Remember Who You Are in Christ – September 17, 2021

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
James 1:22-25

Remember Who You Are in Christ


Daily Devotion – September 17, 2021

Devotion based on James 1:22-25

See series: Devotions

In a moving scene in Disney’s The Lion King, the spirit of the departed Mufasa admonishes his son Simba with the words, “Remember who you are.” The young lion’s lifestyle choices revealed that he had forgotten who he was—the rightful king, and therefore he had forgotten his father as well.

The Bible closely connects Christian behavior with a conscious and deliberate recollection of who we are in Jesus Christ. We read in the Bible that all of us had been doomed to damnation because of our disobedience to God and his word. But through his perfect life and innocent death, Jesus set us free from the curse of the law. Connected to Christ through Baptism, we died to sin. Now we live for God as his dearly loved children and heirs of heaven. How could we return to the way of life that separated us from God in the first place?

Unfortunately, that is what happens when believers forget what the Bible reveals about who they are in Christ and what type of life that God has called them to live as Christ’s followers. All too easily, we slip into old sinful habits and self-destructive patterns. As Jesus told his disciples, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The solution is to purposefully peer into God’s Word daily and prayerfully put into practice what we read there. In the blood of Jesus, you have been washed clean from your sin—don’t roll around in the same immoral mud anymore. Remember that you belong to Christ and live as a child of God.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, let me never forget what you have done for me and what you have called me to be. I am your disciple; let me learn from you. You are my Savior; let me serve you in thanksgiving. 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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Communication that Values Relationships – September 16, 2021

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
James 1:19,20

Communication that Values Relationships


Daily Devotion – September 16, 2021

Devotion based on James 1:19,20

See series: Devotions

A recent article in a business magazine highlighted the use of a “ten-second rule” for more effective communication. The author noted that taking a long breath or two before responding can defuse a heated conversation. The momentary break gives everyone in the room a chance to refocus on relationships rather than disagreement.

This advice is not only good modern business practice, but it also reflects ancient wisdom found in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. When James counseled his readers to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry,” he was echoing thoughts collected hundreds of years earlier in the book of Proverbs.

Of course, all too often, we have failed to heed such advice. Our sinful pride, selfishness, and short tempers frequently can get the best of us, and instead of putting the needs of others ahead of our own, we respond in anger. We may feel the urge to win the argument or get our own way at any cost, even at the expense of friendships and other important relationships.

How comforting to know that God does not act as we do! The Bible tells us that God is slow to anger, even though we have given him so many reasons to be angry with us. And he is quick to listen to and answer our prayers, especially when we are asking for forgiveness. His Son, Jesus, perfectly demonstrated that same attitude throughout his earthly life, patiently bearing with sinners and humbly paying the price for our sharp tongues and short tempers.

Now we strive to live in a way that reflects Christ’s love for us and our gratitude for him. That includes making sure that we value people and our relationships with them more than we value winning arguments against them. Practice good communication habits, but even more so, practice imitating Christ’s humility and patient love for others, just as he has loved and forgiven you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive me for acting and speaking in anger rather than love. Help me to build up others through what I say and how I say it. Amen.

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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:17,18

Changeless Grace


Daily Devotion – September 15, 2021

Devotion based on James 1:17,18

See series: Devotions

Life can seem like a roller coaster: full of unexpected ups and downs; and sudden twists and turns. But while amusement park rides are meant for entertainment, in real life these unpredictable changes aren’t always so welcome. Even worse, for some people, life might be more accurately compared to a mechanical bull, with random spins and jerking movements purposefully designed to throw off its rider.

So is that the case? Is the designer of your life out to get you? Could it be that when everything is going wrong, and you feel like giving up, that God himself is purposefully trying to get you to stumble and fall?

Jesus’ younger brother James wrote a very down-to-earth letter to fellow believers who struggled in their life of faith. Trials and temptations threatened their trust in God. Some even wondered if God was responsible for these stumbling blocks as if he wanted them to fall. James compared those who doubted God’s unchanging grace to waves of the sea, tossed this way and that by the winds of change in their lives.

James reminded his readers that the God who created this universe and everything in it only and always gives good gifts. Shadows shift on earth as the sun glides across the sky, and the clouds may temporarily dim its light. But the sun itself and the live-sustaining heat it emits are not diminished. So also, our heavenly Father and his eternal love for us do not change just because the world casts shade on his word. God gave his only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Light of the world, revealing the Father’s merciful heart with his sacrifice in our place. And he gives us new life, a spiritual rebirth, through the gift of faith in his Son. That love and those gifts remain constant, even in the darkest days, even through all the twists and turns of life.

Prayer:
Lord God, when I am weary from all the changes of this life, keep my eyes focused on your unchanging love for me 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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Christ Brings Change – September 14, 2021

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
Isaiah 35:5-7

Christ Brings Change


Daily Devotion – September 14, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 35:5-7

See series: Devotions

There is a joke which asks: “How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb?” The answer is: “None. Lutherans don’t believe in change.” There may be a cultural kernel of truth to that joke which makes us chuckle. But in reality, Lutherans—along with all Bible-believing Christians—believe in many enormous changes because we believe in Christ.

We all come into this world spiritually blind, deaf, and lame—in other words, we are unaware of God’s goodness to us, unwilling to listen to his promises, and unable to walk according to his word. By nature, our souls are spiritual wastelands devoid of real life. But into that desert steps Jesus Christ with his life-giving, life-changing gospel. He came into our sin-darkened world not only to announce our salvation but to make it happen. By his sacrifice on the cross, our debt with God has been paid. We are fully and freely forgiven for the sake of Jesus and through faith in him.

