Authority Worthy of All Honor – February 2, 2024

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
Hebrew 3:1

Authority Worthy of All Honor

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 2, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrew 3:1

See series: Devotions

Moses was a great prophet. Jesus is greater.

God sent Jesus to share God’s message. He showed the world that sin is not just something we do. We are sin-sick. Sin so thoroughly stains our hearts that even the good we do is filthy in God’s eyes. But it is to sin-sick people like us that God sent Jesus. He shared with the world that God takes no delight in the death of anyone. He is our Savior who wants everyone to be saved.

That is why Jesus came into this world—to save sinners. He did not save us because of our good behavior. He saved us by the sacrifice of himself on the cross. He did it without our asking or pleading. By the sacrifice of his Son and the work his Spirit through his Word, God sets us apart for salvation. He makes us his sons and daughters and gives us a share in the glory of heaven.

For giving us what we do not deserve, Jesus deserves our highest honor. God told Moses that honoring Jesus means listening to him. But listening to him means more than just hearing what he has to say. Listening to Jesus means doing what he says.

Fix your thoughts on Jesus—and you will freely forgive as God in Christ has forgiven you. Fix your thoughts on Jesus—and you will find freedom in living a pure and decent life in word and action. Fix your thoughts on Jesus— and you will delight to serve others and consider their needs more important than your own. Fix your thoughts on Jesus—and you will never lose confidence or hope in the future glory Jesus is preparing for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to you forever and ever. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Verbal Authority – February 1, 2024

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.
Deuteronomy 18:15

Verbal Authority

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 1, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 18:15

See series: Devotions

This year, countries with more than half the world’s population will hold elections. That is a lot of campaigning. Some of what they say will be good and helpful, and some will be bad and harmful. Sometimes, what sounds good will be bad, and what sounds harmful will be helpful.

How can you know to whom and what you should listen? You need one voice that serves as the authority over all other voices. A voice that is always unchanging, reliable, and true. Who is like that? People lie. People fail to keep their promises. People change their minds. But God is not like us. He cannot lie and does not change his mind. He says what he means and does what he says.

Jesus, the Son of God, is a voice you can trust. The Old Testament records over 300 prophecies and promises regarding the Savior. Jesus fulfilled them all. Everything he spoke came from God. As God, Jesus has the authority to tell us what is right and what is wrong. He has the authority to condemn us for not listening to his Word but also has the authority to forgive us. And he has.

Because he is truly God, Jesus had the authority to lay down his life for the sins of the world. His death pays for sin, once and for all. But he also had the authority to take his life back again. His resurrection is proof that everything he did and said is unchanging, reliable, and true.

So, when it comes to other voices in the world, how can you know to whom and what you should listen? Compare what they say to what God’s Word, the Bible says. If what they say does not line up with what God says, cover your ears.

God’s Word does not tell us everything we might want to know, but it does tell us everything we need to know. By the authority of Christ Jesus, you are forgiven for all your sins. Listen to him.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, your Word is my light and my life. Lead me in the way 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Humble Authority – January 31, 2024

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites.
Deuteronomy 18:18

Humble Authority

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 31, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 18:18

See series: Devotions

God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of four centuries of slavery. Moses stood face to face with the Pharaoh of Egypt and won. He oversaw millions of people, handling their complaints, leading them through the wilderness, and judging their toughest disputes. Moses was important. He was the man. But he wrote of himself: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3).

Isn’t that ironic? It certainly does not seem like a very humble thing to say. Until you consider what author C.S. Lewis wrote, “humility is not thinking less about yourself but thinking about yourself less.” That certainly was Moses. Moses did not care about rank or reputation. He put the needs of the Israelites ahead of his own and brought them to the Promised Land.

As humble as Moses was, his sin barred him from entering the Promised Land. And his humility could not save all the Israelites who died in unbelief in the wilderness.

It was the humility of another like Moses that got Moses into heaven. Jesus is the prophet God chose to lead his people out of spiritual slavery. As God, Jesus has absolute authority over everyone and everything.

Yet Jesus did not use that authority to his own advantage. He put our needs ahead of his own and gave his life on the cross. He used his humble authority to pay our sin debt with his blood. Victorious over the grave, Jesus is the way through the wilderness. All who believe in him have eternal life in the land that God has promised.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, give me humility like yours so I can be confident in my salvation and share your salvation with those in need. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Final Authority – January 30, 2024

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. . . Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”
Mark 1:21,23-27

The Final Authority

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 30, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:21,23-27

See series: Devotions

Seventeenth-century French philosopher Rene Descartes is known for the saying: “I think, therefore I am.” The Twenty-first Century bumper sticker equivalent is: “Honk if you exist.”

If you want to know what issues matter to society or the mindset of current culture, read their bumper stickers. One of the more popular is the command to “QUESTION AUTHORITY.” It is a warning not to follow blindly after anyone just because they are influential. Certainly, not everyone with authority is trustworthy, but that does not mean that everyone is not trustworthy.

Jesus is an authority you can trust. He proved it by what he proclaimed. When Jesus taught in the synagogue, he did not just regurgitate what other teachers of the law thought God’s Word meant. He did not reiterate their manufactured laws. Jesus proclaimed the freedom, healing, and release that God promised. Then he backed up his word with action. With the same authority that the people heard Jesus teach, they witnessed him drive a demon out of a man.

