grave and hell forever.

But our Savior saw right through it. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Peter was only noticing the short-term disadvantage to Jesus. Our Savior saw the big picture. His cross meant our salvation. His death meant our life. His resurrection meant our eternal victory.

That’s all that mattered to Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for saving me from my broken logic and shortsightedness. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Unanswered Prayers – March 2, 2021

[Jesus] spoke plainly about [his suffering], and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter.
Mark 8:32,33

Unanswered Prayers


Daily Devotion – March 2, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:32,33

See series: Devotions

Have you ever wanted something so badly—prayed for something passionately—only to discover later in life how thankful you ought to be that you didn’t get what you once wanted so desperately? So often, we have to thank God for “unanswered” prayers, requests that we’ve made to him, which he replied with a big, fat “no.”

Why doesn’t God give us everything that we want? Because he loves us too much, and he knows that what we want is not always what’s best for us in the long run.

That’s what our Savior wants for us most of all, the very best things that last forever. He’s not interested in our instant gratification that ultimately ends in ruin and destruction. What good does that do? He wants to give us his blessings and life that last eternally, even when we beg him for the opposite and rebuke him when he refuses.

When Jesus told his disciples about the suffering he must undergo as our perfect Savior, Peter begged him to stop talking that way. Indeed, Mark tells us, he “began to rebuke him.”

Don’t get Peter wrong. This wasn’t hateful, nor was it necessarily selfish. His intentions were sincere. He loved Jesus, and he wanted to prevent the horrible series of events that his master had just outlined for his future. So he prayed earnestly to Jesus, “Keep this from happening to you!” If Jesus wouldn’t prevent it, Peter would do his best to block him in love.

But Jesus resisted his dear disciple’s pleadings, even though he realized the prayer was offered in good faith. Why resist him? Because he knew that, even though granting Peter’s request would result in a much better outcome for himself, it would have doomed Peter and us to everlasting destruction.

But that’s not what Jesus wants. No, he “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). What is that truth? Jesus loves you. He’s saved you completely. Your sin is forgiven. Heaven is yours. Believe it, it’s true.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for doing all things to grant me the gift of everlasting life. Amen.

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

[Jesus] then began to teach [his disciples] that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
Mark 8:31

Bucket List


Daily Devotion – March 1, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:31

See series: Devotions

Do you have a bucket list, a list of things you must do before you die?

I don’t have a bucket list. Maybe that means I’m unimaginative or that I’m content. Perhaps it’s a little of both. But I really can’t say that there’s any one thing I must do before I die. Otherwise, I might feel as though my life would end unfulfilled.

I suppose that there are some people who have taken the time to put together a bucket list. And I imagine that the activities on their lists include every type of fun and enjoyable adventures, things meant to bring a smile to a person’s face. After all, that’s why bucket lists exist. Right? They’re all about me, my self-fulfillment, my self-indulgence.

Did you know that Jesus had a bucket list? He absolutely did. But his list didn’t include a bunch of fun, self-indulgent activities. No, Jesus’ bucket list was all about his suffering in self-sacrificing love for you and me and every sinner.

True, Jesus didn’t concoct his own list. It was given to him by his Father before he was born. But it wasn’t crammed down his throat either. Not at all. Jesus accepted it joyfully and willingly. And he strove with all his being to carry out the items on that list perfectly and passionately.

In Mark chapter 8, Jesus revealed his list to his closest friends. He told them how he “must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.”

This was more than a premonition on Jesus’ part. It was a promise. Each item on his bucket list was going to get crossed off, no matter what.

And why? Because Jesus loves you that much. Because he wants you to know that heaven is yours. Trust him! His bucket list is complete, and it wasn’t about him. It was about you!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for your faithful and perfect love and your willingness to sacrifice all things for me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Peace With God – February 28, 2021

Jacob had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac . . . I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Genesis 28:12,13,15

Peace With God


Daily Devotion – February 28, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 28:12,13,15

See series: Devotions

Jacob was a mess. He had to leave home much earlier than planned, and some of that was his fault. His brother Esau was so angry at him that he was comforting himself with the thought of murdering Jacob. As if that weren’t terrifying enough, there was more fuel for fear as Jacob fled from his homeland and found himself in unfamiliar surroundings. His pillow was a rock; the ground was his bed. He faced many dangers, and his only companion was his guilty conscience. There was no peace in his heart.