This good news of Jesus our Savior has the power to effect incredible changes in us. It enables us to see God as the loving Father that he is. It tunes our ears to hear and believe his promises of eternal life. It makes our hearts leap with joy, which in turn empowers us and motivates us to love our neighbor and to live a life of praise and thanksgiving to the God who saved us.

Have you become frustrated with yourself, stuck in your self-serving, self-defeating ways? Look to Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who alone has the power to make the blind to see and the lame to walk. Rejoice in the changes he brings you now, and especially the eternal changes he will make in you on the day of resurrection.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, let me always listen to your promises, see your grace, walk in your light, and sing your praises. 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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He Will Come to Save You – September 13, 2021

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Isaiah 35:4

He Will Come to Save You


Daily Devotion – September 13, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 35:4

See series: Devotions

Merlin was a rescue dog. We don’t know what his life was like before he became a part of our family, but we suspect he might have been abused. For some reason, he was especially terrified by the sound of my dress shoes on the hardwood floor. The poor dog would nervously bark and nearly wet himself with fear when he heard me coming down the hall. My guess is that his abuser must have worn similar shoes.

Fast forward a few years, and things had changed completely. Merlin had lost almost all his skittishness as he knew he was with a family that loved him and cared for him. Now the sound of me approaching down the hallway no longer caused him fear, but his great tail began to swing from side to side as he prepared to be greeted with affection. Even now, years later, I can’t help but feel anger towards whoever had mistreated our beloved Merlin as a puppy.

Just as there are rescue dogs, we are a rescued people. We have been tortured and abused by the devil and by a guilty conscience. Both point out the many ways that we have disobeyed our Maker and caused him to become angry with us. The thought of suddenly being in God’s presence can be terrifying—we know he has every right to punish us.

But that has changed completely because we have come to know that we are loved and cared for by that same God that we had angered. God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, has willingly taken our punishment upon himself at his Father’s request. Our sin has been paid for in full. Now when we hear that God is coming, it no longer brings fear, but comfort and relief. Jesus Christ will return on the day of judgment, but for all who have learned of his love and trusted in his forgiveness, it will be a glorious day of joy and salvation. Do not fear his coming, but see that he is already with you, and take heart in his promises of peace.

Prayer:
Gracious Lord God, comfort my heart with your promise of salvation. 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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Pray With Confidence – September 12, 2021

[Jesus said] “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:7-11

Pray With Confidence


Daily Devotion – September 12, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 7:7-11

See series: Devotions

Jesus invites us to pray with confidence. We can do so because the almighty God is the giver of all things for everyone and everything.

As he teaches us about confidence in praying to our heavenly Father, Jesus makes a comparison to the care responsible parents give to their children. They seek to provide their children with what is healthful and safe for them. They wouldn’t deliberately deceive their hungry children by substituting a stone for bread or a snake for a fish.

How much more God will provide what is good for his dear children! He may give a better gift than the one we ask for, but he will not perversely answer our prayers to harm us. God is always looking out for our best interests. Most importantly, he has given us his Son, who has prepared our eternity with God. So Jesus wants us to understand that if God has taken care of this great thing, he certainly will provide the lesser things in our lives now. Another passage in Scripture says it this way: He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

Prayer: (Psalm 66:19,20)
God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from 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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Let God Do the Exalting – September 11, 2021

Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.
Proverbs 25:6,7

Let God Do the Exalting


Daily Devotion – September 11, 2021

Devotion based on Proverbs 25:6,7

See series: Devotions

While these words might sound like nothing more than ancient advice for dining with royalty, they reflect a deeper truth of the Bible. It’s better for us to humbly wait to be exalted than to exalt ourselves. Unfortunately, that’s not always so easy for us to do. If we are good at something, we want everyone else to notice and give us the proper recognition. If we put a lot of work into a task or project, we want to be praised. Sadly, at times this attitude can even infect our spiritual lives. “Lord, you sure are lucky to have me working in your kingdom!”

We see the exact opposite in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Even though he was the King of the universe, he didn’t come into our world to seek praise and honor. Instead, he came to serve and to give his life for our sins, even for our sins of pride and arrogance. Jesus didn’t need to be exalted by men because he knew that he had the approval of the only one that mattered—his Father in heaven.

It is through our Savior’s perfect life and sacrifice that we can be certain that we have the approval of our Father in heaven. Jesus did everything necessary to make us God’s dearly beloved children, so we don’t need to constantly strive to put ourselves above others. Love for Christ moves us to use our God-given talents to the best of our ability, not to be praised and honored by others, but to glorify our Father in heaven. Even when no one thanks us or notices our hard work, we can look forward to the day when our heavenly Father will exalt us in heaven and say, “Come up here. Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, every good and perfect gift comes from you. Help me to humbly use the gifts that you have given me and to rejoice that I have your approval through my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.
Mark 7:21-23

The Blame Game


Daily Devotion – September 10, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 7:21-23

See series: Devotions

We live in a world that likes to point the finger of blame. Rarely, it seems, does anyone take responsibility for their actions. It is always someone else’s fault. If a mistake is made, there can be any number of ways to shift the blame: maybe it was the way we were raised, maybe there were circumstances beyond our control, maybe what we said was taken out of context, or maybe it was because someone else started it. It seems there is always something or someone else to blame.

But in our Bible reading for today, Jesus bluntly says that the problem starts with you and me—in our hearts. He runs down a terrible list of sins and says that these things come, not from outside influences where we can shift the blame. Rather, he says they originate in our own hearts. Combine that with a society that tells us to do whatever is in our hearts, and we have a big problem. When we fail to control the desires that reside in our heart, it boils over into sin of all kinds. For such things, we deserve eternal punishment from God.

