The Lord Gives You Strength – November 3, 2020

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.
2 Timothy 4:17

The Lord Gives You Strength


Daily Devotion – November 3, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:17

See series: Devotions

You grab a little boy’s arm and say, “Wow, look how strong you are!” And the boy grins from ear to ear. We can’t blame him. We like strength. We strive for strong marriages. We invest in a strong stock market. We take aptitude tests to find our strengths. And we vote for whom we think is the strongest candidate.

Why are we so obsessed with strength? I’m not so sure if it’s an obsession with strength as much as it is a fear of weakness. Weakness means others can take advantage of me or overpower me. Weakness means I am not the best and that I am vulnerable. Plainly said, weakness means there’s something wrong with me. And so, I hide my weaknesses as best I can.

As much as you may try to hide your weaknesses from others, there is One who knows every single one of your weaknesses, even better than you do. And that’s your God. But here’s the difference between God and many in our world: God doesn’t show you the door when he sees your weaknesses. Rather, he shows you himself. When you are weak, he is strong. And his strength isn’t four-year-old bicep strength. Nor is it Ford Super Duty with 6.7-liter power stroke strength. His strength is world creating, wind calming, death defeating strength. God’s strength is just that, God-strength. And he uses his strength for you.

Most importantly, he used his strength to work all of world history in order to save you from your sins by his sacrificial death on the cross. At first, this might seem a strange way to show strength, but it most certainly does—not just strength, but love. And then, in the greatest show of strength in the history of this world, he was brought back to life on Easter morning to prove that he had conquered death and won eternal life for you.

So go ahead, pull out a piece of paper. Write down all your weaknesses, for your eyes only. On the other side of the ledger put the name, “Lord.” The winner is clear. The Lord will give you strength.

Prayer:
Lord, give me confidence in your strength to overcome all of my weaknesses. 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 Lord Stood By My Side – November 2, 2020

Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me . . . But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.
2 Timothy 4:10,17

The Lord Stood By My Side


Daily Devotion – November 2, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:10,17

See series: Devotions

Demas. I doubt many people would know that name while playing a game of Bible trivia. But I bet we recognize what someone like Demas looks like in our lives. That friend, that co-worker, who stood by your side until something or someone better came along. And there you are, alone. Alone at the party. Alone at work. Alone at home. Alone in life. Not just alone but deserted. Abandoned. Neglected. Forsaken.

What races through your mind when you find yourself deserted? The emotions can take us all over the board. Anger—‘How dare he desert me?’ Embarrassment—‘It’s feels so awkward to be alone.’ Hurt—‘I can’t believe she did that to me.’ Scared—‘I don’t know what I’m going to do.’ And you can probably come up with many more emotions and questions.

From the very beginning, God knew that being alone was not a good thing. It wasn’t good for the first person, so God made someone suitable for him. Things haven’t changed. While we may like our “me time” on occasion, too much “me time” and we go crazy. For that very reason, God puts people in our lives. But let’s be honest, in our non-perfect world, the people in our lives aren’t always suitable. They take us down the wrong paths, say hurtful words, and disappoint. And at times, they desert.

Yet, there’s One who is always suitable. One who never disappoints, who always helps, and always leads us down the right path. That One is the Lord. No matter what you’re going through today, no matter how alone you feel, know this: The Lord stands by your side.

Prayer:
Lord, continue to stand by my side. And, grant me the confidence and comfort of knowing you will. 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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Rejoice – November 1, 2020

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice


Daily Devotion – November 1, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 4:4-7

See series: Devotions

We are saved from our sins by grace alone. That means salvation is a gift, won by Jesus when he died and rose again. Even the faith we need to believe this glorious message is something God freely gives. Salvation is secure because it is the work of Christ, and since it is his work, then it cannot fail.

On this day, thank God for salvation by grace, spend time reflecting on how your life has changed because of Jesus’ work. Don’t forget that Jesus has washed away your sin and guilt. As you look to him in faith, you can rejoice—just as Paul says—because the Lord is with you and heaven is your home. There’s no need to be sour, harsh, angry, or anxious because you have a Savior who hears and answers all your prayers. And remember: the peace we have through faith in Christ is something no worldly woes can disturb.

But the devil will try. “Worry!” he demands. “You should! Just look at all the horrible things happening in the world! And how about all the dreadful things you’ve experienced? Get angry! Get mad! Abandon hope! Forget about joy!”

Take to heart Paul’s encouragement: “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8,9).

If you spend time focused on the ugly results of sin, the devil will get his way. So, check your thoughts. Guard your heart. Set your mind on Christ and his salvation. As you do, you’ll discover new courage and peace, more reasons to rejoice, and an extra measure of joy for the day.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to focus on Jesus and fill my heart with the peace you alone can give. 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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Stop Worrying – October 31, 2020

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

Stop Worrying


Daily Devotion – October 31, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 4:6

See series: Devotions

Don’t worry! That’s what God says in his Word for us today. But we wonder how we can put aside all of our worry and anxiety. There are so many dangers that surround us, so many things that stress us out, so many people who are hurting, and some of them are very dear to us. Not to worry seems impossible.

It is impossible to stop worrying if our attention is riveted on the problems and predicaments of life. But wonder of God’s love for us is that he teaches us how much greater he is than the worrisome circumstances we face daily. He assures us that he is in control of all things. He is the almighty, all-knowing God who knows our every need and is capable of fulfilling all of them.

He took away our greatest worry; he freed us from the damnation we deserved as sinners. And he lavished his love on us by giving us life with him that will last forever. So our heavenly Father, who loved us so much to send Jesus to be our Savior, promises to provide for our lives and protect us from danger.

