Accomplishments – July 29, 2020

[My Word] will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11

Accomplishments


Daily Devotion – July 29, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:11

See series: Devotions

“So, did you get done what you wanted to accomplish today?” That question can be like nails on a chalkboard. Even the best time managers cannot accurately plan for the distractions in the office, the surprise phone call, or the migraine headache. Do you ever find yourself frustrated with unchecked boxes on a to-do list? Sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

Now imagine what life would be like if that never happened to you. Imagine how productive you would feel. Imagine how content you would be with your calendar and your workload. I have to admit, I’m a little jealous of God, when he says, “My word will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Almost sarcastically, I want to say, “Good for you, God!”

But that sarcasm quickly wanes when I realize the object of God’s desires and purposes. It’s you. God wants you to be saved. God wants you to come to a knowledge of the truth. God wants to lead you to his heavenly home. God wants to comfort you. God’s desires are all about you. And God’s Word accomplishes everything God desires. God’s Word checks off every box for you. Now, instead of sarcastically, you can gratefully and humbly say, “Good for you, God!” And good for God means good for you.

Prayer:
Lord, as I face the stress of deadlines and a full calendar, help me to cherish that you achieve every purpose of your word. 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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Just What I Needed – July 28, 2020

As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth.
Isaiah 55:10,11

Just What I Needed


Daily Devotion – July 28, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:10,11

See series: Devotions

“That’s just what I needed,” says your buddy after you meet him for happy hour after a long day of work. “It’s exactly what I needed,” exclaims your mother after opening your thoughtful birthday gift. “Just What I Needed,” is not just a hit song from the 1970s, it’s also God’s promise regarding his Word to you.

It is somewhat subtle in our bible passage for today but notes the appropriateness of what God’s Word accomplishes. “It yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,” not seed for the eater or bread for the sower. God’s Word appropriately provides. God’s Word always gives us what we need.

So the question naturally becomes, “What do you need today?” Not, “What do you want?” But, “What do you need?” Go ahead. Write five current needs on a piece of paper in front of you or on the notepad of your mind. Now write five needs you’ll need six months from now. A year from now. Five years from now.

Could you do it? As our circumstances change, so do our needs. If I would have asked you in February what your needs would be six months later, I doubt any of us could have guessed what our needs would be in this pandemic. I still don’t know what I need. But God does. Not only does he know your needs, he knows how and when to address them. Just because you may be an adult who provides for others’ needs, don’t lose the comfort and promise of having a God who promises to provide appropriately for your needs. You’re never too old to sing, “I am Jesus’ little lamb; ever glad at heart I am, for my shepherd gently guides me, knows my needs and well provides me” (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 469).

Prayer:
Lord, calm my heart as your Word assures me that you will give what I need when I need it. 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 Word of God Always Works – July 27, 2020

As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth.
Isaiah 55:10,11

The Word of God Always Works


Daily Devotion – July 27, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:10,11

See series: Devotions

Step one; check. Step two; check. Steps three through five; check, check, check. “Alright, we should be all set. Let’s go flip the circuit breaker back on and see if this ceiling light works.” The moment of truth. A flip of the switch…nothing. “Are you kidding me? I followed all the steps.”

Ever have something similar happen to you? You follow the directions to a tee, and whatever the product is, it just doesn’t work. I don’t get frustrated when something old doesn’t work. We expect things to wear out. But something new? Ugh, that’s when I lose patience. Thankfully, there is such a thing as a warranty.

God’s Word doesn’t need a warranty because it comes with a guarantee—God’s Word always works. How comforting is that! Yet, we often fail to trust that guarantee. More often than not, we stumble over the adverb, always. God’s Word always works? Then how come God’s Word didn’t crack the unbelieving heart of my neighbor? How come God’s Word didn’t dry the tears of my mourning aunt? How come God’s Word didn’t…? [you fill in the blank].

Before you ask another question, ask yourself this, “How do you know God’s Word didn’t work? How do you know that it just didn’t work yet? How do you know that it just didn’t work according to your plan?”

God says, “Just like the rain waters the earth…so is the word from my mouth.” God’s Word is living, powerful, and effective. And he gives it to you. Read, listen, and share God’s Word. And I guarantee—NO, God guarantees—his Word will work.

Prayer:
Lord, lead me to always trust the effectiveness of your Word. 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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Truly Unbreakable – July 26, 2020

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:3-4

Truly Unbreakable


Daily Devotion – July 26, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:3-4

See series: Devotions

Everything breaks. Everything gets old. Everything wears out. Everything fades away.

The longer you live on this earth, the more you realize how true this is. That faded rust bucket you see on the highway was once pristine and spotless. That eyesore of a house you see in the old part of downtown once smelled of new wood and fresh paint. The arthritic, overweight coach was once a lightning-fast force of nature on the football field. The old woman in the Alzheimer’s unit was once the quick-witted life of the party.

But in this fallen world, everything goes away. Whatever is young and new and strong and fast does not remain that way for long. It all spoils and fades, and then it disappears.

Except for Jesus, and absolutely everything Jesus promises.

Because the almighty Son of God died for our sin and rose from death, he fills our cup to overflowing with gifts that can never perish, spoil, or fade. His forgiveness will never perish. His promise of eternal life will never spoil. His friendship will never fade away.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in this fallen world where everything seems to wear out, remind me that in you, I possess what will never perish, spoil, or fade. 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 are Invited – July 25, 2020

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

You are Invited


Daily Devotion – July 25, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 6:23

See series: Devotions

I lived in Mexico for over two years. Soon after arriving, I attended a Bible study at the Lutheran Church in the city of Monterrey. After the Bible study, a couple of us decided to go to the movies.

Wanting to include everybody, I invited the other young people that were there, about ten in all, to come along.

With a strange sort of smile, one of them said, “Are you inviting?” As a naive gringo I said, “Sure, we want you to come along.”

