Going Along With the Crowd – February 28, 2023

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Genesis 3:6

Going Along With the Crowd

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Daily Devotion – February 28, 2023

Devotion based on Genesis 3:6

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There you were. You were part of the crowd—surrounded by all your friends. It started off as a great evening. Everyone was having fun, and life was good. But then things started to take a turn. Things got out of control and a fun evening crossed the line. Things happened that should not have happened. You wanted to speak up and to tell them all that this wasn’t right.

But there you stood, doing nothing. Sometimes doing nothing or saying nothing is just as wrong as doing the bad or evil thing. And God holds us accountable for our inaction. Adam stood-by and did nothing as Eve was led down the wrong path. He went along with it, and his silence had consequences that were bigger than he ever could have imagined. His inaction cast the whole world into sin and now we are all born with an innate desire to sin.

This makes Jesus all the more remarkable. He never went along with the crowd when they were on the wrong path. He always spoke when things were headed in the wrong direction. Jesus lived a perfect life in our place, and then at the end, he let the crowd put him to death so that you and I and the whole world could be saved from our sins. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we have been set free from sin and through faith in him, we now have the gift of eternal life.

That means we no longer have to go along with the crowd! We can now say no to the evil in this world and live our lives for our Savior, Jesus, who gave his life for us. We can now be a positive influence in this world and lead others to the light of Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for giving yourself as my Savior from sin. Empower me to say no to the crowd and to live my life for you. Help me be a positive influence for others. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Did God really say? – February 27, 2023

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Genesis 3:1

Did God really say?

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Daily Devotion – February 27, 2023

Devotion based on Genesis 3:1

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Did God really say you shouldn’t indulge in this behavior? Did God really say you shouldn’t live your life the way you want? Did God really say you shouldn’t do whatever makes you feel good? After all, wouldn’t God want you to be happy?

Satan has succeeded with that line of reasoning for centuries. It is a tried and true approach to leading people into sin. It worked on Eve in the Garden of Eden and has been working on mankind ever since. It works on us too. We are too eager to believe that life really is about us and that our top priority is to make ourselves happy. It does not take much convincing for us to make life about our desires rather than what God wants or to make it about pleasing ourselves rather than seeking the good of other people. This is the society we live in, and there is only one way that can end. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well.)

Thankfully there is One who did not believe the devil’s lie. Thankfully there is One who did not pursue his own desires but instead pursued what was best for the rest of us. Jesus came into this world not to look out for himself but to see that we would get what we need. He easily could have made his life all about himself and could have used his almighty power to please himself. But instead, it was all about us. He came to save us, and that meant doing what no one else could. It meant living a perfect life in our place and dying so that we could be saved now and forever.

Because of Jesus, God now really says that we are his forgiven children. He says that through faith in Jesus, we will have eternal life. He says that we are his children now and always.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your selfless work on my behalf. As your forgiven child, help me to live for others and not for myself. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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An Unlimited Guarantee – February 26, 2023

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

An Unlimited Guarantee

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Daily Devotion – February 26, 2023

Devotion based on Genesis 3:15

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When purchasing a product, we are interested in the manufacturer’s warranty. What does the company promise to repair or replace? How long is the warranty good for? How reliable is the business making the guarantee? Usually warranties are limited to varying degrees and cover only certain items for a specific period of time. Manufacturers do not issue warranties that cover their products without exceptions. Every guarantee is limited.

Except one, God’s guarantee of rescuing us from death and hell. God made a promise to the first people on earth. They had fallen into sin and lost the perfection with which God created them. Their sin condemned them to eternal separation from God in hell and not only them, but the whole human race. But God made a promise. He declared that a descendant of those first sinful people would come and destroy the devil’s power over them. That mighty offspring of the woman would deliver them from death, by being delivered to death himself. Yet he would overcome hell and guarantee for his people life forever.

Unlike a manufacturer’s limited warranty, God promise of salvation is full and free and offered to the whole world. The reliability of this promise is as sure as the existence of the eternal God who loves all people so much that he came into our world to fully accomplish what he promised.

Look at your Savior, Jesus, on the cross. He is your guarantee of unlimited life with God.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you that in your mercy you do not condemn me as my sins deserve but rather give me your ironclad guarantee of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Real – February 25, 2023

We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2 Peter 1:16

Real

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Daily Devotion – February 25, 2023

Devotion based on 2 Peter 1:16

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In 2001, director Stephen Spielberg and actor Tom Hanks paired up to produce the miniseries Band of Brothers. The ten-part drama followed a company of World War II soldiers from their basic training through the end of the war.

In this miniseries, the characters were colorful. The plot twists were riveting. The battle scenes were beyond intense. For those who watched the entire program, however, perhaps the conclusion of the final episode packs the most powerful punch. You see, each episode of Band of Brothers began with an old man talking to an off-screen interviewer. Over the course of the series, the various old men became familiar faces as they quietly spoke of their days as young soldiers. Only at the end of the ten-part story did you learn their names. They are the very men depicted in the miniseries. They are the Band of Brothers. Their story was not fiction. Their story was real.

When the apostle Peter sat down and wrote his second letter, he was an old man too. He wanted his readers, including you and me, to understand something about what he and all the other writers recorded in the Bible about Jesus. They did not write it down for entertainment. They did not write it down to tell a rousing story. They did not write it down to keep us spellbound with colorful characters and riveting plotlines. They wrote it down because that’s what happened. They wrote it down because they were eyewitnesses. They wrote it down because it really happened.

