Slave – February 9, 2021

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone to win as many as possible.
1 Corinthians 9:19

Slave


Daily Devotion – February 9, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 9:19

See series: Devotions

It is the First Century A.D., and you are a slave. How you became a slave may have been in any number of ways. Perhaps you’re a prisoner of war, or a sailor captured and sold by pirates, or your desperate family sold you into slavery when you were a child.

As a slave, you might find yourself working anywhere. You might work in a household, in a mine, in a factory, or on a farm. What dominates your life, however, is the reality that you are the property of your owner. Your owner can rent you out or sell you at any time. Your owner also has the right to put you to death at any moment, for any reason. You are a slave. Your life is not your own.

This picture of a slave is what the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote to his fellow Christians in Corinth. Although he was a free man, Paul was willing to make himself a slave in the way he lived for those around him.

What drove him to do this? Did he suffer from low self-esteem? Was he trying to make up for past failures? Was he subservient by nature? Any fair reading of Paul will soon tell you that those were not the reasons. Instead, Paul said this: “I make myself a slave to everyone to win as many as possible.”

For Paul, it came down to Jesus. The Son of God came to this earth, made himself a servant on our behalf, and lived a holy life in our place. He allowed himself to endure torment and death as our Substitute. All this he did to serve us and to wash our sinful stains away.

In Paul’s mind, if he could bring the Good News to more people by living for them and not for himself, he would do it. He was simply following his Savior’s lead. Forgiven in Jesus, you and I have reason to do the same.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you gave up your life to wash me clean. Give me that same spirit as I live for others. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Breath – February 8, 2021

My life is but a breath.
Job 7:7

A Breath


Daily Devotion – February 8, 2021

Devotion based on Job 7:7

See series: Devotions

In October of 1989, a sportswriter by the name of William Nack leans against a wall in his hotel room and sobs. He’s heard some news. A racehorse by the name of “Secretariat” is dead.

Flashback. It is the summer of 1973. Secretariat has taken the United States by storm. So thrilling and dominant are his victories that, in one week, he makes the cover of Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, and Time. And through it all, a young William Nack is right there as a sportswriter, covering the races, talking to the owner, talking to the trainer, talking to the jockeys and grooms. He has a front-row seat to history in the making, and he knows it.

But now the great Secretariat is dead, and William Nack sobs. He later explains why. It’s not just his respect for the horse or Secretariat’s place in history. It’s personal. Secretariat, he says, reminds him of a short era in his life when he had no real heartaches, no real griefs, no big problems. When Secretariat died, he realized those days were over and how quickly they had come and gone.

Do you ever have a moment like that? You hear about the passing of a famous figure, and somehow the news hits you hard. What hits you, however, is not so much the passing itself of the famous figure, but the era in your life that that figure represents. In that moment, you experience a jarring truth: My time on this earth is short. The days come and go. Or, as Job said, “My life is but a breath.”

Sin has done that, of course—your sin and mine. It brings heartache, problems, and grief to the few days we are on this earth. It also brings death.

But that’s why Jesus came. The eternal Son of God invaded our broken world of short, passing days. On our behalf, he lived the sinless life you and I have failed to live. At the cross, he suffered and died for our every wrong. Then he rose. And now, everyone whose faith is in him stands forgiven and inherits eternal life. And the best days are yet to come.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my life here is but a breath, but in you the best days are still to come. Thank you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Secure Even in Suffering – February 7, 2021

The hungry consume his harvest, taking it even from among thorns, and the thirsty pant after his wealth. For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. “But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”
Job 7:5-9

Secure Even in Suffering


Daily Devotion – February 7, 2021

Devotion based on Job 7:5-9

See series: Devotions

Job was a faithful believer who had a large family and many possessions that gave him great satisfaction in life. But Satan took it all away from him. He attacked Job so hard that he left him in a state of physical and spiritual anguish.

The odds are that we will never suffer the way Job did. Still, we can feel like our world is collapsing all around us. We can suffer through difficulties without a glimmer of happiness in sight. We may think, “I work so hard, and this is all the gratitude I get from people around me.” “Why can’t people at school appreciate me for who I am?” “Can I ever be really happy with my life?” The devil can take advantage of our most subtle doubts and lead us to wonder, “Does God really care about me?”

Don’t let Satan steal your confidence in who you are. Remember that you are God’s own child for whom he died. God loves you. He is the strength of life. He will provide exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. Because of Jesus, your identity is secure with God.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, strengthen me to face my trials with confidence in your wisdom and love, and thank you for making me your child through faith. Amen.

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

At once the Spirit sent him [Jesus] out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
Mark 1:12,13

Temptations


Daily Devotion – February 6, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:12,13

See series: Devotions

Jesus knows what it’s like to be tempted. He began his public ministry this way. The Holy Spirit sent him into the desert where Satan tempted and tempted and tempted Jesus. The good news is that Jesus never once gave in to any of those temptations. He knew that doing so would be wrong and a sin against God. If he did, he would fail to be the Savior. It didn’t matter if no one else was looking. Sin is still sin whether someone sees our sin or not because God sees all.