It was only later that I learned in Mexico when you use the word “invite,” that means that you’re paying. Well, after paying for ten tickets to the movies, I had learned my lesson. From then on, I was careful not to use the word “invite” unless I was willing to pay.

The Bible is full of invitations. Our loving God invites us to find peace, forgiveness, and salvation in his loving arms.

He invites us because he has paid. The price was high—”The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Jesus suffered our hell—the punishment of our sins—in order to win heaven for us.

So, now, the price for our sins has been paid. We don’t have to chip in. We don’t have to do our part. Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). It’s all been paid for.

Be thankful for his gracious invitation and enjoy it!

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for paying the price for my sins. May the kind of life I live this day reflect how thankful I am for this great gift! 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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Rest – July 24, 2020

[Jesus said] Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

Rest


Daily Devotion – July 24, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 11:28

See series: Devotions

President Abraham Lincoln once described how tired he felt. “Nothing could touch the tired spot within,” he said, “which was all tired.”

None of us has ever faced what President Lincoln had to face, of course. Nevertheless, his description of how he felt might touch a nerve with more than a few of us. As you read or listen to this devotion, perhaps you’re on vacation. Perhaps you’re enjoying some downtime or getting ready to dive into a favorite hobby. Or maybe you’re just looking forward to a good night’s sleep or at least a good nap. Whatever it is, enjoy it. Each, in its own way, is a gift of refreshment from God.

But it could also be that, at this moment, you have your own version of “the tired spot” that nothing can touch. It’s the kind of tired that no vacation, hobby, or good night’s sleep will remove.

That’s what sin can do—your sin and mine. The sinfulness of this broken world and the sinful failures of my own life can all roll together into a weariness difficult to describe. But the weariness is there. The weariness is deep.

But, listen to what Jesus tells us in our Bible reading for today, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.” Jesus, here, is speaking as someone who knows precisely the kind of profound weariness that sin can bring. For this reason, when Jesus says, “I will give you rest,” he’s describing the kind of rest he knows we need.

The rest he brings is not in the perfect vacation. It’s not in your favorite pastime. It’s not in a dreamless sleep. The rest he brings is himself. “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,” the prophet Isaiah said. In going to the cross on our behalf, not only has Jesus washed our sins away. He has also lifted from us the burden of guilt that went with those sins.

In its place? Himself. His forgiveness. His peace. His untiring love.

Prayer:
Lord, bless my moments of refreshment. Most of all, give me rest 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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Personal – July 23, 2020

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:24,25

Personal


Daily Devotion – July 23, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 7:24,25

See series: Devotions

When you hear talk of theology, the word, “personal” probably does not come to mind. Theology often carries the connotation of dry doctrinal statements and sleep-inducing dissertations on obscure bullet points of religious teaching.

Connotations are one thing. Reality, however, is something else. Take the apostle Paul. When he put pen to paper, Paul articulated some of the most eloquent theology in all of the Bible. Seminaries devote entire courses to digesting his inspired words. But as you read Paul, something else becomes clear. To him, the theology he delivers is not some compelling theory, some intellectually stimulating thesis. For Paul, it’s personal.

To know this, look into one of Paul’s masterworks—his letter to the Romans. Here, the Holy Spirit moved Paul to paint both an intricate and sweeping portrait of Christian theology. But as he did, Paul left no doubt as to what this theology meant to him. In chapter 7, for instance, Paul spoke of his own life—his personal life as a Christian who still struggled day by day with his old sinful self. When you read his words, you can hear the tired frustration in his voice. You can hear his grief over all the ways he continued to stumble into sin. The episode reaches a climax when Paul blurts out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

Then comes the answer: “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” You can hear the relief in his voice, knowing that his Lord Jesus had rescued him from his sin and guilt.

Christian theology is also personal for you and me. True, sometimes we forget this. The temptation can often be great to look upon the Bible as a collection of factoids for reference instead of a banquet of spiritual foods to savor. But when we stumble, when we fall, when we recognize all over again our profound need for Christ, the theology of what he has done to wash us clean at the cross and to cover us in his holy life—that beautiful theology becomes personal once more.

Prayer:
Lord, all the truths you have revealed to me in your Word are beautiful, and they are personal. Glory be to 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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Hold Fast – July 22, 2020

Hold fast to the LORD your God.
Joshua 23:8

Hold Fast


Daily Devotion – July 22, 2020

Devotion based on Joshua 23:8

See series: Devotions

Master and Commander is a movie about a British warship in the early 1800s. In the film, there’s a wordless exchange that takes place between an old seaman and a young recruit whom he has taken under his wing. The ship is going into battle. Men are scurrying everywhere. As they do, the old seaman looks at the young recruit and holds out his fists. Tattooed across the eight knuckles of his two fists are two four-letter words. The words are, “HOLD FAST.”

The scene is not some Hollywood invention. “Hold fast” is a phrase that seamen have tattooed on their knuckles for generations. It appears that their use of the phrase goes back to the early days of sail, when a seaman had to hold onto his assigned rope (or line) during a storm or battle. He knew he had to “hold fast” to his line, or all would be lost. Over the years, the phrase has taken on a wider meaning: Stay focused. Don’t get distracted. Hold on to what matters. Never let go.

The Bible reading for today’s devotion is from a poignant moment. Joshua was the man God had used to bring the Israelites into the Promised Land of Canaan. After years of hardship and faithful service, Joshua’s work was done. He was an old man. His death was near, and he knew it. He gathered the Israelites’ leaders together one more time to say goodbye. As he did, he told them, “Hold fast to the LORD your God.”

Hold fast to the LORD your God. Stay focused. Don’t get distracted. Hold on to your Savior God for dear life. My mind, of course, has other ideas. It loves distraction. It lives for it. It cannot wait to find some new thing by which it can pull me away from the only Savior I’ve got.

