Jesus Knows What It Is Like – January 3, 2021

Because [Jesus] himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 2:18

Jesus Knows What It Is Like


Daily Devotion – January 3, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:18

See series: Devotions

Of all the temptations that hit you on a regular basis, which one is the most powerful? Give yourself a moment to come up with a specific answer. After all, in your heart of hearts, you probably know what the answer is. Here’s another question: When that specific temptation shows up wanting to claim you for the day (or for the night), what kind of battle do you give it? Do you consistently give it stiff opposition? Or are there times when you simply throw up your hands and not even try to combat it?

Let’s be honest and candid about this. You and I have to admit that there are all kinds of times when we don’t even put up a decent fight in the face of a strong temptation. Satan knows that. In fact, he loves to remind us of it to wear us down and make us feel defeated and hollow even before the battle starts. On our own, of course, that’s how this movie of our life would end—we’d be cowering and crushed, while Satan and his temptations cackled in conquest.

But with Jesus, everything is different. Everything! On our behalf, he resisted every temptation that Satan could invent. On our behalf, he shed his blood to make all our defeats disappear.

And that’s not all. For now, when Satan tries to send a temptation our way, you and I can run immediately to the One who knows exactly what battling temptations is like. In him, we don’t just have a sympathetic ear. In him, we have someone who understands. And because he does, he will help us in our battle against the temptation to sin. Satan hopes you will forget this. Therefore, don’t.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, you know exactly what it’s like to battle temptations in this fallen world. You promise to answer my calls for help. Empower me by your Spirit never to forget that. 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

Timing – January 2, 2021

When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son.
Galatians 4:4

Timing


Daily Devotion – January 2, 2021

Devotion based on Galatians 4:4

See series: Devotions

Picture a choir singing, “Silent Night.” Each choir member knows the words and melody. They even know when to sing loudly and softly. But imagine if each choir member sang the song at a different speed. And now further imagine if each choir member held each note for a different length of time. Instead of a thing of beauty, you’d have dissonant sounds of chaos. The entire song would fall apart.

In a Christmas carol like “Silent Night,” timing is everything.

It’s the same when it comes to God’s timing for Jesus’ birth.

“When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son,” the Bible tells us. Immediately after our first parents had fallen into sin, God promised to send a Savior. But he fulfilled that promise according to his own pace. Over thousands of years, he carefully guided history until the timing was just right. Then he sent his Son.

Once in a great while, you and I can recognize God’s timing in our own lives. More often than not, however, our human perspective is so small that we just don’t see it.

Make no mistake, however, God is guiding your life just as carefully. Time and again he has made it clear that the answer to life is not within you. Time and again he has brought you into contact with the only Savior from sin you’ve got. Or think about this: it is no accident that this devotion from God’s Word is entering your mind and heart at this very moment.

God’s timing for Jesus’ birth was perfect. Trust his timing in your life, too.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for sending your Son into this world at just the right time. Move me to trust your timing in my life as well. 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

Our Brother – January 1, 2021

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
Luke 2:40

Our Brother


Daily Devotion – January 1, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 2:40

See series: Devotions

Can God grow? If you were to measure God today and then measure him a month from now, would there be any difference in his size? Can God become stronger? Can he struggle to open a pickle jar today but a few years from now be able to open it with ease? Can God become smarter? Are there things he doesn’t know right now that he will learn later?

Those questions probably seem nonsensical. Of course, God doesn’t grow. He fills the universe now, just as he always has and just as he always will. He can’t become more almighty or more all-knowing. He can do all things and knows all things, and that never changes.

Yet, in Jesus, God did grow. He did become stronger. He did learn and grow in wisdom. This is true because Jesus was not only true God but also was truly a human being. He was conceived in his mother’s womb even as you and I were conceived in our mother’s wombs. He went through all the stages of fetal development that you and I went through. He was born as an infant just as we were. As a true human infant, Jesus was incapable of feeding himself or caring for himself. He relied on his mother, just as you and I did when we were infants. And day by day he grew. He got bigger and taller. He became stronger. He even learned things and became smarter.

That the infinite, almighty, and all-knowing Son of God grew and became stronger and learned is a fact that is beyond our understanding. Yet it is at the same time wonderfully comforting. If Jesus had come only as God, he could not have been our Savior. In order to save us, Jesus needed to become a human being so he could take our place. And the fact that he grew and became strong and was filled with wisdom shows us that he truly is one of us. He truly is human. He truly is our Brother. He truly is our Savior.

Prayer:
Thank you for becoming my Brother so that you might take my place and 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

A Savior for All People – December 31, 2020

“My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Luke 2:30-32

A Savior for All People


Daily Devotion – December 31, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 2:30-32

See series: Devotions

We human beings have a bad habit of focusing on what makes us different from others. Instead of rejoicing in all the things that unite us as fellow human beings, we separate ourselves into rival groups based on various characteristics that we consider important. We separate ourselves based on nationality. We separate ourselves based on the color of our skin. We separate ourselves based on whether we support this political candidate or that one. With all this separation, is it any wonder that we are experiencing so much turmoil in our world right now?

Thankfully, when God looks at us, he does not focus on what separates us from one another. It’s not that our unique and individual characteristics are unimportant. God has purposely made each of us unique so that with our uniqueness, we might be a beautiful part of his people. But when it comes to what’s most important, our relationship with him, God focuses on what unites us as human beings.

God first focused on the fact that we are all sinners. All of us. Regardless of where we were born or what color our skin is, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. God saw all of us in equal need of his help, and he was determined to provide that help to all of us. He didn’t decide to send one Savior for this group of people and another Savior for that group of people. He sent one Savior for all people. He sent his Son, Jesus, to be the Savior of everyone.

