Not Fair – January 26, 2019

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Mark 15:15

Not Fair


Daily Devotion – January 26, 2019

Devotion based on Mark 15:15

See series: Devotions

“It’s not fair!” the five-year-old pleads as his mother takes away his toy truck.

“It’s not fair!” the teenager protests when her father grounds her for two weeks.

We all want life to be fair. Or so we claim. One of my professors in college had formerly served as the vice-principal of a high school. As such, he was responsible for disciplining students. He told us how often students would insist, “That’s not fair!” after he announced their punishment. He always responded the same way, “You don’t want it to be fair. You want it to be unfair in your advantage.”

This is truer for most of us than we would like to admit. As the police officer approaches your car after pulling you over and you KNOW you were going fifty-five miles per hour in a forty mile per hour zone, you are not hoping he will be fair. You are hoping he will be unfair in your advantage and let you go without giving you a ticket.

In the history of this world there has never been an event less fair than the sentencing of Jesus Christ to die on a Roman cross. He had broken no law. He was, in every sense, completely innocent. He was not just innocent of crimes against the government; he was innocent of a single sin against God. Yet, the Roman Governor, Pilate, sentenced Jesus to death and freed a known murderer named Barabbas. It was not fair.

And we can thank God that it was not fair. You see, it was not just Barabbas who was set free on that Friday in Jerusalem. We were set free as well. Our sins against God deserved his eternal anger and punishment. But, Jesus was punished instead. He went to the cross. We were set free. By faith in him, we are free from our sins, free from guilt, free from fear, free from punishment.

What Jesus endured was not fair. But he was willing to endure it because of his great love for us. When it comes to our salvation, thank God it’s not fair!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, how grateful I am that you were willing to take my place. Rather than object to the injustice, you accepted it. I can never thank you enough. But, may my life this day be a demonstration of my gratitude. 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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Loved by God – January 25, 2019

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Loved by God


Daily Devotion – January 25, 2019

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:17

See series: Devotions

A woman got a new job in customer service. All day, every day, she answered complaints with a smile on her face. One day when she came home, her husband asked how things were going at work. She said, “Customer service would be a wonderful job if it weren’t for the people.”

People can be a challenge for us all. When there’s a breakdown in a marriage relationship, it’s like having a disease; you feel it in every part of your life. When children argue and disobey, they test their parents’ patience. An uncaring boss can make you hate your job. Troublesome neighbors make you want to move somewhere far away. How do you deal with people who make your life difficult? God’s Word speaks of an old way of doing things and a new way.

The old way is to count people’s flaws and hold them against them. The old way is to view people as obstacles to our happiness. In other words, the old way is to do the opposite of what God tells us. God tells us to love others. The old way ignores God and puts ourselves, first. For all the complaining we may do about people, we don’t always stop to consider that God has that much of a right and more to complain about us.

Instead, God sent us his Son. When people did their worst to Jesus, he turned the other cheek. When they crucified him without cause, he prayed for their forgiveness. On his cross, Jesus paid for the sins of everyone, including you. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we no longer view people from a worldly point of view.

Loved by God, forgiven in Christ, connected to Jesus by faith, each of us is a new creation, and God has given us a new way of doing things. We can love as we are loved. We can forgive as we are forgiven. The old is gone; the new has come.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me and paying for all my sins. Help me fight against my old sinful nature. Help me love others as you love 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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Crazy – January 24, 2019

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35

Crazy


Daily Devotion – January 24, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 1:35

See series: Devotions

When God first made the promise, to human ears it must have sounded crazy: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son…” (Isaiah 7:14). The virgin will conceive? That just doesn’t happen!

But it did happen. It happened to Mary, as the Holy Spirit miraculously caused her to become pregnant with Jesus. And so we confess in the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in Jesus Christ…who was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” It sounds crazy, but God made it happen.

And so God the Holy Spirit has the power to make all sorts of other crazy-sounding promises come true too. He promises that in Baptism he will wash your sins away; he does it. He promises that the gospel is God’s power for salvation; it is. He promises that in the Lord’s Supper he’ll give us Jesus’ true body and blood; he does. He promises to make all things work for your good; he has, and he’ll continue to do so. He promises that by faith in Jesus he’ll take you to heaven someday; he will.