That means your forgiveness in Jesus and his guiding hand in your life is real. It means his promise to uphold you and your security in him is real. And that is really comforting.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, as I read your Word, fill me with the awareness that Jesus’ life and death and resurrection took place in real time, for me and for all. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Invites His People to See His Glory – February 24, 2023

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
Exodus 24:9-11

God Invites His People to See His Glory

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Daily Devotion – February 24, 2023

Devotion based on Exodus 24:9-11

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Would you like to see God? I think most people would say, “Yes, that would be amazing to see God with my own eyes!” We may want to see God, but we probably forget that our eyes are not qualified to see him in all his glory. Many times in the Old Testament, when a person came face to face with God’s glory, they trembled with fear. For a puny human sinner to gaze upon the full perfection and glory of God is beyond our pay-grade.

That’s why what happened at Mount Sinai in Exodus chapter 24 is so unexpected. Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. It’s stated so simply and matter of fact. They saw God. And he looked glorious. But here’s the most amazing thing–God did not raise his hand against them. Even though they should have had no business standing before God in all his glory, God let them be there in his presence. They even ate and drank there as they saw him.

Standing in the presence our glorious and perfect God is above our pay-grade. God should hide his face from us because of our unworthiness and sin. But instead, God smiles his face upon us and looks on us with favor and kindness. Because of the cross on Mount Calvary we are allowed into the presence of our God. Jesus, God’s Son, has made the imposing God of Mount Sinai approachable. God invites his people to see his glory because Jesus has already draped us in his robe of perfection and holiness. We can approach God without fear. And one day, we will be able to eat and drink with God at the banquet table of heaven.

Prayer:
Dear glorious Lord, thank you for inviting me into your presence and letting me share in your glory. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Pay Attention to the Light – February 23, 2023

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
2 Peter 1:19

Pay Attention to the Light

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Daily Devotion – February 23, 2023

Devotion based on 2 Peter 1:19

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What would you do if the batteries of your flashlight died while exploring deep in a dark cave? There are only a couple of options, neither of which sounds great. You could either sit there and yell out, hoping someone with a light comes to rescue you. Or you could try to feel your way through the darkness and hope you don’t get lost further in the cave or stumble down a pit. Either way, your chances of getting out of that cave aren’t great.

But if someone started coming toward you in the dark cave with a light, what would you do? You wouldn’t just sit there and ignore it. You’d put all your attention and focus onto that light. That light is your way out. Your life depends on it! That light would be all you care about at that point.

In our Bible verse for today, the Word of God, is compared to a light shining in a dark place. As people living in the darkness of this world and of our own sin, we do well to pay attention to that light above all else. We look to the Word of God as something completely reliable. That Word of God lights up our world and lets us walk on the right path. Most importantly, God’s Word shows us Jesus and what he has done to save us from our sins. It’s no wonder God wants us to pay attention to the light of his Word!

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for giving me your reliable Word to be a light for me in the dark. Keep my attention focused on that Word each and every day. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Just Jesus – February 22, 2023

When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
Matthew 17:8

Just Jesus

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Daily Devotion – February 22, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 17:8

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Peter, James, and John had just seen their humble teacher, Jesus, transfigured into a shining and glorious version of himself. Jesus showed them a glimpse of who he truly was as the Son of God. The three disciples also saw two great prophets from long ago: Moses and Elijah. Seeing Jesus in all his glory and hearing the voice of God the Father speak from the heavens must have made the three disciples feel very small and unworthy. In fact, after they heard the voice from heaven, “they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.”

But Jesus came over to them, touched them, and said, “Get up. Don’t be afraid.” At that point they looked and saw no one except Jesus. Moses and Elijah were gone. The voice from the cloud was gone. Jesus wasn’t shining with the light of the sun anymore. He was normal looking Jesus again. But he was all Peter, James, and John really needed. The bright glory of heaven they glimpsed on the mountain would be theirs again one day. But right now, they needed their Savior and the humiliation of death he was about to undergo for them. They didn’t need all that glory yet. They did need their Savior now. As great as it was seeing all the glory of God there on the mountain, what they really needed to see was…just Jesus.

This is ultimately what we need to see—just Jesus. The glory of God is too bright and overwhelming for us poor sinners. We needed God to come to us when we could never approach him. So, he did. Jesus, God himself, came to earth in our flesh and blood to be one of us so he could die for us in our place. If we want to know God, we look to Jesus. He is the one who allows us to come to the Father. He is the one who makes us worthy of all the glory of God by sharing the glory of his resurrection with us. This is what we need—just Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for coming as one of us in order to save me. Thank you for being our Way to the Father and glory everlasting. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Listen to My Son – February 21, 2023

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Matthew 17:5

Listen to My Son

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Daily Devotion – February 21, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 17:5

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When Jesus was baptized, God the Father’s voice boomed down from heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” When Jesus went up on the Mount of Transfiguration and showed himself in all his shining glory as the Son of God, the Father once again said the very same thing about Jesus. God the Father was putting his stamp of authenticity and approval on Jesus. However, this time God the Father added something. He said, “This is my Son…Listen to him!”

Jesus’ words are trustworthy and true. When he speaks, he speaks also for God the Father. This is good news because Jesus has very good things to say to you. He has spoken great promises to you. Listen to Jesus and trust him when he says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Listen to Jesus and trust him when he says, “Surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Listen to Jesus and trust him when he says, “If I go and prepare a place for you [in heaven], I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Jesus has the stamp of approval from God. It’s like God the Father slapped a “double your money back guarantee” sticker on Jesus that day. Jesus is the real deal. His words are authentic and trustworthy. He has the words of eternal life for us. His love and his promises to us are guaranteed. We want to listen to our Savior. We can’t wait to listen to our Savior.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, you have the words of eternal life. I listen to you, knowing that you are always working for my good as the Son of God. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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It’s Good for Us to Be Here – February 20, 2023

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Matthew 17:4

It’s Good for Us to Be Here

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Daily Devotion – February 20, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 17:4

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The sun is shining. The sand slips between your toes. The sound of the waves lulls you to sleep. Relaxing on a beach vacation might make you think to yourself, “It is good to be here.” But vacation doesn’t last forever. Eventually you have to leave. You have to go back to reality.