Despite society’s efforts to convince us otherwise, regardless of whatever bumper sticker gets slapped on the back of a car, Jesus is the final authority. When Jesus died on the cross, he destroyed the devil’s work. And when he rose from the grave, he proved his victory over sin, death, and hell. That victory is yours through faith in your Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, what peace, what joy, what hope is mine that you are the final authority over all things in life and in death. Amen.

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

A Prophet Like Moses – January 29, 2024

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites.
Deuteronomy 18:15

A Prophet Like Moses

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 29, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 18:15

See series: Devotions

The prophet. When you hear those words, who comes to mind? If you are of Arab descent, you think of Muhammed, the founder of Islam. If you live in the western United States of America, you probably think of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church. If you are connected to Orthodox Judaism, you think of Moses.

There were many prophets that God commissioned in the Old Testament. But none like Moses. God himself sent Moses to the Israelites. God made Moses their leader, and he was their deliverer. Moses led God’s people out of slavery in Egypt. He performed miracles and wonders. And God spoke face-to-face with Moses, giving him the laws that governed the Israelites for over a thousand years.

As great as Moses was, God raised up a greater prophet—Jesus.

The law was given through Moses, but the Israelites could not fulfill it. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. We cannot fulfill God’s law either, but Jesus graciously kept the law in our place. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the laws that God gave Moses.

The truth is we all deserve to die for our sins, but Jesus graciously died in our place. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the entire world. We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. By his resurrection from the dead, Jesus has opened the way to eternal life with God in the Promised Land of heaven.

Jesus is the way for all who follow him in faith.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my Prophet, Priest, and King, teach me your way, forgive my sins, and govern my heart by your grace and truth. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Amazed – January 28, 2024

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
Mark 1:21,22

Amazed

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 28, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:21,22

See series: Devotions

What does it take to amaze you? Are you often astounded? Or does that happen somewhat infrequently, only when there’s something really out of the ordinary?

Mark says that the people were amazed when Jesus taught in the synagogue. Why so? It was because of the content of Jesus’ teaching. The religious leaders simply demanded from the people: “Do this! Live this way! Act this way!” Jesus, on the other hand, spoke not merely of external things, but spoke to the heart. He spoke of God’s promises being fulfilled of the promised Savior—himself! He told them that in him was the salvation which God had promised to send to the world.

Think of it—God loved you and me enough to come to this earth himself. God loved you and me so much that he was willing to live our life and willing to die for us. We sinful humans had separated ourselves from God and had no way to get back to him, but God loved you too much to lose you, so he did what was necessary to reunite you to him. He lived, he died, he rose, all for you!

Amazing. And true! Because it comes from God!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for teaching me about all you have done for me. May it always amaze 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Substitute – January 27, 2024

God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

A Substitute

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 27, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:21

See series: Devotions

On June 2, 1925, Wally Pip, the starting first baseman for the New York Yankees, was hit in the head by a pitch in pre-game batting practice. The manager put a substitute in to play for Pip that day. Pip never started another game at first base for the Yankees because his substitute went on to play in 2,130 straight games—a record that stood for many years. What a substitution! You probably never heard of Wally Pip. Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, you probably heard of Pip’s substitute: Lou Gehrig. He’s in Baseball’s Hall of Fame!

The Bible tells us about a substitution that was even more spectacular. Over 2,000 years ago, God put a substitute on Calvary’s cross for all sinners. Our substitute’s name was Jesus Christ. Although this God-man was perfect, he willingly took our sins and imperfections upon himself and was punished in our place. He experienced the agony of hell and the righteous anger of a holy God for you and me! By his wounds we are healed. Our sins are paid for. We are righteous in God’s sight because of our substitute.

Because of a substitution, Lou Gehrig is in baseball’s Hall of Fame. Trusting in the substitute that God appointed for you—Jesus Christ, you will be in heaven’s Hall of Fame, forever!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I confess that I often sin and deserve to be separated from you and all your blessings. But in love you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, who bore the guilt of my sin for me and died to set me free from the condemnation I deserve. Thanks and praise to you for Jesus, my substitute! 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The New is Here! – January 26, 2024

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:16,17

The New is Here!

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 26, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:16,17

See series: Devotions

At the beginning of a new year, we desperately want an answer to this question: Can people change? That is, given enough time and effort, can I change my old habits and habitual sins? And, in a world characterized by selfishness and tribalism, can I change the way that I view other people?

Well, consider the man behind today’s Bible passage. Twenty years before he wrote these words, the apostle Paul was “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man” (1 Timothy 1:13). He hated Jesus and Jesus’ disciples, so he hunted them down and arrested them.

All that changed when Jesus blinded him with light, spoke to him from heaven, and sent a man named Ananias to preach the good news to him, to baptize him, and to shine the light of faith in his heart. That’s how Paul became “a herald and an apostle and a teacher of the true faith” (1 Timothy 2:7).

Paul is proof that people really do change. And God continues to change people to this very day. When you become a Christian, God changes you from dead in sin to alive in Christ. Because of Christ, when God the Father looks at you, he sees someone clothed in the perfection of his Son.

