The Living Savior Provides a Fresh Start – April 9, 2021

“Go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Mark 16:7

The Living Savior Provides a Fresh Start


Daily Devotion – April 9, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 16:7

See series: Devotions

At first glance, it might seem strange that the angel sent the women who saw him on Easter morning to tell Jesus’ disciples about Jesus’ resurrection. After all, they had deserted him when he was arrested. Why not leave them behind? Wouldn’t it have been better to send the first witnesses of the resurrection to Caiaphas, Herod, or Pilate for a little “I told you so”? Actually no. “I told you so” was not the mission Jesus had come to accomplish, and it wasn’t the message that he wanted to send.

Besides, Jesus’ disciples needed to hear this good news of the resurrection more than anyone else. After all, their fall from grace had made the loudest crash.

Regardless of what they deserved to be called, the angel did not call them “traitors,” “cowards,” or even “underachievers.” After all that had happened, they were still called Jesus’ “disciples.” It’s not because they’d merited the moniker. They were disciples by grace.

The same is true for all of Jesus’ disciples. The truth is we have all given Jesus good reason to distance himself from us, to make a clean break from us and leave us behind. And we need so desperately to hear the good news of a living and gracious Savior, who in his mercy still rejoices to call us his disciples.

The empty tomb was so many things to Jesus’ disciples. Evidence of promises kept, of Jesus’ divinity, of victory over death. Here’s one more thing the empty tomb meant for them: a fresh start.

So also for Jesus’ modern-day disciples! Because of the forgiveness he won for us, every day is a fresh start—an opportunity to follow him more closely and serve him faithfully.

Prayer:
Send me your Holy Spirit, living Savior, that I may rejoice in the new life of Easter and live each day in your service and to 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

The Living Savior Prepares You for Death – April 8, 2021

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”
Mark 16:6

The Living Savior Prepares You for Death


Daily Devotion – April 8, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 16:6

See series: Devotions

“You’re going to die; here’s how to deal with it.” That was the headline of an online news article that caught my attention recently. The article proceeded to offer all sorts of advice on ways for a person to ease their anxiety about death. Have open conversations about dying. Get your paperwork in order. Declutter and downsize now so that others won’t have to do it later. Don’t wait to achieve your goals. Don’t put off reconciling with people from whom you’re separated. All practical ideas, however, in some way missing the point.

If you want to know how to deal with the inevitability of death, look at Jesus’ empty tomb and see the place where they laid him.

The devil definitely doesn’t want you to see this! He wants you to see the yawning pit of your own grave. He will point his finger and cackle that your final bed has been made up for you. He wants you to think that the grave will be the end for you.

But the devil can’t change history. He can’t change Calvary. And he sure can’t stuff Jesus back in the tomb. See the place where they laid him? He’s not there. And that means that everyone who trusts in him for forgiveness and eternal life will have both.

We’re not so naïve as to think that dying is ever easy or that coping with the death of someone dear is a breeze. It’s not easy, but it is inevitable. How do you deal with it? It’s thoughtful to declutter now so that others won’t have to later. It’s smart to have your paperwork in order. But if you really want to be prepared to die, trust in Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, although death is real, your resurrection changes everything. Remind me each day of your empty tomb and draw me to yourself in faith that I may ever be prepared for this life to end and life eternal to begin. 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 Living Savior Keeps His Promises – April 7, 2021

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
Mark 16:5

The Living Savior Keeps His Promises


Daily Devotion – April 7, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 16:5

See series: Devotions

After someone dies, they’re pretty easy to keep track of: They don’t run errands; they don’t go on vacation. They pretty much stay put. The women in our Bible reading for today knew that Jesus had been placed in the tomb on Friday. And so they had every logical reason to assume that he was still going to be there on Sunday.

But when they arrived, they found nothing as they had expected it. The tomb was open. A man in white sitting in the tomb, and the body of Jesus nowhere to be found. So Mark tells us, “they were alarmed.”

They were understandably alarmed that Jesus’ body was not there. But, it would have been much more alarming if it had been.

Consider that possibility. If Jesus’ body was there when the women arrived, that would have made Jesus a liar, a hoax, a fraud that duped thousands of gullible people. Because, after all, he had said, “The Son of Man…after three days he will rise.” (Mark 9:31) And it’s not like he just let it slip out one time. He promised three different times in Mark’s Gospel alone: I am going to rise from the dead.

And then he did.

Jesus’ resurrection means he is able to keep his promises. He promises to always be with us (Matthew 28:20). He promises that his work of saving us from our sins is finished (John 19:30), that he’s preparing a place in heaven for us, and that he will come back for us (John 14:2,3). The fact that Jesus can do what he has promised means everything for the child of God.