Jesus lived each day as a sinless one, overcoming every temptation. The good news is that Jesus lived this perfect life in our place. The blessed result is that through faith in Jesus, God sees us clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus, our Savior.

Such a wonderful message not only lifts us up when we’re mindful of our many failings, but it also strengthens us with the resolve that we, by God’s power, can overcome temptations. God gives us the strength to walk away. God empowers us to say “No,” even when no one is looking. And when we fail, God’s promise of his full forgiveness strengthens us to return once again to the fight, knowing full well that Jesus has defeated the tempter, who has no power over us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when my thoughts, words and deeds become impure, have mercy when I become defiled. Forgive, lift up, restore me, your child. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Actions Impact Others – February 5, 2021

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
I Corinthians 8:9-13

Our Actions Impact Others


Daily Devotion – February 5, 2021

Devotion based on I Corinthians 8:9-13

See series: Devotions

The Christians in the city of Corinth had a question. They wanted to know if it was wrong to eat meat that had been used in sacrifices at idol temples. This meat, you see, was used at the restaurants attached to the temple. Paul assured them that it was not wrong to eat such meat since the idol it was sacrificed to didn’t actually exist. The meat was just meat.

But this didn’t mean they should just go ahead and eat in those restaurants. Why? Well, one of their fellow Christians might see them doing so and think they were worshiping an idol. It might even lead that person to worship the idol themselves. Paul’s point was simple. Even if something is not wrong in and of itself, think carefully about what you are doing so you don’t mislead others and harm their relationship with Jesus.

Jesus would have us exercise the same love for our fellow Christians today. Think carefully about everything you do. Consider how it might affect the spiritual well-being of those around you. And be willing to give up your own rights, if necessary, for the good of others. After all, it was our Savior Jesus who gave up all of his rights in order to save you from your sins. May his love instill in you a sacrificial love for others.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me show the same loving concern for the souls around me that you showed for my soul. Amen

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Frees Us From Petty Rules – February 4, 2021

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
I Corinthians 8:1-6

Jesus Frees Us From Petty Rules


Daily Devotion – February 4, 2021

Devotion based on I Corinthians 8:1-6

See series: Devotions

During the time the apostle Paul lived, it was common practice for people to sacrifice an animal to an idol and then for the meat from that animal to be sold in the marketplace to eat. There were many new Christians who wondered if it was acceptable to eat that meat. They worried that eating it would mean they had participated in worshipping that idol.

Paul set their consciences at ease, assuring them that “An idol is nothing at all in the world,” that “There is no God but one,” and that “food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.”

People today may not be wondering whether it’s ok to eat meat taken from an idol temple. But plenty of people still wonder which of the many gods and religions in this world is the true God and true religion. The apostle Paul answers this question in no uncertain terms. “…there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

Do you want to get to know the God who made you, who cares for you, and who loves you more than you can imagine? Then get to know Jesus. Read of his life and work in the words of the Bible. There you will discover the God who will change your life now and promise you eternal life after. Thankfully, this is the one true God!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me get to know you better as the one, true God. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You Can Trust Jesus – February 3, 2021

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.”
Deuteronomy 18:15-18

You Can Trust Jesus


Daily Devotion – February 3, 2021

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 18:15-18

See series: Devotions

In the advertising world, there is one goal: sell your product. Of course, this leaves the consumer suspicious, and rightly so. Is the person in the commercial telling the truth? Is the salesperson misleading me? Are the claims made too good to be true? But if a brother or sister, or good friend tells you that they bought a product and it is good quality, that’s different. That means more than 100 TV commercials. Why? The intentions of our family and friends are different than those trying to sell a product. They have our best interests at heart, not the next sale.

In the Bible reading today, God reminds us that Jesus can be trusted. He has our best intentions in mind. More than fifteen hundred years before Jesus was born, God promised that Jesus would be a prophet who would only say what God wanted to be said. This means that everything Jesus said was true. His words can be trusted.

Jesus wasn’t trying to sell something. Jesus didn’t come to earth to make money or make life better for himself. Jesus came to earn heaven for us and give it to us free of charge. His words weren’t deceitful or crafty. He wasn’t trying to trick us. Jesus’ words help, heal, and are true. You can trust Jesus!

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, help me to trust that you care for me. Give me a heart that listens to your words and takes them to heart, trusting that what you say will always be for my good. Amen

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You Can Trust Jesus Power – February 2, 2021

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Mark 1:21-24

You Can Trust Jesus Power


Daily Devotion – February 2, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:21-24

See series: Devotions

It must have sent a tingle up the spine of anyone who was there to hear it. The voice of an evil spirit spoke through the mouth of a demon-possessed man.

Those of us who live in the twenty-first century Western world don’t discuss demons very often. Many people are convinced they simply don’t exist. The Bible tells us differently. In fact, it tells us of many occasions when Jesus confronted evil spirits. In our Bible reading for today, we are told that an evil spirit was in control of a man’s body or at least his mouth. What a terrifying state of affairs!

But notice that the evil spirit was not more powerful than Jesus. Not even close. In fact, it had to acknowledge that Jesus was the Holy One of God.