For, you see, ultimately it doesn’t matter how “crazy” God’s promises may sound to our ears. What matters is the power behind those promises. And just who is the power behind those promises? The power behind those promises is the Almighty Holy Spirit! So, just as God’s “crazy” promise that a virgin would conceive came true, so God the Holy Spirit will fulfill all his promises. That’s crazy all right–crazy good!

Prayer:
O Holy Spirit, assure me that you have the power to fulfill all your promises. 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 make God Smile – January 23, 2019

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62:1-5

You make God Smile


Daily Devotion – January 23, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 62:1-5

See series: Devotions

As the music played quietly in the background, another look at his watch revealed that it was time. “Any moment now,” he anxiously thought. Then the doors opened, and there she was—more beautiful than he had ever seen her. Flashes popped as she slowly made her way down the aisle. Pictures that captured his face revealed a smile that would not be going away anytime soon. He couldn’t help it. There was his bride!

That joy and delight is what God has for those who believe in him. That’s right. You make God smile. Allow your jaw to drop in awe at that beautiful truth.

We know what makes God happy—total perfection. “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). We also know that God hates sin and will absolutely never allow any sinner to enter into his kingdom. “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful” (Revelation 21:27). Yet he takes delight in you. Seeing you makes his face light up like a groom seeing his bride on his wedding day.

Every sin and imperfection that should cause God to look at you in disgust was removed by Jesus when he died for you on the cross. Through faith God has clothed you with the perfect life of Jesus so that now when he looks at you he sees beautiful perfection and nothing that would prevent you from entering his kingdom.

No matter what is going on in your life, or what others think when they look at you, God looks at you with loving eyes. What he sees gives him great joy and will continue to give him great joy for all of eternity.

Prayer:
Gracious Lord, thank you for removing my sin and making me a delight to your eyes. 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 Right Tool for the Right Job – January 22, 2019

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
1 Corinthians 12:1-11

The Right Tool for the Right Job


Daily Devotion – January 22, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

See series: Devotions

Everyone has heard the saying; “the right tool for the right job.” This is an important truth to learn. But what if we could find the one tool that does it all?

When I moved to Alaska, wise men gave me sage advice: “Get a Leatherman multi-purpose tool.” Before I went anywhere—hiking, camping, fishing—I was told, get the real deal and not an imitation. Because outdoor activities in Alaska often take place in remote places, you need to be prepared for anything. Leatherman tool, duct tape, and mechanics’ wire were always in the backpack. With this tool and these supplies you could do amazing things.

When I read today’s devotion text I thought: “Leatherman tool! The Holy Spirit is God’s ‘multi-purpose tool'” The Spirit is the real deal that does amazing things.

In Alaska I got to know a woman who said to me; “I wish I believed what the people of this church believe, but I just don’t.” It can be frustrating and disappointing to hear someone say that. But the confession of faith, that “Jesus is Lord,” happens only by the Holy Spirit.

Equipped with the Word of God we can only do what we can. We can only share the message of Jesus who is the Lord of life and Lord over all things. Then we watch and wait as the Spirit does what only the Spirit can do: bring sinners to faith in Jesus, gather them into his church and equip them for service.

As you hear today’s words you see that the Spirit has many functions, gives many gifts, and confers many blessings. Truly the Holy Spirit is God’s “multi-purpose tool” for the building of his church.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit of God, as we think of those who do not have the blessing of faith in Jesus, we ask you to give that gift freely and frequently. To those who wish to serve in your kingdom, grant our gifts for the common good. For all our other needs in life and eternity, we pray that you would work in us just as you determine. 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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Remember the Relationship – January 21, 2019

When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
Titus 3:4-5

Remember the Relationship


Daily Devotion – January 21, 2019

Devotion based on Titus 3:4-5

See series: Devotions

The old story goes something like this. A little boy named Henry and a little girl named Margaret are spending a few days with their grandmother on her farm. Henry is outside, alone, playing with a new slingshot. He sees his grandmother’s pet duck. On a lark he points the slingshot at the duck and fires. To the boy’s horror, the duck falls over dead. Now in a panic, Henry hides the duck in the woodpile. But then his sister, Margaret, comes up to him and says, “I saw what you did.” The next morning, Margaret announces to her grandmother that, for some reason, Henry wants to do her chores as well as his own. When Henry begins to protest, Margaret quickly whispers to him, “Remember. I saw what you did.”