Yet, the One who speaks these words is also the One who saves us. Jesus was different from you and me. He was pure in heart. None of the things on this list resided in his heart. He was perfectly pure, and he lived an entire life in our place without ever once falling into sin. He was perfect where we have failed and through the miracle of the cross, Jesus takes our sin away and provides us with his perfection so that we can stand holy in God’s sight. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we can confidently say that through faith in him, heaven is our home!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you are perfect and holy and have given me the gift of eternal life. Help today to control the desires in my heart. Help me to live for you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Equip Yourself for Battle – September 9, 2021

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13

Equip Yourself for Battle


Daily Devotion – September 9, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 6:13

See series: Devotions

The average United States soldier carries 27 pounds of personal protective equipment. That weight is on top of an already heavy loadout of weapons and gear. Our soldiers are often thought of as being well-equipped and well-prepared. But imagine for a moment if the soldier decided he did not want to carry the protective equipment. Imagine if he did not want to be bothered with putting on his armor. Sure, that would make for an easier morning and less expended energy getting around, but such a choice would also make him less safe. It would make him more susceptible to serious injury or even death. For a soldier to go into battle without his armor would seem foolish.

The same might be said about our own spiritual lives. Yet, how often do we truly arm ourselves for battle? And please understand this is not hypothetical. God does not say “if the day of evil comes.” He says, “when the day of evil comes.” The enemy is going to attack. Satan is going to mount an assault against our faith each day. We can either do the time-consuming work of arming ourselves for battle through reading the Bible, prayer, and worship, or we can leave our armor behind as we go off to face our spiritual battles. For a child of God to go into spiritual battle without the armor of God is foolish.

There is One who always armed himself for battle. One who always put on the full armor that God provides in his Word. Throughout the Bible, we see Jesus arming himself with Bible passages, prayer, and trust in his heavenly Father as he faced the devil’s attacks. For each battle, he stood firm. He never failed or sinned. And in his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has crushed Satan and given us the victory.

As you get ready for battle today, know that the victor is on your side. He has provided all the armor you need in his Word. Equip yourself for battle today.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the eternal victory you have given me. Bless me as I arm myself with your Word 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.
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Run -September 8, 2021

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

Run


Daily Devotion – September 8, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 6:12

See series: Devotions

“This foe is beyond any of you. Run!” In the first Lord of the Rings movie, Gandalf shouts those words to his companions. They have just defeated many enemies in battle, yet this new enemy is on a different level. So, they all flee. Not even mighty wizards or warriors could stand up against that powerful foe.

With this verse from the Bible, God is reminding us that our evil foe is no ordinary enemy. Satan is not flesh and blood like we are. He rules the evil spiritual forces that are arrayed against us. This foe certainly is beyond any of us. We are no match for the devil, and in countless places, the Bible encourages us to flee—to run from this powerful enemy.

Yet, there are times when we fail to realize the seriousness of the situation, times when we figure we can handle the devil’s temptations on our own. Our over-confidence gets us into trouble. So to the times when we fail to take our enemy seriously. In any case, we are overmatched, and we fall to the devil’s attacks. We so easily give in to temptation.

There is One who faced off against Satan and came out victorious. Jesus came into this world and did battle as our Savior. He succeeded in fending off every one of the devil’s attacks. Jesus never fell into sin. His power was more than enough to conquer our ancient enemy. And even as Jesus hung on the cross to pay for our sins, when it looked like the devil might win, Jesus removed all doubt when he rose from the dead. In his resurrection, Jesus has forever defeated the devil for us.

We are no match for the devil, but we need not fight him alone. Jesus, the victor, is on our side and will defend us through his Word. When we turn to him in prayer and trust in his Word, Jesus will fight for us, and it will be the devil who flees.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you are all powerful and Satan is no match for you. When temptation comes, help me always to run to you and to trust 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.
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Keep Watch – September 7, 2021

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.
Deuteronomy 4:9

Keep Watch


Daily Devotion – September 7, 2021

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 4:9

See series: Devotions

How much time do you spend looking at yourself? Whether it is taking and editing selfies, re-watching the video we posted of ourselves on TikTok, or admiring our physique in the mirror after a workout, we spend a lot of time looking at ourselves. Society encourages it. Messaging from our culture continues to say, “you do you.” People are encouraged to focus on themselves and promote who they are and what they stand for.

The Bible also tells us to “watch yourselves closely.” But when God spoke those words, he did not have TikTok in mind. Rather, God wants us to watch our spiritual lives closely. He wants us to keep a close eye on how we live. We are to watch and make sure that we do not forget his blessings and live our lives in appreciation of those blessings. This is counter-cultural. The culture says to do and live however you want. The message really is that there are no boundaries. God tells us the opposite. We are to watch ourselves closely, so we do not stray outside God’s will for our lives. Sadly, we all too often fall short of that goal. We forget what God has done for us, and we are not always concerned about how our lives match up to what pleases our God.

There was one who always watched himself. Jesus never took a selfie, but he sure did keep an eye on his life. He never sinned or strayed from God’s will. He never once thought he should put himself out there and make it all about him. Instead, he was all about us. He offered his life in our place and died to take our sins away. Because of Jesus, we have forgiveness of sins. He watched his life closely so that you and I could have eternal life through him. In thankfulness for his blessings, we strive to keep watch on our lives of faith.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for earning my salvation. Help me to keep a close eye on my life of faith so that I may live my life for you. Amen.

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

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.
Deuteronomy 4:2

God’s Plan


Daily Devotion – September 6, 2021

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 4:2

See series: Devotions

What do you like on your pizza? There are as many different answers to that question as there are people. If you order pizza for a group, you will find that people want to change the order. Some want to add more toppings, while others will pick off other toppings.