Because of Christ, when you look at other people, what do you see? That every single person—regardless of their age, their race, their economic status, or their politics—is someone for whom Christ died.

The Son of God does not see you as some hopeless, lost cause of a sinner. You are an heir of eternal life, and that changes the way you look at life. You don’t have to be selfish anymore. You don’t have to be angry anymore. You don’t have to lose control anymore. You have been changed. You have been forgiven. The new is here.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for making me a new creation. Please give me strength to live like it. Amen.

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

A Life Lived for Jesus – January 25, 2024

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. . . God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:14,15,21

A Life Lived for Jesus

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 25, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:14,15,21

See series: Devotions

You may have encountered the slogan “WWJD?” It is shorthand for “What Would Jesus Do?” The goal of that acronym is to get people to live like Jesus. Although its intent is noble, it has one major flaw: it gives an incomplete view of Jesus and his work.

The problem is that it presents Christ primarily as an example to follow. Today’s Bible passage, however, destroys the notion that Jesus is just an example for Christians to follow on their walk with God.

Have you ever heard better news than these three verses? Jesus died for all of our sins in our place as our substitute. And when Jesus died, it was as if everyone who has ever lived, is living, or will live had died. He died for all so that you will never know the horror of hell.

This means that when God saw his Son on the cross, he saw all of the sins and sinners, and Christ was punished for each sin of all sinners. More than that, Jesus gives sinners what he alone has—his perfection and righteousness. The love behind that great exchange is what compels Christians to live, not for themselves, but for the One who had died for them.

All this means that Christianity is not about what you should do. It’s about what someone else did for you. A better acronym would be “RWJD,” shorthand for “Remember What Jesus Did.” In other words, we don’t live like Jesus; we live for Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, let your life, death, and resurrection for me empower my life lived for you. Amen.

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

The Right Tool for the Job – January 24, 2024

Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
Jonah 3:3-5

The Right Tool for the Job

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 24, 2024

Devotion based on Jonah 3:3-5

See series: Devotions

Sometimes the right tool for the job is the last thing you would expect. For example, if you accidentally immerse your smartphone in water, you can salvage it by putting it into a bag of uncooked rice. That doesn’t seem like it should work, but in an emergency, the moisture-absorbing properties of the rice can save an expensive piece of technology.

What if you need to save a city full of thousands of people from the wrath of God? What’s the right tool for that job? Nineveh was one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. It was the capital of the Assyrian Empire and was renowned for its brutality and cruelty. It was filled with people who worshiped false gods. In short, the inhabitants of Nineveh were headed for hell.

So God sent Jonah to turn the Ninevites from their sin. That doesn’t seem like it should work. What could one man armed with the Word of God accomplish in a city with thousands of people? Turns out, quite a bit.

Jonah preached, and the people repented. They showed their sorrow over sin by not eating and wearing uncomfortable clothing. Of course, what made the difference was not Jonah but the Word of God that Jonah spoke.

God’s Word does what it says. In the beginning, God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Through his prophet, God said, “Repent,” and stony hearts were turned in repentance. The Word says “Believe,” and dead, unbelieving hearts come to life, trusting in the good news about Jesus.

Thank God that what at first seems inadequate is, in fact, the right tool for the job. Praise God for the power of his Word!

Prayer:
Lord God, give me confidence in the power of your Word. Amen.

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

A Lofty Charge – January 23, 2024

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Mark 1:16-18

A Lofty Charge

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 23, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:16-18

See series: Devotions

The Bible makes it clear that there is a vital chain of events that leads to salvation for sinners. In order to call on the Lord and be saved, people must first believe in him. In order to believe in him, they must first hear about him. In order to hear about him, someone must preach to them. In order for someone to preach to them, that person must first be sent.

This brings us to today’s Bible passage, where Jesus calls Simon and Andrew to be links in the chain that connects sinners to Christ. But why does God use people—even simple fishermen!—to spread his Word? Why doesn’t God speak from heaven, or why doesn’t he send angels to do this important work?

Well, read the Bible and you will discover that when God spoke directly to the people, they begged him to stop. When angels delivered messages, the recipients were often terrified. Sinners cannot stand in the presence of God’s holy perfection.

So, God sends ordinary people like Simon and Andrew to spread his Word. God wants one sinner to tell another the greatest words ever spoken: “Jesus has done it all for you! Repent and believe the good news!”

Jesus has not called you to be an apostle; like these men. He may not have called you to be a pastor or teacher in his church. But every Christian gets to declare “the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

What a lofty charge! What joy to know that the God in whose presence you cannot stand brings himself into your presence by his Word; that the God who called you, sought, and bought you forges you as a link in that vital chain of events that leads to salvation for sinners.

Prayer:
God of salvation, help me to speak your Word and fish for 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Different Kind of Kingdom – January 22, 2024

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Mark 1:14,15

A Different Kind of Kingdom

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 22, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:14,15

See series: Devotions

Today’s Bible passage has an ominous start. John was the man sent by God to prepare people for the coming Savior. Why was he put in prison?

Because preparing people to meet Jesus meant confronting them with their sins, and not everyone appreciated that. When John called a king named Herod to repentance for his unlawful marriage, Herod put John in prison. The message was clear: in Herod’s kingdom, confronting sin could make you an enemy of the state.