Thank God the tomb was empty on Easter morning!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I build my life on your promises and do so confidently because I know you always keep them. Your empty tomb is proof. Send me your Holy Spirit to preserve me in faith that when my last hour comes, I will hold fast to your promises and be found in 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 Living Savior Calms Your Heart – April 6, 2021

They asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
Mark 16:3,4

The Living Savior Calms Your Heart


Daily Devotion – April 6, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 16:3,4

See series: Devotions

The women came to Jesus’ tomb that first Easter morning with a lot on their minds. Jesus had been the center of their lives. And now he was gone. How would they spend their days? Who would take care of them? Being such open followers of an outlaw like Jesus, was their own safety and wellbeing now in question? Those were big questions. But of course, the women had a more immediate question uppermost on their minds that morning: “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” You might bring a heart full of questions with you to this day. Will things ever get better? Will my job be something I can count on? Will my marriage survive? Will my family be happy and successful? Will I outlive my savings? Will my health take a turn for the worse?

Jesus doesn’t give us answers to every question that weighs on our hearts—he wants us to entrust our unknown to him, after all. But his empty tomb does give us the one answer that rolls away our fear and puts all of our other questions into proper perspective. When questions fill your heart, remember that you have a Savior who is alive!

When Jesus met the women that day, he told them, “Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 28:10) And so the living Jesus says the same thing to us today. Don’t be afraid of Satan’s condemnations because Jesus lives to plead your case in God’s courtroom. Don’t be afraid of the future because Jesus lives to direct and support you in the days ahead. Don’t be afraid even of death itself because Jesus lives to share his victory over the grave with you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my life is filled with unknowns, and my heart is filled with questions. But you are my living Savior, powerful and capable, and so I entrust my today and tomorrow into your capable hands. Calm my heart. Assure me that you are ever near. And give me the strength to face each day with you by my side. 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 Living Savior Exceeds Expectations – April 5, 2021

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb.
Mark 16:1,2

The Living Savior Exceeds Expectations


Daily Devotion – April 5, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 16:1,2

See series: Devotions

What do you expect to see when you go to a funeral? You expect to see friends paying their respects and loved ones trying to hold it together. You expect to see the deceased person’s body or an urn full of ashes.

That’s what you expect because that’s what you’ve experienced. That’s what the women who visited Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning were expecting, too. They’d been to funerals before. They thought they knew how this funeral was going to go. Only when they arrived, there was no body. That was definitely unexpected!

The women saw Jesus die on Friday. They saw his lifeless body carried down from a cross and put in the tomb. They saw that he was dead. But with Jesus, what you see with your eyes doesn’t tell the whole story.

So it is at the funerals of those who die believing in Jesus. You may see friends coming to pay their respects and see grieving loved ones trying to hold it together. You may see a body. But your eyes don’t tell you the whole story. And they certainly don’t tell you the best part of the story.

The grave could not hold Jesus. And it will not hold the ones who have faith in Jesus either. He promises, “Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19) The grave is where we were supposed to get what our sins deserve. But instead, the grave is where the believer gets what Jesus deserves—heaven, forever. Instead of closing our eyes in death and opening them again to see even greater death, we close our eyes in death and open them to see Jesus. Leave it to our Greatest Friend to take the devil’s greatest weapon and use it as the believer’s greatest blessing.

Prayer:
I praise you, living Savior, for your victory over death and the devil. Even more, I thank you that you share your victory with me. May your victory be my comfort in difficult days and my certain hope for the life to come. 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

Loved by God – April 4, 2021

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side.
John 20:19,20

Loved by God


Daily Devotion – April 4, 2021

Devotion based on John 20:19,20

See series: Devotions

How secure are you? Is your job safe, or is there a lay-off coming? How about your health? Or what if you had a serious car accident, or your home caught on fire, or what if …?

Important questions, but in reality, they are insignificant in comparison to, “What is my relationship to God?” Or this question, “When I die, where will I go?” Now THOSE questions simply HAVE to be answered, or there will be a nagging sense of worry, emptiness, insecurity.

Problem is, as we look into our hearts and minds, we’re not helped. Have we been perfectly patient with those around us? Have we always been an example of Christ-like love toward others? Or do we see in ourselves a rash of impatience, unkindness, and selfishness? That’s more insecurity!

Jesus’ disciples understood insecurity. They locked themselves in a room; they had no idea what was going to happen next, no idea where their life was going, just no idea. And then Jesus miraculously appeared and stood among them.

And what did he do? He showed them his hands and his side. Those pierced hands and side were proof that the disciples were forgiven. Jesus’ suffering on the cross and death was full payment for all their sins. The crucified and now risen Jesus was proof that the favor of God was upon them and heaven was open for them!”