What are you afraid of this day? What troubles you? What makes you worry? Whatever it is, it cannot be more powerful than Jesus. He is all-powerful. The one who could cast that demon out of that man can conquer anything that frightens you. He has already conquered your sin when he went to the cross. He already conquered death when he rose from the dead. So, you can be sure he can and will do what is best for you now and take you to himself in heaven one day. Aren’t you glad your Jesus is so powerful?

Prayer:
Jesus, when I am tempted to tremble in fear, remind me of your almighty power. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You Can Trust Jesus Words – February 1, 2020

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
Mark 1:21-26

You Can Trust Jesus Words


Daily Devotion – February 1, 2020

Devotion based on Mark 1:21-26

See series: Devotions

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available in this technological age? Do you get even more overwhelmed when you realize how much of it contradicts what others think and what others have written? Well, guess what, you aren’t alone. This isn’t something that is only true in our modern age.

The people at the time Jesus lived struggled with the very same thing. There was no shortage of scholars who shared their opinions and were sure they were right. But their opinions frequently contradicted each other. Who was to be believed?

Into this world of confusion came God’s Son, Jesus, to set the matter straight. Not only was his teaching clear and understandable. He backed it up with proof of his authority. In the lesson we just read, Jesus was in the midst of his teaching and instructing when a man possessed by an evil spirit confronted him. Quickly and in a manner that could not be explained away as a trick, he cast out the spirit. The people were amazed.

Today, in a world filled with different ideas and opinions, Jesus is the one person whose words you can trust. When he says he has paid for your sins when he died on the cross, you can trust it is true. When he says he conquered death when he rose from the grave and that one day he will raise you from the dead to live forever, you can trust it is true. When he says he will be with you this day and always, you can trust it is true. So, trust him!

Prayer:
Jesus, when I feel overwhelmed by all of the opinions and information around me, comfort me with the certainty of your truth. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Has Chosen You – January 31, 2021

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

God Has Chosen You


Daily Devotion – January 31, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:16-18

See series: Devotions

Jesus saw Simon and Andrew as he walked along the Sea of Galilee. They were fishing, and he said to them, “Come, follow me.” It seems like a simple request. But then the question comes to mind, “Why?” What was it about these men that made Jesus choose them over all the other people along the Sea of Galilee? Jesus could have chosen the rich, or the highly educated, or the influential, or the officials of his day. But he didn’t. He found common fishermen and chose them to follow him so that they could be trained for three years to become fishers of men instead of fishers of fish. But it wasn’t anything about those two fishermen that caused Jesus to choose them. It was simply God’s grace that was poured out on Simon and Andrew.

You could ask the same question about yourself: What does God see in you that would lead him to call you to follow him? If you are honest with yourself, you have to admit there is no reason that he would have to call you. You are not good enough, smart enough, perfect enough, or deserving enough to make Jesus call you. But in his grace, Jesus calls you to be his disciple. He removed the obstacles separating you from God when he paid for your sins. Now he calls you to follow him just as he called Simon and Andrew so many years ago.

What a great privilege and gift from your Savior! He has chosen you to follow him.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, I give thanks that you have called me to be your disciple. Give me the strength to follow you all the days of my life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Loving Lord Calls Us to Repentance – January 30, 2021

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. . . . When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 3:1-5,10

Our Loving Lord Calls Us to Repentance


Daily Devotion – January 30, 2021

Devotion based on Jonah 3:1-5,10

See series: Devotions

Nineveh was the New York City of its day. Capital of the powerful Assyrian Empire—the city was large and proud. One-hundred-foot high walls surrounded it. The citizens of Nineveh were well protected from physical danger by the walls that surrounded them.

But the Ninevites were in danger from a force much more powerful than any neighboring army. They were in grave spiritual danger. Sin was rampant, and God had had enough. He sent his prophet Jonah some six hundred miles to warn them to repent of their sin, or he would destroy them in forty days.

Like the people of Nineveh, God commands us to repent of our sins. God’s warnings about our sin are always urgent. Sin is serious; it separates us from God.

Against what sins are you struggling? Today God calls on you to repent. Turn away from those sins and trust God for his mercy. He is a forgiving God, just as he was for the people of Nineveh: “…he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.” God has had compassion on you, too. Instead of bringing on you the destruction your sins deserve, he brought that destruction on Jesus when he hung on the cross. Through Jesus, you have forgiveness for all your sins against God. May this comforting reality give you the strength you need today to leave your sin behind and live your life for him.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I confess that I have so often sinned against you. Forgive my sins for Jesus’ sake. Give me the strength and the will to live this day in true repentance that all my doings and life may please you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Fishing For Souls – January 29, 2021

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Mark 1:16,17

Fishing For Souls


Daily Devotion – January 29, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:16,17

See series: Devotions

They were fishermen. They had spent countless days and nights out on the water, casting their nets into the sea, hoping for a catch. Sometimes the nets were full. Other times they were empty. Even the most experienced fishermen aren’t successful every single time.

Jesus is a fisherman too. But he doesn’t use physical nets or a rod and reel. His net is the simple message that he came in love to free those held prisoners by their guilt and sin. He came to heal those wounded by their own failures. He came to rescue those threatened by death.