When that happens, however—when I begin to let go—Jesus is there. He’s there, in love, to rattle me as needed. He’s there to bring me to repentance through his Word. He’s there to cleanse me in his forgiveness through his blood from the cross.

And as he does, he empowers me to hold fast all the more.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, through the storms and battle of life, empower me to hold fast to 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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By Name – July 21, 2020

The LORD said to Moses, “. . . I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
Exodus 33:17

By Name


Daily Devotion – July 21, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 33:17

See series: Devotions

In his novel, To the Last Man, Jeff Shaara paints a particular scene something like this: New York, 1919. The Great War is over. Roscoe lingers on the deck of the passenger ship. He watches as the other soldiers walk down the gangplank and into the arms of their families. Roscoe waits until he can no longer avoid it. He steps off the ship and descends to the dock. And there he stands. No one is there for him, and he knows it. He is alone. In a sea of people laughing, smiling, crying, Roscoe is alone. And then he hears his name.

At first, he thinks he’s imagined it. But then he hears it again. He follows the voice. It belongs to the face of a smiling old man—a man he does not know. But then the smiling old man introduces himself, “I’m Gino’s father. Gino told us all about you in his letters. Welcome home. Let’s get something to eat.” And in that moment, Roscoe experiences what is, perhaps, the greatest act of kindness in his life. The father of his dead friend wanted to make sure that Roscoe was not alone when he got back from the war. And so he had waited day after day until Roscoe finally arrived. And then the smiling old man had called out his name.

If you’ve ever experienced something even remotely similar to this, you don’t forget it. You’re in a strange place, surrounded by people, and don’t know anyone. No one cares who you are. You feel lost, awkward, out of place, alone. And then you hear someone call you by name.

The Lord assured Moses, “I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” As extraordinary a figure as Moses is, however, this privilege does not belong just to Moses. God, in Christ Jesus, has cleansed you of your sins by the blood of his Son. He has blanketed you with the holiness of Christ. And now, through faith in our risen Savior, he has adopted you into his family. You belong. You are his. He calls you by name.

In a world where loneliness can seem so rampant, this is a sweet truth indeed.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, through your Son, you know me by name. 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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Long Trip Alone – July 20, 2020

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

Long Trip Alone


Daily Devotion – July 20, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 33:14

See series: Devotions

In the world of country music, Dierks Bentley is a bona fide star. But his talent goes beyond his voice and his performance. Dierks Bentley is a gifted songwriter, known for crafting his lyrics with care.

Of the songs he’s written, one has a twist in how it came to be. The song is distinctive in tone. It is slow, thoughtful, somber. The title of the song is, “Long Trip Alone.” As he began to write, Bentley had his marriage in mind. Picturing the years of his life as a journey, he intended to describe what it meant to have his spouse by his side. As he wrote, however, his perspective changed. By the time it matured into a finished piece, “Long Trip Alone” was no longer about a husband and wife. Rather, “Long Trip Alone” was about the quiet, desperate need each of us has for the presence of the Lord.

Indeed, as Bentley describes it, your life and mine is “A long trip alone, over sand and stone.” You know the hardships. You know the difficulties. You know the crushing disappointments. Left to ourselves, you and I would wander. We’d walk in circles. We’d stumble and fall. And as we did, the suffocating isolation would just grow worse until our pointlessness came to an end in some dark, despairing place.

That’s what sin does—your sin and mine. Not only does it make the journey of life rugged and painful. It isolates us—separates us from God. It forces each of us to walk the long trip alone—a trip that ends in eternal death.

But that’s why Jesus came. God’s Son became one of us. He took the long trip through this broken world, living a perfect life on our behalf. Then he carried our sins to the cross, where he endured an aloneness that will forever defy description—an aloneness he endured in our place. And because he has, you and I, through faith in him, will never have to walk alone again.

In Exodus 33, the Lord promised Moses, “My Presence will go with you.” In Christ, he makes the same promise to you and me.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my life would be a long trip alone without you. Thank you for being by my side. 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 Promises Rest – July 19, 2020

[Jesus said] “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

Jesus Promises Rest


Daily Devotion – July 19, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 11:28

See series: Devotions

In 1962 many scholars and academics predicted that, due to better technology, by 1985 people would work just 9 hours a week and would be able to retire at the age of 38. That prediction was just a bit off. It didn’t come true in 1985. And it still hasn’t come true. In fact, despite all our technological advances and time-saving gadgets, we seem to have less free time now. It’s just go, go, go all the time. Newsweek once summed it all up by running a main story about the American workaholic. It was simply titled “Exhausted.”

Perhaps you feel that way. But, perhaps your exhaustion isn’t physical, it’s spiritual. Perhaps the guilt of sin is pressing down upon you, and you don’t know how much longer you can stand up under it.

Listen to the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus does not say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you a greater burden.” He says, “I will give you rest.” Jesus takes the weight of sin off our shoulders and frees us from its burden. On the cross, Jesus’ outstretched arms held up the weight of all the sins of all people of all time. Jesus did not promise to give us a hand in carrying the load of our sins. He did not promise to give us the strength to carry it. He took it off of our shoulders and carried it himself.

So, stand up straight. Stretch your spiritual shoulders. Look up and see the face of God now smiling on you. Rather than trying to lift the burden of your sin, lift your arms in praise to the God who removed that burden for you. Rejoice in the rest Jesus has provided!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, the guilt of my sins often weighs me down when I think of the people I have hurt, and the ways I have disobeyed your commands. Thank you for carrying my sins to the cross. Lift my spirit with the assurance that 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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Raining Down Blessings – July 18, 2020

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10,11

Raining Down Blessings


Daily Devotion – July 18, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:10,11

See series: Devotions

I happen to live in a part of the country which hasn’t had much rain. My tomato plants were beginning to wither a bit. But today, we had a quick cloudburst, and now my plants are looking vibrant!