That’s when the LORD revealed himself to Jacob in a dream, to bring Jacob the peace he desperately needed. In the dream, there was a stairway with angels going up and down. The LORD himself was at the top. He assured Jacob, “I am with you. I will watch over you, wherever you go. I will bring you back. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised.” God gave Jacob the one thing that he could find nowhere else—peace. There were many questions, but there was no question about whether Jacob was at peace with God.

Why are you afraid today? There are many possibilities, for there is plenty of fuel for fear in our world. And just like Jacob, peace is impossible for us to find—until we discover God’s gracious promises in Jesus. All sin is paid. We are forgiven through Christ. There may be questions, but in Christ, there is no question about where we stand with God.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your peace that surpasses all understanding. When I am filled with fears, and when those fears raise questions, remind me that in Jesus there is no question about my status as your eternal, forgiven child. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Substitute – February 27, 2021

The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.
Genesis 22:15-19

Our Substitute


Daily Devotion – February 27, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 22:15-19

See series: Devotions

At Mount Moriah, God swore an oath to Abraham. Swearing is calling a higher authority to be a witness. God swore by himself because there is no higher authority.

God’s oath promised that Abraham’s descendants would become very numerous. They would enjoy material conquest, capturing cities, and possessing land. And from them would come a man through whom everyone on earth would consider themselves blessed: Jesus Christ. And it is believers in Christ who are truly the spiritual descendants and offspring of Abraham.

The conquest for Christians was won by Christ on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. He paid for our sins with his death, freeing us from the bondage of Satan and hell, and he triumphed over the grave, freeing us from the bondage of death as well. We have the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ because he offered up his life for us as a substitute on the cross and when God brought him back to life and raised him from the dead, he showed us that death has been conquered, for all of us.

Prayer:
Jesus, you have taken away my fear of death by becoming my substitute in death. Give my heart the peace of the forgiveness of sins and the joy of your victory over death. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Love Calls For a Change – February 26, 2021

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Mark 1:15

Love Calls For a Change


Daily Devotion – February 26, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:15

See series: Devotions

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem stands over the supposed place where Jesus was born. The main entrance is a low framed door. This four-foot-high door forces pilgrims to bow face-first while entering—as an outward sign of humility.

I didn’t get the memo. Because of my height, I bowed and stepped in backward. I didn’t make it through the Door of Humility. A security guard stopped me, forced me back outside, and instructed me to enter properly.

For hundreds of years, the Christian Church has observed a season of the year called Lent. Lent is like that door in the Church of the Nativity. It is meant to make us bow our heads in humility.

It is an important reminder. We have all sinned. None of us measure up to God’s approval. We cannot enter his kingdom with our heads held high. If we try, we will not remember how desperately we need Jesus. Though Jesus had no sin of his own, he was condemned and crucified for ours. His death sets us free from death, and his resurrection opens the way to God’s kingdom for all who trust in him.

That’s how much God loves us! And, having been so loved, we are changed. Instead of fear, there is faith. Instead of guilt, there is joy. Instead of judgment, there is forgiveness. Instead of hell, there is heaven. Instead of death, there is life. A life that delights to live to serve and please the Savior who so perfectly served us.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, cleanse me, comfort me, change me with your abundant love! Amen.

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

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.
Mark 1:14

Optimistic Love


Daily Devotion – February 25, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:14

See series: Devotions

A painkiller. That’s what 19th Century philosopher Karl Marx called religion. He saw Christianity as a cop-out. A way for people to avoid the hardships of current reality by doping up on the promises of religion.

You might think that’s what Jesus offers when you see how he responded after King Herod imprisoned Jesus’ cousin, John. John had spoken out against the king’s illegitimate marriage. John’s followers must have been distraught. And what did Jesus do? He went around proclaiming the good news. It seems a little harsh or insensitive, at least.

Jesus didn’t need sensitivity training. He just knew the bigger picture. John’s job was to point the world to Jesus. Jesus’ job was to save the world from sin, death, and hell. John must decrease so that Jesus could increase. Jesus wasn’t a fool; he knew what would happen to him. He knew he must endure cruelty and crucifixion. He endured it anyway because he knew he would triumph. He would rise from the dead and be the source of eternal life for all who trust in him.