When he was on earth, Jesus cast the net of that beautiful, saving message into many places—into ponds that looked promising and into waterholes that looked hopeless. He cast his net where crowds gathered and where individuals were all alone. Some listened. Some didn’t. Some followed. Others refused. Some received eternal life; others rejected that life and received eternal death. But, because he loved sinners, he kept on fishing.

Jesus equipped Simon and Andrew with that same simple, joyful message when he called them to fish for people. Some days, just like on the water, they would be successful. Other days, the nets would come back nearly empty. The patience and persistence they learned on the lake would come in handy in their new fishing role.

Jesus still loves sinners. And so, he still sends out men and women to fish for sinners’ souls—including yours. May you be caught up in his promise of forgiveness and eternal life.

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for sending your spiritual fishermen to capture my soul with your saving Word.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Remarkable Mercy – January 28, 2021

The Ninevites believed God . . . When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 3:5

Remarkable Mercy


Daily Devotion – January 28, 2021

Devotion based on Jonah 3:5

See series: Devotions

The prophet Jonah preached in Israel when many were living wicked lives and worshipping false gods. Jonah called the people to come back to the Lord, but they refused. He even warned that if they didn’t end their wicked ways, the Lord would send the Assyrian army to conquer them.

And then one day, the Lord told Jonah, “Go to Nineveh and preach to the people there.” Nineveh was the capital of Assyria! God wanted Jonah to preach to Israel’s enemy to call them to turn from their wickedness and serve the Lord.

Jonah didn’t want to do what God commanded. He was afraid that the Ninevites would believe him and turn from their sins and that God would have mercy on them. He didn’t want God to have mercy on Israel’s enemy. He wanted God to punish them for their sins and for being the enemy of his people. But it didn’t happen. Instead, just as Jonah feared, the Ninevites listened to his warning, turned from their sins, and were saved. God was merciful to them.

Like Jonah, it is easy for us to think that some people are not worthy of God’s mercy. The truth is—no one is worthy of God’s mercy. The fact that we are not worthy is precisely why God needs to be merciful. And, thankfully, he is. Through the soul-saving life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God promises us forgiveness and eternal life with him.

What remarkable mercy God showed the Ninevites. What remarkable mercy he has shown us!

Prayer:
God, I praise you for your boundless mercy. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Follow the Leader – January 27, 2021

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said . . . At once they left their nets and followed him.
Mark 1:17,18

Follow the Leader


Daily Devotion – January 27, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:17,18

See series: Devotions

“Follow the Leader” is a popular game with children. One child leads the other children around the area where they are playing. Each of the other children tries to do exactly what the leader is doing—walking a certain way, navigating around obstacles, or doing whatever the leader chooses. The more creative the leader, the more challenging and fun the game can be.

Simon and Andrew were fishermen, a good middle-class job in first-century Palestine. Then one day, they heard about a prophet named John. They went to listen to him and were intrigued by what he said. His message held such promise. The kingdom of God is near, he told them. The Savior God has promised is on his way! Get ready! Believing John’s message, Simon and Andrew became his followers.

But John was eventually arrested and thrown into prison because of what he taught. Now whom would Simon and Andrew follow? Who would be their leader?

The question was soon answered when Jesus called out to them one day as they were fishing. “Come, follow me.” And what did they do? They didn’t hesitate. They didn’t ask for time to think about it. They believed he was their Savior. They left everything to listen to him, to worship him, and to serve him. They followed him.

Jesus wants us to follow him too. He knows it won’t always be easy. Not everyone will like what we say and do when we imitate him. But it will be worth it! Following Jesus means following the one who forgives our sins and promises us eternal life in heaven. It means following the one who gives our lives meaning, purpose, and hope. And that is a leader worth following.

Prayer:
Jesus, in your Word, you call me to follow you. Help me to trust your promises and to follow you in faith. Amen.

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

[Elisha] took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
1 Kings 19:21

Letting Go to Go with God


Daily Devotion – January 26, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:21

See series: Devotions

In the book, Where the Red Fern Grows, a boy learns to build a raccoon trap by putting a shiny object down in a hole and driving nails in at an angle around that hole. The raccoon is attracted to the shiny object and reaches into the hole to grab it. With its fist clenched around the object, refusing to let go, the raccoon is unable to pull its paw out past the nails.

Do we sometimes get trapped by the shiny but empty things of this world—spending money to feel powerful, drinking to drown sorrows, sacrificing faith to gain friends?

In our Bible reading for today, we hear about a man named Elisha, who was willing to give up the things of this world in order to follow God. When the prophet Elijah threw his cloak over Elisha and called him to be trained as a prophet, Elisha showed his total commitment to the Lord by burning his plow and slaughtering his oxen. He was willing to let go of his home, job, and family to do the work that the Lord had called him to do.

Although God may not have called you to be a prophet, he does call on you to follow him. As your Creator and the only one who can provide forgiveness for your sins and eternal life in heaven, he deserves your full commitment. And because he is a faithful and loving God, you can be sure he is worth following.

So, like Elisha, do not let anything keep you from following him. Let go of everything and anything that would stop you. And follow him to the heaven his Son, Jesus, has won for you.