What the rain did for my tomato plants, God’s Word has the power to do for our souls. It has the power to bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If God gives us those things through the words of the Bible, wouldn’t it make sense that the Bible would be an important part of our lives?

But how often don’t you and I neglect God’s Word? How often don’t you and I keep the Bible shut, failing to open it up? How often don’t you and I fail to hear it, fail to take it to heart?

Yet, what does God graciously do? He lovingly keeps sending the rain of his Word. As he does so, he assures us that our sins are forgiven, that we are his children, that he’s preparing a home in heaven for us. And, as we hear his promises, again and again, we are filled with love, joy, peace, patience, etc.

So go ahead. Open up your Bible. Let God’s Word “rain down” upon you, showering you with its blessings. Just like my tomatoes, you’ll “perk up!”

Prayer:
O Holy Spirit, lead me into your life-giving Word, that I might be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 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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Give Me an Undivided Heart – July 17, 2020

Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him. Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”
Exodus 32:25-27

Give Me an Undivided Heart


Daily Devotion – July 17, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 32:25-27

See series: Devotions

If you grew up going to Sunday School, you are probably familiar with the story of the Israelites worshiping the golden calf. But the part of the story that doesn’t usually make the children’s Bible lesson is the part about the Levites slaughtering their own people to carry out God’s judgment for their idolatry. It may seem strange to us that God would command the Levites to do such a thing. But, it is a powerful reminder that God takes sin seriously. This particular sin was especially dangerous because it had the potential to lead the entire nation of Israel away from the true God. So, he used the Levites to carry out a just punishment as well as protect the people from a dangerous sin.

It is good for us to hear stories like this from time to time, to ponder what false gods might be making their way into our hearts. What are our golden calves? Who or what do we believe will take care of us? Who or what will bring us joy? Will it be our spouse or our children or our career or our new this, that, or the other thing? If we trust any of these people or things more than God, we are setting them up as idols just as surely as the Israelites did the golden calf.

Thankfully, Jesus lived a perfectly idol-free life. Never was there anyone or anything that he trusted or valued more than his heavenly Father. And, what’s more, he gives his followers credit for that perfect life so that God no longer sees our idolatry. He sees Jesus’ perfection.

So, through Jesus, you and I stand forgiven for our idolatry. May we always put this forgiving God first in our lives.

Prayer:
Give me an undivided heart, that I might follow your will. 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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Peer Pressure – July 16, 2020

[Moses] said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?” “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”
Exodus 32:21-24

Peer Pressure


Daily Devotion – July 16, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 32:21-24

See series: Devotions

When you look back on your life and recall your most shameful sins, how many of them were done in isolation? What I mean to say is how often has peer pressure led you down a path that you now regret? Why does that happen?

Friends and peers are a good thing. God created us for community and healthy relationships (Genesis 2:18). But, because we are so afraid of being abandoned, we will do almost anything to keep from being rejected, even if that means doing things that go against God’s will.

We see this even with God’s chosen leader Aaron. When Moses was meeting with God on Mount Sinai, Aaron built an idol at the request of the Israelites. He disobeyed God so that he might be welcomed by the crowd.

So how do we learn from Aaron’s mistake?

1. Remember who rescued you. Aaron had forgotten that it was the Lord who rescued him out of Egyptian slavery. It is the Lord Jesus who rescued us out of the slavery of sin. Only he is worthy of our complete allegiance.

2. If God is for you, who can be against you? Aaron worried about being abandoned or persecuted by the people. We might fear the same from our peers. But the Lord will never leave us. And our relationship with him is the most important relationship we will ever experience.

Prayer:
Dear Savior, lead me to treasure your acceptance more than the fleeting approval of my peers. 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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Do Not Love the World – July 15, 2020

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15-17

Do Not Love the World


Daily Devotion – July 15, 2020

Devotion based on 1 John 2:15-17

See series: Devotions

Sometimes people are hesitant to become a Christian because they think that they will miss out on a fun, enjoyable life. The words from the apostle John seem to validate those fears. He says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.”

What does it mean to not love the world? Does that mean that if we follow Jesus, we can’t love hiking, biking, eating good food, or playing sports? Well, John himself wrote elsewhere that Jesus is the creator of all things (John 1:1-5). Jesus created the mountains that we hike. He created good food and the taste buds to enjoy it. He designed our bodies to move and compete. So, it is not wrong to enjoy the world that God made and all that is in it.

But John warns against loving the things of this world too much or in the wrong way. That’s what he means by the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” God does not want us to crave those worldly blessings more than God himself. Nor does he want us to use his blessings in ways that are contrary to God’s design.

What’s so dangerous about loving this world too much? Because, he says, “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” God doesn’t want us to get so connected to perishable things that die with them. Instead, he wants us to love our relationship with him more than anything—a relationship made possible by the saving work of Jesus. He valued his relationship with us so much that he was willing to die for it. May we value it so much that nothing in this world is worth losing it.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me not to give my ultimate allegiance to the things that are perishing. But lead me to love and cherish you above all else. 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 the Sword – July 14, 2020

[Jesus said] “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34

Bringing the Sword


Daily Devotion – July 14, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:34

See series: Devotions

Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah predicted that Jesus would be known as the “Prince of Peace.” But when Jesus described himself, he said that he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword. So who is right? The prophet Isaiah or Jesus himself?

Actually, Jesus is doing what he often did. He is speaking in a dramatic way to get our attention and make a point. You see, Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He came to bring peace on earth between God and human beings. But that peace would come at a great cost. It would come only through the death of Jesus Christ.

And that same peace can only be ours through the death of our ego. We must admit our wickedness and inability to rescue ourselves. Unfortunately, our human heart is so twisted that we will put up a fight before we confess our failures.