The same holds true for the Bible. We often do not want to leave the Bible as is. Maybe we do not like what it says about morality, so we take those parts away. Perhaps we do not agree with what it says about the origins of the universe, so we add human theories to mix with what God says. Maybe we want to have more say in how we are saved, so we sprinkle on the idea that if we are good enough people, God will let us into heaven.

All this may make us happy and give us religion that fits our style, but God does not want us to treat his Word like a pizza buffet. He has given us his Word so we can know him and find salvation in him, and he does not want us to add or subtract as that will only serve to mix up what God has given us.

Imagine if Jesus had treated God’s Word that way! Jesus came to earth to be our Savior from sin and to give us eternal life in heaven. But imagine if he had decided he did not like the part about suffering and dying for us and decided to leave that part out. Imagine if he had decided to skip going to the cross to take our sins away.

Jesus came to this world and perfectly fulfilled all that he was asked to do. He did not add to or subtract from God’s plan of saving sinners. Because of Jesus, we are forgiven and saved, and through faith in him, we will go to heaven one day. That is what God’s Word teaches, and there is no need for us to add anything else or take anything away.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to carry out your plan to save us. Help me trust your Word as is. 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 Loves Underdogs – September 5, 2021

The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.
Judges 7:7,8

God Loves Underdogs


Daily Devotion – September 5, 2021

Devotion based on Judges 7:7,8

See series: Devotions

Most people like to cheer for the underdog. We like to see someone prevail against overwhelming odds and adversity. However, it’s usually a lot more fun to cheer for the underdog than to be the underdog. This is especially true when it comes to life and death matters, like fighting cancer or going into war.

The Israelite army was the underdog. To begin with, it was outnumbered 135,000 to 32,000. Then after the Lord told Gideon to send home those who trembled with fear and to keep only those who lapped water with their hands, it was 135,000 to 300. That’s 450 Midianite soldiers to each Israelite! Impossible odds in an era of hand-to-hand combat. But the Lord gave his people the victory!

So why did God make it seem so impossible? He was making sure that the Israelites would not boast in their own strength or think that the victory came by their own planning or power. When it comes to our salvation, God wants us to recognize the same thing. He has done it all. We can do nothing!

Spiritually, each one of us was the most unlikely underdog imaginable. Not only were we separated from God by our sins, but we were also blinded by unbelief. On our own, we could not even make the first move toward God, nor did we want to. But God did the impossible by sending his Spirit through his Word to lead us to love and trust in his Son as our Savior from sin.

The victory is the Lord’s! Therefore, instead of boasting of our own strength or righteousness, we rely on God our Savior and praise him for his gift of righteousness.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, you have done everything for my salvation. I have done nothing. Give me such a faith that humbly approaches you and praises you continually for your great goodness. 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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In the Eyes of God – September 4, 2021

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:1-4

In the Eyes of God


Daily Devotion – September 4, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 18:1-4

See series: Devotions

What is greatness in the eyes of God? Jesus’ disciples were concerned about this. They were probably masking desires of their own to be highly honored by their Lord. What they needed to understand, and so do we, is that greatness in relation to Jesus is different than it is in the world. Worldly greatness depends on people’s personal abilities, accomplishments, and positions that cause others to view them as important, influential, and respectable.

Greatness before God, however, is viewed in a completely different way. To help us understand this, Jesus pointed to a little child as an example. The nature of a young child is to accept things implicitly. Children also recognize how dependent they are on others for help, especially their parents. Gladly they trust those who show them love and listen to them and follow them.

Jesus teaches us that if we want to be great before God and enter his kingdom of heaven, then we must be humble like a little child. Humility means that we recognize that we are sinners before God, confessing that we deserve his condemnation, not his commendation. Humility means that we regard all of his Word as truth and listen to it without doubting its message or rationalizing its content. And very importantly, humility means trusting God who loves us and putting full confidence in Jesus, whom God sent to be our Savior to give us eternal life.

Our greatness before God is what he gives us through Jesus. Our humility to believe that is what God values as greatness.

Prayer:
Jesus, teach me humility. Never let me doubt your Word and its message of life. Make me willing to gladly submit myself to you, trusting you completely as my Savior. 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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To Whom Shall You Go – September 3, 2021

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
John 6:66-68

To Whom Shall You Go


Daily Devotion – September 3, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:66-68

See series: Devotions

Jesus provided a massive crowd of over five thousand hungry people with a miraculous meal, and they wanted to make him their king. Then Jesus told them that he was there to provide them with eternal life, and they walked away from him.

The same thing happens today. People enjoy the blessings that Jesus gives them, but once he starts speaking, they turn their back on him. Even his followers can be offended at his teaching and stop following him.

What about you? Maybe you have your own struggles with what Jesus teaches about creation, marriage, or sin. How do you feel when Jesus says that salvation is found in no one else and that no one comes to the Father except through him? Even if you don’t struggle with those particular teachings, there is plenty more in the Bible that can bother you. And just like he did with his twelve disciples, Jesus asks you: “You do not want to leave too, do you?”

With the apostle Peter, let your answer be, “Lord, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.” All of Jesus’ words are true. And those truths lead to eternal life. So, if you want help with Jesus’ difficult teachings, spend more time with them and grow in your knowledge and understanding. These words are stronger than your doubts and more powerful than your misgivings. And, after all, these are the only words that can lead you to eternal life.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for eternal life. Help me to accept and understand your teachings. 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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Take Jesus at His Word – September 2, 2021

[Jesus said] “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.”
John 6:63

Take Jesus at His Word


Daily Devotion – September 2, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:63

See series: Devotions

Hope. Compromise. Change. Tolerance. Whenever an election rolls around, we drown in a sea of political buzzwords. It’s easy to be skeptical because politicians are often big on words and small on action.

Of course, the seeming meaninglessness of words isn’t confined to politics. Human beings are sinners, and when words come from sinners, they can be empty and unreliable.