Prayer:
Lord, create in me a desire for you above all things. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Bad Timing for Good News – January 25, 2021

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

Bad Timing for Good News


Daily Devotion – January 25, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:14,15

See series: Devotions

Timing is everything. Someone looking to start a new business needs to recognize the factors that might interfere with the success of their business. A lemonade stand or ice cream shop isn’t likely to take off in the middle of a Midwestern winter.

What about expanding a preaching and teaching ministry when the previous guy was just put in prison for preaching and teaching? That’s basically what Jesus did.

His predecessor, John, was in jail. John’s message had been clear and consistent: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near!” But many weren’t willing to admit their sins or their need for God’s forgiveness. And they didn’t like John pointing out how they had disobeyed God. This was especially true of the local king named Herod. So the king had John arrested.

This would probably be a time for anyone thinking of preaching a similar message to lay low. Give it time. Maybe people would be more receptive to listening in the future.

But instead, “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’”

By all worldly measures, it was not a good time. But Jesus doesn’t measure by worldly measures. Jesus saw people who needed to hear the good news that God had kept his promises to mankind. God had sent someone to free them from the punishment that their sins deserved. God had sent someone to release them from the burden of trying to earn God’s favor by their own actions. That someone was Jesus himself.

The news was too good to wait! Jesus came to save sinners. He knew that the sinners he came to save would resist and oppose him, but he wouldn’t give up. He wouldn’t turn back or keep quiet. He loved sinners too much.

He still does. He still calls out to you and me today too, “Repent and believe the good news!”

Prayer:
Jesus, lead me to repent of my sins and trust the good news that in you, my sins are forgiven. Amen.

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

What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short.
I Corinthians 7:29

Deadline


Daily Devotion – January 24, 2021

Devotion based on I Corinthians 7:29

See series: Devotions

“The test is on Friday.” “There are eight seconds left, and we are down by two.” “Monday, I make my presentation before the board.” “My dinner guests will be here in 25 minutes.”

Deadlines are something we know all about. When “crunch time” hits, we know we need to get very focused on the task at hand. Everything needs to be in order before time runs out.

The Bible encourages us to live every part of our lives with such focus. The “deadline” is at hand in a very literal sense. The cares and tasks of this life can tempt us to forget, but death or Jesus’ return could come at any moment. God blesses us with many things in our lives—spouses, possessions, earthly peace, and happiness. But even these are misused if they become the end goal of our existence.

Thank God that he sent his Son, Jesus, who never once lost track of the task at hand. His steady steps toward a certain death were all made in your place. Know that this is why God accepts you. Fix your eyes on your Savior and focus on the heavenly home that Jesus bought for you. He was determined to be your substitute and pay the price of your sin by shedding his blood. So when God in his wisdom brings you to the last deadline of life, there’s nothing to be anxious about. God has made you ready by faith in Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord, work in my heart to prepare it for your return. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Follow Jesus – January 23, 2021

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Matthew 4:18-22

Follow Jesus


Daily Devotion – January 23, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 4:18-22

See series: Devotions

They were simple, first-century fishermen, just blue-collar workers going about their blue-collar jobs. Until, one day, Jesus called out and said, “Come, follow me.” They knew of Jesus. They had seen him before and had even witnessed his first miracle. But they could not possibly know what they were in for by following him. They would see him heal the lame, give sight to the blind, and even raise the dead. They would hear him preach and teach like no one before. They would see him arrested, beaten, and nailed to a cross. And they would see him alive again three days later. It would be a journey of highs and lows that they could never have imagined that day when he first called them to follow him.

The same Jesus who called Peter and Andrew, James, and John, calls for you to follow him. Follow his words and promises. Follow his will for your life. Follow him in good times and bad; when it is easy and when it is not. Follow him in everything you do this day and every day yet to come. Like those first-century fishermen, you cannot possibly know what it will mean to follow Jesus.

But you will be so glad you did. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is a light shining in this dark world, helping you make sense of it all and see who you really are and who your God really is. Follow him through the twists and turns of this life, and he will lead you to the heaven he bought for you with his blood.

Follow Jesus. You will be eternally thankful you did!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, I realize that following you will not always be easy. But I know it will always be best. Grant me the willingness and strength to follow you through this life and into the next. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Stand Firm in Your Faith – January 22, 2021

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

Stand Firm in Your Faith


Daily Devotion – January 22, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:15

See series: Devotions

I know quite a few people who used to be Christians but have lost their faith. Some of them stopped believing when they went off to college. Their professors said that Christianity was foolish and they didn’t want to be known as fools, so they denied Christ. Or classmates told them that the Bible is hateful towards LGBTQ people. They didn’t want to be hateful, so they gave up on Christianity. Others started watching YouTube videos that taught that science has disproven God. They didn’t want to be anti-scientific, so they abandoned Jesus.

Each person left Christianity for different reasons. But they all had this one thing in common. None of them were feeding their faith. None of them were actively going to church and speaking with their pastor and other Christians. Jesus predicted that these people would fall when he told the parable of “The Sower and the Seed.” In his story, Jesus compares our faith to a plant. If our faith is not “fed” and “watered,” it will dry up or get choked out by the weeds of life.