“Look!” Jesus says also to you. “Look at my hands, look at my side! You’re forgiven! Loved by God! Heaven is your home! And you have my peace!”

Prayer:
Jesus, my risen Savior, often I’m nervous and afraid. Forgive me! Focus my attention on your pierced hands and side, that I might see clearly that my sins are forgiven, and you have opened heaven for me. Fill me with your peace. 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

Specifically for You – April 3, 2021

“Don’t be alarmed,” the angel said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Mark 16:6,7

Specifically for You


Daily Devotion – April 3, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 16:6,7

See series: Devotions

How did the apostle Peter feel on Good Friday? Just watching Jesus go through all his suffering must have been bad enough, but to know that he had denied knowing Jesus had to make him feel awful. Even worse, he had denied Jesus three times. More than that, Jesus had warned him plainly in advance that he was going to do it! How did Peter feel? So horrible that he wept bitterly.

Then on Easter Sunday, the women who arrived at Jesus’ empty tomb were given a clear instruction by the angel. “Go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘Jesus is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Tell Peter. Tell Peter specifically. Why? Because Peter really needed to hear it! Peter really needed to hear that his sins were forgiven, that he had a risen Savior who still loved him and who always would love him.

You and I are no different. We’re sinful human beings, just like he was. We’ve denied Jesus in our own ways, whether by blatant statements (like Peter), or not letting our light of faith shine, or failing to trust God fully, or neglecting God’s Word, or other actions sinful before God and offensive to people. We’ve failed. We’ve sinned. We are “Peter.”

Jesus’ resurrection is God’s good news for you. You have a risen Savior! Jesus died and rose again from the dead to assure you that your sins are all forgiven. You have a living Savior who loves you specially.

Prayer:
Risen Lord Jesus, fill my heart with the peace of the forgiveness of sins accomplished by your death and guaranteed by your resurrection from the dead. Assure me of your special love to take away my doubts and fears. 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

Stricken Smitten Afflicted – April 2, 2021

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:4-6

Stricken Smitten Afflicted


Daily Devotion – April 2, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 53:4-6

See series: Devotions

Why would God strike his own Son? Did he deserve it? Human fathers have sometimes used corporal punishment to discipline their disobedient children. But Jesus Christ, the holy Son of God, was the only son on earth who never once stepped out of line. In fact, his Father publicly declared that he was “well pleased” with his beloved Son. And yet, at his crucifixion, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And seven centuries earlier, the prophet Isaiah foretold how the sinless Son of God, the perfect Servant of the Lord, would be punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. He would be pierced and crushed and wounded. And the pain of punishment would not subside until the last breath of life escaped his lips—which even then still spoke only words of trust in the Father who had scourged him for sins he did not himself commit.

Why would God strike his own Son instead of us? Didn’t we deserve it? The prophet tells us plainly: Jesus willingly suffered on account of and in payment for our sins. Although we were the ones who wandered away from God like wayward sheep, our Good Shepherd took up our sin and laid down his life for us because he loves you. Pure, unmerited grace motivated him to do the unthinkable—accepting the punishment that we had earned for ourselves.

Why would God strike his own Son? For what purpose: To bring peace and healing through the forgiveness of our sins. When we view the nail-pierced and bloody body of Christ on the cross, we should see in his wounds our reconciliation with God. We should see in his suffering the cause of our joy. And in his death and resurrection, the sure hope of our own eternal life.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 114)
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, dearest Jesus, unto thee! 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

Life Giving Blood – April 1, 2021

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.
Mark 14:22-24

Life Giving Blood


Daily Devotion – April 1, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 14:22-24

See series: Devotions

Immediately following the horror of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, there was a great need for blood. And the response to that need was greater still. Donors turned out in such large numbers that, within days, the American Red Cross had received more blood than it needed. People knew that giving blood meant giving a chance for life to someone who might die without it.

This understanding of blood as essential for life was behind the sacrifices of the Old Testament. The shedding of sacrificial blood illustrated to God’s people in a very vivid way that forgiveness of sins and an ongoing relationship with God came with the cost of a life. When the Lord made a covenant with the descendants of Israel, that agreement was sealed in the sprinkling of a young bull. God promised to care for them, to bless, guide, and protect them. In return, the people would obediently follow his commands. The problem was that although the Lord kept his end of the covenant, his chosen people did not keep theirs. They acted as rebellious children, like an unfaithful spouse to the Lord.