Unknown to Herod, however, was the fact that the Savior had arrived. No sooner was John in prison than Jesus began preaching his own clear message: “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

His message is about a different kind of kingdom from Herod’s. It doesn’t have a set location because it is not a place; it is God’s saving activity among people. It is not characterized by ignoring sin or imprisoning its enemies. Instead, it is all about forgiving sin and turning its enemies into citizens.

Because of sin, all people enter this world hostile to God. Repentance changes that. When you repent, God changes how you think about sin. He makes you sorry for it and turns you away from it and toward himself. He is your King, who wore a crown of thorns and shed his blood on a cross to obliterate all your sins.

That good news characterizes this kingdom and is the reason why we need to be confronted with our sin so we will repent of it and believe the good news that we are forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Repentance is not a turning you do to yourself; it’s a turning Jesus’ Word does to you. Belief is not something you conjure up in yourself; it’s a gift that Jesus’ Word gives to you.

This King establishes his kingdom not by fighting, but by speaking. Remember, this is a different kind of kingdom. You are its citizen by the grace of God, by repentance and faith in the good news.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for bringing me into your kingdom. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Come, Follow Me – January 21, 2024

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Mark 1:14-20

Come, Follow Me

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 21, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:14-20

See series: Devotions

Jesus is a king who has a kingdom, and he calls us to follow him as our leader. We are usually suspicious of people who claim to be great leaders, especially political leaders like kings. We wonder if they are gathering a following so they might use their power over us. So, we are cautious about following those who claim to be great leaders.

But that is not what happened in Galilee 2,000 years ago. Jesus came proclaiming that he was a king who had a kingdom and that all people should follow him. Remarkably, men like Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John did. They left everything to follow Jesus.

They were willing to follow Jesus because he was a different kind of king with a different kind of kingdom. Instead of taking from people, he gave great blessings to people. Instead of gathering a following to control, he gathered a following to set them free. He didn’t rule to take the lives of others. He came to give up his life to rescue people from sin and death. That is why the first disciples were willing to give up everything and follow Jesus.

Now what about you? Are you willing to follow this King? Jesus’ kingdom is one of freedom and forgiveness. It is a kingdom of good news—the good news of eternal salvation.

Repent and follow Jesus your King!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my King. I repent of all my sins before you. I ask you to wash them all away. And now teach me to follow you in all my ways that I might bring glory to your 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hold Tight to God’s Promises – January 20, 2024

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:13,14

Hold Tight to God’s Promises

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 20, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14

See series: Devotions

Photos often capture that special moment in the hospital when parents hold their newborn child for the first time. Embodied in that first embrace is the selfless love parents strive to give their tiny, helpless child in the months and years that follow.

Photos could not capture the moment God first embraced us with his love. Long before God gave birth to the earth and all living things, through Jesus, he chose us to be his own. He knew us and loved us before time began.

How can we be sure that he chose us? We turn to the good news of the Bible. The Word comforts us with the message of the perfect life of Christ and the cross he willingly bore for us. His death and resurrection assure us that our sins are paid in full and that God’s eternal love for us endures!

God’s love is so great he even promises that we will share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. No photo can capture the splendor and joy that await us in our eternal home at our Savior’s side. Since God embraces us with endless love through Jesus, we are moved to give him endless thanks with our lips and our lives.

Prayer: (Christian Worship – A Lutheran Hymnal – 610)
Now thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices, who wondrous things has done, in whom his world rejoices, who from our mother’s arms has blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love and still is ours today. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Eternal and Everyday Encouragement – January 19, 2024

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16,17

Eternal and Everyday Encouragement

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 19, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17

See series: Devotions

There are two kinds of encouragement the Lord gives us in our Bible verses today. One kind of encouragement is “eternal encouragement.” This is something God has already given us. Because we know Jesus is our Savior, we already have eternal encouragement. We are encouraged to know that God has a chair in heaven reserved for us with our name on it. This kind of encouragement is a done deal because Jesus has already died and risen from the dead for us. Our eternity is rock-solid and certain.

The other kind of encouragement God gives us is what we could call “everyday encouragement.” The apostle Paul prayed that the Lord would encourage the hearts of the Thessalonian believers. They had the eternal encouragement of heaven always in their hearts, but they also needed encouragement to face the trials of each and every day. They needed strength to carry out God’s will among their friends, neighbors, and even their enemies.

God gives you both eternal and everyday encouragement. You’ve got the big-picture hope of a life forever with Jesus. That kind of hopeful encouragement is always there. It is your safety net ready to catch you when big, bad things happen. But you’ve also got encouragement from God to live your everyday life according to his will. The Lord gives you his Word to be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path to make correct decisions. In his Word, God gives you countless stories of real people facing real situations so you can find something in common with one of them. You’ll also find favorite Bible passages that encourage you before a big test in life.

Whether you need big-time encouragement in the face of hardship or everyday encouragement for following God’s will for your life, God will have the kind of encouragement you need.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, you are the ultimate encourager for my soul. Keep me hopeful and encouraged for eternal life and everyday life. Amen.