Thankful for his saving love, we can turn from our inclination to worry and turn to him with our concerns and burdens. We can confidently address him in prayer, knowing that he listens and will answer according to our best interests. Since God has secured our eternity through Jesus, we know that according to his love, he will care for us now too. So indeed, there is no reason to worry.

Prayer:
Teach me, Lord, not to worry. Remind me of your great love and power that I can trust in times of need. Accept my prayers through Jesus, my Savior, and help me according to your wisdom. 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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It Will Be Worth It – October 30, 2020

In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
Isaiah 25:9

It Will Be Worth It


Daily Devotion – October 30, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:9

See series: Devotions

Dinner last night was a grilled chicken breast and a cup of cooked broccoli-no cheese. You’ve avoided the pies, fries, carbs, and cookies that you know could sabotage you. With a soldier’s discipline, you’ve committed yourself to fight the battle against the fat. You’ve been getting up an hour earlier so that you can exercise before work. You’ve sweated and sacrificed. Then you step on the scale—the cruel, cruel scale! And it tells you that not only have you not lost any weight—you’ve actually gained two pounds. Is it worth it?

Has the same question ever entered your mind when it comes to your faith? You’ve held on tight to God’s promises even when you couldn’t understand what he was doing. But each day seems to bring more bad news, another reason for disillusionment. Your world isn’t getting any better. Your cross hasn’t gotten any lighter. So is it worth it?

Isaiah, in his picture of the great banquet, assures us that it will most certainly be worth it. He paints a vivid scene of trust given and richly rewarded.

Today, we live by faith and not by sight. We simply trust that God exists, has created us, is always with us, works what’s best for us, loves us, and is merciful to us for Jesus’ sake. And we trust that Jesus will come back and take us to our heavenly home. We believe all those things because God has promised them in his Word.

One day our eyes will see things that today our hearts only know by faith. One day, we will see Jesus face to face and rejoice that hope has finally and forever changed to reality. Our God promises it. We believe it. It will all be worth it.

Prayer:
Jesus, bless me and keep my faith strong until the day I see you face to face. 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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Dressed Appropriately – October 29, 2020

He will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.
Isaiah 25:8

Dressed Appropriately


Daily Devotion – October 29, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:8

See series: Devotions

Few things in life are more embarrassing than showing up to the right event wearing the wrong clothes. I can remember reporting to the starting line of my first cross country race in grade school wearing blue jeans. Needless to say, the race didn’t go well. Or maybe it’s a mistake as innocent as unwittingly wearing a polo and khakis to a meeting that’s definitely suits and ties. (I’ve done that, too.) When this sort of thing happens, you know what it feels like to stick out like a sore thumb.

In Jesus’ parable of the great banquet, someone shows up without wedding clothes. The wedding crasher is quickly identified and escorted from the banquet in disgrace.

And it makes a person wonder, “Will that ever be me? When I try to stand before God, will it be determined that I’m a wedding crasher? Will the selfish choices that I’ve made, the uncaring attitudes of my heart, finally come home to roost? Will the sins that I’ve managed to conceal my whole life be loudly called out, by the all-seeing eyes of God? Will I be the one ushered out of the banquet in disgrace?”

Take heart. The wedding crasher in Jesus’ parable was meant to illustrate someone who tries to stand in the presence of God while at the same time ignoring and rejecting the Son sent from God to save the world.

Simply put your trust in him. Jesus has come into the world not to call us out in disgrace, but to cover our disgrace. That’s why he lived a life of perfect obedience in our place. It’s why he suffered the disgrace of the cross for us. All those who are baptized into Christ have clothed themselves with Christ, wrote the apostle Paul. Our sins are covered by Jesus’ righteousness and perfection. Believe in him, and you will be dressed appropriately at the great banquet.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 376)
Jesus, your blood and righteousness,
My beauty are, my glorious dress.
Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head. 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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Not a Place for Tears – October 28, 2020

The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
Isaiah 25:8

Not a Place for Tears


Daily Devotion – October 28, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:8

See series: Devotions

There were probably a few tears shed at the last banquet you attended. Maybe the father of the bride gave a moving toast that eloquently recalled tender-hearted memories of his little girl, now all grown up and ready to start a family of her own. Perhaps a grown-up daughter stood up at her parents’ 50th Anniversary and talked about how her parents had inspired her by their Godly example in the best of times and also the worst. Tears are often an unintended part of the banquet agenda.

But the great banquet, the prophet Isaiah mentions in our reading for today, will be different. Isaiah speaks about how that day will be for the drying of tears rather than the shedding of tears. Why? Because the things that hurt our hearts belong to this sinful world and our existence on this side of heaven.

There’s another gem in this verse that’s a little more subtle; but equally powerful. Pay special attention to the One who is wiping away the tears. It’s none other than the Sovereign LORD. That’s a name for God that connotes power and strength. Yet, here he is, tenderly wiping away the tears from our eyes like a mother comforting her distressed child. “It’s all right,” the Sovereign LORD will say, “I’ve got you. You’re home.”

In a world of tears, we often find ourselves waiting for the next promotion, relationship, or package from Amazon that will bring us joy and ease our pain. “Things will be better then!” we tell ourselves. And it’s true that God graciously gives us blessings in this world that make us smile. But earthly joys don’t last long, and we find that our times of joy are mixed with moments of tears. That’s actually not an entirely bad thing. The fleeting and fickle nature of earthly joys reminds us of a different time and a better place still to come—the grand and glorious heavenly banquet where the Sovereign LORD himself will wipe every tear from our eyes.

Prayer:
Sovereign LORD, I watch and eagerly wait for the day that I will see you face to face. Until that day, help me to be grateful for my earthly joys and use my times of sadness to make me long for a better eternal day in your presence. 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 Celebration of Victory – October 27, 2020

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.
Isaiah 25:7,8

A Celebration of Victory


Daily Devotion – October 27, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:7,8

See series: Devotions

On June 19, 1945, Dwight D. Eisenhower stood in the backseat of an open-top Chrysler convertible as it rolled down New York City’s famed Canyon of Heroes. When he waved to the crowd, a reported four million people waved back. It was one of the biggest ticker-tape parades in the city’s history, organized to recognize the famous general for his role in defeating the Germans in World War II. Big victories call for big celebrations.