A new and better covenant was necessary. It required a new and better sacrifice. You and I have also acted as straying sheep. Just as rebellious and unfaithful as the people of Israel, we, too, deserve to be cut off from God. Happily for us, Jesus Christ, the pure Lamb of God, has been offered up in our place. In a new, one-sided covenant, God has punished his Son for our disobedience, and he credits to our account his perfect Son’s righteousness. Lest we doubt this as too good to be true, Christ gave us his very body and blood to eat and drink in the special meal we now call the Lord’s Supper. In his divine blood, we have eternal life.

Prayer:
I praise you, Lord, for you give me life through your Son’s precious blood. 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

Approaching God With Confidence – March 31, 2021

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16

Approaching God With Confidence


Daily Devotion – March 31, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 4:14-16

See series: Devotions

A story is told of a soldier during the Civil War trying to see President Lincoln. The soldier’s mother was dying, and he wanted to leave to visit her. But, despite his persistence, the guards would not let him through to the president. As the man stood crying outside the White House, a boy came up and asked him what the matter was. After hearing his story, the boy led him by the hand, past the guards, and straight into Lincoln’s personal library. The boy said, “Father, I have brought someone to see you.” Lincoln listened to the soldier’s request and granted him a leave of absence, all because of the intercession of his son, Tad.

Whether this story is true or not, it illustrates the powerful truth of what Jesus has accomplished for us with his death and resurrection.

Our sins had barred us from entering heaven; mankind had lost its access to God because we had denied him first place in our lives. But God showed his eternal love for us by sending his Son. As true man, Jesus suffered with us, understanding what it means to be tempted by sin. And yet, as true God, he was able to resist all temptation. But because he suffered with us, Jesus, our high priest, was also able and willing to suffer for us. His death on the cross was the atoning sacrifice that pays for the disobedience of all people. His resurrection is proof that he was successful in his redeeming work and that he now serves as a mediator between us and our Heavenly Father. As a result, we can be confident that God will hear and answer all our prayers.

Prayer:
Lord, grant me grace and mercy for my every need, for the sake of Jesus 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Path to Becoming Our King – March 30, 2021

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11

Path to Becoming Our King


Daily Devotion – March 30, 2021

Devotion based on Philippians 2:5-11

See series: Devotions

Jesus’ path to becoming King of your heart started long before Holy Week. He had announced his “candidacy” at different times. Months before his death and resurrection, Jesus told his disciples exactly what would happen. Decades before that, the Christmas angel announced a campaign slogan of sorts: “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” And centuries before that, our Savior-King released “press statements” of his promises through the prophets sent in his name.

The path Jesus took reveals much about his character. While every other person on earth gets caught up with self-promotion and “looking out for number one,” Jesus truly held the interests of others always ahead of his own. Rather than cling to his glory as the Son of God, he humbly set it aside so that he might serve us.

His path also tells us much about what he came to accomplish. His journey to the cross was both purposeful and fruitful. He was “obedient to death” so as to pay for the sins of all mankind. His name is above every name because “there is no other name on earth by which we must be saved.”

Finally, Jesus’ path to kingship reveals what it means to live in his kingdom. His is a kingdom that is never-ending but was brought about by death. Our king was cursed; we are blessed. In his kingdom, there is no place for shameless self-promotion, but only selflessness and self-sacrificial love for one another.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, grant me the same self-sacrificing attitude as 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

Sing Hosanna to Our Savior King – March 29, 2021

Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Mark 11:9,10

Sing Hosanna to Our Savior King


Daily Devotion – March 29, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 11:9,10

See series: Devotions

The crowds in Jerusalem that gathered for the Passover festival were riding a spiritual high. They were singing hosanna, waving palm branches, and acclaiming Jesus as their King and the promised Messiah. But by Monday, they were already starting to slip. By Tuesday, they weren’t so sure anymore about this Jesus fellow. And by Friday morning, many were screaming for his blood. Their Sunday “hosannas” were so quickly forgotten.

“Hosanna” is a Hebrew word which evolved in meaning and usage over time. Originally, hosanna was a kind of prayer, something like “Please save us!” But by the time of Jesus, it was mostly used as a joyful acclamation, like saying, “All hail!” So when the crowd shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” many were caught up in the moment of splendor and nationalistic pride, trying to recapture the glory days of King David.

Hosanna was, in fact, the word that should have been on their lips—not in boastful pride, but rather as a fervent plea by sinners who know they have no way to rescue themselves.

Like the crowd in Jerusalem, we so easily forget what we need Jesus for. It is essential that we understand this if our hosanna is going to last longer than a day. We must understand that the reason Jesus came was because of our sin. He didn’t come just to be worshiped and praised, but we praise, worship, and serve him because he came to die. Humbly laying down his innocent life to pay for our guilt, Jesus opened up heaven to all who repent and believe. When we keep all this in mind, our hosannas will ring truer and remain on our lips longer.