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

Hold on Tight – January 18, 2024

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
2 Thessalonians 2:15

Hold on Tight

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 18, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:15

See series: Devotions

If you’re treading water in the ocean during a storm, what would you do if someone threw you a life preserver right in front of you? You’d wrap your arms around it and cling to it with all your strength, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t just hang onto it with your little pinky finger and hope you can be reeled in. You’d hold on as tight as you could to your lifeline.

The Christians in the city of Thessalonica were facing a great deal of persecution and hardship. The apostle Paul encouraged them to keep holding on tight to everything they had been taught. He told them to stand firm in the identity Christ had given them as forgiven children of God. He told them to hold fast to the Savior, who promised never to let them go.

We also want to hold tight to God’s Word. There, we find the good news of how we’ve been rescued by Christ. As we find ourselves adrift in the sea of sin and hardship, we know that only God can pull us to safety. He’s extended the lifeline of his Word. We wrap our minds and hearts tightly around his Word and cling to it like our eternal life depends on it, and it does.

God’s Word and promises won’t let us down or let us sink. And if we ever find ourselves in a similar situation to the Thessalonians, facing hardship and persecution, we learn, all the more, to cling tight to God and his Word.

Hold tight to God’s promises and trust that he will bring you to safety with him.

Prayer:
Dear rescuing Lord, I know that you have done everything necessary to save me. Help me hold tight to your Word and work. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Gospel Calls – January 17, 2024

He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:14

The Gospel Calls

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 17, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:14

See series: Devotions

There are some calls you get that make your day. The doctor calls with the test results of your biopsy. “I’ve got good news! The test came back negative!” The supervisor calls after the interview. “You got the job!” The wife calls her husband while he’s at work because she can’t contain her excitement. “I’m pregnant! We’re having a baby!”

But when things in your life are going well, do you sometimes start bracing yourself for something bad to happen? We’ve learned that no good thing lasts forever in this world. We might convince ourselves that if things are going too well, that a fall is imminent. That’s not a very fun way to go through life. Yet, it’s true to a degree. In this world, we will have trouble and, eventually, bad news will come knocking on our door. The doctor calls with the biopsy results. “It’s positive….” The supervisor calls and says, “I’m sorry. Your position got eliminated.” The pregnancy test is negative again. So, the wife doesn’t bother calling her husband. We crave good news but are all too familiar with bad news.

But God’s good news, his gospel, is different. God’s good news isn’t something that lifts our spirits temporarily as we wait for more bad news to hit. God’s good news calls us into something permanent. We are called into a verdict of forgiveness because Jesus died to take away our sins. God’s good news calls us into the peace of knowing that we are at peace with God, our Creator. God’s good news has effects that stretch into eternity. We are called to salvation through the gospel so that we get to share in the glory of our Lord Jesus. In other words, we get to have eternal life in the glories of heaven.

God’s good news of our salvation in Christ calls us into a life that can face whatever bad news comes our way.

Prayer:
Merciful Father, you have shared the best news with me that Jesus is my Savior from sin and bad news. Help me to share this good news with others so they, too, can 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

God Put You in His Cart – January 16, 2024

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:13

God Put You in His Cart

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 16, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:13

See series: Devotions

When you go shopping online, do you ever look at the reviews for products before buying them? If you came across an item that only got one-star reviews, would you choose to put it in your cart? No, you’d find something better.

God knows you. He knows everything about you. Yes, everything. He knows how many times you’ve sinned against him. He knows all the one-star reviews other people might have given you about the way you treated them. It would seem God knows too much about you to ever choose to put you in his “salvation” cart.

However, God put you in his cart anyway! He chose you to be his own. Jesus made the payment on the cross for you to be his own. God chose you, warts and all, to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and belief in the truth.

God putting you in his salvation cart had nothing to do with who you were and everything to do with who he is. He is a merciful and gracious God. He sent the Holy Spirit to you through his Word to plant the truth of the good news of Jesus in your heart. And, by grace, you believe in what God has done for you!

Prayer:
Gracious Lord, thank you for choosing me and saving me by your Holy Spirit’s work. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Thankful for Brothers and Sisters – January 15, 2024

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord.
2 Thessalonians 2:13

Thankful for Brothers and Sisters

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 15, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:13

See series: Devotions

Siblings sometimes have rocky relationships throughout life. Even siblings who get along well and frequently stay in touch likely had plenty of fights and disagreements through the years. A first child has a hard time adjusting to a new baby and having mom and dad split their attention. The youngest child has to watch his older siblings get all the new clothes and toys and gets stuck with the hand-me-downs. The middle child might feel lost in the shuffle and take out her frustrations on her siblings.

Within the family of believers, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. And we might feel the same way as siblings with blood ties. We get frustrated with one another. We don’t see eye to eye on many topics. We get into petty arguments and don’t feel like sharing. We give one another a cold shoulder.

But as Christians, we can always thank God for one another. We can always be thankful for our Christian brothers and sisters because they are loved by the Lord. Our Father in heaven would have every reason to be frustrated or disappointed with us, his children. We fail to listen to his Word and constantly get into pointless arguments with one another. But our Father loves each of his children all the same. If our Lord loves that Christian brother or sister we don’t get along with, we can love them, too. We can thank God that he has brought us all into his family despite our differences. Even if we don’t see eye-to-eye with a Christian brother or sister, we can still love them just as the Lord does. We can show kindness to each of our brothers and sisters because our Father first showed kindness to us in Christ.