This Good News of Jesus is not an opiate from the reality of the world’s bad news. It is our optimistic reality despite the bad news of the world. While hardship will always be part of this life, Jesus gives us the freedom to respond to those hardships in a positive way. Because he lived and died for us and now lives again, we are free to be the victor rather than play the victim. Forgiveness is ours! God’s love is ours! Eternal life is ours! Victory is ours!

Come what may—distress, or deprivation, or danger, or death—you are more than victorious through Jesus who loved you and gave himself for you.

That’s Good News!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, how optimistic your love for me is. I can face any danger or disaster victoriously! Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Attentive Love – February 24, 2021

He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
Mark 1:13

Attentive Love


Daily Devotion – February 24, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:13

See series: Devotions

Imagine coming home from a hard day. You call a friend, talk to your spouse, or pour out your heart to your mom or dad. You are hoping for comfort and encouragement. But you get no response, no reaction. Your confidant just sits there, staring into space, saying nothing. After a few minutes of silence, if you don’t say it out loud, you might be saying it in your head: “Don’t you care?”

Although there may be times when the people in your life don’t seem to care, you can be sure that God cares. He cares when you cry. He cares when you worry. And he cares when you are being tempted to do the wrong thing and go the wrong way.

Fighting against temptation is a daily battle for every Christian. When we want to do the right thing, evil is always there to sabotage us. We do the evil we are trying to avoid and avoid the good we are trying to do. It is exhausting.

Thanks be to God; we don’t fight those battles alone, and we don’t win them on our own. God attends to our every need. He puts his name on us and claims us as his own. He gives us the victory Jesus won by resisting every temptation for us and paying for our failures to resist temptation with his holy lifeblood. You are God’s child. He loves you.

He even has special, powerful allies to assist him in caring for you. The Bible says that God sends his angels to attend you in all your ways. When you face temptation, his angels are at hand to reinforce you. When you fight temptation and the devil flees, the protection provided by God’s angels refreshes you in keeping with God’s life-giving Word.

God cares. All day, all night, his angels watch over you.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, let your holy angel be with me that the devil may have no power over me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Sympathetic Love – February 23, 2021

He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.
Mark 1:13

Sympathetic Love


Daily Devotion – February 23, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:13

See series: Devotions

“Unless you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, you wouldn’t understand.”

Have you ever had this thought? Every day we experience troubles, trials, and temptations. Every day, most people—even those closest to us—won’t know the half of it. Sometimes this is because people are too busy to ask or too self-focused to care. Other times it is because, to protect ourselves, we keep what we think and feel and experience bottled up and locked in.

But no matter who you are or what you have experienced, you have someone who knows you intimately. His name is Jesus. And he is not out of touch with your reality. He knows your triggers. He knows your turmoil. He has walked in your shoes. He went through weakness and testing in all the ways you have. He has experienced it all, except for the sin. And because he has, he can protect you.

He was born to protect you. The reason he came into this world was to destroy the devil’s work. The devil’s work is sin, and his end goal is our damnation. But Jesus fought the devil for us and won. God put our sin on Jesus, who never sinned so that Jesus could make us right with God. He endured our hell. He experienced our death. And in exchange, he offers us his righteous life. Because Jesus was perfectly obedient—even to death on a cross for us—those who trust in him are perfectly holy. God does not judge us guilty.

Jesus doesn’t just protect you from future judgment. Every moment of every day, he is ready with his power to protect you. This doesn’t mean that you will never again be tested, tried, or tempted. But when temptations come, Jesus’ protection is just a prayer away.

Jesus understands. He died and was raised again to free you from the devil’s work. Go to him at any time, in any trouble. Ask him for his strength to stand up against the devil. Jesus will give it. And the devil will flee.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one. Amen.

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

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.
Mark 1:12,13

Eager Love


Daily Devotion – February 22, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:12,13

See series: Devotions

“Just a minute.”

How often has someone said that to you? Your child when you tell her it’s time for dinner. Your spouse when you ask for help with the dishes. Your friend when you have important news you want to share.

Sometimes, “just a minute” is a valid response. At the moment, you are wrapped up in something that you cannot walk away from. You want to help but just physically can’t. Other times, “just a minute” is simply a selfish response. You just don’t want to listen. You just are feeling lazy. You just would rather do your own thing.

What a difference “at once” makes! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every time you needed someone’s help or needed someone to listen, they were there? We could all use the power and possibility of an eager love like that in our lives.