The prophet Isaiah doesn’t speak of a ticker-tape parade in our Bible reading for today. But it’s a big celebration of a big victory, nevertheless. How can it not be considered a big victory when your most formidable enemy goes down in defeat? And after all the tears that it’s caused, after all the families that it’s torn apart, isn’t it awesome to see death finally lose?

And not only does death lose, it gets swallowed up forever. Once Jesus left the tomb alive on Easter morning, death was done—that is to say, its stranglehold was loosened, its undefeated streak finally and forever was broken. The grave may receive our bodies, but it does not get to keep them. Once our greatest enemy, death is now merely the gateway to victorious and eternal life for all who trust in Jesus as their Savior.

Death is still a reality. But Jesus is bigger than death. He has swallowed up its power forever. And that is reason to celebrate!

Prayer:
Jesus, risen Savior, I lift up your name in unending praise and celebration because you destroyed death’s power over me and have opened the gate to eternal life. As I struggle on this side of heaven, comfort me, strengthen me, and cheer me through the tastes of the heavenly banquet that you give me 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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With the Finest Fare – October 26, 2020

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines.
Isaiah 25:6

With the Finest Fare


Daily Devotion – October 26, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:6

See series: Devotions

When was the last time you went to a banquet? You know, a fancy meal, probably in a fancy place, attended by people dressed up in their fanciest clothes. Perhaps it was a wedding banquet, or a banquet celebrating someone’s retirement, or a couple’s golden anniversary. We don’t go to banquets every day. They’re reserved for special occasions.

In chapter 25 of his book, the prophet Isaiah wrote about an extraordinary banquet. It’s extraordinary because of who the host is. He wrote that “the LORD Almighty” would prepare this banquet. We might glance over the words “LORD Almighty” without too much thought because they appear often in the Bible. But the name “LORD Almighty” is intended to express power. This is the God who summons and commands the angel armies! He sets the stars in their places and draws up the boundaries for the oceans. And yet, Isaiah insists that he is the one preparing a banquet.

Isn’t that remarkable? The God we serve is also willing to serve us, to make sure that we have all we need—especially everything we need to feed our souls.

This world is barren and devoid of rich spiritual food. Material possessions, humanistic philosophies, knowledge, relationships, adventure all claim that they can fill us up and make us satisfied. And they might for a while. But when all is said and done, we find ourselves still spiritually hungry.

What we really need is the food God prepares. And unlike most banquets, this feast is one that is before us every day—as we are filled up by God’s Word revealed in the Bible. There we see Jesus, the bread from heaven, who feeds us with the forgiveness he won for us and soothes our thirst for joy and peace. In Jesus, we have the most abundant spiritual feast imaginable.

Prayer:
LORD Almighty, thank you for providing food for my stomach and more importantly, food for my soul. Lead me to find daily nourishment in that rich banquet. 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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Your Good Shepherd – October 25, 2020

He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3

Your Good Shepherd


Daily Devotion – October 25, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 23:3

See series: Devotions

The man who wrote Psalm 23 was a King of Israel named David. David’s life was one of wonderful highs and also deep lows. He rose up from a shepherd boy to be the King of Israel. And yet, in spite of how richly God had blessed him, David sinned against God by committing adultery and murder.

Still, God did not abandon him. God sent the prophet Nathan to lead David to admit his sin. In love, God sought to restore his wandering sheep into a favored relationship with him. God did this not because of anything David had done—David actually deserved the opposite! God did this for “his name’s sake.” So that we might see the glory of God and his name, God forgives sinners like David, and like you and me.

God’s glory is revealed to us when he reveals the type of God he is: slow to anger, abounding in love, rich in mercy, full of forgiveness, wanting all people to be saved from death and destruction. This is the Shepherd that restored and guided David. This is the Shepherd that restores and guides us.

Listen to your Good Shepherd and repent for the times you have wandered away from him. And be assured of his forgiveness because he is your Good Shepherd who laid down his life to take away the guilt of your sin.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 374):
My shepherd will supply my need—Jehovah is his name.
In pastures fresh he makes me feed, beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back, when I forsake his ways.
And leads me, for his mercy’s sake, in paths of truth and grace.

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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Live Without Fear – October 24, 2020

“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. . . . What can man do to me? It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”
Psalm 118:6,8,9

Live Without Fear


Daily Devotion – October 24, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 118:6,8,9

See series: Devotions

Someone once remarked that “worrying is the only game in which, when you guess right, you don’t feel any better.” If a person wants to worry, there will always be a market for it. You can worry about finances, health, the past, your boss, kids, lack of kids, hair, lack of hair, and as I pull up to the drive-through window, who cooked that burger I just ordered. And let’s not forget global terrorism. And if our worries do pan out, at least we are better off and more prepared for the moment because we have worried. Wrong!

God has a better plan for us. His plan is that we do not worry because we know he is with us. And he is dependable minute-to-minute, day-to-day, and year-to-year. He is the almighty God who is always with us, even when others seek to create a mess for us, or we find we are in a mess of our own doing. He is a loving God who is our Savior that took away our greatest worry—fear of eternal death. Only God provides security for both body and soul.

Sure, we may need to make some changes in our life. One thing that will not change, though, is that God is always with us. God is not going anywhere, except to our rescue and to provide us with a life without fear. So, whether we are fretting over baldness, bankruptcy, bacteria, or bad (sinful) behavior, boldly rely on God. Put your worries and fears behind you.