Prayer:
Lord, we thank you for our Christian brothers and sisters. Help me to love them as much as you love 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I’m Listening! – January 14, 2024

“The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
1 Samuel 3:10

I’m Listening!

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 14, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 3:10

See series: Devotions

The ability to listen is fast becoming a “lost art.” In our culture of hyper-communication—cell phones, email, text messages—everyone is so busy talking that we don’t have time to listen. It is an attention deficit disorder of the ears. Few are unaffected by it.

But turn on a popular children’s movie, and the kids will sit for two hours without stirring. Sunday afternoons find many sitting in front of the television for three hours or more watching football. Apparently, the “listening disorder” is a rather selective thing.

Young Samuel—a boy who lived 3,000 years ago—had the right attitude when it came to God’s Word. Rather than argue with God or say, “Listen, Lord, your servant is speaking!” he humbly responded, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”

Whenever the Lord spoke, Samuel listened, even if it was only for a short time. It is in our best interest to do the same thing. God has so much to tell us in the Bible: how he loves us, how he can help us, how he has a gracious plan for our lives. Take some time today and listen!

Prayer:
Lord, give me willing ears to listen carefully to what you tell me in your Word. Amen.

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

Small Things – January 13, 2024

And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength—he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:5,6

Small Things

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 13, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:5,6

See series: Devotions

A leading expert on stress, cardiologist Robert Eliot, gives the following prescription for dealing with stress: Rule number one is—don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is—it’s all small stuff.

Looking back at your celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s, do you feel like much of what you did was hurried and stress-filled, yet ultimately all small stuff? Perhaps you are even feeling remorseful regret over not having made more of a season filled with opportunities for witness and worship. If you have sinned through selfish indulgence or wasted worship time, then behold, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

Entering our lives is the God of our salvation—Jesus, servant of the Lord. Jesus is the one who brings salvation to the ends of the earth. He came to rescue the world from sin.

That means he brings salvation to the homes of those who gathered and gifted until they had their fill but let Christmas and Christ pass by with little notice. It is a new year, and it is not too late to shake things up and change–to reflect upon the smallness of life here and the greatness of life hereafter.

The game-changer is Jesus. His plan and purpose is to bring salvation to the ends of the earth and gather us to himself. Don’t settle for small when you can marvel at great!

Prayer:
Gracious God, I marvel at the task you laid upon your Son to rescue and save me. By the Spirit, cause me to embrace and receive that salvation as my own. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

He Knows – January 12, 2024

And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love.”
Mark 1:11

He Knows

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 12, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:11

See series: Devotions

In our sinful weakness, there are times when you and I can slip into falsely accusing the God who loves us. The temptation can be strong when you and I face tragedy and grief. “God doesn’t know. God doesn’t understand. God has no idea how it feels to carry such difficulty, pain, and loss. And so, why should I listen to what he says? Why should I pay attention to his nice words? He doesn’t get it anyway.”

When such thinking creeps into my mind, I need to stop. First, I need to remember that God the Son not only knows all about real life in this fallen world; he has fully experienced the very worst that this world can dish out. He knows pain, grief, and loss.

God the Father understands, too. At Jesus’ baptism, God the Father spoke up. He spoke up because he had something to say—something he wanted you and me to know. In that moment, God the Father said to Jesus, “You are my Son, whom I love.”

“You are my Son, whom I love.” These are not words of some abstract theological concept. This is a Father speaking to his Son. This is a Father telling his Son that he loves him. It is this same Father who watched his Son sacrifice himself on a cross for the sins of the world. God the Father endured this loss because of his love for you and me. As Jesus himself says, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.”

And so God loves us beyond what we can grasp. And he also understands.

Prayer:
Lord God, I sometimes forget that you understand the pain that sin and death can bring. Forgive my false presumptions. And thank you for your 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Former Master – January 11, 2024

For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
Romans 6:9

Former Master

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 11, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 6:9

See series: Devotions

The time is during the American Civil War. A man has lived his entire life in slavery under the rule of his master. Now, however, the man is free. He chooses to serve as a soldier in the Union Army. Months go by. One day, the man’s unit is near a camp that contains Confederate prisoners of war. Suddenly, he sees a familiar face. He sees the face of his former master. It is then that the man walks up to his former master and famously says, “Hello, master. Bottom rail on top this time.”

His point could not have been more clear. In their previous life together, one was the master, and the other was the slave. But that reality no longer existed. His old master was now a prisoner of war. His days of owning slaves were over. If anything, the former master now had to answer to his former slave.

Ever since our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell into sin, death has ruled as a master in this world. It has ruled us with fear, grief, and dread. It has ruled us with the awful reality that one day, sooner or later, death comes for each of us. It comes for our grandparents. It comes for our parents, siblings, children, and friends. It comes for you and me.

But then Jesus came. And he changed everything. On our behalf, he lived a life of perfect goodness. In our place, he carried our every sin to Calvary’s cross. As our substitute, he suffered and died to wash us clean. And three days later, he did something to make a point. Three days later, he walked away from death and raised himself back to life.

And because Jesus lives, death is no longer our master. Because Jesus lives, death now serves as a door to eternal life. Because Jesus lives, you and I can walk up to death and say, “Hello, Master. Bottom rail on top this time.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, because you live, death now must answer to you. Thank you. Amen.