Prayer:
Blessed are you, Jesus, who came in the name of the Lord to save us! 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

See Your King – March 28, 2021

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9

See Your King


Daily Devotion – March 28, 2021

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9

See series: Devotions

It was a very strange parade, a one-man procession into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. In today’s reading from the Bible, we view that Palm Sunday parade through the eyes of a prophet who lived five hundred years before the event occurred, yet he writes as though it’s already happening. The prophet Zechariah says, See your king.

We need Zechariah’s encouragement. We would never have put this king first in our hearts. We would have paid attention only to the events and the people who make us feel good about ourselves. We would have done so without ever noticing that our preoccupation with the things of this world is false worship, the worship of created things rather than of the One who created them. We would have dedicated ourselves fully to the here and now, and we would have forfeited the eternity God has in mind for us. Even when we know Jesus, we still struggle to appreciate him.

See! Says, Zechariah. Your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey. The approaching Savior rides a donkey, not a warhorse. He is gentle. He rides into Jerusalem to be betrayed and arrested and sentenced and crucified, all without putting up a fight. At the same time, he is righteous and having salvation. This gentle king is God’s Son from all eternity. With his death, he will take the rap for every sinner who has ever lived. This isn’t just a king on a donkey. This is the King on a donkey. This is the one who holds the universe in his hands, and he is at your service.

Rejoice greatly! Jesus has done what he came to do. By his death on the cross, Jesus has rescued you.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, by your death and resurrection you have rescued me from sin and death. Lead me to praise you with everything that I am and with everything that I have. 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

Memory Loss – March 27, 2021

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah . . . For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:31,34

Memory Loss


Daily Devotion – March 27, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:31,34

See series: Devotions

Don’t you hate it when you can’t remember something? The car keys you just set down take an hour to find. The purpose for the errand escapes you. The appointment you made last week is missed. Memory loss, no matter what your age, sure can be frustrating!

Isn’t it ironic that while we can forget some things, other events remain crystal clear in our minds? Especially if we have been wronged, abused, or sinned against. These crystal-clear memories can bring resentment, bitterness, and a desire to get even. Imagine if God would keep a record of wrongs against him? What if he would save them in his mind only to eventually lash out in anger against us for them?

Thankfully, that is not what God has done. Instead, God promised, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” The prophet Jeremiah wrote these words to the nation of Israel that had many times sinned against each other and the Lord. As they turned to the Lord in repentance, what comfort it was for them to know the Lord would remember their sins no more! How could he do this? The Bible says that the “Lord has laid on Jesus the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Our record is clean. God’s memory of our sin is gone! What true and lasting comfort we can have as we turn in repentance to the Lord to hear him tell us, “I have forgiven your wickedness and remember your sins no more.”

Prayer:
Thank you, gracious Lord, for forgetting my sins. 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 New Covenant – March 26, 2021

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord . . . “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:33,34

A New Covenant


Daily Devotion – March 26, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:33,34

See series: Devotions

Passover begins at sundown tomorrow. Passover is a commemoration of God rescuing the people of Israel from being enslaved in Egypt. When the people slaughtered a lamb for a meal and put some of the blood of the lamb on their doorframe, the Lord passed over their homes and did not allow death to come to them on the same night that he allowed death to come into the homes of the Egyptians who were enslaving them.

People who observe Passover tomorrow will partake of a meal that includes lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and wine. They will be remembering the old covenant of the Lord. In that old covenant, the Lord had Moses lead them out of Egypt toward the promised land of Israel. The Lord told them to obey his commandments as a way of thanking him for his deliverance.

Sadly, God’s people were never able to keep his commandments.

Anticipating that failure, the Lord provided someone to keep his commandments on behalf of every person who has ever lived. That commandment keeper, Jesus, didn’t just live a perfect life. He also shed his blood to take the punishment for all those lawbreakers.

When Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, he said that shedding his blood was a new covenant—something that had been anticipated by the prophet Jeremiah 600 years earlier. In the new covenant, the Lord would forgive everyone who had ever broken any of his commandments. He would forgive their wickedness and forget their sins.

You are living in the new covenant. The Lord has promised forgiveness for you through faith in Jesus regardless of how well you have kept the commandments. Let this assurance be your motivation for keeping his commandments, thanking him for delivering you from your sins.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your new covenant and for delivering me from my sins. Help me keep your commandments this day. Amen.