This is the real reason why so many people resist Christianity. It’s not because there is no evidence for the faith. It’s not because science has disproven Christianity. People resist Jesus because they don’t want to like what he has to say—about who they are, about who he is, about how much they need him. And, when people resist Jesus, they come into conflict with Jesus’ followers. That’s what Jesus meant about “bringing the sword.”

So, the next time you see someone raging against Christianity, don’t be surprised or overwhelmed. Jesus promised that his message of sin and grace would divide the world. Instead, listen to Jesus’ words, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, sin has divided our world and led to conflict between your people and those who oppose you. Do not let this discourage me. Instead grant me the strength to stand firmly for your truths. 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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Worth the Cost – July 13, 2020

[Jesus said] “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:37-39

Worth the Cost


Daily Devotion – July 13, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:37-39

See series: Devotions

I just started seeing a new doctor. Before my first visit, she told me exactly what my appointment would cost. To be honest, the price was so high that I almost canceled. In the end, I decided to stick with the doctor because I was convinced that her expertise was worth it. As hard as it was to hear how much she would be charging, I still appreciated her honesty and transparency about the price.

Being a follower of Jesus also comes with a cost. In fact, Jesus tells us upfront that following him could cost us everything. He says that we might lose our money, good name, and even our family as we walk with Jesus. He tells us that we must learn to deny our own desires and follow him.

That’s not usually how the Christian message is presented. Too often, the blessings of the Christian faith are presented without explaining the difficulties. When this happens, people are being set up to abandon their faith at the first sign of suffering because of it.

So let me tell you, as a follower of Jesus you will most likely lose some things. Your family might reject you. They might believe Christianity is closed-minded and immoral. You might have more enemies than friends. And you might feel like an outsider in your own hometown.

But just like my visit to the doctor, following Jesus is worth the cost. Following Jesus means you wake every day to the blessings of God. It means that you can go to bed each night confident that you are a forgiven child of God through Jesus. It means that you can be sure that God will work out everything in your life for your eternal good.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, lead me to accept the cost of following you. Give me the strength to persevere during times of testing. Refresh me with your grace when I’m tempted to give up. 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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Heaven is Like a Treasure – July 12, 2020

[Jesus said] “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
Matthew 13:44

Heaven is Like a Treasure


Daily Devotion – July 12, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 13:44

See series: Devotions

Imagine the gas station down the street had a winning lottery ticket worth millions and millions of dollars, and you were the only person who knew about this. You would buy the whole gas station if that is what it took for you to get your hands on that lottery ticket!

In Bible times, before banks existed like they do today, wealthy people would often bury a portion of their wealth in the ground where no one else would know about this hidden treasure. If the person died, the buried treasure would remain underground and unclaimed. Can you imagine accidentally stumbling across it? You would immediately buy that field so you could get your hands on that treasure of wealth.

By his perfect life, innocent death, and triumphant resurrection, Jesus has bought for you the priceless treasure of forgiveness for all sins and a perfect, joy-filled life in heaven that will have no end. It is a treasure unlike any other. It is a treasure worth more than all the wealth in this world.

And that was the point Jesus was making with his story of the man and the field. The man sold his possessions to buy the field because the treasure in that field was worth far more than everything he owned, combined. Jesus wants us to understand that what he gives us is worth more than everything else in our lives, combined. So, it only makes sense for us to be willing to lose everything, if that is what it takes, to stay close to Jesus.

If there are times you find yourself giving something up to follow Jesus—your time, a relationship, a job—know that what you are getting in return is worth far, far more.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, how truly blessed I am to have you as my priceless treasure. Help me always to recognize that you are worth more than all the gold and glitter the world can offer. 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 Only One – July 11, 2020

[Elijah] replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
1 Kings 19:14

The Only One


Daily Devotion – July 11, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:14

See series: Devotions

Sometimes the characters of the Bible—people like Noah, Abraham, Moses—might seem larger than life: fearless, faithful, and forceful fortifications of faith, relentless and unruffled no matter what tried to rouse them. But that’s just not accurate.

In fact, one of God’s representatives in the Old Testament, a man named Elijah, was so depressed and discouraged with the direction of his ministry and life that he ran away to a cave and exclaimed, “I am the only one left” (1 Kings 19:14).

Do you ever have an “Elijah moment”? Do you ever feel that you are “the only one left”? The only one among your friends or neighbors who tries to reflect God’s value system? The only one who has pressures and problems that you do? The only one who feels overwhelmed at what needs to get done and under-equipped to get it done?

When you have those moments, there is a better alternative than running away to a cave and indulging in self-pity. In those tough times, you can look to Jesus—the only One who could (and did!) forgive all of your sins. The only One who knows your every need and promises to help and never leave you. The only One who loved you enough to die on a cross so that you might live forever with him. The only One worthy to be called your Savior—the only Jesus.

Come out of your cave. Look at the cross. Bask in the peace of your Savior and live in the light of his larger than life love.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for sending your one and only Son, Jesus. He is the only One able to stand up underneath the pressures I cannot. He is the only One in whom I find salvation. Lead me to always live in the light and joy of his glory. 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 Acknowledges You Before God – July 10, 2020

[Jesus said] “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”
Matthew 10:32

Jesus Acknowledges You Before God


Daily Devotion – July 10, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:32

See series: Devotions

It feels good to be recognized, doesn’t it? When you’ve put a lot of work in on something, it is nice when others notice. It hurts to be overlooked.

I have a confession to make. There is someone so important in my life, someone who has accomplished so many important things that I could never have done on my own, but someone whom I often fail to acknowledge.

That someone is my Savior, Jesus. When I do good things and things go well in my life, I want to take the credit. And I often want to take the credit when it comes to my relationship with God. I imagine that God loves me and accepts me for who I am. I act as if God should have my name on his wall of honor because I’ve done so much for him.

But the reality is, it is not about me. The Bible says that, unless I’m perfect, I don’t deserve praise or blessings from God. And I’m not perfect. I’ve stolen honor from Jesus by taking the credit for the good that I’ve done and the good things that have happened in my life. I’ve failed Jesus by keeping quiet when I had the opportunity to share the hope and peace I have because of him.