Finally, after several days of this, Henry can no longer stand it. In tears, he runs to his grandmother and confesses everything. Immediately the grandmother embraces the boy and says, “Oh, Henry. Don’t be afraid. I’ve already forgiven you. I was standing at the kitchen window when it all happened.” It doesn’t take long for Henry’s tears of shame to turn into tears of relief and joy. And then he asks the question: “Grandma, why didn’t you tell me you saw everything?” To that the grandmother replies, “Well, Henry, I just had to find out how long you were going to let your sister enslave you.”

One of the oldest tricks in Satan’s playbook is to get us to forget the kind of relationship we have with God through faith in Jesus. He does this by haunting us about our past failures, piling on the regret, piling on the guilt. In time we can begin to distance ourselves from God, afraid to open up to him and afraid to admit to ourselves what a broken, sinful mess we really are.

But the Lord wants us to remember something. He wants us to remember that his entire relationship with us is a relationship of mercy—his merciful love for us in Jesus Christ. As soon as we remember this, then we can also remember that Satan has nothing with which to haunt us or to make us feel afraid. Satan has no answer for God’s mercy. None.

And for that we can all say, “Praise God.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, when Satan comes to haunt me about my past, move me to remember that your relationship with me is pure love and mercy through faith in your Son. Remind me of this every day. 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 Beautiful Promise – January 20, 2019

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31

A Beautiful Promise


Daily Devotion – January 20, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 40:30-31

See series: Devotions

Little kids like to run everywhere. It doesn’t matter how short the distance. It can simply be from one side of the room to the other. The three-year-old is more than likely going to run that distance.

Part of the reason they do this is that they have short legs and need to take way more steps to cross the room than fully-grown people do. But, they also run because they just have lots of energy. As an adult, can you imagine every step you take being a running step? You would probably be ready for a nap well before lunch.

Yet even those children with seemingly endless amounts of energy grow tired after a while. Eventually they grow into adults, and their levels of energy decrease, and weariness sets in more quickly.

What a beautiful promise we have from the Lord that he will give us renewed strength! To “run and not grow weary”—it sounds too good to be true. Yet, it’s a promise from the Lord so we know that it is.

Those who know that Jesus is their Savior, who treasure the full and free forgiveness that is theirs because of his death on the cross, can walk with a little extra spring in their step. The pressing weight of sin and guilt does not slow them down, and they know that their relationship with the almighty God is one that is defined by his love and will last forever.

When that relationship is fully enjoyed inside the gates of heaven, then their youth will truly and fully be renewed. None of the physical problems, none of the aches and pains that seem to grow more severe with age will be present there. Knowing that day will come gives the believer in Jesus a little extra energy in life as well.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you know that I am tired. Keep my eyes focused on the eternity in heaven that your Son, Jesus, won for me through his death on the cross. There I know that my strength will be renewed, and I will never grow weary again. Until I get there, give me strength and energy as you have promised. In Jesus’ name I ask 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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Mistaken Identity – January 19, 2019

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph.
Luke 3:23

Mistaken Identity


Daily Devotion – January 19, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 3:23

See series: Devotions

“I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.” It is a mistake and an apology made by many people. Usually the only lasting consequence from a case of mistaken identity is embarrassment. Not so when it happens with Jesus.

There were many people who knew Jesus from young on and concluded he was Joseph’s son. They believed what their eyes told them. This case of mistaken identity continued throughout Jesus’ ministry. Some did acknowledge he could have been a prophet or possibly a teacher, but even this conclusion was eventually limited by what they saw.

There are many people today who still suffer from a case of mistaken identity. They believe Jesus is a good man. They believe he offers some great lessons for life. They even believe he could be a prophet of sorts. But the Son of God? This would be too much to accept.

As I live in a skeptical world, I need to have the right answer to the question, who is Jesus? Do I see him as a role model? Do I see him as an engaging teacher? Do I see him as a life coach? If this is all I believe Jesus is, I too have been confused by a case of mistaken identity. Unfortunately, this case doesn’t end in embarrassment, it ends in eternal separation from God.