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

A Superior High Priest – March 25, 2021

Jesus was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:10

A Superior High Priest


Daily Devotion – March 25, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:10

See series: Devotions

The position of high priest in the time before Jesus lived was an important one. The high priest was the one who went to God on behalf of the Jewish people. He was the go-between.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Christians recognized that Jesus is the ultimate high priest. In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is compared to the Old Testament high priests to show all of the ways he is superior to them. For example, Old Testament high priests sacrificed animals, but Jesus sacrificed himself. Also, the previous high priests entered the Most Holy Place in the Temple once a year to sprinkle the blood of an animal ceremonially as payment for the sins of the people. Year after year after year the high priest did this. Jesus, however, shed his blood on the cross once for all the sins of the world.

Aren’t you glad you have a High Priest who gave the ultimate and only necessary sacrifice for your sins? What a comfort to know that those sins weighing heavy on your heart have been forgiven. Revel in that forgiveness today. Praise and thank Jesus, your great High Priest!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice so that I can go to heaven and be with you in that most holy place. 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

Lifted Up – March 24, 2021

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” [Jesus] said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
John 12:32,33

Lifted Up


Daily Devotion – March 24, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:32,33

See series: Devotions

The Romans weren’t the only people who used crucifixion as a punishment, but they perfected it. The Roman writer Cicero called it the most cruel and hideous of all tortures. Sometimes bodies would be left hanging on crosses for days so that everyone could see them rot. The Romans used crucifixion to force social conformity. The public display was meant to send a message: commit a crime, and the same thing could happen to you. Famously, after the uprising of slaves led by Spartacus, 6,000 crosses lined the highway to Rome.

Jesus was no criminal and had done nothing wrong. But he was crucified publicly for everyone to see. There was no doubt that he was lifted up, nailed by his hands and his feet to a cross. There was no doubt that he died while hanging on a cross.

Jesus knew that was the kind of death he was going to die. But he didn’t mind it being public. In fact, he wanted everyone to know about it because his death was for everyone. Jesus took the punishment of death and hell for all people, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but will have eternal life.

Jesus draws all people to himself through faith without regard for nationality, ethnic affiliation, status, age, or gender. No matter what has happened in your life, no matter how good or bad it’s been, Jesus draws you to him.

The Romans meant death on the cross to be shameful. But there’s no need for you to feel ashamed of Jesus Christ. He was lifted up so that you would be drawn to him as your Savior.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, draw us to thee, for then shall we walk in thy steps forever and hasten on where thou art gone to be with thee, dear 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Planted to Be Glorified – March 23, 2021

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
John 12:23,24

Planted to Be Glorified


Daily Devotion – March 23, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:23,24

See series: Devotions

Dealing with the death of someone you love is difficult. You know that everyone dies, but even when you know it’s coming, it can be surprisingly difficult.

When the time came for Jesus to die, he knew it would not be easy for the people who loved him. They knew he did not deserve to die. He was human, but he hadn’t done anything wrong. He seemed so young and vibrant—powerful in both word and deed.

So Jesus explained that his dying would be like planting a seed in the ground. It seems a shame to bury a seed, but when you see what happens, you realize that there’s a greater purpose. A seed is meant to go into the ground so that it can grow and produce fruit with many more seeds.

When Jesus died and was buried, it paid the appropriate price for the sin of the world. Jesus suffered hell so that his followers would never have to go there. Instead, they will spend their eternity in heaven. They are the seeds Jesus was referring to. His death meant eternal life for many.

It must have been difficult for Jesus’ friends and family to see him die. But now, how glad they are he did as their souls celebrate with him in heaven.

You can be sure Jesus’ death was for you too. Follow him. Trust in him. And spend your eternity celebrating with him in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for being willing to die so that I might live. 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

We Would Like to See Jesus – March 22, 2021

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”
John 12:20,21

We Would Like to See Jesus


Daily Devotion – March 22, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:20,21

See series: Devotions

I was once invited to preach at a different church. When I went into the pulpit to preach, I saw a message written on a piece of wood, a message that only the preacher could read. “Sir,” it said, “we would like to see Jesus.”

I recognized that the words are from the Gospel of John, chapter 12. Jesus in Jerusalem, just a few days away from dying on a cross. Some Greek people who were visiting Jerusalem found one of Jesus’ disciples. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”

When I saw those words written in the pulpit of that church, I knew why they were there. It’s a tremendous privilege to be asked to preach, and there’s a lot of freedom in what a preacher can say from a pulpit. Lutheran pastors understand that with great freedom comes great responsibility. Lutheran congregations expect Lutheran pastors to preach only the Word of God, and the only way to preach the Word of God correctly is to recognize the Savior at the center of it. “Sir,” say Lutheran listeners, “we would like to see Jesus.”

The Greeks who asked that question did not just want to see Jesus. They wanted to interview him, talk to him, hear him speak, understand him.

They aren’t the only ones. When I see how special Jesus is, when I hear the extraordinary things he did for me, when I understand that he loves me and forgives my sins, I want to get to know him more and more.