The disciple Peter wasn’t on vacation, but he had good reason to say, “it is good for us to be here,” when he hiked to a mountaintop with Jesus. All of a sudden, Jesus’ face shone like the sun. His clothes glowed with light. Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest Old Testament prophets from the past, showed up and talked with Jesus! Peter couldn’t help it. The scene overtook him, and he blurted out, “Lord, it is good for us to be here!” It was an amazing place to be, in the presence of all this glory, seeing Jesus for who he really was.

Peter was right. That was an amazing place to be. But the moment couldn’t last forever. Jesus still had a job to do, and it involved some dark days ahead as he walked to the cross loaded with the world’s sin. The disciples had to face some tough days ahead, too, not only the death of their friend and Savior but also persecution as they spread the word about him.

One day Jesus will bring all of us to eternal glory, to stand with him in the heavenly Mount Zion. In that day, we will say, “it is good for us to be here,” and we will never have to leave. But, until then, we still live in the reality of a sinful world. Yet, even now, we can live in this often-difficult place knowing that Jesus didn’t stay on the Mount of Transfiguration. He best showed us who he was by going up Mount Calvary to save the world by dying on the cross. Now, no matter what place we find ourselves in, we rejoice that Jesus joins us in the highs, the lows, and everywhere in-between.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for showing me who you truly are. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Extraordinary Savior – February 19, 2023

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
Matthew 17:1,2

Our Extraordinary Savior

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Daily Devotion – February 19, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 17:1,2

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Can you remember a special event from your life that stands out from the ordinary daily routine? You might have bright and vivid memories of a wedding day, the birth of a child or a move to a new home.

One day, Jesus invited three of his disciples to experience an extraordinary event they would not forget. The disciples witnessed the Savior, whose body beamed with blinding brilliance as he was illumined in heavenly glory. So glorious was this event that Peter wanted the moment to continue.

Jesus graciously shares this special moment with us too. By faith in the Word, we are transported to the mountaintop to stand alongside Peter, James, and John to behold Jesus in all his brilliance. Our eyes witness his majesty. Our ears are captivated by the cloud-enveloped voice of the heavenly Father, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

On that day with his disciples, the light that emanated from Jesus did not linger long. Soon Jesus descended the mountain, destined to die in the darkness of the cross. Our glorious God bore our shame and guilt to win the pure light of life and forgiveness for us.

Jesus has not promised that every moment of our earthly lives will be free from sorrow and trouble. Jesus has told us that there will be days of suffering and tears. Yet each day–even those that are clouded by darkness and difficulty–Jesus extends to us the extraordinary light of his love. He cheers us with the unchanging message of his gospel and points us to the promised light of eternal day in heaven.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for setting aside your glory to suffer and die for my sins. Fill my life with your love and forgiveness through the light of your powerful Word. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Quiet Life – February 18, 2023

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
1 Thessalonians 4:11,12

A Quiet Life

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Daily Devotion – February 18, 2023

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12

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Christians, be careful how you live. Your conduct can have significant influence on people around you. If your behavior is disreputable, you serve to deflect people from giving attention to the gospel. On the other hand, putting God’s love into practice may attract people who want to learn more about the beliefs and biblical values that you live by.

God wants you to live everyday in a manner that “may win the respect of outsiders”—those who are not believers. A “quiet life” is the way he terms it. That means “to mind your own business.” Don’t be a busybody—a person who has the reputation of meddling in other people’s lives. That kind of conduct is not a good Christian example and will close doors to opportunities for sharing the gospel.

God also instructs you “to work with your hands.” He does not want you to be a loafer, who by your irresponsibility, forces others to help and support you. You can see what kind of roadblocks that kind of lifestyle would raise for the cause of the gospel. Instead, as you are able, work honestly and ambitiously. The good reputation you gain among people may lead some to want to know about the work that Christ accomplished to save them.

Prayer:
Lord God, make me faithful in my daily life so that all I say and do may glorify you and serve to bring the gospel to more people. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Chain Reactions – February 17, 2023

So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
2 Samuel 11:16,17

Chain Reactions

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Daily Devotion – February 17, 2023

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 11:16,17

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When David saw Bathsheba bathing on the roof and lusted for her, there’s no way he could have known that it would end up with the murder of one of his best fighting men, Uriah. And yet, that’s exactly where the path of sin led David. Sin is like a bunch of firecrackers tied together. David lit the fuse with a lustful look, but the sin didn’t end there. Adultery, lies, drunkenness, conspiracy, manipulation, murder. Each sin exploding bigger and louder than the last.

Not only that, but David roped many others into his sins as well. From the messengers sent to bring Bathsheba to him to the commander of his army, Joab. Even the army’s enemies served as David’s hitmen.

It’s safe to say that David didn’t intend to plunge headlong into such recklessly self-destructive behavior, but once the fuse was lit, David couldn’t find the courage to put it out.

One of the temptations of sin is that it will be “one and done.” Just one lustful look. Just one click. Just one message. Just one lie. Just one sin. But sin is rarely ever just “one and done.” It’s more like lighting the fuse of a chain of firecrackers. One sin sets off a chain reaction of sins. And the more we sin, the more consequences and the more people get dragged into it.