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

Official – January 10, 2024

For we know that our old self was crucified with [Christ].
Romans 6:6

Official

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 10, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 6:6

See series: Devotions

For a young woman by the name of Anne Greene, the year 1650 was a year she would never forget. Falsely accused and wrongly convicted of murder, Anne Greene faced the gallows. The hangman carried out her execution. Immediately afterward, the coffin bearing her body went to a team of doctors for medical research. Upon lifting the lid, however, the doctors detected faint breathing. They rushed to do everything possible to revive her, and in so doing, they saved her life.

The consensus among all involved was that her official execution had taken place; there was no need to pursue the matter further. As a result, Anne Greene enjoyed a full and free pardon. Displaying an extraordinary sense of wonder about her indescribable experience, she took her coffin as a souvenir, settled in another town, got married, and raised a family.

In Romans chapter 6, the apostle Paul tells us that our official execution has taken place as well. When Jesus went to the cross outside the city walls of Jerusalem, God took all the sins of my old self and placed them on his Son. This means that, as far as God is concerned, my old identity as a lost sinner is no more. It’s no more because a first-century crucifixion detail carried out my execution just outside the city walls of Jerusalem. And now, through faith in Jesus, I enjoy a full and free pardon. Jesus’ death has washed my old identity away. I stand forgiven. A fresh, bright future now awaits me. And beyond that is eternal life in heaven.

One more thing. On the day of her execution, Anne Greene labored under massive debt. Afterward, however, Anne received more than enough contributions from others to wipe her debt away. In our crucified and risen Lord, the debt of our sin is gone, too. It’s official.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in God’s eyes my old identity as a guilty sinner is no more. The old debt of my transgression is gone. My life is now fresh and clean and new. Move me to live it for you. Amen.

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

New Life – January 9, 2024

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Romans 6:4

New Life

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 9, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 6:4

See series: Devotions

Martin Pistorius was a happy twelve-year-old boy living with his family in their home country of South Africa. One day, he came down with a mysterious illness. The illness placed Martin in a deep coma, completely unresponsive to everything around him. He remained in this state for so long that, eventually, the medical team told Martin’s family that they should take him home, as his death would now be just a matter of time.

But Martin did not die. His body kept going. Each morning, his father fed him, got him dressed, and took him to the care center for the day. In the evening, he brought him home, fed him, bathed him, and got him ready for bed. This went on for twelve years.

What no one knew was that Martin was aware of everything going on around him. He could see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. His body was incapable of showing any response in any way. However, he knew precisely what was going on.

It’s the stuff of nightmares: To live as a prisoner in plain sight, completely isolated from others for any affection, any attention, any meaningful relationship. It’s also a jarring illustration of what sin does—your sin and mine.

Because of sin, you and I, by nature, languished in prisons of our own making. These prisons isolated us from each other and from God.

But then came Jesus. Through his perfect life in our place and his suffering and death on our behalf, he threw open the prison doors. He cleansed us. He clothed us in his holiness. In Holy Baptism he claimed us as his own. And now, through his gospel, new life is ours. We are forgiven. We are his. And we are free.

Twelve years later, Martin’s imprisonment came to an end. His body woke up, and he’s happily married, living his new life. In Christ, our imprisonment is over too. And our new life lasts forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for rescuing me from my prison. Thank you for my new life. Amen.

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

Every Faraway Place – January 8, 2024

“I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:6

Every Faraway Place

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 8, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:6

See series: Devotions

Try this on for a fun fact. There are twice as many mobile devices in the world as there are people. And you can find mobile devices everywhere. Everywhere! You can find them in the South American jungle. You can find them in the mountain villages of Tibet. You can find them among nomadic tribes in the Sahara. You can find them in isolated huts with dirt floors.

For this reason, there are Christian volunteers who prepare memory cards for missionaries to take to these faraway places—memory cards the missionaries can easily install in people’s mobile devices. The memory cards include Bible studies, songs, an audio New Testament, and a movie about Jesus—all in the language of their region. Thanks be to God.

But faraway places do not just include remote villages on the other side of the world. To anyone who’s living a life without Jesus—that life is also in a faraway place—the aide who cares for your dad at the nursing home; the new friend you’ve made at Thursday night volleyball; the girl who cuts your hair; the mechanic who maintains your car; the couple who’s moved in across the street; the co-worker in the cubicle next to yours; the old friend you’ve known since high school; a member of your own extended family.

In other words, people who live in faraway places include souls you and I see in our lives all the time.

When God the Son came to this earth, he had you and me in mind. When he lived a perfect life on our behalf and suffered and died for our every sin, he had you and me in mind. When he rose from the grave, he had you and me in mind. He also had in mind everyone else living in faraway places, whether that faraway place is in a primitive village on a tiny island or a lonely life someone is living right before your eyes.

And maybe, just maybe, the Lord will reach that faraway place through you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for touching lives in faraway places. And thank you for touching mine. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Dead To Sin – January 7, 2024

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Romans 6:1,2

Dead To Sin

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 7, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 6:1,2

See series: Devotions

Sometimes Christianity doesn’t make sense to people who are not Christians, even though they have a general idea about its core belief system.