Why would Jesus want anything to do with me, when so often I’ve acted as if I didn’t know him or need him?

But, instead of disowning me, Jesus died for me. Instead of forsaking me, Jesus forgives me. Instead of acting as if he doesn’t know me, Jesus calls me his own and prays for me before God’s throne in heaven. And he does the same for you.

He is not ashamed of you. He gave his life to forgive everything you’ve done wrong. Now he stands before God and says, “I died for him. I died for her. I have given them faith to know and trust me as their Savior. These are your forgiven children.”

Remembering that he speaks my name in heaven gives me the courage and confidence to speak his name to others.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for calling me by name before God in heaven. Help me tell others about 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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Safe in His Care – July 9, 2020

[Jesus said] “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Matthew 10:29-31

Safe in His Care


Daily Devotion – July 9, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:29-31

See series: Devotions

My wife and I love a good deal. Those big signs above the clearance racks or those special tags on marked down food on the shelf draw us in. Resale shops and websites give us the chance to save money but still have what we need or want. Those things may not be worth much to those selling them, but they are to us.

Do you ever feel like you are on the clearance rack of this world? Cast aside as unwanted. Thrown in a box with clothes that are out of style and toys that the kids don’t play with anymore. Marked down in price or piled on the curb for the garbage truck to haul away.

If we trust in Jesus, other people might view us and treat us that way—like worthless trash. But it shouldn’t really surprise us. That’s how they treated Jesus. To many, he was worthless. They wanted to get rid of him as quickly as they could. And so they killed him.

But God hadn’t forgotten Jesus, his Son. And he won’t forget you. What could be more precious to God than his own perfect Son? And yet, he loved you so much that he willingly gave up his own Son for you. He let his Son bleed and die to forgive every imperfection in your life that makes you unworthy of his love. God put a price on your soul that only he could afford to pay, and then he paid that price willingly.

The truth is, God cares about everything he made, even the smallest sparrows. But you have even more proof of his love. For you, God gave up his own Son. For you, God paid with his own life. And so, you know that he will always love you. He will always care for you. The world may toss you aside as worthless, but your God never will. You are safe in your Father’s care.

Prayer:
Father, when I feel worthless and unwanted, comfort me with your priceless love and perfect care. 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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Shout It From the Rooftops – July 8, 2020

[Jesus said] “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”
Matthew 10:27

Shout It From the Rooftops


Daily Devotion – July 8, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:27

See series: Devotions

Can you keep a secret?

Often, when people trust us with important information, they don’t want us to tell anyone else. Sharing their secrets would violate their trust. Sharing their secrets might cause harm to them or others.

But what if you knew a secret that could help a lot of people? If you knew the cure for cancer—or this year, the cure for the coronavirus, COVID-19—wouldn’t you want everyone to know about it?

The Bible tells us a secret that can do more than stop a pandemic. It tells us the secret to eternal life. Eternal life comes because of a man named Jesus who was not just a man, but the Son of God. It tells us how Jesus did nothing wrong. He only showed perfect love. He only spoke perfect truth. And yet he was opposed, ridiculed, arrested, put on trial, and killed. But he rose again.

Jesus promises that, when he died an innocent death, he accepted the death penalty that we deserve for our disobedience. Jesus promises that, because he came back from the dead, death will not hold us either. After we die, Jesus will raise us from the dead. And all who know him as their Savior will live with him forever.

It’s no secret. But there are many who want us to act like it is. They tell us to keep it to ourselves. They tell us Jesus isn’t for everyone. But Jesus tells us otherwise. He loved us enough to die for us. He rose from the dead and lives again. He did it for you, for me, for everyone. And he wants everyone to know about it.

That’s why we share these devotions with you. We want you to know what we know. And we want you to share with others the good news you’ve heard. Speak it. Share it. Shout it from the rooftops!

Prayer:
Jesus, living Savior, you let me in on the secret that you came to die and rise again for me. Give me faith to believe it and the courage to share the good news! 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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From One to All – July 7, 2020

If the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
Romans 5:15

From One to All


Daily Devotion – July 7, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 5:15

See series: Devotions

“Now you’ve ruined it for everyone.” One student breaks the rules, and the whole class has to stay in from recess. One sibling is careless, and now no one can play with the broken toy.

One trespass. One act of disobedience. That’s all it took. There were only two people in the world at the time—Adam and his wife Eve. God gave them one command: “Don’t eat the fruit from that one tree. If you do, you will surely die.”

They didn’t listen. They thought they knew better. They disobeyed. From that moment on, they were no longer able to obey God’s commands. They deserved God’s wrath. Eventually, they would face physical death. And unless something was done about it, eternal punishment in hell would follow. And every one of their descendants inherited their disobedient spirit and the deadly consequences that come with it. And that includes you and me.

But something was done about it. We can’t make up for the wrong we do—not before God. But God gave us something we didn’t deserve. He gave us a gift—the gift of his own Son. Jesus, God’s Son, undid the devastating effects of Adam’s disobedience and our disobedience that followed.

Jesus took the blame for Adam’s disobedience and ours. Jesus accepted the consequences for every act, word, and thought that fails to meet God’s demands. And he made right what was oh so wrong.

Because Jesus was the perfect Son of God, the price he paid with his life was enough to count for everyone—for Adam and all of his descendants, for you and for me.

Adam ruined it, but so do we whenever we disobey God’s commands. But Jesus fixed it. He removes every wrong we’ve done and replaces it with the right things he did. He accepts our death and gives us his life.