That’s why Paul told his congregation in Thessalonica to “stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” Paul knew that it is not enough to just hear the Word of God once. Followers of Jesus need to actively take hold of it, absorbing Biblical sermons, and meditating on what Paul and the other Biblical authors wrote down.

Wherever you might be in your relationship with the Lord, stand firm in the message of God’s love for you in Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Lord God, lead me to stand firm and hold fast to your precious Word. Don’t let the devil or anything in this world snatch me from your hand. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Gift of Faith – January 21, 2021

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

The Gift of Faith


Daily Devotion – January 21, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14

See series: Devotions

How does a person become a Christian? Do they need to have an emotional experience in a worship service? Do they need to have all their questions answered? Do they become Christian after they see good examples of other believers?

Those experiences can be important turning points that lead people to be open in hearing the message of Jesus. But one of Jesus’ followers, a man named Paul, said that Christians are made through the “sanctifying work of the Spirit.” That means God, the Holy Spirit, works in a person to want to know and believe in Jesus.

A great Christian reformer named Martin Luther had a tremendous experience that opened him up to the Gospel. But when he explained how a person comes to faith, he didn’t focus on the outward experience. He said it was through the work of God on the inside.

Luther wrote, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel…”

That’s why Christians ought to be the humblest people on the planet. Christians don’t come to believe in Jesus as their Savior because of their own intelligence or worthiness. They are not better than anyone else. God, the Holy Spirit, gave them the gift of faith through his mighty power.

If you call yourself a Christian, live a life of humility and thankfulness. If you are still struggling to believe, I pray that the Holy Spirit would move you to see Jesus as your God and Savior.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, work in my heart to trust that what you tell me in your Word, the Bible, is true, especially when you tell me that Jesus is my one and only Savior and hope for eternal life with you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Patiently Calls Skeptics to Believe – January 20, 2021

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
John 1:45-49

Jesus Patiently Calls Skeptics to Believe


Daily Devotion – January 20, 2021

Devotion based on John 1:45-49

See series: Devotions

One of Jesus’ first disciples was Andrew. Andrew was so excited to be following Jesus that he went and told his friend Nathaniel. But when Nathaniel heard that Jesus was from the small, no-name town of Nazareth, he sneered, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Andrew responded, “Come and see.”

When Nathaniel approached Jesus, Jesus didn’t rebuke Nathaniel for his unbelief. Jesus gently showed Nathaniel that Jesus knew all things. Nathaniel quickly changed his mind and believed that Jesus is the true Son of God.

Perhaps you are someone who doubts all of the claims about Jesus. You wonder about his being born of a virgin or healing people of their diseases. You wonder about the claim that his death paid for the sins of all people or the claim that he rose from the dead. He knows that sometimes you struggle to believe. But Jesus doesn’t reject you. He patiently calls you to the truth. He gives you clear evidence in the Bible of who he is and what he has done.

You need not live in your skepticism any longer. Hear Christ calling you through his Word. Respond to his Word with faith. And give him all the glory.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your patience with me. Lead me to believe even when I’m overwhelmed with unbelief. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Follow Me – January 19, 2021

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
John 1:43

Follow Me


Daily Devotion – January 19, 2021

Devotion based on John 1:43

See series: Devotions

I used to pride myself on being a leader. I thought I knew what direction to lead my family and my church. I had plans to take our family on a vacation to Florida. And we had plans to keep expanding our church in multiple locations. But then the 2020 pandemic hit, and all our plans stopped. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like a confident leader. I didn’t know what the future would hold. And I had no idea where I was supposed to lead my family and God’s people.

Did something similar happen to you? Were you confident about where you were leading yourself and others? Did you lose your confidence when the world was turned upside down?

In our Bible reading today, Jesus is calling his first disciples. We read that he finds a man named Philip and says to him, “Follow me” (John 1:43). That’s it. Follow me. Jesus tells Philip that he doesn’t need to lead. He just needs to follow. Jesus doesn’t tell him what the future will be like. But he does tell him that he will be with him always.

Jesus is calling us with those same two words, “Follow me.” We don’t have to know what is going to happen in the near future. We can follow behind Jesus, listening to his Word, and following his teaching.

We can be even more confident than Philip to respond to Jesus’ call. Philip was called before Jesus died and rose. We are being called by the resurrected and living Savior who is sitting in the place of power at the Lord’s right hand. The future made seem uncertain, but we can continue in confidence because Jesus is our leader.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I trust in you. I will follow you wherever you lead. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Lord Calls Us in the Darkness – January 18, 2021

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

The Lord Calls Us in the Darkness


Daily Devotion – January 18, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 3:10

See series: Devotions

The book of Judges is one of the darkest, bloodiest books of the Bible. It is the seventh book in the Old Testament. And it tells the story of what happened to the nation of Israel after they entered the Promised Land of Canaan. From about 1400 B.C. until about 1000 B.C., the Israelites fell into perverted idolatry and senseless violence. Although this book is hard to read, it isn’t much different than the corruption that we see in our society, and especially in our own hearts.