God’s love is like that. The Son of God, Jesus, had just been baptized in the Jordan River. As soon as the Holy Spirit inaugurated him into the office of Savior, he wasted no time in sending Jesus into the wilderness to begin his work of saving us. His work began with battling the devil and ended with bowing to death. But God raised Jesus from the dead because he did his job perfectly. Believing in him, you are instantly free from the due penalty and punishment of sin.

If God didn’t hesitate to love you in that way, he certainly won’t stop gladly and freely loving you. When you call on him for help, he won’t drag his feet to do what he knows is right and best for you right this minute.

That’s how willingly, eagerly, and urgently God loves you.

Prayer:
Lord God, you are my hope and salvation. You will not forsake or abandon me. In temptation and trouble, come quickly to help me. Do not delay! Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Christ Removes the Crushing Weight – February 21, 2021

But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
Romans 8:10

Christ Removes the Crushing Weight


Daily Devotion – February 21, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:10

See series: Devotions

From time to time, we hear of human beings doing extraordinary things, like the woman who managed to lift the end of a 3,600-pound car off her son when the jack slipped. In extreme emergencies, people have been known to reach back into a resource of hidden physical strength and mental resourcefulness they didn’t know they had. Can they do this all by themselves? Or is this a miraculous help from God?

The author of the book of Hebrews devotes his 11th chapter to Old Testament men and women who were heroes of faith. It was from God that they drew their strength. In one dimension of life, however, human strength cannot avail. It does not enable us to save others or ourselves from the power and the punishment of sin. By the labors of our hands, we cannot fulfill God’s demands, earn salvation, or pull ourselves out of the dilemma of doing things we don’t want to do and not doing the good God demands.

What is more, the psalmist declares, “No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him” (Psalm 49:7). The ransom demanded would be entirely too great. But what we can’t do, Jesus did for us. He gave his life as a ransom for the whole world of sinners so that all who believe in him as the Savior are freed from the burden of unpaid spiritual bills, the fear of death, and the crushing weight of sin—just as that woman lifted the weight of a car off her son. WOW! Nothing short of a miracle of God! Jesus was lifted up on a cross that he might remove our load and bring us to himself.

Prayer:
God of heaven and earth, please stand near me with Your strength that makes me perfect in my weakness. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Escaping Death – February 20, 2021

As [Elijah and Elisha] were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
2 Kings 2:11

Escaping Death


Daily Devotion – February 20, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Kings 2:11

See series: Devotions

Death and taxes—these are two certainties of life for everyone—everyone except for the prophet Elijah. God granted him the privilege of escaping physical death. God took him directly into heaven. The question that begs to be asked is ‘Why?’

As we read through the life of Elijah, we see that he was a prophet of God. But that wasn’t the reason he escaped death. God had called others to be prophets, and they faced death. Elijah fought against idolatry, but so did others, and they died. Elijah proclaimed the Word of God as countless others have done throughout the ages. It was not his office, courage, or faithfulness that earned him the right to escape death and go straight to heaven. It was only by the grace of God that Elijah was taken to heaven without facing death.

We cannot escape death on our own. The grave awaits us as the Bible teaches, “Man is destined to die” (Hebrews 9:27). We have no power to escape the death that we deserve for our sins. This is death that separates us from God forever under his judgment. But God gives us an escape from the death that we face as sinners. He sent his Son, Jesus, and heaped the guilt of our sin on him, making him pay the penalty of eternal death that should have been ours.

Just as God revealed his grace to Elijah by sparing him from physical death, so God reveals his grace to us through Jesus. In Jesus, we are raised to a new life of faith. The death we will face at the end of our lives loses its sting because, in Jesus, we will be raised from the dead and taken to live forever in heaven with Elijah and all believers of all time.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I give you thanks for releasing me from the power of death. Keep me steadfast in your word until I see you in your glory in heaven. Amen.

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

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Mark 9:7

Listen to Jesus


Daily Devotion – February 19, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:7

See series: Devotions

The city of New York is one of the busiest, most stress-filled cities on the planet. Yet even in the middle of New York’s chaos, you can find some encouragement. On the corner of 5th Avenue and 14th Street, there is a dog named Loubie with her owner. Loubie is there for one reason: to give hugs to anyone who wants one. She’s there almost every day, ready to give an encouraging hug to anyone in need of one. She’s been there giving hugs for multiple years now, and she has not yet run out of people to hug. You probably know why.