Now, something far better than recess time or a favorite toy is ours. Now, we get to live forever as forgiven children of God surrounded by God’s love.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in overflowing love, you sent your Son to undo what my sins have done. For this I praise and 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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Hope on Trial – July 6, 2020

I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.
Acts 23:6

Hope on Trial


Daily Devotion – July 6, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 23:6

See series: Devotions

The criminal justice system is meant to punish those who do wrong and protect those who do right. When it works properly, it provides peace and order in society. It preserves rights and freedoms.

But it doesn’t always work properly. Personal and political agendas interfere. Corruption conceals evidence and clouds judgment.

That is what was happening in the first century. The apostle Paul, a pastor and missionary, had been arrested. A mob of Jewish patriots wanted him dead. They accused him of opposing traditions and inciting riots.

But what they were really against was not Paul himself but the one he believed in. The one in whom he put his hope. The one whose life and death and resurrection was the heart of the message he proclaimed.

If you are a Christian, you may sometimes feel like you are being put on trial for your faith. The Bible claims truths that the world denies. Christians are ridiculed for believing things that the world calls outdated and out of touch.

But at the heart of it all is Jesus. Jesus was not just a moral teacher. He was the one who perfectly fulfilled God’s perfect moral code. Jesus was not just an innocent victim of a corrupt society. He was the one who willingly suffered death for crimes he didn’t commit. But the most surprising and unbelievable thing that happened to Jesus was that he didn’t stay dead. He came back to life.

As soon as it happened, people denied it. They tried to cover it up. But they couldn’t change the truth. Jesus was alive. His mission was complete. His death accomplished the impossible. It put an end to death once and for all. Those who trust that Jesus died in their place have eternal life, no strings attached. When Jesus comes again, they will rise from the dead to live with him.

It sounds crazy. It sounds foolish. Many in the world will mock those who believe it. But it’s true. Jesus lives! And so will we. And because of that, we have hope. Eternal hope that no trial can take away.

Prayer:
Risen Jesus, when my faith and the truth are on trial before the world, help me to cling to the hope your resurrection gives 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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More Certain Than Death – July 5, 2020

For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
Romans 5:15

More Certain Than Death


Daily Devotion – July 5, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 5:15

See series: Devotions

In a 1789 letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

A famous and often-quoted statement, but not entirely true.

Taxes cannot be said to be certain. Ruling authorities may or may not require the payment of taxes. And when taxes are required, they can be avoided—sometimes legally, sometimes illegally. There may be consequences, but they can be avoided.

Death, on the other hand, is certain; it’s unavoidable. The Bible tells us that death came to all people. That happened when the first man, Adam, sinned. The result for Adam was death, “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The result for us is also death, for we are all born in Adam’s image—we are born sinful, and the wages of sin is still death.

Death reigns. People die. Benjamin Franklin got that right. Yet there is something else that is certain. What’s that? God’s grace and the gift that comes by his grace through Jesus. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

God’s grace to you is absolutely certain. It is embodied in the person of his Son. It is enacted through Jesus’ life. It is sealed in Jesus’ blood. It is guaranteed by his resurrection from the dead. And it is yours! By faith in Jesus, the gift of eternal life is yours!

Prayer:
O Lord, thank you for your undeserved love and the gift that comes by your grace—the gift of life through Jesus. May I live today in confidence, knowing that death has been overcome and life reigns. Through 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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Real Freedom – July 4, 2020

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

Real Freedom


Daily Devotion – July 4, 2020

Devotion based on Galatians 5:1

See series: Devotions

Today, citizens of the United States of America celebrate freedom. The Fourth of July is Independence Day—the day which marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Freedom is a blessing we hold dear and defend boldly. Our nation’s armed forces are of one mind, that protecting our freedom is worth dying for. We are what our national anthem proudly proclaims: “the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

But are we really free? Whoever we are and wherever we live, are we free from what really matters? On our own we are not free; all people are very much slaves. We find ourselves to be slaves to sin, and on our own, we cannot break its shackles. We are slaves to our sinful nature and cannot live a day, an hour, even a minute without our sinful nature rearing its ugly head. Thoughts that pass through our heads, words that come flowing from our mouths, self-serving deeds that we scheme to carry out—they all show our true nature. They all show just how much we are slaves to sin.

Thankfully, Jesus broke the shackles of sin and Satan. Jesus has forgiven those sinful thoughts of our minds, the devious actions from our hearts, the careless and hate-filled words that we speak. He forgives us because he lived up to God’s sinless standard for us. Then Jesus willingly and lovingly allowed the punishment we deserved to be placed on him. On the cross, Jesus endured our death and hell. When he burst forth from Easter’s tomb, he shattered the chains of sin and death.

In Jesus, we have eternal life with God. That’s something that no power on earth or scheme of man can ever take away. That’s real freedom!

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for the real and true freedom that you give me in Jesus. Thank you for the blessings that I enjoy and the freedom to worship you. Keep safe those who celebrate this weekend and help me to never forget that real, lasting, eternal freedom is mine in your name. 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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Messengers – July 3, 2020

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Matthew 10:1

Messengers


Daily Devotion – July 3, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:1

See series: Devotions

Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson—ever heard any of those names before? Most likely. Not only are they some of the NBA’s best, but they also played together on the 1992 Men’s Olympic basketball team. When NBA players were given the green light to play in the Olympics, the players selected were professional basketball’s best scorer, best passer, best defender, best shooter, and best rebounder. They were known as the Dream Team.

You would think, with so much hanging in the balance, that Jesus would have assembled a “dream team” of disciples. This was a one of a kind moment in history. God had come to save the world. And his gospel would need to go out from there across hundreds of nations, over thousands of years, to billions of people.

But Jesus didn’t put together the dream team. How surprising, how unexpected! Instead, he called people to be his disciples who didn’t always “get it” and didn’t always have all the answers. Jesus called people with emotional baggage, character flaws, checkered pasts, confidence issues, and family drama. He had come not to call the healthy but the sick. And he started by calling these disciples.