Simeon recognized this as he held Jesus in his arms. As he praised God for sending Jesus, he recognized that Jesus came both for the Gentiles (non-Jewish people) and for the people of Israel (Jewish people). That covers every human being. That covers you. Regardless of who you are, where you are from, or whatever unique characteristics you may have, Jesus came to be your Savior. And for that, we join Simeon in praising God.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I praise you that you came to be the Savior of all people, including 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

Ready to Die Now – December 30, 2020

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation.”
Luke 2:28-30

Ready to Die Now


Daily Devotion – December 30, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 2:28-30

See series: Devotions

What will it take for you to be ready to die? That may seem like a morbid question, but it’s a question we all need to ask. With only two exceptions (Enoch in Genesis 5:24 and Elijah in 2 Kings 2:11), every person who has been born has died or will die. “The wages of sin is death,” God tells us (Romans 6:23). And since we all are sinners, we all can expect that one day we will die.

So, what will it take for you to be ready to die? Simeon had one answer to that question. Once he saw the Savior, he was ready to die. God had told him that he would not die before he saw the Savior that God had promised to send. God fulfilled that promise and allowed Simeon not just to see his Savior, Jesus, but even to hold him in his arms. With that tangible proof that God had fulfilled his promise, Simeon was ready to die. His eyes had seen the salvation that God had promised him. In his arms, he held the One who would live, die, and rise again for him so that he could live forever with God in heaven. He could face death with peace, knowing that through the Savior whom he held, he was at peace with God.

What made Simeon ready to die is the same thing that makes us ready to die. When we, through faith, have seen the Savior and believe in him, we are ready to die. Through faith, we see him as the one who lived a perfect life in our place. Through faith, we see him as the one who died to pay for all our sins. Through faith, we see him as the one who rose again to declare us not guilty before God. Through faith, we see Jesus as our Savior and know that in him, we are at peace with God. That makes us ready to die, whenever that time may come.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you that because you have saved me from my sins, I can be ready to meet you whenever you call 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

Living Perfectly in Our Place – December 29, 2020

The parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required.
Luke 2:27

Living Perfectly in Our Place


Daily Devotion – December 29, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 2:27

See series: Devotions

The Bible tells us that if we are to spend eternity with God in heaven, we must be perfect just as he is perfect. To do that, we must keep all of God’s commandments all the time without even one failure. Because all of us are born sinful, none of us can come even close to accomplishing such a feat.

Jesus, however, could. He is the sinless Son of God. As both true God and a true human being, Jesus was in the unique position of being both subject to all of God’s commandments and able to keep them all. And that is exactly what he did. Throughout his life, he perfectly kept all of God’s commandments for us.

We see that in our Bible passage for today. God’s Old Testament law required that his people dedicate their firstborn sons to him. Because Jesus was Mary’s firstborn son, this law applied to him. And so, in order to accomplish his work as our Savior, he had to fulfill this law also, just as he had to fulfill every other law that God had laid down for his people.

That’s why it is so comforting to see Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple to do for him what the law required. Even as Jesus lay in his parents’ arms, he was keeping God’s law perfectly for us. He left no law unfulfilled but kept every last one of them for us. Because he kept all of God’s laws perfectly in our place, we now, through faith in him, have the perfection we need to live with God forever in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I thank you for perfectly keeping all of God’s laws in my 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

Waiting to See the Savior – December 28, 2020

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Luke 2:25,26

Waiting to See the Savior


Daily Devotion – December 28, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 2:25,26

See series: Devotions

Do you have a “bucket list”? If you’re not familiar with the term, a “bucket list” is a list of things that a person wants to do before they die or, “kick the bucket.” Unfortunately, few if any of the things on a person’s “bucket list” are guaranteed. We simply don’t know when we will “kick the bucket,” so we can’t know for sure what we will be able to do before we die.

Simeon was an old man who lived in Jerusalem at the time that Jesus was born. He probably didn’t call it a “bucket list,” but he did have one thing that he wanted to experience before he died. He wanted to see the Savior whom God had promised to send. Simeon’s bucket list was unique, however, since the one thing on his “bucket list” was guaranteed to happen. God, the Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

Eventually, the day came when God told Simeon to go to the temple where he would see the Messiah. As Simeon held the baby Jesus in his arms, he saw much more than just the completion of his “bucket list.” He saw the fulfillment of all his hopes. He saw the One for whom he and all God’s people had been waiting. He saw his Savior, who would rescue him from his sins.

Just a few days ago, we celebrated the birth of Jesus. Unlike Simeon, we were not able to see him physically with our eyes or hold him in our arms. Yet, we still are confident that he truly was born for us. Simeon’s fulfilled “bucket list” gives us proof of that. The Lord fulfilled his promise to Simeon and allowed him to see the Savior before he died. Because of that, we know that God also has fulfilled his promise to us. Jesus, our Savior, who came to rescue us from all our sins, truly has been born for us, just as God promised.

Prayer:
Lord, I thank you for fulfilling your promise and sending your Son to be 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Celebrating Christmas Forever – December 27, 2020

When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
2 Samuel 7:12,13

Celebrating Christmas Forever


Daily Devotion – December 27, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 7:12,13

See series: Devotions

The packages have all been opened. The refrigerator is full of leftovers. Another Christmas is over. After all the weeks and months of preparing for it, the Christmas celebration seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. It’s all over too quickly. But here is the good news: the real celebration of Christmas never ends. This is what our Bible reading for today promises.

This particular promise was made to King David. King David was probably the greatest king of the Israelite nation. In spite of his flaws, he was one of the inspired writers of the Psalms and a great spiritual leader of his people. In our Bible verse for today, God had just told David that his family would continue to rule Israel, but it would rule Israel in a way that was far greater than any kingdom. From his family, the Savior of the world would come. This Savior would establish a kingdom that was not about land, possessions, and earthly power. It would even be a kingdom that would not be affected by time. That great descendant of David would be Jesus, who with his life and death, would redeem the world. He would establish peace with God through the forgiveness of sins. All believers would be a part of his great kingdom of life, a kingdom that would not end.