God does too. He knows how hard your life often is. God knows how difficult it can be to live with your disappointments. He knows the pain this broken world can so quickly bring. It’s why he urged the disciples on the mountain of the transfiguration to listen to Jesus. He wanted them, and us, to know about the encouragement that is waiting for us in the middle of everything.

You may never get a hug from Loubie on the corner of 5th Avenue and 14th Street, but you will always find the loving encouragement of Jesus in the Bible, which is where we can hear his voice over and over, again and again.

Find a quiet place away from the busyness of life. Away from the hurt. Away from the stress. You don’t need to stay long. Just long enough to be reminded of what kind of God is listening whenever you cry out to him. He’s the one whose powerful arms are always wrapped around your precious life and whose glorious grace and mercy will never fail to bring you all the way to the home Jesus won for you when he walked down the mountain of transfiguration and made his way to the cross.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, open my ears to the loving voice of Jesus as I open your Word so that I am led through life by the voice of the Savior, who knows my name and is stronger than any enemy that would take me from you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Remember Who Our God Really Is – February 18, 2021

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.
Mark 9:2

Remember Who Our God Really Is


Daily Devotion – February 18, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:2

See series: Devotions

Do you wonder why Jesus chose to bring his disciples to that mountain and briefly reveal his true glory to them? We find a clue in the first three words of today’s verse: “After six days.” As we look at this event, God wants us to keep in mind what had happened six days earlier. And what was that?

Six days earlier, Jesus told his disciples that he was soon going to die by crucifixion. At this point, Jesus is nine months away from his death, and he knew his disciples were going to see it happen. He knew they were going to see some very difficult things that were going to challenge their faith and make them wonder if following Jesus was worth it. So Jesus showed them a glimpse of his true glory. He gave them a reminder of how different and beautiful our God really is.

Based on what they were going to see, that was an important reminder for them, just as it is for us. We also have times in life when it doesn’t seem like anything good is happening, when our faith is challenged, and when the troubles of this world make us wonder if we have the right to expect anything glorious from the God who promises us so many good things.

The day of Jesus’ transfiguration is a reminder that we do. Just as Jesus bolstered the fragile faith of his disciples with a brief reminder of his glory, he invites us to find strength for our journey by remembering, moment-to-moment, who our God really is. He invites you to look past the human skin and see the glorious identity of our Savior, always eager to love, always ready to forgive, always ready to sacrifice whatever is necessary to be there for you when you cry out to him.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, help me to remember everything Jesus is and everything Jesus did so that I will never forget that I am your own child through him. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Gave Up His Glory – February 17, 2021

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.
Mark 9:2,3

Jesus Gave Up His Glory


Daily Devotion – February 17, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:2,3

See series: Devotions

Today is the first day of the season of Lent. During this season you might hear some people say what they will be “giving up for Lent.” Some give up eating dessert, drinking alcohol, watching television, or checking social media during the 40 days of Lent. Why do they do this? Willingly giving up the use of something meaningful to them helps them better appreciate what Jesus was willing to give up during his time on earth. And what was Jesus willing to give up?

He gave up his use of the glory he revealed to his disciples on, what is named, the mountain of transfiguration. The dazzling whiteness that was brighter than anything the disciples ever could have imagined was something they had never seen when they looked at Jesus for as long as they had known him. Indeed, when Jesus called these men to be his disciples, when he walked with them from town to town, when he sat with them and taught them the truths of God’s Word, in every moment, Jesus looked very … normal. He looked just like them. But he wasn’t just like them. The Bible is clear that Jesus has always been “the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3).

Yet Jesus willingly gave up the use of that glory, not just for 40 days, but from the moment he entered the womb of a virgin as a fragile human until the moment his crucified body was placed into the grave in which he was buried. Why?

Because God wanted to give you a human friend who is “not unable to sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15) who is also, as this glimpse of glory reminded the disciples, able to offer God a better sacrifice than any you or I could give him.

Jesus willingly gave up his glory so that we would never have to give up holding on to the certainty that we are forgiven of our sins through his sacrifice and eternal members of God’s own family.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for the glorious sacrifice of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.