But we make a big mistake if we judge Jesus’ words the same way. Jesus does not promise much and deliver little. In fact, Jesus spoke the words in today’s Bible passage because he had just delivered quite a bit—he had turned five loaves of bread and two fish into supper for over five thousand people.

But Jesus wanted the people to know that his goal was not to satisfy their earthly hunger but their spiritual hunger. He taught them: “I am the Bread of Life. Believe in me and you will be satisfied eternally. Reject me and you will starve eternally.” In other words: Jesus is all you need for eternal life.

How was his message received? Like empty words! The crowd grumbled and left him. This whole business about needing to believe in Jesus and reject your own works to get to heaven offended them. As they left, Jesus warned them that this attitude came from their sinful flesh.

Your sinful flesh will try to cultivate the same attitude in you and get you to treat Jesus’ words like nothing but empty sounds. But you can always take Jesus at his word because his words are full of the Holy Spirit and the life that only the Spirit can give!

The Word of God contains the good news that you are forgiven, and heaven is yours because Jesus lived for you, died for you, and rose for you. Here Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit works hand in hand with the Word to give you spiritual life. Through that same Word, the Holy Spirit defends you, forgives you, and empowers you. So take Jesus at his word, and don’t let go of it for all the world!

Prayer:
Blessed Jesus, help me to always trust 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.
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Suffering for the Sake of Christ – September 1, 2021

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
Hebrews 11:24-26

Suffering for the Sake of Christ


Daily Devotion – September 1, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:24-26

See series: Devotions

In the Old Testament hall of fame, Moses is second to none. He led God’s people out of Egypt, shepherded them through the wilderness, and brought them to the border of the Promised Land. It was a tremendous amount of work that involved an astronomical amount of hardship.

Of course, his life could have been much easier. He had been adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter as a baby and educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Moses possessed the knowledge, resources, and connections to do anything he wanted.

But instead, he made a conscious decision to live with the Israelites and spent the last forty years of his life leading stubborn people through a barren wasteland. Why did Moses do it? Because he trusted God’s promises about the coming Savior and knew that suffering along with the people of God had a better outcome than living in Egyptian luxury.

That’s how valuable it is to follow Jesus. Because only Jesus can provide us with forgiveness for our sins and eternal life. Every pleasure this world offers will come to an end. The eternal pleasures of heaven will not.

Like Moses, remember how valuable Jesus is and ask God for the strength to suffer anything rather than lose him.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, strengthen me for when I must suffer for your sake. 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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Keeping Christ at the Center – August 31, 2021

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. . . . Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy.
Ephesians 5:22,25,26

Keeping Christ at the Center


Daily Devotion – August 31, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:22,25,26

See series: Devotions

It’s not hard to envision someone reading this passage and asking, “Can you imagine what it would be like if people actually lived like this?” Maybe you even asked it yourself.

Biblically speaking, “submitting” refers to honoring the leadership of someone God has placed over you in life. The Bible also shows that “loving like Christ loved the church” means sacrificing what you want and acting in another’s best interests.

Our society, however, prioritizes personal autonomy, which makes these hard commands to follow. Also, people naturally act out of sinful self-interest, so this looks like a recipe for misery. Won’t submission mean that your husband takes advantage of you? Won’t setting aside what you want in life for your wife make you constantly unhappy?

It helps to look at this through the eyes of a Christian and not through the eyes of the world. The child of God does not act out of self-centeredness but out of Christ-centeredness. Christians want to put others first because they do not live for themselves.

They live for the Savior who did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage, who submitted himself to God’s law and lived a perfect life for selfish sinners. He sacrificed his time by performing countless miracles for people in need. He even sacrificed himself when he died to take away the sins of the world.

Marriage is such a supreme blessing from God that the devil, the world, and your sinful nature work overtime to attack it. Keeping Christ and his forgiveness at the center is crucial.

When sin threatens to break your marriage or smother your service to others, go to the Savior who sacrificed everything for you and pray for strength. Christ-like service comes hard for us, but it brings tremendous blessings. Can you imagine what it would be like if people actually lived like this? Live it and see for yourself.

Prayer:
Jesus, help me to keep you at the center of all I do. 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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Serve the Lord – August 30, 2021

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

Serve the Lord


Daily Devotion – August 30, 2021

Devotion based on Joshua 24:15

See series: Devotions

The words of this passage are some of the most famous in the entire Bible. Perhaps you’ve seen them artfully displayed in someone’s home—maybe even your own. They are a beautiful expression of faith in the Lord and commitment to him.

When separated from their context, however, their beauty can be blurred by a potential misunderstanding. They can give the impression that human beings are capable of choosing to believe in God all on their own.

But, in context, these words were spoken to people who already believed in the true God. Joshua, a great leader of God’s people, spoke these words shortly before his death. The Promised Land had been conquered, and Israel had a new home. Joshua knew that the Israelites would be tempted to serve the false gods of their new homeland.

But the Lord was not one god among many. He was the only true God who had given the land to them. The people already had the gift of faith from the Lord. So Joshua did not present them with a choice to come to faith, but a choice to serve God in thanks for the faith they already had.

The Bible makes it clear that by nature all human beings are spiritually dead because of sin. Dead people cannot choose to bring themselves to life. Instead, God brings the spiritually dead to life through the good news about his Son, Jesus, who paid for the sins of all people on the cross. God uses this good news to create faith in the hearts of people who would never have believed this on their own. This means that Christians can be certain of their salvation because God has done it all for them!