Those sins deserve punishment. David deserved to die for his sins. But the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” Instead of punishing us, God punished his Son in our place. And instead of leaving our sins chained to us, Jesus freed us from sin so that we can live the holy life to which he calls us. Jesus’ promises of love and forgiveness give us the strength to stomp out the lit fuse of sin.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me and for forgiving me. Help me to take sin seriously and to not fall into temptation. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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See God’s Blessings – February 16, 2023

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her.
2 Samuel 11:2-4

See God’s Blessings

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Daily Devotion – February 16, 2023

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 11:2-4

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It started with an innocent walk on the roof. King David wanted some fresh air, and no better place for that than the roof of his palace. From there, he could see the heights to which he had climbed. He was no longer a forgotten shepherd boy toiling in the field with sheep. Now everyone knew King David. From his vantage point David could see the peace and prosperity his military victories had obtained.

King David was on top of the world. He could see it with his eyes. But those same eyes lingered too long where they shouldn’t have. That long look turned lustful. It could have ended there. David could have reminded himself that he was married. He found out that Bathsheba was married. He could have repented of his sin and turned away. He could have left Bathsheba alone and reminded himself of how richly God had blessed him. But he didn’t. And what happened next is one of the saddest chapters in the whole Bible. It reminds us of the power of sin; even a sin that starts small can snowball into sins with life changing consequences.

Like King David, our eyes are so quick to see what we don’t have instead of what we do have. We let our eyes linger on things for too long. We let our thoughts wander down destructive desires. We scheme up ways to fulfill sinful wants. And we quickly forget all that God has blessed us with.

We can fight the temptation to sin by reminding ourselves of the wonderful things that God has given to us. Remember the blessings that God promises to give to his people. And remember that the one making those promises, Jesus, is on your side.

Prayer:
Jesus, help me to fight temptation. Remind me of your love and your blessings. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Guard Your Eyes – February 15, 2023

[Jesus said] “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Matthew 5:27-29

Guard Your Eyes

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Daily Devotion – February 15, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 5:27-29

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It’s been called a victimless crime, and yet it’s almost always done in secret. It’s an industry that generates billions of dollars a year, but its workers are degraded, coerced, and exploited. In December 2022, three of its websites ranked in the top 15 most visited worldwide, but many people make sure to clear their browser history after visiting them. You’ve probably guessed by now that this is all true about the pornography industry.

Maybe most troubling is the gradual acceptance of pornography as part of the 21st-century digital life. In 2016, a survey by Covenant Eyes found that more teens and young adults considered not recycling to be more immoral than pornography. Culture and society are growing more accepting of lust and sinful desires.

That’s why Jesus’ words are so important right now. Jesus brings clarity to God’s laws. He gets right to the heart of the matter. Any form of sex outside of marriage or separate from your spouse is sinful. Jesus knows that lust damages relationships, both with people and with God, and lust damages the people involved with the sin. And many studies back up the damages caused by pornography to its viewers and workers.

Jesus came to heal the hurt between people and God. He came to fix the damage caused by the lust in our hearts. Jesus saves people from all their sins—even the sins done in secret and in shame. But Jesus didn’t die on the cross just so we could go back to the destruction of sexual sins. If you’re struggling with pornography and looking for help, go to the website conquerorsthroughchrist.net. There is help, and there is hope.

Prayer:
Jesus, you’ve conquered all my sins. Thank you. Live in me and for me to conquer all my temptations. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Simply Yes or No – February 14, 2023

[Jesus said] “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Matthew 5:37

Simply Yes or No

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Daily Devotion – February 14, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 5:37

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It slips out so easily—a small, little lie. “Harmless,” you tell yourself. Maybe you said it because you thought it would protect someone’s feelings. Or perhaps the lie was just more convenient than the truth this time, and a small, little lie would save you an argument and a bunch of hassle.

A 2016 scientific study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience found that if a person starts telling little lies for their benefit, those lies will grow bigger and bigger over time. Researchers even discovered that the part of the brain that triggers danger in telling lies gets less and less active the more lies a person tells. In other words, you can condition yourself to feel less and less guilt the more you lie.

But Jesus has a harsh warning against lies. He tells his followers to speak the truth so consistently, so faithfully that people will believe them with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ A truthful person doesn’t need to swear because their honest reputation is all the assurance anyone needs. Jesus says that anything more than a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ comes from the evil one.

That evil one is Satan. Jesus describes Satan as the father of lies, and anyone who speaks lies is speaking the language of Satan. So those little lies that seem so harmless are actually dangerous. And lies that seem innocent are really condemning.

Truth and lies come down to trust. It’s easier to trust someone who you know is truthful. And in the same way it is difficult to trust someone you know who has lied to you. Thankfully, God does not lie. He keeps all his promises. You can trust him when he says that he loves you. You can believe him when he promises that all who trust in Jesus as their Savior are saved. And you can trust that God is with you and will not forsake you even when telling the truth is hard for you.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for always speaking the truth so that I know I can trust in you with all my heart. Help me to tell the truth in love in every word I speak. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Curb Your Anger – February 13, 2023

[Jesus said] “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”
Matthew 5:21,22

Curb Your Anger

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Daily Devotion – February 13, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 5:21,22

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It sounds a little harsh, doesn’t it? Being angry with someone is enough to merit God’s judgment. You can understand the first part: You shall not murder. And if you do murder, then yes, there should be judgment. But judgment for anger? How do you keep from being angry? And why does anger earn God’s judgment?

This section of the Bible is part of a sermon Jesus preached called “The Sermon on the Mount.” In this sermon, Jesus gets to the root of God’s laws. God’s laws don’t just require perfect outward action like not murdering, but also perfect inward action like curbing angry thoughts and feelings.

Anger is the gateway to resentment and hatred. And if you harbor resentment towards someone, it means you’re not forgiving them. And if your hate festers unchecked in your heart, it means you are not loving.

God wants you to see others the way he sees others. He desires that you treat others with respect and love and not view people as receptacles of your anger and scorn. He doesn’t want you to nurse grudges so that every time you see someone who slighted you in the past, you only see red.