This is what we are celebrating at Christmas every year. All the gifts, songs, and decorations are an expression of the joy we have in our hearts. It is a joy that lasts far longer than just one day. In fact, it will last forever.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for sending your Son. And thank you for the joyful celebration of his birth. Help me live in the joy of your love and forgiveness today and every day. Amen.

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

Lasting Joy – December 26, 2020

Be joyful always.
1 Thessalonians 5:16

Lasting Joy


Daily Devotion – December 26, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16

See series: Devotions

If you’re looking for a good biography to read over the Christmas break, consider picking up a copy of Mark Twain: A Life by Ron Powers. It’s a fascinating book. For the Christian, it can also be a thought-provoking one.

Here’s why. It would be easy to make the case that Mark Twain lived a charmed life. His natural writing ability and riveting personality opened doors for him around the world. He became wealthy. He traveled where he wanted, when he wanted. People packed any theater where he was going to speak. He was a real celebrity, and he relished the part. He also married the love of his life, and together they raised children who adored him.

But based on his statements about spiritual matters, it also appears that Mark Twain never came to know the peace of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. As a result, his sense of happiness was always dependent upon how well or how poorly his life was going. He rarely forgave anyone who ever let him down. Guilt over his past failures haunted him. And when death later touched his immediate family, he spent the closing years of his life in bitterness.

Mark Twain received virtually every pleasant thing the world could offer. One thing he did not possess was a lasting joy.

Let’s be candid for a moment. Many of you reading or hearing this will be lacking a lot of things this Christmas. You may not have a job or may not have good health. You may not have peace in your family or have money to pay off past bills. You may not have an intact marriage or the love of your life close to you.

But if you have Jesus in your life, you are forgiven, you are at peace with God, you have no reason to fear the future, and you know that all will be well according to God’s purpose and plan. It also means you possess what the world cannot deliver. In Jesus, you have lasting joy.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, this world can only offer me passing distractions. You bring me lasting joy. Thank you, Lord. 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

The Hero We Needed – December 25, 2020

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Luke 2:6,7

The Hero We Needed


Daily Devotion – December 25, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 2:6,7

See series: Devotions

How many thousands of years had passed since the promise of a Savior had been made? For how many countless generations had the people of earth been waiting for God to rescue them? Our sins had separated us from our Creator. Only the living God could save us. Hell’s gaping jaws were open and ready to consume all mankind. Only heaven’s might could close them.

Surely, we needed a hero greater than all those who have appeared in ancient epics or modern movies. No doubt, we needed someone more powerful than all the world’s kings, conquerors, and corporate CEO’s combined. We needed a fearless warrior to defeat Satan, our wicked foe.

But what do we see? A baby. A newborn baby snuggled tight in a blanket. His humble parents watching while he sleeps, nestled in a tangle of hay. Is this all the help that heaven could spare? Don’t we as a human race deserve better? How could this poor, fragile child accomplish what was beyond the wisest and most powerful among us?

Ah, but selfish pride and sinful doubt put us under God’s wrath in the first place. Jesus is truly a great and powerful Savior, and he displayed his might in countless miracles. But the hero we required also needed to be humble and gentle, motived purely by selfless love. He had to be willing to sacrifice himself, not only for the best of us but also for the lowest, the poorest, and the vilest. He had to be willing to die for you. And he was—with great joy.

In Christ Jesus alone, we find the hero we need, the only one who was able both to die as our spotless lamb and to take up his life again as our loving Shepherd. Let us sing and herald his birth today with great joy!

Prayer:
I praise you, Lord Jesus, for your undeserved love for me, which brought you to earth as my gentle 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

The Grace of God Appeared – December 24, 2020

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2:11-14

The Grace of God Appeared


Daily Devotion – December 24, 2020

Devotion based on Titus 2:11-14

See series: Devotions

“Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words!” Eliza Doolittle exploded in exasperation at the incessant wooing of a suitor in the musical, My Fair Lady. “Don’t talk of stars burning above. If you’re in love, show me!” Do you know someone who is all talk and no action? All of a person’s promises and beautiful words are meaningless if they don’t follow through.

At the beginning of the world, when our first parents disobeyed and brought death’s curse on our race, God made them a promise. The “Seed of the woman” would undo Satan’s evil work. God repeated and expanded on that promise through his prophets and priests, inspiring his people to patiently wait for a coming Savior. Some gave up hope. And even those who trusted in God still asked in their desperation, when will you send your Servant? When will you free us from sin and death?

On Christmas, we celebrate the historical fact that God was true to his word. In the person of Jesus Christ, the grace of God has appeared, visibly, powerfully, to save us. Despite our unworthiness, the eternal Son of God redeemed mankind from the curse of sin through his perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection. We read about these actions of love and their gracious results in God’s Word, but they are not merely words. The Holy Spirit works powerfully through the words of the Bible to bring us to repentance and to work in us the fruits of faith.

While we wait for Christ’s return on the last day, will we give him empty lip-service on this holy day? Or will we offer our lives in service to him, who was born to die for us?

Prayer:
Let us all with gladsome voice praise the God of heaven, who to bid our hearts rejoice, his own Son has given. Amen.

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

A Life of Obedience to God – December 23, 2020

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:34-38

A Life of Obedience to God


Daily Devotion – December 23, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 1:34-38

See series: Devotions

Can you imagine what it was like for Mary at that moment? A young, soon-to-be-married woman discovers that she is going to have a baby. Her life is about to get turned upside down. Hundreds of questions and dozens of doubts and fears must swirl around in her head. How will Joseph, her husband-to-be, accept the news? Will her child be considered illegitimate? Would anyone ever believe the truth—that her baby was a miracle of the Holy Spirit? Why was she chosen for this? How could such a thing even be possible?