As the time of the Judges was coming to a close, we hear a remarkable story about the calling of Samuel. Samuel was a young boy who was an apprentice for the High Priest, Eli. Even though Samuel worked at the tabernacle, the Bible says, “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him” (1 Samuel 3:7).

Yet, the Lord, in his grace, called out to the boy, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel didn’t know who was calling him. So the priest, Eli, instructed Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’” (1 Samuel 3:9). And that’s just what he did. The next time the Lord called, Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).

What can we learn about the Lord from this account?

• God is still calling his people to follow him, even in dark days.
• God calls us, even when we aren’t looking for him.
• God opens our heart so that we can listen and receive him.

When the world seems so dark and wicked, it might seem like God has abandoned us. But he is still here, still calling us to believe him, follow him, and serve him. May we, like Samuel, answer, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for speaking to me through your words in the Bible. Help me always to listen to what you say. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Bringing People to Jesus – January 17, 2021

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.
John 1:40-42

Bringing People to Jesus


Daily Devotion – January 17, 2021

Devotion based on John 1:40-42

See series: Devotions

There was so much excitement and so little stress when Andrew told his brother about Jesus. Have you ever wished it was that easy?

It is easy to worry about trying to find just the right words to say or trying to find just the right time to say them. But notice that Andrew wasn’t concerned about any of that.

Andrew didn’t worry about getting the timing right because he did it as “the first thing.” There was no waiting for just the right moment because Andrew got right to it.

He didn’t worry about finding the right words to say because all he said was what he knew: “We have found the Messiah.” There was no crafting of the perfect thing to say. Andrew just said what he knew.

All of this is because Andrew realized what the real job of sharing our faith is—it is bringing people to Jesus. It is easy to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to share Jesus and to do it in just the right way. However, sharing our faith is really a natural thing for Christians. We want to bring other people to be where Jesus is.

Jesus is the one who does the real work. He is the one who does the convincing and puts opportunities in our lives. Our job is just to bring people to be with Jesus.

Prayer:
Father, help me to be like Andrew as he brought people to Jesus. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Perfect Substitute – January 16, 2021

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
John 2: 1,2

The Perfect Substitute


Daily Devotion – January 16, 2021

Devotion based on John 2: 1,2

See series: Devotions

When you host a party or event, what are your criteria for whom you invite? We don’t really know why Jesus was invited to the wedding chronicled in our story. But he was there. Perhaps the inviting couple knew of Jesus as a teacher with a growing reputation. But he had not yet performed any miracles. That all changed at this special wedding when Jesus changed water into wine.

When the wedding was over, did the couple and guests realize that Jesus had power over nature? Did they realize that Jesus was “telling them” that he was the promised Messiah? He was sent by God, his Father, because of the sins that our first parents—Adam and Eve—committed in the Garden of Eden. And every generation of man since then, including us, has continued to sin against our holy God. And our sins have separated us from God.

Enter Jesus. Here he was, God himself, living here on earth as a true man. Jesus had power over nature and the devil because he is God. As a man, he was subject to all the temptations that we are, but Jesus lived a perfect life on earth. And then he was brutally punished and killed, even though he was innocent. In his Father’s eyes, Jesus became the perfect substitute and took our punishment on himself. Now, in God’s eyes, all of Jesus’ followers are perfect because he took our place. They will be with him in heaven—a party unlike any other.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, strengthen my faith as I dwell on your substitution for me. Hear my thanks now, and when I praise you and thank you eternally in heaven. Amen.

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

[The jailer] then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Acts 16:30,31

For You Too


Daily Devotion – January 15, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 16:30,31

See series: Devotions

The jailer knew he was in trouble. He had a good occupation, but it was high-risk. Keep the prisoners for the Roman government under lock and key, and the pay was good. Allow the prisoners to escape, and the punishment was losing your own life.

It was night. There was such a violent earthquake that it shook the foundation of the prison. All the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. No chance that there would be any prisoners left after that. The jailer woke up, saw the prison doors were open, and was about to kill himself because he thought that the prisoners had escaped.

One of the prisoners was a missionary named Paul. He realized what was going on, and he shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer knew what Paul did for a living. Faced with his own mortality, he asked the question as clearly as he could ask it. “What must I do to be saved?”

Paul answered as clearly as he could in that crisis moment. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Then, to clarify that this was not just a promise for the jailer but also for every person, Paul added, “You and your household.”

That promise is for you too, whether you are in crisis or calm, whether you are relaxed or stressed, whether your life is good or buildings are crumbling around you. The Bible was written so that you would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you would have life in his name.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have mercy on me, and through faith in you, bring me to everlasting life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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For Everyone – January 14, 2021

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

For Everyone


Daily Devotion – January 14, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:6

See series: Devotions

Every year I enjoy watching the New Year celebrations beginning in Asia and then crossing the globe all the way to the west coast of North America. Those celebrations were a little different this year, but it was still the same principle. As the earth turns, the darkness of New Year’s Eve is lit up by artificial light at midnight, and then a few hours later comes the dawning of a new morning in a new year.

When Jesus was on earth as a human being, he celebrated his New Year in Israel. He was a Jewish man. There was a sign on his cross that said, “King of the Jews.” People could have understood his work to be simply for Jewish people since he was one of them.