Prayer:
Whatever worries are on my heart this day, Lord, sweep them away with the assurance that you are with me and, with you at my side, I have nothing to worry about. 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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Model Behavior – October 23, 2020

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
Philippians 3:17

Model Behavior


Daily Devotion – October 23, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 3:17

See series: Devotions

I was watching an old “I Love Lucy” episode and laughing at one of the many times Lucy meant well but messed everything up. While I was laughing, I noticed that my three-year-old daughter was also laughing. Only she wasn’t watching the TV; she was watching me. When I laughed, she laughed. It was a moment that really struck me as a parent because I realized that my daughter was learning a lot from my behavior. She was imitating me.

So, whom are you imitating? Chances are, it is whomever you are watching.

Are you watching those who are loving or unloving? Kind or unkind? Generous or selfish? Arrogant or humble?

The apostle Paul encouraged the church in Philippi to follow his example and to keep their eyes on “those who live as we do.” In other words, he wanted them to watch people who live in a God-pleasing way. God wants us to do the same. It’s important to keep our eyes on and give attention to those godly examples and models he has placed into our lives, and then to be that example for others. In doing so, we encourage and build one another up that we all may live God-pleasing lives.

Of course, none of the people we look at and imitate is perfect. That’s why, most importantly, we need to be reading about Jesus in the Bible. Jesus lived a perfectly God-pleasing life. Not just as an example for us (although he certainly is that!), but as a substitute for us. He gives us credit for his perfect life so that we can one day enter the perfect paradise of heaven.

Until then, we want to thank him by living in a way that is pleasing to him. And, watching the godly people he has placed in our lives can be a great help in doing so.

Prayer:
Gracious God, I praise you for the many godly examples you have given me in the pages of the Bible and in my life. Help me to imitate those who look 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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Press On – October 22, 2020

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14

Press On


Daily Devotion – October 22, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 3:12-14

See series: Devotions

As she trained for the marathon, there were days when she wanted to give up. She woke up before anyone else to have time to run. Soreness and injuries were always present to amplify her desire to quit. Even on the day of the race as the miles dragged on and her muscles screamed at her to quit. Only one thought kept her putting one foot in front of another: the finish is ahead. So, she continued through pain and adversity because the goal was in front of her. Every step brought her one step closer to victory.

For Christians, this life is like running a marathon. When this life gets hard, and the joys of heaven seem far away, it is important to press on toward the goal. When the days are long and dreary, and God’s promises of salvation seem like more of a dream than reality, looking ahead to the finish will help.

Looking back at your sins, disobedience, and failures won’t help. Turning around to see the emptiness of this world with all of its meaningless distractions doesn’t get you any closer to your goal. Focusing on the present pains and frustrations only hides the goal from your mind.

Press on because the finish line is ahead. The halls of heaven are in front of you. The prize which God has had in store for all who know his Son as their Savior awaits.

Only focusing your attention on the goal will help you continue. Press on.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to continue in the way you have laid out for me. Remind me always of the goal you have in store 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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We Do Not Belong – October 21, 2020

Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20

We Do Not Belong


Daily Devotion – October 21, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 3:20

See series: Devotions

Growing up I had a neighbor who was from Uruguay who was living in the United States on a temporary work visa. He was a friendly guy who always said “hello” to the neighborhood kids. His English was good, but you could tell from his accent that the United States was not his home. Sometimes he would give us snacks and candies with names we didn’t know, and he would watch our faces with delight as he shared with us these reminders of his home. One time, his garage door was open, and we could see boxes and storage containers stacked against the wall. Being curious kids, we asked him what was in all those boxes. He told us they were things that he didn’t bother to unpack since he would be going back to his home in Uruguay soon.

Like my childhood neighbor, Christians know that they are temporary residents—not of the United States, but of this world. And, like my neighbor, they can be recognized as being different from the people of this world. For example, they don’t talk the same way the world talks. At least, that is their goal. They want their conversations to be kind, gentle, and understanding. They want to speak of forgiveness and sacrifice. They want to talk about the hope they have.

And, like my neighbor, as Christians live in this world, they look for reminders of their true home. It is why they worship with other Christians and why they read and study the Bible.

When you find yourself frustrated with this world, know that Jesus has won an eternal life in heaven for you. Through faith in him, you can know that this world is only temporary. And you can look forward to a permanent residence in paradise.

Prayer:
Do not allow me to be distracted by the things of this world, lest I fail to wait with eagerness for Jesus to return. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and take me to my true home. 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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Laying a Cornerstone – October 20, 2020

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
Matthew 21:42

Laying a Cornerstone


Daily Devotion – October 20, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 21:42

See series: Devotions

There were so many reasons that people rejected Jesus.

Some found him far too ordinary for his claims. They had grown up with him in Nazareth. They knew his mother, brother, and sisters. He was just too normal, and so they rejected him.

Others found his message of grace and forgiving scandalous. He ate and drank with sinners while rebuking the self-righteousness of the religious leaders of his day. His mercy was too much, and so they rejected him.

Still, others thought his message was too exclusive. Jesus preached that he is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus said that he was the only way to the Father. His road was too narrow, and so they rejected him.

For countless others, though, they saw Jesus as their only source of hope in an uncertain world. For women like Mary Magdalene, disciples like Philip, and men like Nicodemus, they saw Jesus as essential for their lives. They realized that with him, they had everything. Without him, they had nothing. He was the cornerstone of their lives. His love became their source of guidance. His forgiveness and grace became the standard upon which God would build their faith. The work he accomplished made eternal life theirs.

Jesus is your hope, as well. While you may see many rejecting him, that does not change the fact that he is still the cornerstone. Believe in him. Build your life around him. With him, you have everything. Without him, you have nothing. The forgiveness he won for you means your relationship with God is restored, and eternal life in heaven is yours.