In reply to her questions, the angel pointed her to God’s grace, God’s power, and God’s promises. And that is what her faith clung to. Mary didn’t ask for time to pray or to speak with her fiancé before responding to God’s messenger. She simply said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

A life of obedience to God means taking him at his word, relinquishing control of one’s own life, and trusting that God will make good on his many promises. All too often, we rebel against that thought. But Mary’s son, Jesus, obeyed it perfectly. Although he is the true Son of God, he is also the Lord’s perfect servant. Jesus submitted his will to that of God his Father, serving willingly and faithfully as our Savior and substitute on the cross. His death and resurrection guarantee that our sin of rebellion has been forgiven. All who repent and believe are declared to be God’s holy children. May his Word to us be fulfilled!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, let me serve you even as you have served 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

What Is So Great About Christmas – December 22, 2020

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
Luke 1:31-33

What Is So Great About Christmas


Daily Devotion – December 22, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 1:31-33

See series: Devotions

Is Christmas really worth all the bother? All the tree lighting, carol singing, gift-giving, and countless other traditions unique to each family? Around the world, Christians have developed an amazing variety of ways to celebrate Christmas in their own languages and cultures. What’s so great about Christmas that it should inspire people to such elaborate and creative celebrations? Isn’t it just about the birth of a baby?

Yes, but what a birth! And what a baby! There would be reason enough for us to sit in wonder each year at this time simply marveling at the miracle of the virgin birth. That baby boy born to Mary in Bethlehem is God himself, “the Son of the Most High,” whose coming was foretold by prophets in ancient times and whose arrival was announced by an angel from heaven. This child was not only a direct descendant of the great King David—he is the proper heir to an even higher throne, the eternal kingdom of God, his Father. Earthly kingdoms rise and fall, even our own nation one day, but Jesus Christ will rule forever.

How do you properly celebrate the birth of the greatest, most highly anticipated person to ever walk on this earth? What if I told you that this great man willingly allowed himself to be humiliated before men so that you and I could be glorified before God? He suffered the shame of the cross so that we might be honored with God’s grace and the gift of forgiveness. And after rising from death of his own power, Jesus now watches over you, showering you with his love and blessings, and working out all things so that you might share in his never-ending glory. What’s so great about Christmas? It’s the birth of our great Christ and King!

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 55)
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
Jesus, to Thee be
all glory given;
Son of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord. 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

You Have Found Favor With God – December 21, 2020

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.”
Luke 1:28-30

You Have Found Favor With God


Daily Devotion – December 21, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 1:28-30

See series: Devotions

In your inbox is an email with the subject line: “Congratulations! You have been chosen to receive special attention.” By now, you’ve learned enough of how the internet works that you might immediately mark the message as junk mail without even opening it. But what if you noticed that it was sent by the Internal Revenue Service? You wouldn’t throw that one away! You might even become nervous, wondering why the government had singled you out, fearing that you might somehow be in trouble.

A young woman named Mary wasn’t sure how to react when an emissary from God, a holy angel, appeared to her saying, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Why would God single her out for attention? She knew that there was nothing about her personally that merited any preferential treatment. Like others in the Scriptures who suddenly found themselves in the presence of God or one of his angels, at that moment, Mary was no doubt painfully aware of her own unworthiness, her personal failings, and the many reasons why a holy God might be displeased with her. But the angel assured her that she had nothing to worry about. She had found favor with God.

Whenever we open our Bibles or go to church, we find ourselves in the presence of God, who speaks through his Word and who knows how unworthy we are. Maybe you have been trying to avoid that. But don’t be afraid; listen to what he has to say. You will also find favor with him! He is a gracious God who lifts up the lowly and has mercy on the undeserving. He sent his Son Jesus, born of Mary, to shower us all with his grace. Do not be afraid of God turning his gaze toward you. Rather listen closely to his message of peace and forgiveness in Jesus announced to you again this Christmas.

Prayer:
Lord, calm my heart and prepare it to listen to your message of peace and joy 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Christ is All We Need for Christmas – December 20, 2020

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:1-3

Christ is All We Need for Christmas


Daily Devotion – December 20, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:1-3

See series: Devotions

This is the season when people typically make a list of the things they would like for Christmas gifts. Children, especially, can usually come up with a pretty long list.

Despite all the gift-giving that goes on at Christmas time, the greatest gift we receive is a Savior who was born in a manger. There is nothing we need more than that. Just to prove that point, look at our Bible reading for today.

Jesus stood up in the synagogue at Nazareth and read this Old Testament passage. After rolling up the scroll, he said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4: 21). Jesus confirmed that he is the one to give all the blessings of this Isaiah passage. And what great blessings they are! The good news of God’s love and forgiveness is proclaimed to poor sinners like us. When our hearts are broken by all the heartbreakers of this life, Jesus is there to bind them up with his peace. Instead of feeling trapped by our sin and death, Jesus sets us free to live powerful lives of forgiveness and hope. He makes us strong oaks to stand in the face of troubles. He puts a crown on our heads and declares that we are children of the King. He clothes us in his righteousness to stand before our God and the world as a display of God’s splendor.

What’s on your Christmas list? It is comforting to know that, even if we were to receive none of the gifts on our list, we would still have all we need because we have Jesus, our Savior.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for being the only gift I could ever really need. Amen.

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

Perfect Christmas Preparation – December 19, 2020

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned [John], “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
John 1:24-27

Perfect Christmas Preparation


Daily Devotion – December 19, 2020

Devotion based on John 1:24-27

See series: Devotions

For most of us, Christmas preparations are in full swing. Although preparing for Christmas can be hectic, it can also be an exciting and enjoyable task—smelling Christmas cookies as you bake them, trimming the tree, smiling as you find just the right gift for that special someone.

The Lord knows all about preparing. Over and over in the Old Testament, he prepared his people for the eventual arrival of their deliverer—the one he would send to rescue them from their sins and restore their relationship with their Maker. Just before Jesus began preaching and teaching, the Lord sent a special man to prepare people for Jesus’ arrival on the scene. We know this man as John the Baptist.