But 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah quoted God the Father speaking to his Son, Jesus, and saying, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles.” Gentiles are any people who are not Jewish. Jesus is not just the glory of the Jewish people of Israel. He is a light for all of the Gentiles as well.

That means Jesus brings light to the lives of people no matter where they live in the world. The good news about forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus has gone to the ends of the earth. People’s eyes are opened, and their hearts are changed from darkness into light as they come into contact with that wonderful news.

Today that news of salvation can make it around the world through the internet even faster than the world can spin. It’s a blessing to see it happen, and it’s a privilege to be part of that effort.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the world, shine brightly and bring many more to faith in you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Father Makes It Clear – January 13, 2021

And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Mark 1:11

Father Makes It Clear


Daily Devotion – January 13, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:11

See series: Devotions

A teacher notices that one of the boys in her classroom is particularly good at drawing and takes great pleasure in producing pictures. When she meets his father and talks about the student’s skill, the father, who turns out to be a professional artist, says proudly, “Yep. That’s my son.”

Anyone who took a look at Jesus could see that he was particularly good at living life. He did all the right things, and he refrained from doing all the wrong things. He did not insist on being served. Instead, he served others whenever and wherever he had the chance.

At the time of his baptism, he was too old to be in school anymore, so it was not his teacher making that observation. It was his relative, John, and it was the people gathered on the bank of the Jordan River. When Jesus’ Father confirmed that observation, he said to Jesus for all those people to hear: “You are my Son. With you, I am well pleased.” The Father was pleased that the Son was as holy as the Father.

Jesus’ Father added that he loved his Son. “You are my Son, whom I love.” Later on, however, the Father turned his face away from his Son as his Son hung on the cross. How could a loving father do something like that? He did it because at that moment of crucifixion, his Son was taking the responsibility for the sins of people who did not do all the right things.

We are those people. All of us who are students in the classroom of life can be grateful for what the Son of God did for us. Now the Father calls us his children as well, saying that he loves us and is pleased with us. Get the picture?

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for loving me so much that you sent your only Son to be my perfect Savior. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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No Doubt About It – January 12, 2021

Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
Mark 1:10

No Doubt About It


Daily Devotion – January 12, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:10

See series: Devotions

A man named John baptized Jesus. He claimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. But people had to wonder if everything John said about Jesus was true. Was this man named Jesus really connected to the only true God?

John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. As Jesus was coming up out of the water onto the riverbank, an amazing thing happened in the sky. Heaven was torn open! There was clearly something special going on! People who wondered if Jesus had any real connection to God didn’t have to wonder any longer.

At that moment, the Holy Spirit descended onto Jesus. What did it look like? It looked like a supernatural dove coming down and landing on Jesus. If there had been any doubt about it before, there was none now. The connection of Jesus to the true God was visibly confirmed by the Holy Spirit. It must have been amazing and striking.

Now the people had proof that everything Jesus said was from God. The Holy Spirit gave them that proof!

You have that same proof today. The Holy Spirit is the one who uses that proof to work faith in your heart. You can have the confidence—no doubt about it—that your sins are forgiven because Jesus says so. He is the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for your sin, and not only for yours but for the sins of everyone in the world.

You might wish that everyone baptized today would have the same amazing and striking thing happen to them, but the Holy Spirit chooses to arrive invisibly instead through the power of the Word. His visible descent onto Jesus was to help you understand that the promises Jesus makes about baptism in his Word—forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation—are entirely true, no doubt about it.

Prayer:
O Holy Spirit, keep my faith in Jesus strong all the way to eternal life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Anointed – January 11, 2021

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
Mark 1:9

Anointed


Daily Devotion – January 11, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:9

See series: Devotions

There are a lot of expectations for new leaders. Those who don’t like them expect them to do things that people don’t like. Those who do like them hope that they will do things that people want them to do. But the new leaders don’t get to function as new leaders until they are actually in office.

In ancient Israel, the process of putting new leaders in office was called anointing. A special kind of fragrant oil was poured on the heads of new leaders, and people who liked the new leaders rejoiced when it happened. People who didn’t like them just wrinkled their noses in disgust.

The Bible says that when Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, Jesus was anointed as a leader. The anointing oil was water and the Holy Spirit. What kind of leader was Jesus? There were three offices into which a person could be anointed in ancient Israel, and Jesus was entering all three of those offices.

The first office was a prophet, someone who spoke for God. Since Jesus was God, he had no trouble speaking for God. Everything he said was the Word of God! He was doing that speaking in public when he was baptized. Just as you might expect, everything Jesus said was exactly right.

The second office was a priest, someone who makes sacrifices to God for people. Jesus eventually sacrificed himself, and it was for you. He was the ultimate sacrifice, and his sacrifice on the cross paid for your sins once and for all.

The third office was a king, someone who defeated enemies and ruled the people. Jesus defeated enemies who didn’t like him, enemies like sin, death, and the devil. Now he rules your heart by his powerful Word.

May today’s reminder of Jesus’ baptism comfort you with the knowledge that he is your perfect prophet, priest, and king.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for your willingness to take on all of these offices and fulfill their duties for me. Amen.

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