When God gives people faith, they become Christians, but they remain sinners. Because of sin, they cannot serve God perfectly. They need God to help them renew that purpose. That is why they can confess with Joshua, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Prayer:
Lord, give me a strong faith to serve you all my 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.
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Focus – August 29, 2021

[Jesus said] “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:16-18

Focus


Daily Devotion – August 29, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 6:16-18

See series: Devotions

A hypocrite is someone who acts differently outwardly than what they are on the inside. In today’s Bible passage, Jesus speaks against people who outwardly practice religion, but don’t truly believe it with their hearts. They are mostly interested in drawing attention to themselves and receiving compliments from others for being “such good people.”

Particularly, Jesus points out their misuse of the practice of fasting—voluntarily going without food and/or water for a period of time. Actually, God commanded his Old Testament people to fast in connection with their most important religious festival, the Day of Atonement. The purpose of fasting was to help people focus their attention on the Lord and what he accomplished for them according to his loving promises.

We may not fast or even know people who fast today as part of their faith-life. But other outward things indicate to others that we are practicing our faith. For example, folding our hands when we pray or placing a religious picture on our computer screen desktop. Jesus wants us to know that God is not pleased if we live our faith to get people to think better of us. However, God is pleased if our practices help us focus our attention on him and all that he has done to rescue us from eternal death and give us everlasting life.

Whatever ways we as individuals use to help us focus on our faith in God, we must remember that we gladly do it out of love for our Savior. That is worship that pleases God.

Prayer:
Jesus, I know that you examine my heart and understand the motivation for all that I do. Forgive me when I act only for show. Help me to worship you with a sincere heart and with practices that keep my attention on you as my Savior. 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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Swept Away – August 28, 2021

Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?”
Genesis 18:23

Swept Away


Daily Devotion – August 28, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 18:23

See series: Devotions

When you were a kid, were you ever in a group where one person did something wrong, and everyone was punished for it? The cry of “Not fair!” echoes through the group when that happens. No one likes to be punished for something they didn’t do.

Before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the mass wickedness in these cities, he talked to Abraham. In their conversation, Abraham pleaded with the Lord that the righteous not be destroyed with the wicked. The difference between the two groups was that the righteous were those who believed that the Lord would save them from their sin; the wicked didn’t. Abraham pleaded that those who had faith not be mixed in with the wicked. The Lord had mercy and saved the righteous from destruction.

We also have to ask the same question of the Lord. Will the righteous be destroyed with the wicked? How glad we are to know that the Lord is merciful! Jesus came to remove the guilt of our sin and give us his righteousness. On the last day when the Lord will judge all people, those who believe in Jesus have the assurance that they will be separated from the wicked who denied him in unbelief. Saved by faith, the righteous ones will not be swept away with unbelievers to everlasting destruction. Instead, they will be gathered up to live with God forever.

Prayer:
Merciful Lord, cover me with the righteous of Jesus so that I am never separated from you and your love for me 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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Bread of Life – August 27, 2021

[Jesus said to them] “This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
John 6:58

Bread of Life


Daily Devotion – August 27, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:58

See series: Devotions

It was the fifteenth-century B.C. The people of Israel were out in the wilderness. The Lord had performed miracles to bring them out of Egypt, where they had been forced into slavery. He told them he would bring them to the land he had promised to their ancestor Abraham.

But between Egypt and the Promised Land was wilderness. There was no market from which to buy food and hardly anything even growing around them in the desert climate. Soon they began to grow hungry. But the Lord would not allow them to starve out there in the desert. He provided miraculous bread that the people called manna. It appeared on the ground each night and kept them alive during their journey through the desert.

Imagine what that must have been like. A loaf of bread or a bag of groceries appears on your front porch each day, keeping you and your family alive. You don’t have to work for it. You just pick it up and eat it. As amazing as that miraculous manna was, God had something better in store.

All of the people who ate the manna eventually died. It didn’t keep them alive forever. But God provided for them, and he provides for us, bread that will keep us alive forever.

Jesus talked about that bread after miraculously feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish. He said, “I am the bread of life.” What he meant was this: As people listen to what Jesus says and believe him and trust in him as their Savior, their souls receive life and spiritual nourishment.

Jesus feeds us too. We come to him hungry for love, and he feeds us with the truth that he was willing to lay down his life for us. We come to him hungry for meaning, and he feeds us with the assurance that we are chosen, forgiven children of God, and heirs of heaven. We come to him hungry for hope, and he feeds us with the promise of paradise that he is preparing for us.

Jesus is just the food we need to live forever.

Prayer:
Jesus, Bread of Life, feed me, so that I live forever with you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Always Thankful – August 26, 2021

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20

Always Thankful


Daily Devotion – August 26, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:20

See series: Devotions

The Stevens family had a custom. Every night they went around the dinner table, and everyone shared something from their day for which they were thankful. One day, Josh was not feeling very thankful. It had rained for the third day that week. They couldn’t go out for recess, and in PE class, they had a lesson about health instead of playing soccer. No thanks!

His little brother Nathan spoke up: “I’m thankful it rained again. The plants need the rain to grow, and we need the plants to eat!” In fact, it seemed like Nathan could always find something to be thankful for.

Being thankful can be hard. So many people seem to have so much more than we have. Sometimes, it seems like we are the only ones who are having problems. And those problems just keep coming. How can we be thankful when it seems like nothing is going right. Death, disease, loneliness, loss, pain, violence, health problems, financial setbacks… the list could go on and on.

Today’s bible verse tells us to “always give thanks to God the Father for everything.” Always? For everything? That seems a little extreme, doesn’t it? But notice the words that come after that: “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Talk about extreme! Jesus showed extreme love for us by his willingness to be punished for our ingratitude and discontentment. The punishment he suffered in our place was pretty extreme, too. He was whipped, beaten, and nailed to a cross. Worst of all, he was cut off from God’s love. And he faced it all willingly for us!