I hope that’s the case for you, too. Like those Greek people in Jerusalem that day long ago, may you desire to see Jesus and know him more and more.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for letting me see you and know you 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

Know It All – March 21, 2021

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Matthew 11:25-27

Know It All


Daily Devotion – March 21, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 11:25-27

See series: Devotions

Do you know someone who is a “know-it-all”—the person who usually doesn’t accept your ideas or plans but thinks that he knows better and pursues his own way? That can be frustrating for you, and it may lead you to stop discussing your thoughts with that person who thinks that he is wiser than you are.

In a way, that’s the kind of situation that Jesus is talking about in these verses. God, his Father, hides his truths of salvation from those who have rejected him and think that they know better. In their wisdom, they regard God’s Word as unimportant for their lives. They reject God’s plan of salvation through Jesus because it doesn’t make sense to their learned minds.

Jesus warns us not to be “know-it-alls” when it comes to the truth of salvation that God gives us in his Word. Be like little children who hear and believe. The Word we have is from God; the plan of salvation is revealed to us from “the Lord of heaven and earth.” Who are we to think that we know better! We are not so wise to know the way to the Father on our own, and it is impossible for us to find him and please him no matter how learned we strive to be. So God came to us; the true God in the form of a man—Jesus! “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In the Bible, God has revealed his love for us through Jesus, to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

How greatly God loves us to open up our minds to know him and our hearts to believe in Jesus as our Savior!

Prayer:
Thank you, heavenly Father, for revealing yourself to me through Jesus. Amen.

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

Love That Is Real – March 20, 2021

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Love That Is Real


Daily Devotion – March 20, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 5:8

See series: Devotions

Do you feel loved by God? Do you feel close to him? Do you feel as if his arms are embracing you, carrying you through this day or this night? Do you feel safe, secure, protected? Do you feel as if God is focusing every fiber of his attention on you?

Perhaps you do. But chances are good that you don’t. After all, think about everything going on in your life that can keep that feeling away from you. Perhaps it’s the uncertain economy or trouble at work. Perhaps it’s heartache at home, your finances, your health, or a relationship that’s gone sour. Perhaps it’s the death of someone close. Perhaps at this point in your life, you simply find yourself in a place where you feel empty, isolated, misunderstood, forgotten. But you definitely do not feel loved by God.

But you know what? That’s okay. Think about it: Would you really want to live in a world where God’s love was there for you only when you really felt it? You see, God’s love for you in Jesus Christ is far more dependable, far more certain, far more real than any temporary emotion. In this broken-down world, bad things are going to happen, and those bad things are going to rough up our emotions once in a while. And when that happens, we are not going to feel very loved.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this,” the apostle Paul says. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And so there it is. It’s okay if our frail emotions don’t always feel God’s love. We don’t have to depend on our feelings to know God’s love is real. Instead, we can place our certainty on the One who sent his Son to wash us clean of our every sin.

Prayer:
Holy Father, your love for me in Jesus Christ is real. Forgive me when I’ve trusted my emotions instead of trusting you. In my difficult moments, empower me to rest in you alone. 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 Result – March 19, 2021

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

The Result


Daily Devotion – March 19, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

“Hell on earth.” That’s how the husband described the invitation to go Black Friday shopping with his wife. We may chuckle at the hyperbole. But do you ever notice how often “hell” makes its way into conversations? “War is hell.” “Hell, no!” “It’s hotter than hell.” “To hell and back.” “H-E-double-hockey sticks.” “Hell’s Kitchen.”

While “hell” is used to describe many situations on earth, to really savor the sweetness of John 3:16, we need to come to grips with the reality of hell. John 3:16 describes hell as “perishing.” At its most basic definition, hell is separation from God and all of his blessings. Hell is suffering. Hell is rejection. Hell is anger, pain, and sorrow. And hell is where we were headed. But…

That’s what this sweet Bible passage is all about… “but.” In Jesus, God’s one and only Son, we find a “but” to our prescribed destination. “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Just as hell is real, so is heaven. Heaven is seeing God face-to-face. Heaven is being the recipient of every blessing God gives. Heaven is joy, contentment, acceptance, peace. And heaven is what God promises to every person who trusts that Jesus is the Savior they need. Savor the sweet truth that in Jesus, you have life now and forever.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving the world so much that you were willing to give your Son so that all who trust in him might have 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Gift – March 18, 2021

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

The Gift


Daily Devotion – March 18, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

My grandparents grew up as neighbors. In fact, my grandfather remembered the day that Grandma was born. They dated for seven years as they couldn’t afford to get married during the Depression. They were married for 68 years. The only night they slept in separate beds was when one was in the hospital. When Grandma died, Grandpa felt every pillow at the funeral home to see if it was soft enough for his bride. Shortly after, Grandpa died of a broken heart—shared experiences cement relationships.