The cornerstone is set. You can say with the Bible writer, “The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Prayer:
Father, you have done this marvelous thing in making Jesus the cornerstone. Help me to trust in him alone. 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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Giving Up – October 19, 2020

“Listen to another parable: [Jesus said] There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.”
Matthew 21:33-37

Giving Up


Daily Devotion – October 19, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 21:33-37

See series: Devotions

At a certain point, you just have to cut your losses and move on. The car that has been in the repair shop multiple times this year might need to get sold. That house plant you have been trying to grow keeps dropping leaves, and it may need to get thrown away. Sometimes, you have to cut your losses and move on.

Jesus shared a parable about a landowner and his vineyard. In the parable, the tenant farmers who rented the vineyard from the landowner turned out to be rather terrible. Worse than being lazy or dishonest, they actually harmed or killed the servants the landowner sent to collect the rightful rent. You would expect the owner to give up on the renters, drive them out, and move on to new renters. Instead, the landowner sent his son to people who had mistreated everyone who has been sent to them.

This is precisely what God did after so many of the prophets he sent had been harmed or killed over the centuries. Instead of giving up on the people of this world, God sent his Son, Jesus, to save the people of this world, including you.

Isn’t it comforting to know that you have such a loving God, one who has not given up on you, one who sent his own Son to restore your relationship with him and give you eternal life in heaven? Spend this day being thankful you have a God who won’t give up.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for not giving up on 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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Looking for Good Grapes – October 18, 2020

I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?”
Isaiah 5:1-4

Looking for Good Grapes


Daily Devotion – October 18, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 5:1-4

See series: Devotions

A friend of mine helped me become a wine snob. He suggested that I get some bottles of a particular wine made in a certain year. A wine magazine praised this selection. I promptly went out to purchase a few bottles at my local grocer.

My friend did not steer me wrong. This wine tasted excellent. When I returned to the grocery store, I looked for more of it. I found another bottle at a reasonable price and bought it. I tasted the new bottle of wine and found that it didn’t taste as good. Then I looked at the label and discovered I had just purchased a different vintage, a year that didn’t favor the grapes as much as the year I previously bought. So it goes with wine. Some vineyards in some years produce excellent grapes. The same vineyard in another year produces so-so grapes.

God compared his Old Testament people of Israel to a vineyard. He did everything possible to make them produce excellent spiritual grapes. Here’s what he found: “When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?” God looked for justice but saw bloodshed. He looked for righteousness but heard cries of distress.

God saw that nation the way he sees humanity today—people in whom he has invested his greatest care, but they keep producing bad grapes—sinful deeds contrary to his holy will. How much Israel and we today need the master gardener, Jesus Christ! He alone produced the good deeds acceptable to God. He alone got trampled in the winepress of God’s wrath for the sins of the world.

Marvel at God’s grace. Through Jesus Christ, God sees us as good. And by his Word, he works in us the ability to produce the good deeds that he desires.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, make a good harvest of good deeds from the good vineyard you have planted. Through the love of Jesus my Savior, produce in me the excellence that gives glory 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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Precious Faith – October 17, 2020

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terrible.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
Matthew 8:5-9

Precious Faith


Daily Devotion – October 17, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 8:5-9

See series: Devotions

What does faith look like?

We certainly can’t read other people’s hearts. Only God can do that. Still, the Bible tells us that faith shows itself in the way people speak and act. The Roman soldier in our Bible reading for today is a good example. As an army officer, he understood the power of command. He himself could order men and they would obey. Believing that Jesus was the Son of God, the centurion understood that Jesus could certainly order a thing and it would occur. When God commands a thing, it happens—whether it is the fall of snow or rain or the fall of nations. The centurion knew this and simply asked for God’s grace and mercy to fall on his sick servant.

His faith had the look of a man utterly and completely confident in God to answer any prayer.

That’s what faith looks like. Faith that is empowered by God’s Word trusts in the abilities of God to accomplish all things, even the most difficult and the impossible. God’s gift of faith instills confidence in the Lord’s promises. It comforts us with the peace of God’s favor. By faith, we are enlightened to see the grand purpose for our existence—to live in the glory of God. In faith, we walk in confidence on the way that God is taking us toward heaven.

How precious is faith in Jesus!

Prayer:
Lord, give me a faith that trusts your power and helps me to live confidently according to your loving kindness. 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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What Our Father Wants – October 16, 2020

“‘I will not,’ [the man’s son] answered, but later he changed his mind and went.”
Matthew 21:29

What Our Father Wants


Daily Devotion – October 16, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 21:29

See series: Devotions

Jesus once told a story about a father who owned a vineyard. He expected his two sons to do their part for the family business. One day he told them, “There’s work to do in the vineyard. Go out to the vineyard right away and help out.”

The first son was rude and disrespectful. He said, “No, Dad, I don’t want to.” But the other said, “Yes, sir. Right away, sir.”

But later things changed. The first son had a change of heart. He felt bad about what he said. He thought about how his father loved him and realized that he could show appreciation for that love by obeying his father. So, he went to the vineyard and got to work.

But the second son, who said exactly what his father wanted to hear when he asked him to do something, never showed up for work.

After Jesus told the story, he asked, “Which of these two did what his father wanted?” Of course, the answer was the first son, the one who showed up to work in the vineyard.

How do we react when God tells us to do something? Are we sometimes like the second son? We hear what the Bible says, and we say, “Okay, I will do that.” We tell God or our parents, teachers, or pastor what we think they want to hear. But then we ignore or forget what we heard.

Or are we more like the first son? Our sinful hearts initially resist what God says. But, as we hear and see more about how he loves us, he changes our hearts. And our actions follow, as we gladly obey God.