The reason John was such an expert at preparing people for Jesus is that John had a proper perspective on things. John said that he was not even worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals. This was not false modesty. John knew exactly where he stood with God and knew he had offended God with his sins. John knew that he desperately needed someone to rescue him from those sins. So, when Jesus arrived, John was relieved and thankful and thrilled.

Do you want to be properly prepared to celebrate Christmas? Baking cookies, trimming the tree, and shopping till you drop are all fine and fun. But, to be TRULY prepared, adopt the proper perspective of John. See yourself as the unworthy sinner you are. See your Savior as the one who loves you still. Then, like John, you will be relieved, thankful, and thrilled when you see your Savior arrive.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, I know that, like John, I am not worthy to even untie your sandals. But I also know that this is why you were born in Bethlehem. I know that through your perfect life and innocent death, you have washed away my sins and made me worthy in God’s sight. 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

The Real Star – December 18, 2020

“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
John 1:26,27

The Real Star


Daily Devotion – December 18, 2020

Devotion based on John 1:26,27

See series: Devotions

With these words, John the Baptist takes his place next to Dr. Watson, Ed McMahon, Art Garfunkel, and Scottie Pippen in the society of famous “second fiddles.” Dr. Watson didn’t solve the case. He marveled at the wits of Sherlock Holmes and then complimented the detective on a job well done. Ed McMahon didn’t sit behind the desk on The Tonight Show. He introduced Johnny Carson and then provided a hearty “laugh track” to the host’s comedic efforts.

Some of those famous second fiddles weren’t always so happy to play the supporting role. But John the Baptist was more than okay with it. In fact, he knew it was his divinely-given role in life to point ahead to the one who was coming after him. Before he was even born, the angel Gabriel told John’s father, “He will go on before the Lord . . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

And when he grew up and started preaching and started to gain a bit of a following, even then John remembered that it wasn’t about him, it was about Jesus. “The one who comes after me,” John says, “He is the one you’re looking for. He’s the star of this show.”

What an example for us to imitate! What a blessing to play “second fiddle” to Jesus! It was the purpose and goal of John the Baptist’s life. It’s the purpose of our lives as well. Aware of our mountain of sins, aware of our spectacular failures in obedience, we echo John’s words, “I am not worthy.” But Jesus took our unworthiness to the cross. And now, in joyful thanks, we become John the Baptists—if not in appearance or mannerisms, at least in message and attitude. Our goal each day is to give Jesus glory—in how we interact with the people around us and use our time and abilities. It’s not about us. It’s all about Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord and King, forgive me for those times when I am overcome by pride, arrogance, or selfish ambition. Lead me to follow John’s example of humility and to glorify 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Prepare the Way – December 17, 2020

Finally they said, “Who are you? . . . John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
John 1:22,23

Prepare the Way


Daily Devotion – December 17, 2020

Devotion based on John 1:22,23

See series: Devotions

In the ancient world, VIPs would send their heralds ahead of them to make straight the way—that is, to ensure the safety and travel ability of the road.

John the Baptist’s mission was to go ahead of Jesus, preparing the way and proclaiming the King’s imminent arrival. He was to blast through sinful pride and self-righteousness, to urge people to repent of their materialism and overconfidence, their lack of priorities and spiritual apathy, to get them ready and eager for the arrival of the One who could save them.

How do we “make straight the way for the Lord” today? By looking closely at our hearts and identifying those sins that clutter them. Are we giving certain sins a comfortable place in our hearts? Are we making excuses instead of getting tough on bad behavior? The Baptist calls out, “Repent!” “Make straight the way!”

Prepared hearts are hearts that daily loathe the sin within us and celebrate the arrival of our Royal Deliverer from heaven. He comes to us time and again in his Word and sacraments, bringing gifts most valuable—forgiveness of sins and peace with God. And on the last day, he will come not in simple means, but in awesome power, riding on the clouds of heaven, bringing our ultimate deliverance. As you prepare for that day, hear and heed John’s clarion call: “Repent!” “Prepare!” “Make straight the way of the Lord!”

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 3)
Fling wide the portals of your heart, make it a temple set apart.
From earthly use for heaven’s employ, adorned with prayer and love and joy.
So shall your Sovereign enter in, and new and nobler life begin.
To God alone be praise for word and deed and grace! 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

Safe From the Fire – December 16, 2020

“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.”
Malachi 4:1,2

Safe From the Fire


Daily Devotion – December 16, 2020

Devotion based on Malachi 4:1,2

See series: Devotions

Any fan of camping will tell you that a fire can be a beautiful thing. Anyone who’s ever had their power go out during a winter storm will tell you that a furnace is beneficial and necessary. But the fire that the prophet Malachi describes in our Bible reading for today is not like that. This fire rampages. This fire destroys.

Whom does the fire destroy? All the arrogant and every evildoer. (They) will be stubble. Not a root or branch will be left to them. It would be foolish for us to push these words aside as if they were only meant for others to hear and consider. A quick look of our interactions and relationships, the desires of our hearts, the machinations of our minds reveals the truth: “I am the arrogant one. I am an evildoer. I deserve the fire.”

But the day when the fire destroys and the evildoer is reduced to stubble—that’s also the day when Jesus has promised to stand beside those who trust in him so that not a hair of their heads nor a thread of their clothing will be singed.

For you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. Sun is spelled s-u-n there, but the Bible reveals a righteousness that comes through the S-o-n. For it is in the Son, the Son of God, that we find true healing from our sins. The tears, breaks, lacerations, and gashes that our disobedience has inflicted in our relationship with God, have been healed by Jesus’ wounds. Believe in him and what he has done, and no fire of hell, no flame of judgment will be able to touch you.