If it weren’t for Jesus, even the best things we have would only be temporary, empty, and worthless. Because of Jesus, all of the trials and troubles we face are only temporary. We have God’s love now and the promise of eternal peace in his presence. And the sorrows of this life can’t compare to the joys of the life to come. Meanwhile, God will use even our troubles and trials, our suffering and sadness, for our eternal good.

Because of Jesus, we can always be thankful in everything!

Prayer:
God, thank you for blessing me always. Fill my heart with gratitude for all of your blessings 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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Sing and Make Music to the Lord – August 25, 2021

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:18,19

Sing and Make Music to the Lord


Daily Devotion – August 25, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:18,19

See series: Devotions

If you Google “quotes about music,” you will find hundreds of profound statements about music and its ability to move people and communicate in ways that words alone can’t. A well-written song engages our emotions and puts into words what’s in our hearts and on our minds. Joy and sorrow, anger and anticipation, fear and hope are sometimes most clearly expressed in the words of a song.

In fact, that is why music is such an important part of the life of many Christians. Those who hope in the Lord use music to express the deep sorrow we feel for the ways we’ve disobeyed and dishonored our God. We sing about the fears in our hearts and the foes that surround us. We confess our trust in our powerful and loving God and our confidence in his deliverance from physical and spiritual foes in hymns and songs. And, by reflecting on who God is and what he has done, we are moved to praise him with joyful songs.

Music is part of the shared experience of Christians. Whether in psalms and hymns directly from the Bible or in songs that summarize the message that God gave us in the Bible, Christians speak or sing the truths of Scripture to one another when we gather for worship. We sing those truths because we know that through them, the Holy Spirit fills us with faith to trust God’s promises and strength to live for him.

And in the truths we sing, we are reminded that we are not alone. With our fellow Christians, we share guilt and forgiveness, sorrow and joy, hope and peace. Our songs express the faith we share in a loving God whose marvelous mercy and might that no song can ever fully capture.

You may not sing well. You may not play an instrument. But, when you hear and ponder God’s forgiving love and care in Jesus your Savior, may your heart always be tuned to praise God not only in song but in all that you do.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for the gift of music. May my heart always be tuned to praise you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Watch Where You Are Going – August 24, 2021

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.
Ephesians 5:15

Watch Where You Are Going


Daily Devotion – August 24, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:15

See series: Devotions

Have you seen the videos on YouTube? Someone is looking down at their phone. They aren’t paying attention to where they are walking. And they run right into something or someone. It’s an important lesson, even if it takes some embarrassment or pain to learn: You need to watch where you are going.

This is not only true when we are walking down the street. It is also true as we walk through life. The truth is the path through life is difficult and dangerous. The Bible says, “The days are evil.” It says that “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The devil’s fingerprints are all over the world. He wants to destroy all people and drag us off to hell with him. Through his evil influence, wickedness is all around us. If we don’t recognize the deadly, destructive power of the devil in our world, we leave ourselves in serious danger.

And so the Bible says, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.” The problem is, we’ve already been influenced by the devil’s schemes. Our selfish approach to life, our tendency to trip and fall when temptation comes our way show that we can’t escape the devil’s influence on our own. The answer to the foolishness of my sinful heart doesn’t come from in my heart but from the Bible.

With the encouragement to live wisely, the Bible writer adds, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). God’s Spirit works through the Bible to give us the wisdom that we so desperately need to navigate the dangers of this world. In God’s Word, he makes us wise to the path to blessings with him.

That path is through Jesus alone. Jesus came into this world to destroy every enemy that wanted to destroy us—including the devil and death itself. He opened up the path to God by earning forgiveness for every foolish sin that stood in the way. He opened the gate to eternal life by dying and rising from the dead. Be careful how you live! Follow Jesus! He is the way!

Prayer:
Jesus, open my eyes to the dangers that surround me and lead me on your way that leads to eternal 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.
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A Feast for Fools – August 23, 2021

“Let all who are simple come to my house!”
Proverbs 9:4

A Feast for Fools


Daily Devotion – August 23, 2021

Devotion based on Proverbs 9:4

See series: Devotions

The world’s greatest chefs have prepared the finest of foods and the best wines. The banquet hall has been adorned in beautiful lights, exotic flowers, and fine linens. World-renowned musicians have tuned their instruments, honed their skills, and taken their seats inside. Outside, a red carpet waits to welcome the guests.

This is not a wedding for earthly royalty, a party for Hollywood celebrities, or a political fundraiser. The guests at this banquet are not the rich and famous, the important and influential. To get into this party, it’s not a matter of how much you have or whom you know.

Listen to the invitation: “[Wisdom] has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city. ‘Let all who are simple come to my house!’ To those who have no sense, she says, ‘Come, eat my food.’”

This banquet is for the simple, the naïve, the foolish, those who look at their lives and realize they don’t have the answers and can’t figure it out for themselves. It is for those with needy hearts, the spiritually bankrupt, those who know that whatever good they might have done is worthless and won’t get them anywhere.

The Bible reveals that, by nature, we are all spiritually helpless and needy. If we don’t love others perfectly and love God more than anything, we can’t win God’s favor or get into heaven. If God doesn’t open our eyes, we are blind to the truth of who we are and how gracious God is.

To us, God extends an invitation. “Come in here. Come, listen to what I say.” As we listen, he feeds us a rich spiritual feast. A feast of forgiveness for all of our wrongs. A feast of love for unlovable sinners. A feast of hope standing firmly on all of the promises of God, including his promise that, because Jesus died in our place, we will live forever and feast with God in heaven one day.

So, come to the feast. Come as you are. Feast on the Bible’s message, in which God speaks to fill you with good things and to bless you forever.