God wants us to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. The good news is that Jesus walked the walk for us. He obeyed every one of God’s commandments. And he did what his Father wanted when he suffered and died as punishment for every time we disrespect or disobey God.

For Jesus’ sake, God forgives our stubborn disobedience and our empty lip service. And his undeserved love moves us to serve him joyfully and willingly with our lips and our lives.

Prayer:
Father, move me to serve you willingly in response to your patient love 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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Not Fair – October 15, 2020

The one who sins is the one who will die . . . I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
Ezekiel 18:4,32

Not Fair


Daily Devotion – October 15, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 18:4,32

See series: Devotions

“It’s not fair!” Students complain when they all have to stay in from recess because a few students misbehaved. “It’s not fair!” Object family members who have to stay home from a planned outing because one child was not cooperating.

It’s not fair, but it is the reality of life in a sin-plagued world. We suffer consequences, not only for our own disobedience, but also for some of the wrongs that others commit.

The temptation we sometimes face is to blame God. “It’s not fair, God! Why should I have to suffer? I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Of course, if we looked closely at God’s legal code, we would realize that we are not as innocent as we want to believe. Each and every angry thought, each and every hurtful word, each and every selfish action makes us lawbreakers. Each one makes us guilty before God. And God’s law spells out the punishment for the crimes. It says, “The one who sins is the one who will die.”

But that same just God said, “I take no pleasure in the death of anyone.” He didn’t want to see us die for our sins. He doesn’t delight in seeing us suffer in this life, and he doesn’t want us to suffer when this life is over. And so he did something completely unfair. He sent his own innocent Son, Jesus, to suffer for us. He held Jesus responsible for our angry thoughts, hurtful words, and selfish actions. And he sentenced him to death—our death.

Because Jesus accepted the punishment for our sins, no guilt remains to be punished. God allows us to suffer only to draw us closer to him. He wants the suffering that we see in our lives to lead us to turn from our sins and seek his mercy—mercy he showed in sending Jesus to forgive our sins. Mercy that means life instead of death for all who trust Jesus as Savior.

Prayer:
God of mercy, turn my heart from sinful ways that, forgiven, I may have life with 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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Pay it Forward – October 14, 2020

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, . . . then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:1-4

Pay it Forward


Daily Devotion – October 14, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 2:1-4

See series: Devotions

You have heard of “paying it forward,” haven’t you? You respond to a kind deed done for you—maybe even by a total stranger—by doing something kind for someone else. Maybe you pay for the meal of the person in the drive-thru behind you. Without being asked, you shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk or rake their leaves.

Jesus showed us the ultimate kindness. He didn’t owe us anything. We didn’t deserve his mercy. We weren’t worthy of his time and attention. And yet, he showed us kindness and love, not by paying for our coffee or cheeseburger, but by paying for our souls. Not by doing a job, we didn’t have the time or strength to do, but by doing a job we could never have done for ourselves.

It was the ultimate act of humble service when Jesus, the Son of God, became a human being to live and die for human beings. It was the ultimate sacrifice of love when Jesus, a holy God, suffered, and died to pay for the debt of guilt that we accumulated. He didn’t put himself first. He put us first. What a gift! What humble and unexpected love!

Now the Bible urges us to act on that love. We can’t pay off our debt to God—we don’t have to; Jesus already did—but we can pay forward the love we have been shown by loving others. We can, like Jesus, humbly value others above ourselves. We can put the interests of others ahead of our own.

And when our love for others reflects Jesus’ love for us, we share a gift far greater than a free meal or an hour of time. We share a love that points people to the one who invites forgiven sinners to feast with him in eternity in heaven.

Prayer:
Jesus, you humbled yourself to show me undeserved love. Help me reflect your selfless love to those around 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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Nothing But the Truth – October 13, 2020

For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
2 Corinthians 13:8

Nothing But the Truth


Daily Devotion – October 13, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 13:8

See series: Devotions

Three weeks from today, citizens of the United States will go to the polls and vote. In local, county, state, and national elections, each citizen will choose candidates to represent and serve them in government.

For many, it will be a welcome end to a long election year. Through much of this year, TV and radio airwaves have been filled with candidates jockeying for position. They make claim after claim—about themselves, about their opponents, about the issues. They make promises about what they will do if elected.

Not all of their claims are true or honest. And they will likely not follow through on all of their promises. Voters are left trying to figure out whose claims lie closest to reality and whose reality they want for their community, state, or country.

Some people see the church the same way. People who claim to be Christians make all kinds of claims about what God says. Those claims don’t always agree. And those who read or hear those claims are left wondering whom to trust and what to believe.

When it comes to speaking for God, we need to fact check what we hear. And we do that in the Bible. The Bible comes straight from the mouth of God, who cannot lie. The Bible is one unified truth. What we believe about God, about life and death, about heaven and hell, must be in line with what is written in the Bible.

We never want to deviate from that truth. That truth points us to Jesus, who called himself “the Truth.” Jesus came to fulfill the truth of God’s demands for perfection. Jesus came to live the truth of God’s love for the world. Jesus came to show that all of God’s promises are true by giving his life to restore us to God and then rising from the dead to give us life with him. No truth is more profound. No truth is more beautiful or praiseworthy. No truth is more true.

May God give us courage and joy to live our lives to know and share the tremendous truth of his Word.

Prayer:
Father, open my mind and heart to know the truth. May all that I do work for the truth and never against it. 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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Examine Yourself – October 12, 2020

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.”
2 Corinthians 13:5,6

Examine Yourself


Daily Devotion – October 12, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 13:5,6

See series: Devotions

An examination can be a scary thing, whether it is a performance review at work, a final test for an important class, a medical test to see what’s making you feel so sick, or an interview to see whether you have what it takes to do the job.