And so, Jesus goes back to the root of God’s law. It starts with thoughts and attitudes and controlling anger.

The one truly justified in his anger is God. He has every right to be angry with sinners. But instead of taking out his wrath on us, God poured it out on his Son, Jesus. And Jesus willingly took that anger and wrath to change the lives of his people all the way to their roots.

Freed from their sins, God’s people can let go of anger and resentment and forgive instead. Believers can get rid of hate and choose to love because the harsh but justified penalty for sin has been removed by Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for taking God’s anger in my place. Help me to show the love that you have shown me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Brotherly Love – February 12, 2023

Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.
1 Thessalonians 4:9,10

Brotherly Love

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Daily Devotion – February 12, 2023

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4:9,10

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When the word Philadelphia is mentioned, one of the largest cities in the United States will likely come to mind. But when the apostle Paul used the word Philadelphia in the first verse of our Bible reading today, he was not referring to Pennsylvania’s largest city.

The Greek word philadelphia is literally translated brotherly love. The Greeks used this word to describe the love family and relatives have for each other. Paul elevates the meaning of the word to express the love that Christians, as members together in God’s spiritual family, have for each other.

As a Christian, you are privileged to be a member of two families. By your physical birth, God connected you to people with whom you are related by blood. By your spiritual birth through your baptism, God connected you with him by the blood of his Son and joined you together with all of his children through faith in Jesus.

You have come to know and experience the love of God—love that moved him to give his only Son as the sacrifice for your sins to make you his own and give you a blessed and glorious life with him forever.

As God has shown you his love, he teaches you to love others, especially those who are members of his family, by faith. As you respond to God’s merciful love, practice philadelphia toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and “do so more and more.”

Prayer:
My heavenly Father, I praise and worship you for making me a member of your spiritual family. Thank you for teaching me your love. Now help me to love others, especially those who share with me the faith in Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Members of God’s Family – February 11, 2023

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:18

Members of God’s Family

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Daily Devotion – February 11, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 1:18

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Here was Mary, a young girl, perhaps still a teenager. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, but the wedding hadn’t yet taken place. Suddenly, she is obviously pregnant. They hadn’t slept together—Mary was still a virgin—but nevertheless, she was pregnant. The not-yet-born baby she was carrying was from the Holy Spirit. We don’t know how the Holy Spirit worked this miracle, but the same God who created the world and all things—the same holy and perfect God did this: he conceived a son with this young, virgin girl.

God brought his Son, Jesus, into this world in a miraculous way. He did this because he wants you and me to be part of his heavenly family. Jesus came to wipe away the guilt that we have for not being the kind of people that God wants. He was conceived in that miraculous way so that he was without sin. Therefore, he was able to be our Savior by taking our sins on himself and paying for them with his death. The miraculous conception of Jesus is more than something to marvel at. We give God thanks for accomplishing it because through Jesus we are forgiven, and by faith in Jesus we can call God “our Father” and enjoy the blessing of being included in God’s holy family.

Prayer:
My Father in heaven, the miraculous birth of Jesus proves to me the extent of your love to make me a part of your eternal family. Impress upon me every day the privilege I have in being called your own, and help me tell others that they also may be brought into a close relationship with you by faith in your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Heaven Is for Perfect People – February 10, 2023

[Jesus said] “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:20

Heaven Is for Perfect People

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Daily Devotion – February 10, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 5:20

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It might surprise you, but it’s true. Heaven is for perfect people.

But if we’re honest with ourselves, we must admit we’re not perfect. True, most people can avoid committing the kind of heinous felonies that end up as breaking news. Most of us will never be the subject of a crime docudrama. Many people manage to be considered helpful neighbors by those who live next door. But getting through life without committing a capital offense—or, conversely, accumulating a long list of friends—doesn’t mean you’re perfect. Frankly, no one’s perfect.

But Jesus tells us, “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” At the end of Matthew chapter 5, he says again, in no uncertain terms. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (verse 48). Do you want to get into heaven? Perfection is the only way.

So does that leave us out in the eternal cold? It would if Jesus hadn’t come to save us from our sinful selves. You see, what we cannot do, Jesus can do. Indeed, he has done it. Jesus is “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). He’s perfect, sinless, and completely righteous.

But he’s not perfect for his own sake. He’s done it for us, for everyone. You want to be perfect? You are and will be in Jesus—forever. Sinners who acknowledge their imperfections but then throw themselves before God’s mercy, seeking forgiveness, receive perfect forgiveness in Jesus alone.

How is that possible? St. Paul tells us. “God made him who had no sin [Jesus] to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness [perfection] of God” (1 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, because of who Jesus is and what he has done, God declares you perfect in his sight. We switch places with Jesus. We can confidently believe that heaven is ours, not because we’re perfect, but because Jesus is. And his perfection is our perfection.

Believe it. It’s true!

Prayer:
Jesus, help me see that you are my perfection, my guarantee of heaven. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Practice What You Preach – February 9, 2023

[Jesus said] “Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:19

Practice What You Preach

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Daily Devotion – February 9, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 5:19

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Before Johnny’s mom left for work, she ducked her into his bedroom. “Now, don’t forget,” she said. “I need you to empty the dishwasher, put your clothes away, and clean your room before I get home.” “Yes, Mom,” Johnny replied with a bright smile. “I’ll be happy to do it!”

But then he didn’t. Not one thing. Nada. Sound familiar?

It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something; it’s quite another to get it done. Jesus is the only person who has never fallen into that trap. He has never failed to live up to his promises and never once neglected to practice what he preached. He didn’t just approve the standard with his words; he set the standard with his actions.

We, on the other hand, constantly blow it. At our best, we still look for shortcuts and often assume that the bare minimum is good enough for others. Going the extra mile for someone is considered several bridges too far. At our worst, we thumb our nose at what we know to be the right thing and do the opposite instead.