Perhaps it’s obvious how much the disciples he called to follow him have in common with the people he calls to follow him today. A dream team of disciples we are not. That’s not denying that God’s people indeed have a variety of gifts and talents. What it is saying is that we don’t have to be supermen or superwomen to be useful in God’s kingdom.

Our names won’t find their way into any history books, most likely. They probably won’t mean much to people who live 100 years from now. But we can make a big difference in the lives of the people around us right now as Jesus works through us in their lives. So we follow him as the disciples did—learning from him, caring like him, serving for him. Superstars? Not at all. We’re just happy to be on the team.

Prayer:
What a privilege it is to be called your disciples, Lord Jesus. Bless me in my service! 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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In Its Boastfulness – July 2, 2020

Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:11

In Its Boastfulness


Daily Devotion – July 2, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 5:11

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Honesty, empathy, maturity, sense of humor. If you google “ideal qualities in a partner” those are some of the results that come up. Boastfulness is nowhere to be found on the list. And that’s no surprise. A boastful person is not a person people like to be around—because they want to call attention to themselves, to their accomplishments, to what they consider to be their admirable qualities.

In Romans 5, Paul says that boasting is what God’s people do. How surprising, how unexpected! But as you might suspect, this is not referring to the type of boasting we usually witness. Typical boasting calls attention to the boaster. Christians, in their boasting, call attention to God, to his accomplishments, to his admirable qualities. We boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

But there’s a secondary, supplemental surprise in this verse. It’s not just that Christians are encouraged to boast. It’s that Christians are able to boast in someone besides themselves. Their natural spiritual condition directs their attention inward, looking for something inside of themselves that might be lovable, praiseworthy, or admirable. So they naturally go to great lengths to trumpet their “good things.” They go to even greater lengths to minimize their “bad things.” The boasting that’s meant to convince people of their greatness only convinces them of their self-absorption.

The Holy Spirit shows us our true worth and how it comes to us! In the Bible, he assures his dear children that in Christ they are loved, valuable, reconciled, and headed for heaven. With that knowledge, it suddenly becomes a lot less important to boast in themselves. There’s no longer pressure to constantly build one’s self up. And that frees up the child of God to build others up and spend our days boasting about our God.

Prayer:
Help me, Lord, to remember my true worth and how it comes from you. Keep boasting far from me, except when it comes to boasting about you and the great things you have done. 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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Surprising Recipients – July 1, 2020

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:6

Surprising Recipients


Daily Devotion – July 1, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 5:6

See series: Devotions

I pray that it doesn’t happen to any of us often, but perhaps you know what it’s like to be so “stomach flu sick” that any sort of movement, whatsoever, is going to make bad things happen. So, the cool bathroom floor becomes your temporary bed, and all you can do is stay put. That’s the picture Paul paints of mankind’s natural spiritual state with the word powerless. Too weak to move, helpless, and pathetic.

But it gets worse. Paul also describes himself, his hearers, and us as “ungodly.” Day after day, time after time, we cross our arms and dig in our heels, turning away from the things God wants, and turning toward all kinds of things that will wreck us. Who would actively seek out people so foolish? Who would patiently and repeatedly welcome back people who’ve acted so selfishly, knowing that their NEXT selfish act is only moments away?

Paul goes on to say that someone might be willing to give up their life for a noble cause, but who dies for a scoundrel? A degenerate? A parasite? Jesus does. So excessive is God’s affection, so unwavering is God’s commitment to save, that Jesus died for the ungodly. How surprising, how unexpected!

And it begs the question, who might be the surprising recipients of the love that we now show to others? It’s pretty easy to love the people who love us (although that’s not always such a cinch either!). When we love them, it’s generally not all that surprising. But it’s when we show kindness to and sacrifice for those who make us clench our teeth, that’s when we are most closely imitating our Savior, and reflecting the surprising love that that continues to be shown to us. Holy Spirit, help us do this!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you laid down your life for me when I was helpless and ungodly. That is good news, both surprising and welcomed! Send me your Holy Spirit in powerful Word, that I may grow in faith and show genuine love and kindness to friends and enemies alike. I ask it in your name and to your glory. 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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Surprising Compassion – June 30, 2020

Moses said to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD‘s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
Numbers 27:15-17

Surprising Compassion


Daily Devotion – June 30, 2020

Devotion based on Numbers 27:15-17

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Moses’ job was not a cushy one. The people of Israel were chronic complainers and as their leader, Moses was the most convenient lightning rod for their angst. One wonders how much stress-related insomnia he suffered, how many ulcers he powered through, over the course of his 40-year tenure. But at last, finally, they stood on the precipice of the Promised Land—at last, finally, he would get to see the fruits of all his labors: Israel marching into their new homeland. Only he wouldn’t get to see that. The people indeed would come to the Promised Land, but Moses himself wouldn’t see the day. He’d glimpse the Promised Land from afar, and then his earthly life would end.

If there were ever a time for lashing out, it seems this would be it. If anyone ever had a reason to be jaded and angry, it would seem to be Moses. But instead of telling Israel, “Good luck living without me!” Moses pleads for the people’s wellbeing; he prays that God would give them a strong leader. How surprising, how unexpected!

But it’s not all that surprising when we remember what the kingdom of God is all about. 1,500 years after Moses died, Jesus also saw a people lacking spiritual direction, helpless, and perhaps not even realizing how desperate a situation they were in. And instead of saying, “You deserve what you get. Good luck trying to make it without me!” Jesus had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

That surprising compassion, when jadedness would’ve been completely justified, is what pushed Jesus beyond mere sympathetic feelings and to life sacrificing, sin atoning, world redeeming action. We are the beneficiaries of that selfless compassion. And now we are grateful, joyful imitators of that selfless compassion as well.

Prayer:
How desperately we need you, Good Shepherd! Thank you for looking on your sheep with compassion. Give us hearts like yours, that we may treat others with care and compassion as well. 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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