Honest self-examination can be even scarier. Yet the Bible tells us to examine ourselves. And what do you find when you do? Do you find thoughts and desires and cravings that you are ashamed of, that you hope no one else ever knows about? Do you find attitudes and emotions that reveal how unloving you can be to others? Do you find doubts and fears where you know there should be faith and confidence? As you look inside and examine yourself, do you find, as I do, a lot that doesn’t make God happy, a lot that doesn’t meet his expectations?

But today’s verses shift our focus. They urge us to ask different questions, as we examine ourselves. Didn’t Jesus die to pay for your sins? Hasn’t he forgiven you for everything you’ve done wrong? Didn’t Jesus rise from the dead to assure you that you will live with him in heaven?

You can answer yes to all of those questions. After looking inside ourselves to honestly assess the condition of our hearts, God wants us to examine what Jesus did outside of us and for us. He conquered sin and death for us. His blood covers every one of our sins. His holiness is his gift to us. Know that. Believe that.

When God, through the Bible’s message, leads you to trust that Jesus has done those things for you, Christ Jesus himself lives in you. He gives you confidence in your Creator, trust in the treasures of his mercy, peace in his perfect pardon, and the hope of a home in heaven. When Christ lives in you, God gives you a perfect score on the entrance exam to eternal life with him!

Prayer:
Jesus, live in me to bless me with your forgiveness and eternal peace with God. 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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Repent and Live – October 11, 2020

“Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!”
Ezekiel 18:30-32

Repent and Live


Daily Devotion – October 11, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 18:30-32

See series: Devotions

When my children were little, one of the rules was, “Do not play in the street.” This rule restricted their freedom and limited their place to play. But this rule also protected them. Playing in the street could result in their injury or even death. Whenever I saw one of my children wander into the street, I would call him back. I called him back because I loved him.

Our heavenly Father also gives us rules for our lives—do not lie, do not hate, do not steal, do not commit adultery, and many more. These rules restrict our freedom. But he gives us these rules to protect us. He knows what is best for us. He knows that when we go against his rules, we are in danger of being injured—physically or spiritually. He knows that when we go against his rules, we ruin our relationship with him. Going against God’s rules leads to eternal separation from him, to eternal death. This is why, when we go against God’s rules, he calls us back. He calls us back because he loves us. “Repent and live!” says the Lord.

And when we do, when we turn away from our sin and turn to our Father for forgiveness, we can be sure we have it. After all, he was willing to give up his own Son to pay the price for our sins. He is always willing and eager to assure us that we are forgiven when we turn from our sin and turn to him for forgiveness.

Whatever sin is putting you in danger this day, turn from it. Repent and live!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for warning me about the things that endanger my life and my soul. Thank you for calling me to repentance. And thank you for assuring me of your forgiveness when I do repent. Please provide the strength I need to repent and live! 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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Faith Credited as Righteousness – October 10, 2020

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

Faith Credited as Righteousness


Daily Devotion – October 10, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 15:1-6

See series: Devotions

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

But Abram was a man of action. (Just read in Genesis 14 how he mounted a rescue of his nephew Lot who had been captured by a coalition of four kings!) So Abram had already hatched a plan to deal with his childlessness: his servant Eliezer would be his heir.

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

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

The Lord Jesus truly is our shield and very great reward. Although we are sinful, Jesus credits his own righteousness to us through faith in him. Although we have little in this world, Jesus is our eternal treasure that waits for us in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord God, I have no righteousness of my own to stand before you. But I believe you when you promised to forgive my sins for the sake of Jesus. Let his holiness be credited to me, as you have said. 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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Stay Above the Fray – October 9, 2020

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:9

Stay Above the Fray


Daily Devotion – October 9, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:9

See series: Devotions

Wise people stay above the fray. For instance, when there’s a heated argument, wise people hold their tongues. Rather than engaging in a Facebook folly or a Twitter tirade, they step away from their laptop. What inspired counsel the apostle Paul once gave when he wrote, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). In other words, stay above the fray.

When we’re tempted to wallow in the mud, the apostle reminds us that God created us to be like him, in his image, in his likeness (Genesis 1:26). He created us to think higher thoughts, to act nobly, and to ennoble others through our thoughts, words, and actions.

But we fail. Too often we find ourselves in the middle of the melee. Sometimes we’re even guilty of lighting the fire ourselves and creating the fray.

Not Jesus. He always stayed above the fray. Yes, there were instances in his ministry when he spoke the truth candidly yet lovingly. But his reason for doing so always reflected the very highest principles. He was never nasty, never unkind. Even when people were nasty to him, he never responded unkindly. The Apostle Peter wrote this about Jesus: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats” (1 Peter 2:23). Through the prophet Isaiah, our Lord and Savior makes it clear to sinful people like us that “my ways [are] higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” He stays above the fray.

But then he invites us—yes, he calls us—to do the same. To be like him. “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

Be wise like Jesus. Stay above the fray.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me marvel at your higher thoughts and ways, and through your Spirit guide me in the paths of mercy, kindness, peace, and 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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Thinking Outside the Box – October 8, 2020

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
Isaiah 55:8

Thinking Outside the Box


Daily Devotion – October 8, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:8

See series: Devotions

“You break it, you buy it.” It’s a pretty simple concept. If you’re foolish enough to pick up a valuable and fragile item in an antique store, you had better be ready to purchase it in case something happens. If you drop it on the floor and it shatters into a million pieces, “It was an accident,” probably isn’t going to satisfy the store owner. If you’re the one who broke it, then you’re the one who will pay for it.

If imperfect human beings like us abide by that simple motto of retail justice, then certainly we should expect our perfectly just God to expect the same, right?

It would make sense. When, for instance, our Creator-God handed his perfect and priceless world over to human beings, it would stand to reason that it came with a warning: if you break it, you’ll have to fix it or buy it. That’s just simple logic.