Prayer:
Jesus, lead me each day to place my trust fully in you and to rejoice in the healing found in you, that I might truly be prepared for the day of your return. 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

Clothes for Christmas – December 15, 2020

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.
Isaiah 61:10

Clothes for Christmas


Daily Devotion – December 15, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:10

See series: Devotions

Every Christmas when I was a child, I would receive a beautifully wrapped present from my grandma. And every Christmas, without fail, I would eagerly tear open the wrapping paper to find two pairs of dress socks in the gift box. She lived during the Depression and the practical values instilled in her at that time never faded away. Unfortunately, when you’re six years old, that sort of practicality is not always fully appreciated!

Isaiah speaks in our Bible reading today about a gift of clothes that we can get excited about, clothes that cause thankful hearts to delight greatly in the Lord, clothes that cause our souls to rejoice in our God!

For who wouldn’t get excited about garments of salvation and robes of righteousness when you realize how badly we need them? Our filthy rags of sin are not appropriate for standing in God’s presence—not now, not in eternity. Every selfish action is another splotch. Every impatient word is another spill. Every hateful thought is another ugly stain of iniquity that we could never hope to get out by ourselves.

God saw that we needed new spiritual clothes, that without them, we could never spend our eternity with him, and so he gave sinners the shirt off his back. Jesus put on our rags of sin and took their punishment.

And when a person is baptized, God wraps them in the holy, perfect robes of Christ’s righteousness. In those garments of salvation, they can stand in the presence of a perfect God. In those garments of salvation, they have a place in the family of the Father and proper attire for the eternal heavenly banquet. Here is something to be genuinely excited about as you prepare for Christmas: Jesus was wrapped in strips of cloth so that you could be wrapped in robes of righteousness!

Prayer:
Gracious God, my soul rejoices in you, for when I did not have the proper clothes to stand in your presence, you gave them to me. May those robes of righteousness be my consolation when I fall, my comfort in times of sadness, and my hope when my last hour comes. 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

Proclaiming Freedom – December 14, 2020

He has sent me . . . to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
Isaiah 61:1

Proclaiming Freedom


Daily Devotion – December 14, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:1

See series: Devotions

Martin Luther said that the words of Isaiah 61 are a “most proper definition of Christ, as well as his task and his functions.” If you want to know what Christ has come to do, read Isaiah 61. But you didn’t need Martin Luther to tell you that. Jesus himself read these words aloud in the synagogue of Nazareth. And when he finished reading, he looked up and told everyone listening, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Jesus points to these words and says, “Isaiah was talking about me!”

In a bad news world, you have a good news, God! To people who know what it’s like to be spiritual prisoners—of the devil, of the world, of their own sinful natures—the Savior comes. And He says, “I have come…to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”

It’s kind of a neat thing to note that the Hebrew word that’s translated “freedom” is a relative of the Hebrew word for “flying”—specifically, the fluttering of bird’s wings. Think of a majestic bald eagle crammed into a tiny birdcage. That’s us. Human beings, the majestic crown of God’s creation, imprisoned by our own doing, and Satan holding the key. God looked at that picture and said, “That’s not right.” And so, Jesus came to let the bird out of the cage, so to speak—to give freedom from sin, death, and Satan’s power to all who believe.

To do that, of course, Jesus himself was bound, subjecting himself to temple guards and their chief priests, to Roman soldiers and their governor. He was treated as a guilty one even by the Father himself so that by his blood, we—the truly guilty ones—may go free.

What a privilege it is to be able to have that freedom through Christ proclaimed to us! What a privilege it is to be able to proclaim that freedom through Christ to others!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you not only proclaim freedom for the captives, but you did all that was necessary to achieve freedom for the captives. How can I ever thank you enough? Make me joyful and ready as your messenger to proclaim to others the freedom you have won. 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

Christmas Clothes – December 13, 2020

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

Christmas Clothes


Daily Devotion – December 13, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:10

See series: Devotions

Every year as Christmas approached, my mom would take my two brothers and me shopping for Christmas clothes. She insisted that we had to look our best for the Christmas Eve service and pictures afterward. So each year, Dad and Mom would drag three unhappy boys to some department store for an evening of trying on clothes. And the best or worst part of it, depending on your perspective, was that all three of us had to match. We usually ended up with identical or very similar outfits.

Do you have your Christmas clothes picked out this year? What about your spiritual clothes? What kind of clothes have you picked out for yourself today? Are you wearing the ugly robes of shame and guilt over the sins of last night? Perhaps you have chosen for yourself darker garments of jealousy and anger. Could it be that your clothes are permanently stained by the repetitive sins of greed, lust, or worry? Maybe you are sure that your clothes look pretty clean compared to those around you, but they smell of pride and arrogance.

Mom always said we should look our best for Christmas, but our best isn’t good enough for heaven, and it never will be.

As you prepare to celebrate Christmas, give thanks that Jesus has provided new spiritual clothing for you. The Bible says: “For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.”

Through his suffering and death on the cross, Christ has taken away our sin-stained garments and removed them from us. Through his perfect life in our place, Christ has earned our forgiveness and salvation. Jesus has taken his robe of righteousness and wrapped it around us. In Christ, you and I are dressed for heaven. Give thanks to Jesus for your Christmas clothes—his garments of salvation which he has won for you.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for earning salvation for me through your life and death in my place. Help me to always appreciate what you have done for me. Help me to live as you have clothed me—as a forgiven and righteous child of God. Amen.

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

The King of Glory is Coming – December 12, 2020

Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—he is the King of glory.
Psalm 24:7-10

The King of Glory is Coming


Daily Devotion – December 12, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 24:7-10

See series: Devotions

Imagine that you lived in ancient times. Your home was a city that had a great wall around it. A very prominent gate guarded the city, keeping enemies out and you safe. On the wall stood watchmen keeping a vigilant eye on everything that approached. Even though enemy nations were out there, you still felt secure.

Then, one day, the King of the country approached your city, riding victoriously on his war-horse. Your king… your defender… your hero has defeated the enemy and now comes to dwell with you. What joy! What peace! Imagine how excited you would be to greet your hero!