But God’s children are called to fight against those selfish urges and to model their mindset after Jesus’ own. Christians are called to practice what they preach. The Savior himself explained that nodding your head approvingly at God’s commands is not enough. Instead, “whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Do Christians ever manage to do that perfectly this side of heaven? They can’t, no matter how hard they try. Like everyone else, Christians are broken sinners, too. But that doesn’t mean they throw in the towel and call it a day. No, with each new day they strive once again to practice what they preach, not to earn God’s favor and forgiveness, but to be more like Jesus, who freely grants all people his favor and forgiveness.

You can be certain that those eternal gifts are yours too, because Jesus practices what he preaches.

Prayer:
Jesus, help me understand better your perfect love for me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Is the Real Deal – February 8, 2023

[Jesus said] “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Matthew 5:17

Jesus Is the Real Deal

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Daily Devotion – February 8, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 5:17

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Purchasing something that is 100% genuine is generally preferable. For instance, there’s a big difference between buying a new living room recliner made from genuine leather and one made with cheap imitation material. In most cases, you can feel and smell the difference. The real deal is better.

What’s true of leather is also true of saviors from sin. There are plenty of cheap imitations, people and things that promise to be just as good as the real thing but also end up being what they are: cheap imitations that don’t add up and never really satisfy. When it comes to the work of salvation, there is only one real deal, and his name is Jesus, the world’s one and only genuine Savior.

But what did Jesus have to do to prove that he and he alone is the real deal? First and foremost, he couldn’t cut any corners. In other words, he had to be all-in, 100%, no holds barred.

That meant, as he tells us today, he didn’t come into this world “to abolish the Law or the Prophets.” In other words, he didn’t claim to be above the law of God. He didn’t say, “God’s Word doesn’t apply to me, so I don’t have to follow the rules.” No, just the opposite! He came to obey and fulfill God’s Word perfectly. He came to live a life that sinners like you and me cannot. Perfect love. Perfect sacrifice.

But never for himself. For us, yes, for everyone. For you. Because, you see, fulfilling God’s law perfectly required more of Jesus than simply scoring 100% on some test measuring his genuineness. It also means that he fulfilled his Father’s perfect will—through all the pain and suffering he endured in doing so—to win a place in heaven, not for himself, but for you and me. And not because we deserved it or he owed it to us. He did it because he loves us, no strings attached.

That’s what makes Jesus the real deal, the Savior.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to believe through your Word and Spirit that you are the only genuine Savior from sin and death forever. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Christians Can’t Hide – February 7, 2023

[Jesus said] “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

Christians Can’t Hide

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Daily Devotion – February 7, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 5:14-16

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If you’re trying to hide from a hungry bear in a dark forest, shining a flashlight in every direction won’t be helpful. Your scent might still give you away, but your flashlight will also help him hone in on your whereabouts. Shining a light in dark places makes it difficult to hide. The light gives you away.

Jesus doesn’t want his people to hide in this world darkened by sin and death. He wants them to shine in every direction. But not to be showy or self-important. Not to jump into the spotlight and shout, “Look at me!” Instead, he says, be who you are through faith in me, “the light of the world.” If they let their light shine, people won’t be able to help but notice. Faithful Christians can’t hide. Their light will be too bright, even if they’re trying to go unnoticed.

And what exactly does Jesus mean when he tells Christians, “Let your light shine”? That”s simple. They are to reflect Jesus’ unconditional love, patience, self-control, and self-sacrifice for others. He is himself “the light of the world” (John 8:12), and his people exist to reflect his light. They are created and called to be noticeably different and distinct in a world shrouded by self-centered sinfulness and shamefulness.

And why is this so important? So that those who do not yet know Jesus might be directed to their Savior. You see, ultimately, it’s not about bringing attention to Christians. It’s about bringing attention to Christ. He is the only one who is able to save them from their sins and grant them the gift of eternal life so that they, too, might let their light shine.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, through your Word and Spirit, empower to let my light shine and to bring praise to your heavenly Father forever. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Spice of Life – February 6, 2023

[Jesus said] “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
Matthew 5:13

The Spice of Life

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Daily Devotion – February 6, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 5:13

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When I went away to school, there were plenty of things I missed about home. But one of the biggest things was my mom’s cooking. Don’t get me wrong; she wasn’t the world’s greatest chef. She made some dishes I could have done without, especially her tuna casserole with green peppers. But there is one thing I could always say about her cooking: even if I didn’t like it, her food tasted like something.

That couldn’t always be said of the fare served in our school cafeteria. One of the most frightening sights you could witness during Monday morning breakfast time was the school chef lurking in the kitchen stirring his infamous red sauce with a boat oar. You knew you were in for a tough week. It wasn’t that his red sauce dishes tasted bad. They just didn’t taste like anything. To call them bland would be an insult to the word “bland.”

When it comes to food, bland is bad. That’s why God created spices. They bring out the flavor and heighten the contrasts. They’re meant to be different, savory, and interesting.

You could also say that’s why God creates Christians. In this dying world of sin, Christians are meant to be different. Knowing what God has done to save them from their sins, they want nothing more than to follow his will—even if that means speaking and acting differently from others in this world.

That is the point Jesus is making with his words in Matthew chapter 5. He’s warning God’s children not to blend in with the worldly-minded masses. They’re called to be different, to be the salt of the earth.

Why? Because through their very differentness, they can call attention to the One who has saved them from their sins and made them his followers. And, having grabbed the attention of the people of this world, they will have the opportunity to tell those people about Jesus. He is, after all, their Savior too.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, through your Word and Spirit, grant me the strength I need to be the salt of the earth. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Treasured Possession – February 5, 2023

Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.’”
Exodus 19:3-5

A Treasured Possession

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Daily Devotion – February 5, 2023

Devotion based on Exodus 19:3-5

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What is your most treasured possession? For a child it might be a bicycle or a doll. For a teenager it might be a pair of jeans or a phone. Perhaps, for you it is your wedding ring or a family heirloom.