For example, if it’s true that Jesus died on a cross 2,000 years ago and paid for everyone’s sins, wouldn’t that encourage people who claim to be Christians to keep on sinning if they are forgiven anyhow? If you gave someone a credit card and said that they would not have to pay for whatever they bought, wouldn’t that encourage them to go on a spending spree? That is how a greedy person would think to take advantage of the credit card owner’s generosity.

But Christians, out of love for Jesus as their Savior, do not think, “Let my life be a life of immorality and self-indulgence and of doing whatever sinful thing comes to mind because I’m forgiven!” Christians do not live to sin in order to have more of God’s grace. The truth is that we love God because he has so richly blessed us. And our love for him prevents us from seeking to take advantage of God’s great love for us by living a sinful life.

Therefore, the attitude of Christians is, “We died to sin.” We don’t approve of sin! Our relationship with sin is over. Why? Because Jesus loves us and has freed us from sin’s guilt. Christians show their love for Jesus by striving not to have any relationship with sin—we are dead to sin.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for paying for my sin with your life. Now I am dead to sin. I don’t want to have a relationship with sin. Help me in my struggle against it. I love you for loving 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Getting Ready – January 6, 2024

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations.”
Luke 2:29-31

Getting Ready

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 6, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 2:29-31

See series: Devotions

Think back to when you were in second grade. When the bell rang, what would the students do? They’d put their books in their desks, they’d make sure the floor around them was clean, and they’d sit quietly, waiting for the teacher to fulfill her promise of “When you are ready, you will be dismissed.”

God made a promise to a man named Simeon that was similar, but not identical, to the grade school teacher. Instead of “When you are ready, you will be dismissed,” God promised Simeon, “When I am ready, you will see the Christ-child; then you will be dismissed.” The Lord didn’t give Simeon a detailed timeline—Simeon needed to trust God’s perfect timing instead. So when would this happen? When would he see Jesus and be dismissed?

Second graders only need to wait a few seconds; Simeon had to wait a few decades. Yet, when God was ready, Jesus was born, Simeon saw him, and Simeon fully trusted that God’s salvation was in front of his own eyes. Now, he would be dismissed in peace. That means he would die, leave earth and go to heaven because of what this baby Jesus would do.

Would you like to be dismissed in peace? Would you like your death day to be calm and not scary, like Simeon? Then, listen carefully to God’s promises. God has guaranteed that “Whoever believes in [Jesus] shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Lord has prepared his salvation for the eyes of all people. That includes you.

When you believe in Jesus as Savior, being dismissed from this earth is peaceful. It is no scarier than being dismissed from a second-grade classroom. And the best part? In second grade, when you are dismissed, you go home for the night, but then you have to come back to school. But when you are dismissed from this earth, you go home to heaven, and you stay there forever.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to earth so that I could be dismissed in peace. Help me to wait patiently until the day you are ready to dismiss me and take me home. Amen.

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

More Than a New Year – January 5, 2024

Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Romans 6:3,4

More Than a New Year

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 5, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 6:3,4

See series: Devotions

How was your New Year’s celebration? Did you spend time with friends and family? Did you stay up until midnight? Did you sleep in on New Year’s Day?

Here’s another question: How has your New Year’s celebration impacted your life in the new year? I imagine not much. It may have been fun, but now you’re back to life as usual.

In today’s Bible reading, the apostle Paul tells us about an event that is more than a one-day celebration, an event that changes the rest of a person’s life. The event is a person’s baptism.

Christian baptism, you see, is not simply a ceremony. Paul tells us that when a person is baptized, they are spiritually covered in all the benefits of Jesus’ death on the cross. Their sins are forgiven. And because their sins are forgiven, they can look forward to an eternal life in heaven one day.

But there’s more. The apostle tells us that baptism also empowers a person to live a new kind of life, a life that no longer wants to do its own thing but rather wants to do God’s thing.

That’s much more exciting than any New Year’s resolution. It is God’s promise to empower those who have been baptized to live a new, God-pleasing life. How could those who have received such a gift have anything but a happy new year?

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for reminding me today of the remarkable blessings of baptism. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Too Small – January 4, 2024

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:6

Too Small

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 4, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:6

See series: Devotions

The tribes of Jacob were waiting for someone to restore them. Some had been conquered and deported by the Assyrians and lost to the ends of the earth. Others had been invaded by Babylon and were living as captives in a city far away. A few had been left behind in poverty and desperation in the ruins of their homes. Whoever would finally restore the tribes of Israel would be the greatest hero they had and would be remembered for generations.

The coming Christ would be this person. But restoring only the tribes of Israel would be too small a thing. Rather than just influencing a small place for a short time, the Christ would bring restoration even to the ends of the earth.

Two thousand years later and thousands of miles from ancient Israel, you are the fulfillment of God’s big work. You have been restored and brought back from the futility of your sin and the emptiness of your life. You have seen the light of his forgiveness and how to love and serve God and your neighbor.

It was too small for Jesus to just be a local savior. He brought salvation to the ends of the earth. He brought restoration and light to you.

Prayer:
Forgiving Lord, I thank you for magnifying the work of your Son that I would be included in the blessings of salvation that he gives. Cause me to give him the praise and service he is due for this great work. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email