Prayer:
God, thank you for inviting me to feast on your promises. Bless me through your Word until I feast with you in 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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The One Who Has Everything – August 22, 2021

“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11:35,36

The One Who Has Everything


Daily Devotion – August 22, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 11:35,36

See series: Devotions

What gift do you give the person who has everything? This question has often been used as an advertisement for various products. This slogan has been used because sometimes we feel obligated to give a gift to someone who seems to have everything already, and no matter what we would give him or her, it couldn’t be better than what they already have.

This is especially true when it comes to God. What could we ever give to the Creator and master of the universe? He already owns everything, even what we call our own and even our own existence. So what could we give him that he should be grateful to us? Nothing! The Bible says, “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” (Romans 11:35).

Does this seem like a depressing thought? Not at all. The fact that we can’t give to God to repay him makes the forgiveness we have in Jesus even more amazing. Since we could never move God to love us because of what we do for him, his free blessing of eternal life through Jesus is all the more remarkable. How much our great God loves us! We are led to give God glory forever.

Prayer:
Thank you, God, for giving me all that I have, especially my Savior Jesus. May the way I live today express how grateful I am. 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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Rest – August 21, 2021

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:1-4

Rest


Daily Devotion – August 21, 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 23:1-4

See series: Devotions

It’s nearly impossible to rest when under stress. We’ve all been there. We think about something we forgot to take care of at work, or we wonder if we locked the front door, or maybe we begin to think about an argument with a family member or friend, and we just can’t rest.

Sheep are kind of the same way. Sheep that are hungry, in pain, or under any type of stress take a long time to lie down. But when the needs of sheep are met, when they are well fed and protected, they quickly lie down and rest.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is our spiritual shepherd. We can rest in our Good Shepherd because he has taken care of our every need. Our biggest problem isn’t just forgetting to do something at work or forgetting to lock the front door. Our biggest problem is that we have often strayed from God. But Jesus assures us: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Our Savior laid down his life to pay for our sins and make us his sheep. We can rest in his love.

Sometimes it’s hard to rest. Sometimes things in this life can cause an enormous amount of stress and anxiety. At those times, we need to remember that the Lord is our Shepherd. He leads us to drink from the refreshing waters of his salvation and promises to take care of us and lead us through this life. No matter what happens, we can rest in the green pastures of our Savior’s forgiving love.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, please help me rest in your promises of love, guidance, and protection. Even when life grows dark and I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, lead me to see my Savior Jesus right there beside 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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Spend Time With Jesus – August 20, 2021

[Jesus said] “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
John 6:44

Spend Time With Jesus


Daily Devotion – August 20, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:44

See series: Devotions

In his younger years, renowned Christian writer C. S. Lewis was an avowed atheist. When he was a young boy, his mother died. Her death so wounded him that it took him down the path of renouncing God. Left to himself, he would have continued in that path throughout his life.

But he was not left to himself. Little by little, the Lord rattled his presumptions and exposed him to the reality of his existence. Little by little, the Lord gave him passing encounters with the message of the good news of what Jesus Christ came to do. One key encounter involved a long walk he took after an evening meal. He took this walk with an old friend, J. R. R. Tolkien (yes, that J. R. R. Tolkien—the man who wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings). As a result of these various encounters with the message of Jesus, C. S. Lewis came to faith in Christ as his Savior from sin.

Later in life, Lewis wrote about his conversion. When he did, his candor about it was disarming. According to his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, Lewis describes himself in his conversion as “the most…reluctant convert in all of England…dragged into the kingdom kicking, struggling, …darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape.”

In his own C. S. Lewis-like way, he made it clear that he could not take the credit for coming to faith in Jesus. On the contrary, he trusted in Jesus as Savior because the Lord had drawn him in through the power of the gospel.

Jesus himself acknowledged the same thing. He said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).

Perhaps you are in a period in your life where you don’t know what to make of Christianity. If so, keep spending time learning all that Jesus has done on your behalf. And know this, too. The Lord is at work in your life.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in those moments when I struggle, fill me with your Spirit. Draw me closer to 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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Familiarity – August 19, 2021

They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
John 6:42

Familiarity


Daily Devotion – August 19, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:42

See series: Devotions

Some early church history suggests that, while Jesus was growing up with Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, he worked with Joseph in his trade as a carpenter. That same early church history also suggests that some of the items they manufactured together were things like yokes and plows.

If that’s the case, put yourself in the place of someone listening to Jesus in John chapter 6. You know that Jesus grew up in nearby Nazareth. You know his family. Perhaps you even have fresh memories of Jesus repairing your plow or selling you a new yoke. But now, as you’re listening to him preach, he’s telling you that he, Jesus, has come down from heaven.

“Heaven?” you might say. “I don’t think so, Jesus. You can’t pull that on us. You’re from Nazareth. You’re Joseph and Mary’s boy. You’re the man who fixed my plow. You’re not from heaven. I know you too well.”

Familiarity with the Christian faith is a blessed, beautiful, powerful, comforting thing. But the evil genius of your old sinful self and mine can also use such familiarity as Jesus’ listeners did here. The evil genius of your old sinful self and mine can also use such familiarity as an excuse for not taking seriously the only Savior you and I are ever going to have. For not taking seriously the reality that the arrival of God the Son in the person of Jesus Christ is THE WAY by which God himself has entered our world to rescue us from the damning curse of our sin.

Thank God that he returns to us again and again in his Word. Thank God that, again and again, he calls us to repentance. Thank God that, when we come to him in repentant hearts, all is washed away, cleansed in the blood of the Lamb, all is made new. And thank God that, in this forgiveness, the Holy Spirit refreshes our eyes to see Jesus for who he truly is.

Prayer:
Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for all the times I have allowed my sense of familiarity to dismiss my desperate need for you. By your Spirit, keep me close. 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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