But that’s not the way our Savior-God operates. The prophet Isaiah tells us that he freely pardons sin, and then God tells us why: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” In other words, God doesn’t operate with a human standard of justice. No, our Savior thinks outside the box.

The psalmist wrote, “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him” (Psalm 115:3). And what pleases him? It pleases him to be merciful to sinners like you and me. He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). What’s that truth? He desires mercy, not sacrifice (Matthew 9:13).

So when our creator God saw that we sinfully broke everything—his perfect creation and our perfect relationships with him and one another—he didn’t ask us to pony up ourselves. He paid the awful price himself. He sacrificed his greatest treasure, his Son, to make restitution for what we destroyed. By his death on the cross, Jesus paid for our shattering sins “once for all” (Hebrews 7:27). He declares sinners perfect!

That’s called thinking outside the box.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me marvel in the fact that by your death and resurrection, you declare me what I am not: perfect. 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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An Everlasting Warranty – October 7, 2020

Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
Isaiah 55:7

An Everlasting Warranty


Daily Devotion – October 7, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:7

See series: Devotions

It would be nice to know that once something is fixed, it’s fixed forever. But it doesn’t usually work that way. Things break. We fix them. Then they break again. Eventually, we buy a new one. Even when companies provide a lifetime warranty on their products, there’s normally a catch. The fine print neatly hides the limits involved.

Do God’s promises come with fine print, with strings attached? Sadly, many people believe that because there are many who teach that. Their shtick normally goes a little bit like this: “God is a loving God who wants to forgive you. All you have to do is … (fill in the blank).” In other words, they suggest that God’s forgiveness involves some fine print. There are strings attached.

But that’s simply not true. God doesn’t base his forgiveness on what we do or don’t do. His forgiveness is not remotely tied to us being a certain way or achieving a certain standard. If that were true, how could we ever know whether God really forgives us, whether we’ve cleared the bar?

The Bible assures us that, in Jesus, God has forgiven the sins of the world. John the Baptist once pointed to Christ and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and the apostle John of him, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). That means you. In Christ Jesus, God forgives you of every sin. Believe it. It’s true.

And that’s why, through his prophet Isaiah, the Lord urges us to forsake our evil ways and turn to him. Not because he will then forgive us. He already has! He wants us to know with certainty that “he will have mercy on (us) . . . for he will freely pardon.” That’s no limited, lifetime guarantee. That’s an everlasting warranty, purchased “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). God’s forgiveness is waiting for you!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, give me confidence that, though I am sinful, you freely forgive me for Jesus’ sake. 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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Give Me a Call – October 6, 2020

Call on him while he is near.
Isaiah 55:6

Give Me a Call


Daily Devotion – October 6, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:6

See series: Devotions

“If you need anything, just give me a call.”

It’s nice to know—isn’t it?—that help is just a call away. When you need someone to let the dog out because you’re in the middle of a project, you can call the kids to do it. Or when you need someone to get that jar of pickles off the top shelf, you can call your long-armed husband. And while you hope you never have to do it, even as kids we’re taught to dial 9-1-1 in case of a fire or other serious emergency. It’s reassuring to know that help is just a call away.

Telephones have made it easier to call other people for help, but they haven’t improved the communication lines we have with our Savior-God. In our time of need, we do not need to raise our voice so that he can hear our cry for help. The psalmist reminds us that God is everywhere. “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:8-10). Jesus has made us a most certain promise, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15). It’s those kinds of assurances that prompted the prophet Isaiah to urge God’s people, “Call on him while he is near.”

Does Isaiah mean to suggest there are times when God is not nearby? Hardly. But what the prophet is implying is that too often we are ready to cut the lines of communication with the One who helps us best. Not only do we fail to call on him in our times of need; more tragically, we fail to listen confidently to his eternal promises and be assured of his saving presence and power, now and forever. “Never will I leave you,” Jesus says. “Never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Salvation is that near, that certain, that perfect! Jesus says, “Give me a call.”

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, through your Holy Spirit, give me strength to call on you and trust your promises now and forever. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Looking for Jesus In All the Right Places – October 5, 2020

Seek the LORD while he may be found.
Isaiah 55:6

Looking for Jesus In All the Right Places


Daily Devotion – October 5, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:6

See series: Devotions

We don’t know much about Jesus’ childhood from the Bible. Only the books of Luke and Matthew tell us anything about baby Jesus, and when it comes to Jesus’ childhood, we know even less.

What’s interesting about the accounts we have, however, is that almost every one includes people searching for Jesus. The shepherds were told by the Christmas angel to seek out a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. They said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about” (Luke 2:15). When the wise men, or magi, mistakenly arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2), they were redirected to Bethlehem because of what the prophet Micah predicted (Micah 5:2). When the magi later duped a jealous King Herod, he became enraged. An angel warned Joseph that “Herod is going to search for the child to kill him” (Matthew 2:13), and he urged Jesus’ stepfather to escape to Egypt. And when the twelve-year-old Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem unbeknownst to his parents, Mary and Joseph spent three days searching for Jesus before finally finding him at the temple. “Why were you searching for me?” Jesus asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).

What do all those accounts demonstrate? That it’s natural for us to look for Jesus in all the wrong places. When searching for the Lord, we imagine that we should be looking out for something visually spectacular. After all, it’s God, right? And God must be easy to spot because he’s big, grand, and glorious.

Well, yes, he is. But when God calls on us, as he does through the prophet Isaiah, to “seek the LORD while he may be found,” he wants us to go looking for Jesus in all the right places. And where will we find him? In his Word, the Bible, where we learn of his unconditional love for sinners like us, his perfect forgiveness of the sins of the world, and his promise of everlasting life to those who place their trust in Jesus alone.

Prayer:
Jesus, guide me to look for you in all the right places. Send me to your Word, where I know you’ll be found. 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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