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

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:3,4

The Gospel Is Veiled


Daily Devotion – February 16, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:3,4

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A man recently bought a home in Chicago. The house was a fixer-upper and in need of extensive rehabilitation. As the man began tearing into walls and removing floorboards, he discovered something he wasn’t expecting. Cash. Lots of cash. In various places throughout the house, behind walls and underneath the flooring, the man discovered multiple envelopes, each filled with money. Altogether, the cash totaled more than $10,000.

He didn’t know the cash was in that house when he bought it. Yet it was. The money was real, and it was there, even if he wasn’t aware of it.

The Bible reminds us that we already possess something far more valuable than $10,000 in cash. We possess the gospel. The gospel is the good news that God has already found you and, through the life and death of Jesus, has placed into your future the eternal wealth of heaven.

Yet, it’s not always easy to live as though that good news really exists. The Bible tells us why: “The god of this age has blinded” many eyes from seeing it. The good news of the gospel is often veiled behind the ongoing work of Satan, behind the abundance of his temptations, and even behind the eagerness of our own hearts to give in to them. Based on the darkness we see, either in the world or in our hearts, we can wonder if the gospel is real or if it applies to someone like me.

But just because the gospel is sometimes hard to see doesn’t mean it isn’t real or doesn’t apply to someone like you. Even Jesus knows this dark world will always make it difficult to see good things. It’s why he came. Jesus came to give us a light that would keep shining no matter what this dark world did to him; so that anyone who has trouble seeing good news would always be able to find it.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, open my eyes each day to the reality of the gospel so that I follow the one true Light through this world’s deep darkness. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Love Worth Preaching – February 15, 2021

For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:5,6

A Love Worth Preaching


Daily Devotion – February 15, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:5,6

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John Wooden was one of the most successful college basketball coaches in history, and he kissed only one woman throughout his entire life. When John was 14, he gave his first kiss to a girl named Nellie, who later became his wife. He never kissed another woman.

John and Nellie were married for 53 years. Nellie died on March 21, 1985. Exactly one month after Nellie died, on the 21st of April, John wrote a love letter to his deceased wife. A month later, on the 21st of May, he did the same thing. On the 21st day of every month after that until the day he died, John wrote another love letter to Nellie. He never showed them to anyone. Not even their children were allowed to read them. When John was asked why he continued to write love letters to someone who could now never love him back, he said, “I love her, and I’m keeping my promise.” That’s a very special love.

Yet we find an even greater love on the pages of the Bible—a love for you that doesn’t end even at death. That’s what we find as we read of Jesus hanging on a cross, continuing to love a world that far too often acts like it’s dead in its desire to follow him. That’s what we find when we read of Jesus not spilling some ink on a paper once a month but spilling his innocent blood on a cross to forgive us of our sins and earn our place in heaven where we will be loved for eternity in perfection.

This is why the apostle Paul preached “Jesus Christ as Lord” and declared himself to be his willing servant. What greater love could you ever find? What greater love could you ever show the world than that which we find in Jesus?

Prayer:
Father in heaven, help me to see the greatness of Jesus’ love for me so that I will serve both him and all others with love more eagerly. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Preparation of the Transfiguration – February 14, 2021

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Mark 9:2-7

Preparation of the Transfiguration


Daily Devotion – February 14, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:2-7

See series: Devotions

Last week, millions of people watched one of the greatest sporting events of the year—the Super Bowl. For people like us, who merely watched the game, the event lasted a few hours. But for the players and coaches who participated, the event was the culmination of days of preparation. Practices were held, the game film was watched and meetings were attended—all to be prepared for the biggest game of the year.

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus prepares us for an even greater challenge than the Super Bowl. He prepares us to face life in this sin-filled world. In this world, Jesus’ glory will not always appear as clearly as it did on the mountain that day. There will be trials and temptations and times when we will wonder where our Jesus is.

When facing these difficult days, glance back at the Mount of Transfiguration. See your Jesus and the glory that is his alone. Remember that he is the Almighty and was willing to go back down that mountain so he could be crucified on another. There on the hill called Calvary, Jesus’ glory shone most brightly. Beneath the blood and sweat and horror, you see the glory of his love for you—a love that paid for your sins so that one day you can experience the glory of the transfiguration forever.

May this reality prepare you for the valleys you will walk through in this world. May it make you all the more eager to view his glory in heaven where he is preparing a place for all his believers.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for using your transfiguration to prepare me for the valleys of this life. When I am tempted to doubt your power and glory, turn my eyes back to that mountain and renew my strength. Amen.

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