The best part of this is that you don’t have to imagine it. This isn’t pretend or make-believe! It’s real. Jesus is your conquering hero, but with a twist of divine irony, he came humbly and lowly, born in a manger. The world hardly noticed his arrival. But he came as our glorious King to defeat our greatest enemy. On the cross, he went to battle against Satan, and the almighty LORD crushed Satan’s head completely. By his death, Jesus paid for all your sin. Through faith in Jesus, your sins are forgiven.

What’s more, is that your conquering hero is coming and he wants to dwell with you forever. Are you ready for his arrival? According to the calendar, there are only 19 days left before Christmas. You know full well all the pressure and stress of getting ready. Presents and decorations and good food are all wonderful blessings… but let’s not forget to lift up our heads and hearts to see Jesus the most precious gift of God! He is our King of Glory!

Prayer:
O King of Glory, help me to prepare my heart to welcome you each day. Keep me from the distractions of this season so that I can welcome you as my Savior and King. 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

Prepare the Way – December 11, 2020

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Mark 1:3,4

Prepare the Way


Daily Devotion – December 11, 2020

Devotion based on Mark 1:3,4

See series: Devotions

In the ancient world, before the king came to town, major road work had to be done. There was no interstate freeway system. Instead, workers went ahead of the king and made a smooth path to his destination. Low points were filled in, high points were leveled, and crooked paths were straightened.

So do you see the point of today’s Bible passage? King Jesus was coming, and John the Baptist had some road construction to do. But he was not altering the topography of Palestine. He was altering the human heart and cleared the way for people to believe in Jesus.

By nature, the human heart is a horrible barrier between King Jesus and his people. By nature, every inclination of thoughts of the heart is opposed to the will of God. It was true in John’s day, and it is still true in our day.

John prepared hearts through preaching a simple message: “Repent!” Repentance is a change of mind that God works in you. He leads you to hate your sin and trust in Jesus for forgiveness. Repentance is not a one-time thing. It needs to happen continually because the devil, the world, and your sinful nature are constantly working to unprepare your heart and turn you back to your sin.

Do not let them! Whatever sins haunt your heart, turn from them. Turn from them and turn to Jesus who has provided forgiveness for every sin. As God comforts you with this reality, he will also give you the strength to stay away from those sins today. And the way will be prepared to celebrate the arrival of your King.

Prayer:
King Jesus, keep my heart prepared to meet 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

Look Forward to This – December 10, 2020

That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:12,13

Look Forward to This


Daily Devotion – December 10, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Peter 3:12,13

See series: Devotions

If you read the Bible from start to finish, you will notice a theme that comes up many times and in many ways: “Look forward to this: The Last Day is coming!” But two thousand years after the Bible was completed, it still has not arrived.

So, is it even on your radar? Do you look forward to this? Did you lose sleep last night thinking about how Jesus will come again in glory? Did you cancel all your plans this weekend to study what the Bible says about the second coming of Christ?

Probably not. It’s just so easy to lose sight of. Life goes on, day after day, and it can be so distracting! Especially in this day and age and this time of year. There are Christmas lists to make, Christmas cookies to bake, and Christmas specials to watch.

But that’s a problem. Why should you desire the things of this world so much that you forget the world to come? It is absolutely worth looking forward to!

The heaven and earth we live in—as amazing as they are—are ruined by sin. They will be destroyed on the Last Day. In its place, God promises to give us a new heaven and a new earth. Sin and its effects will not continue—no more sickness, obituaries, tornadoes, floods, murder, or bad news.

We have no idea how good this will be because it is beyond our experience. It is kind of like Christmas presents under the tree. You know that they will be good, but you don’t know exactly what they are. Still, it is terribly exciting to think about those presents. And it is terribly exciting to think about how wonderful the new world God will create for his people will be.

That’s why it can be hard to wait for it. Just as it can be hard for a child to wait to open her Christmas presents. But rest assured, the wait will be worth it!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me something so wonderful to look forward to. 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 Kind of People This World Needs – December 9, 2020

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God.
2 Peter 3:11,12

The Kind of People This World Needs


Daily Devotion – December 9, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Peter 3:11,12

See series: Devotions

A common criticism of Christianity is that the heavenly minded are of no earthly good. In other words, Christians can become so fixated on the next life that they do nothing to make this present world a better place.

While some Christians may live that way, they should not. That attitude is not in the Bible. In fact, today’s Bible passage says the exact opposite, that the end of the world and the Christian’s hope of heaven have a profound effect on how they live right now.

They push Christians to live a holy and godly life because they know that their life is not all about them. They know that God created them and sent his Son to save them. They know that Jesus put his perfect life in place of their imperfect sin so that, in his sight, they are holy and godly.

Now he says to Christians, “I have made you to be exactly what the world needs right now. Be what you are.” This means there are all sorts of things that they are meant to do, chief among them loving their God and their neighbors by doing good to those around them.

So, if you truly want to make this world a better place, if you seek to serve others in meaningful ways, if you hope to help them not only navigate this life but learn about the next life, then follow Jesus. Learn about him and trust in him. You will discover a joy and peace, unlike any other. And he will not only give you the gift of eternal life, but he will empower you to live a life of remarkable earthly good.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me to live a holy and godly life so that I am both prepared for the day this world ends as well as prepared to be of use while this world still exists. 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

Be Ready – December 8, 2020

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
2 Peter 3:10

Be Ready


Daily Devotion – December 8, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Peter 3:10

See series: Devotions

A thief does not announce his arrival ahead of time. He comes when you least expect. Jesus will do something similar. You see, the day of the Lord is the day of Jesus’ return when he will come in great power and glory. The Bible says that this day will come like a thief.

In other words, Jesus tells us that he is coming, but he does not tell us when he is coming. So we have only ourselves to blame if we are not ready when he returns.