Have you ever wondered what God treasures? He has a great deal to choose from since everything in creation is his. Every bird, every animal, every gemstone, every mountain—everything is his.

But what does God treasure most? You. He made you and wanted you in his world. He has provided for you and protected you. And even though you have often strayed from him and gone against his commands, he treasured you so much that he came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ and rescued you from your own rebellion.

You may not believe that you are very valuable. It may seem like other people don’t consider you very valuable, either. You may not think you matter. But the sacrifice God made when he went to the cross is your proof of how valuable you are to him. Let that be your comfort and peace this day, knowing that no matter what you are facing or how you might feel you are failing, by faith in Jesus, you are God’s treasured possession. And he plans to keep you for the rest of eternity.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you know there are times I do not feel very valuable. I think of the pain I have caused others and the pain my sins have caused you. But your Word tells me that through Jesus, I am your treasured possession. I marvel at such a thought. May all I do this day be worthy of such an honor. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Meek – February 4, 2023

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:5

The Meek

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Daily Devotion – February 4, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 5:5

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Meekness is not a trait that will get a person very far in life. In a dog-eat-dog world success is attained by a bold, assertive spirit which is not afraid to climb over others to get ahead. How different Jesus wants his disciples to be! Responding in thankfulness to God for their salvation, they are to be gentle, patient, humble, quietly resigning their all to God’s will. They don’t seek revenge when others offend. Instead they love others like Jesus meekly did: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats” (1 Peter 2:23).

Jesus says that the meek are blessed. God knows their hearts and gives them a life on earth of blessing after blessing. I have a Christian friend who often remarks, “I’m so blessed!” He looks at his family, job, and possessions and thanks God for the many blessings he has. I can learn from people like my friend to recognize how my loving God fulfills his promise to bless me in all matters of life. Even when it doesn’t seem so, every minute God is with me and caring for me.

“The meek,” Jesus says, “will inherit the earth.” Not only do Jesus’ followers have a life of blessing on earth, but they also have the blessing of eternal life on a new earth. The Bible teaches: “In keeping with God’s promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:13). On the Last Day, God’s creation, including our planet earth, will be destroyed. But God promises that he will make a new creation for his believers, and it will be perfect and last forever.

The meek—all of God’s believers—will be blessed in the next world, as they are blessed in this one, too. Our merciful God has given us the most important gift of all through Jesus—he has taken away the guilt of our sins. By faith in Jesus, we are humbly grateful to have a life of blessing now and are boldly hopeful for even greater blessings to come.

Prayer:
Jesus, you humbly came into this world to bless me with God’s love for this life and for eternity. Impress on my heart the benefit of meekly following you and living in thankfulness for all your blessings. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Mourning – February 3, 2023

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

Mourning

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Daily Devotion – February 3, 2023

Devotion based on Matthew 5:4

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Dr. Alejandra Vasquez has published an article that sheds light on grief. While you and I might associate mourning mainly with the death of a loved one, Dr. Vasquez reminds us that losses of many kinds may cause us to mourn. A few examples include: The loss of a friend through distance or a rift in your relationship. The loss of your sense of home through your having to move to another place. The loss of familiar people and routines at work when your employer creates all kinds of changes. The loss of a sense of identity when you must leave your profession. The loss of your former lifestyle when you take on the care of an ailing loved one. The loss of independence when poor health prevents you from doing what you’ve always done. Even a series of relatively small losses can create what Dr Vasquez calls “compound grief.”

The truth is we live in a sinful, broken world, and by nature we are sinful, broken people. As a result there will be all kinds of losses—losses around us and of our own making. And some of those losses will make us mourn.

If you are in mourning, if you are in grief, know this. You are on Jesus’ mind and heart. And he fully understands what you feel. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows,” Isaiah says of our Savior. There is no kind of grief you feel that he does not grasp.

But Jesus also gives a promise. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. When our Lord lived a holy life in our place and suffered and died for our every sin, not only did he purchase for us full forgiveness. He also secured comfort for us in this life and absolute comfort in the life to come, “where there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain.”

That’s his promise. And with Jesus, a promise made is a promise kept.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you know my sorrow. Thank you for your comfort. I look to you to carry me through. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Brag – February 2, 2023

Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:31

Brag

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Daily Devotion – February 2, 2023

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:31

See series: Devotions

Bragging is big business. It’s big business not only because it seems to be in our wiring to brag. It’s also big business because companies can make money helping people brag in a way that it doesn’t sound like bragging.

One example. A few years ago, author Peggy Klaus wrote a book entitled, Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It. The book became a best-seller, featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on The Today Show. Another example. Some companies have begun bragging on behalf of their customers. For instance, a fitness company posts a personal video on a customer’s Facebook page, praising that customer for becoming so fit. A resort does the same thing, praising a customer for planning such a fantastic vacation. The customer then, understandably, passes all this bragging on to their social media friends. In return, the companies receive good publicity.

Bragging is big business. And while one might debate the pros and cons of such promotion in the business world, when it comes to standing alone before God, you and I know we have nothing about which to brag. Standing alone before the God of perfect goodness and perfect justice—all I can point to is my sinful failure and rebellion. All I can point to is my sinful genius for self-absorption, disregarding others, and drifting away from God.

God would have had every right to look at me—to look at us—turn his back in contempt and walk away forever. But he didn’t, and he hasn’t. Instead, he became one of us. God the Son, Jesus Christ, lived a life of perfect humility on our behalf. For all our sins of self-absorption, he endured the full weight of divine punishment in our place. And now, through faith in the Son, God declares us holy, forgiven, and sons and daughters of the King.