Consider the shared experiences between God the Father and God the Son. Together they conferred before creation, “Let us make mankind in our image” (Genesis 1:26). Together they could reminisce how they rescued Noah and his family during the flood. Together they delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. Together, together, together. Imagine how close that relationship was and is. And yet, at just the right time, God the Father sent his Son into the world. God the Father so loved the world that he gave “his one and only Son.”

We can’t even fathom what a tremendous gift this was! It’s so easy to go through life and look at what we don’t have. Or we look at the gifts that God has given us with a bit of disappointment. “That’s it, Lord? Isn’t there something more?” But when we take a step back and look at the gift that God has given us, when we consider that God gave us “his one and only Son,” we realize a little more what it means that God so loved the world. And I pray, we will never say, “That’s it?” again. Savor the sweetness of this indescribable gift.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to never take you for granted. Open my eyes to see what a testimony you are of the Father’s 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

The Recipient – March 17, 2021

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

The Recipient


Daily Devotion – March 17, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” Many Christians grew up learning this as their first song. But it doesn’t take long before we realize we’re not so lovable. Our classmates don’t include us at the lunch table. Our teenage crush dumps us. Our adult neighbor avoids talking to us at the mailbox. And worst of all, the person in the mirror doesn’t even like us.

Why? It’s not just a difference of personalities. When it comes to the person in the mirror, it’s often what’s on the inside that makes us feel ugly and unlovable. We see our thoughts. We see our disappointments and how we’ve disappointed. We see our guilt. And we soon change the lyrics from, “Jesus loves me. This I know,” to “Jesus loves me? I don’t know.”

When that mis-sung lyric rings loud in your heart, savor the sweetness of John 3:16—God so loved the world. As a pastor, I have often directed people to those words. To the one who confessed adultery, “Are you part of the world? Then what does that mean? God loves you.” To the woman plagued by an abortion from a decade earlier, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” To the Christian fighting homosexual desires, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” To the one who tried to take their own life, not once but twice, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” To the one sitting reading this devotion, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done; you are the recipient of God’s love. Savor the sweetness of that truth.

Prayer:
Lord, when I feel unlovable, turn my eyes to the truth of your Word which assures me of your universal love. 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 Giver – March 16, 2021

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

The Giver


Daily Devotion – March 16, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

Recently, I read an article titled, “What To Do When Someone Gives You a Gift and You Didn’t Get Them One.” The unexpected gift can be extremely awkward. Granted, some say that we live in an era of entitlement, so maybe we expect gifts. But a gift from God? That’s what our Bible passage for today tells us. God gave us a gift.

The title “God” is so common, showing up more than 4,500 times in the Bible. When something or someone is so common, we can take it for granted, even when it comes to gift-giving. On our birthday, we expect a gift from our spouse or significant other. At Christmas, we expect gifts from the person who has our name in the name exchange. But what if you came home today and Amazon delivered a gift to your doorstep that said, “To: Me, From: The President,” or, “To: Me, From: Your Favorite Celebrity.” No matter what the gift was, you would think, “Wow, I got a gift from so-and-so.” You would feel special. But John 3:16 says that God has given you a gift! God doesn’t just govern a country; he governs the world. God isn’t just a celebrity on the big screen, he’s made himself known through the skies themselves (Psalm 19:1). And yet, he has given you a gift. He wrapped up the gift of his Son and said, “To: You, From: God.” Wow!

So, how do you react to such an unexpected gift? The magazine article reference earlier strictly warned, “Don’t pretend you have a present for them and that you just forgot it. Rather, understand that people are excited to show their love by giving gifts.” That’s some good advice. God’s love language is gift-giving. Instead of pretending you can offer anything in return, be humbled and show your genuine appreciation by savoring the sweetness of the Giver. Savor the sweetness that God thought of you. Savor the sweetness of his love.

Prayer:
God, you are big and powerful, and yet you thought of me. 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

Sweetness of the Love of God – March 15, 2021

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

Sweetness of the Love of God


Daily Devotion – March 15, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Question for You – March 14, 2021

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

A Question for You


Daily Devotion – March 14, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:32

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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 Good News of the Bible – March 13, 2021

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

The Good News of the Bible


Daily Devotion – March 13, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:25

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Was Zealous For Us – March 12, 2021

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

Jesus Was Zealous For Us


Daily Devotion – March 12, 2021

Devotion based on John 2:17

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Distractions – March 11, 2021

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

Distractions


Daily Devotion – March 11, 2021

Devotion based on John 2:13,14

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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