The possibility is so dreadful that you have to ask, “What does it mean to be ready?” To answer this question, ask yourself: “What is at the top of my priority list as Christmas approaches? Entertainment or eternity? Gifts or God? A heart longing for a vacation, or a heart ready for Jesus?”

Entertainment is fine. Gifts are wonderful. Vacations are a blessing. But none of these is as important as a relationship with our maker. Sadly, we all mess up our priorities. Because we do not expect Jesus to return any time soon, we allow other things to become more important to us than him.

Today’s Bible reading reminds us not to allow this to happen. Since Jesus could return at any time, we want to be ready at all times. Being ready means setting your heart on Christ. Because in Christ, you are ready. It is for you that Christ came in the flesh. It is for you that Christ suffered and died. It is for you that he promises to come again, not to obliterate you, but to give you eternal life.

When he does, make sure you are ready!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, make me ready for your day by keeping my faith in you strong. 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

Still Waiting – December 7, 2020

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:8,9

Still Waiting


Daily Devotion – December 7, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Peter 3:8,9

See series: Devotions

In the second to last verse of the Bible, Jesus says, “Yes, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20). This is his promise to return in great power and glory on the Last Day. But if Jesus says that he is coming soon, why have nearly two thousand years passed since he said it? What’s he waiting for? Today’s Bible passage answers that question by reminding us that Jesus is eternal.

Jesus views time differently than we do. To the Lord, there is little difference between a thousand years and a day because he does not view events in sequence. He sees them all at once. What is long for us is short for him. So it makes perfect sense for Jesus to say, “I am coming soon” and for us to still be waiting two thousand years later.

Think of the little girl who asks for help, and her dad says, “Just a minute!” For her, that minute is an eternity, but for dad, that minute is a second. It’s the same way with Jesus. He says that he is coming soon, yet he appears slow from our perspective.

But that is not slowness; it is patience. Every day that is not the Last Day is a gift of God because it means more time for the Word of God to spread and rescue sinners from eternal damnation. It gives the human race more time to repent.

Repentance is a change of mind that God works in people. When you repent, God changes how you think about sin so that you hate it rather than loving it. When you repent, God changes how you think about how you are saved from your sins so that you trust in Jesus rather than your own goodness.

Why hasn’t Jesus returned yet? What is he waiting for? He is patiently waiting to spread his Word so that many more people believe in him and are saved. What a wonderfully loving Lord!

Prayer:
Eternal Lord, bless the spread of your Word as I wait for your return. 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

Welcome Gifts – December 6, 2020

Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation . . . Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Psalm 85:7,10

Welcome Gifts


Daily Devotion – December 6, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 85:7,10

See series: Devotions

Christmas is a time for happy meetings and warm greetings. Dear friends visit from long distances. Family members come to our homes to celebrate. What a joy it is to see them! Could you imagine receiving such welcome guests with a disinterested nod or a cold stare? Of course not! We receive such guests with enthusiastic handshakes; with heartfelt embraces; with joyful kisses!

In the psalm verses before us today, the writer describes an anticipated arrival, too. Only he is not describing the arrival of dear friends or family members visiting for the holidays, he is describing the arrival of something far more meaningful in our lives. The psalmist says love and faithfulness have arrived—gifts which moved our God to carry out his plan to save us with unwavering devotion. He says righteousness and peace have arrived—gifts which allow us to stand before our holy and perfect God as holy and perfect ourselves, the barrier of sin that once separated us from him removed.

And notice the beautiful picture language the psalmist uses to describe the arrival of these gifts. They do not come with a disinterested nod or a cold stare. They are so excited to be here, they meet with a kiss! And why wouldn’t they? These are not just gifts from God that will stick around for the Christmas season and then leave us. These are gifts from God through which he has granted us salvation, and they are here to stay! For this is really what we see in the manger of Bethlehem, isn’t it? As we look into the infant eyes of our God made flesh, we see his love and faithfulness. We see the righteousness that brought us peace. We see the one who came to save us from our sins so that we could live with him forever.

What welcome gifts! They are so glad to be here, and we are so glad they came!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, fill my heart today and always with the joy of knowing you sent the gifts of joy and peace to me in the gift of 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

Strong to the End – December 5, 2020

[The Lord Jesus Christ] will keep you strong to the end.
1 Corinthians 1:8

Strong to the End


Daily Devotion – December 5, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:8

See series: Devotions

By the summer of 1805, a man by the name of Lewis had had enough. For well over a year, he and his partner, William Clark, had been leading several dozen men across the western half of the United States. They had encountered all kinds of unexpected setbacks, brutal difficulties, exhausting stress. And over the past several weeks they had been struggling through an entire range of mountains until their energy level was gone.

But now the worst was over, Lewis thought. Climbing ahead of his men, he was about to reach the top of the highest mountain pass. As he did, he had every reason to believe that when he reached the top and looked beyond, he would see only gentle, descending slopes leading all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

But when he got there, he received the shock of his life. As he stood on the top of that pass and looked beyond, he saw more mountains. Many more. Mountains as far as he could see.

Has that ever been you? Perhaps that is you right now. You have been struggling through mountains of difficulty only to look beyond and see more mountains. Maybe it’s the frantic crises at work that never seem to stop, financial troubles that never seem to end, cancer treatments that just keep coming, or a fear of loneliness that stretches as far as your eye can see.

But as you stand there and look at those mountains, there’s something else for you to see. It’s Jesus. He’s not beyond those mountains. He’s right by your side. He is not some Sunday school story. He is your living Lord, your best friend. For all the times you have doubted him, he has washed you clean in his blood. For all the times you’ve been afraid, he has been your champion. For all the times you’ve been weak, he has been your strength.

Lewis and his men completed their journey. You will too. You will because Jesus, your Savior, walks beside you. He will keep you strong. He will keep you strong to the end.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as I view the mountains I have yet to climb, help me to see that you’re right by my side. Deliver me from my fears. Be my strength. 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