Does this compel us to brag, to boast? Yes. But it’s not about us anymore. It’s all about our Savior.

Prayer:
Lord, you have rescued me from the emptiness of self. Praise be to your holy name. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Cinderella Story – February 1, 2023

Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
1 Corinthians 1:26

Cinderella Story

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Daily Devotion – February 1, 2023

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:26

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Harry was a carpenter and a good one. Earlier in life he’d pursued acting, but that had gone nowhere, one filmmaker telling him there was no future in it for him. One day, Harry was doing some work near the home of a young director. He remembered Harry from somewhere, and asked him to read for a part in the director’s next movie. The young director was George Lucas. The movie was Star Wars. Harry the carpenter was Harrison Ford.

Everyone loves a good Cinderella story—the story of someone of ordinary background who experiences a thrilling change in life. You can find Cinderella stories in many places: The small college basketball team that wins the big tournament. The farm girl whose singing voice is discovered on a national talent show. The penniless, single mom who writes the phenomenal, best-selling book. Or the quiet, unassuming carpenter who goes on to become one of the biggest film stars in Hollywood.

All these stories are child’s play, however, in comparison to the story of what Jesus Christ has done for you and me. In 1 Corinthians chapter 1, the apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian Christians, “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” Those same words certainly apply to the vast majority of us. In fact, because of our sin, the full picture is far worse. Not only are most of us invisible to the eyes of the world, by nature we are broken, toxic souls, reeking in our spiritual failure, deserving only of God’s contempt.

But God did not let the story end there. Instead, he sent his Son. On our behalf, Jesus lived the sinless life we have failed to live. In our place, Jesus washed away our every stain of guilt at the cross. Now, through faith in our Savior, the plot has changed. Our story is different. It’s not necessarily that we are now best-selling authors or famous athletes; our story is far better. We are forgiven. God is our Heavenly Father. He guides every moment for our good. Heaven is our home.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for changing my story. Thank you for sending your Son. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Ultimate Relief – January 31, 2023

They will eat and lie down, and no one will make them afraid.
Zephaniah 3:13

Ultimate Relief

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Daily Devotion – January 31, 2023

Devotion based on Zephaniah 3:13

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The health magazine, Elemental, published a compelling article about the human experience of relief. The article begins with a simple example that goes something like this. There is an itch on your back you are unable to reach. The discomfort is terrible. Finally, a trusted friend is able to reach the spot and scratch. The relief you feel is so great that your brain lights up in the same area that responds to addictive substances.

But then the article goes on to speak of bigger things. Beyond relief of physical irritations like an itch, there is relief from another kind of pain that’s far more significant. It quotes a neuroscience professor from Dartmouth College. In part, the professor says, “Every time you think about something that makes you feel dread or concern or shame, your [deep emotional] pain is refreshed. And so relief from those negative experiences—for example, relief from…years of intermittent sadness, anger, dread, and embarrassment—can be profound.”

Which brings us to the kind of relief that God describes in the Bible. In the Old Testament book of Zephaniah, God is speaking to souls who are facing dark, difficult days. As he does, however, he gives them an assurance. He assures them that a great relief is on the way. All the things that vex them, all the things that haunt, discourage, and weigh them down—all those things are temporary. As God describes it, one day his people “will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.” In other words—relief that is lasting and true.

This Ultimate Relief has arrived. His name is Jesus Christ. On our behalf, he has lived a life of perfect goodness—the life you and I have failed to live. In our place, he has suffered and died to wash away our every wrong. Now, through faith in him, his full forgiveness gives us a peace that surpasses understanding. And one day, when we enter life eternal, we will experience full release from the presence and effects of sin. Relief that is lasting and true.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, through your gospel remind me of the true relief I possess in your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Searches – January 30, 2023

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land.
Zephaniah 2:3

Searches

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Daily Devotion – January 30, 2023

Devotion based on Zephaniah 2:3

See series: Devotions

Want to know some of the top internet searches from 2022? Under the category of TV shows, top searches included the Star Wars series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the modern western series, Yellowstone, and the science fiction series, Stranger Things. Under movies, top searches included Jurassic World Dominion, The Batman, and Top Gun: Maverick. Finally, in the overall category for top searches of 2022 included items such as Powerball numbers, election results, and Queen Elizabeth.

When you take even a moment to consider what is at our fingertips to read, watch, research, and study—the prospect is staggering. Think about it: any contemporary figure, movie, event in history, scientific discovery, definition, culture, newsworthy headline, how-to video, book discussion, or speculation about the future—all of it and more is just waiting for you to type the word in the search engine and hit, “Enter.”

But even before the internet, humanity found itself surrounded by countless ways we could spend our time and energy. Countless ways we could use our eyes and ears.

Several hundred years before Jesus’ birth, God’s people had taken their spiritual search engines and hit “Enter” on all kinds of things—things that seemed important, that promised pleasure, happiness, purpose, and fulfillment. But they were wrong. They were wrong because all their searches were at the expense of spending time in the presence of their Lord and Savior.

And so, God called them to repentance. “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land,” he said. He called upon them to acknowledge their sinful, wandering ways and look to him once again.

Many times, you and I have wandered in the same way. We searched the wrong places. We sought out the wrong people. And in doing so, we drifted from the Lord—the only one who gives us lasting peace, life, and joy.

But God still pursues us and calls us to repentance. And through faith in the Christ Child who has washed us clean at the cross—all is forgiven. And we are his.

Prayer:
Lord, I come to you in repentance. Forgive my foolish searches. Embrace me in your grace. Cleanse me in your blood. I am yours. Amen.

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