I must have a clear understanding of who Jesus is and what he did. For this I must rely on what God has recorded in the Bible. In the Old Testament prophecies, as well as in the New Testament fulfillment of the same, Jesus is clearly revealed as the Son of God and Son of Man. He is also clearly revealed as the Savior God provided.

Through faith in God’s faithful testimony I will be spared from a case of mistaken identity regarding Jesus. As a result, I will see him as my Savior and my way to heaven. I will also see him as the source of my joy and my peace with God.

Prayer:
O precious Savior, through faith in your holy Word, let me see you as you are and trust in all you have done 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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Jesus is Our Humble Servant – January 18, 2019

The LORD says, “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:6

Jesus is Our Humble Servant


Daily Devotion – January 18, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:6

See series: Devotions

Would you enjoy work as a servant? Most of us would choose a job in which we have some authority and privilege rather than submission and humble service.

What did Jesus choose? What did his Father choose for him? It was submission and humble service for Jesus instead of authority and privilege. He willingly took up the station designated in Isaiah’s prophecy: “the Servant of the Lord.”

Isaiah chapter 49 marks a new emphasis in that book of prophecy. Whereas earlier chapters focused on God’s deliverance of Israel from Babylonian captivity, this part focuses on the spiritual deliverance of God’s people through the Servant of the Lord.

Here we find the Servant of the Lord, fully equipped and competent to deliver Israel. Jesus kept this word of prophecy in his humble service to free us from the guilt of sin and curse of eternal death. He explained, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as the ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

He did this not just for the people of Israel (“too small a thing”) but also for you and me, for the entire world. He served in the lowliest way, bearing the burden of all sinners on his cross to restore us to life with God forever.

Praise to you, Savior Jesus, for coming to be our humble servant and bringing us the light of salvation!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, make me aware each day of the humble service you offered me to rescue me from my sin. Fill me with the light of your salvation. 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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Your After Picture – January 17, 2019

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.… For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
Isaiah 61:10, 62:1-2

Your After Picture


Daily Devotion – January 17, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:10, 62:1-2

See series: Devotions

Makeovers are remarkable. You have seen the “before” and “after” pictures on TV. You’ve seen the man with the 70’s hippy look transformed into the GQ magazine look or the woman with the no makeup look transformed into the Glamour magazine look. You are that person, spiritually speaking.

You can see your “before” picture in the mirror of God’s law, which demands you to be flawless. It’s not a pretty look. Your clothes are filthy from the dirt in your life, stained from enjoying life too much, and worn out from all the begging you’ve done on your knees. You’re a mess, an offense to yourself and even more to your God. You know it, and you are helpless to change it. Try as you might, God declares, “Although you wash yourself with soda and use an abundance of soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me””(Jeremiah 2:22).

But then there’s your “after” picture. In that picture there is another person beside you. The other person is your substitute. Christ came to exchange clothes with you—his perfection for your imperfection, your guilt for his forgiveness, your damnation for his salvation. This is what he did on the cross, and because he did, there is nothing about you that is less than perfect in God’s eyes. Using the imagery of Isaiah, you are a picture-perfect bridegroom and bride.

Your joy is to let others know what God in Christ has done for you. The Lord himself wants this known. He wants everyone to know the garment exchange he has made. He wants them to know that Christ’s righteousness covers their unrighteousness. He wants to transform their lives. And he will. By grace he has transformed yours.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, I rejoice that you have clothed me with your righteousness. I pray that others enjoy these same clothes. In Jesus’ 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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God’s Choice – January 16, 2019

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” … Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?” Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed stands here before the LORD.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.
1 Samuel 16:1,4-13

God’s Choice


Daily Devotion – January 16, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 16:1,4-13

See series: Devotions

God doesn’t choose people the way that we do. In today’s reading, Israel needed a new king anointed from the family of Jesse, and it was Samuel’s job to anoint him. Samuel was sure it was going to be one of Jesse’s most kingly-looking sons. Son after son was brought before Samuel. Each one looked like a possible candidate, but the LORD rejected them all. Did Jesse have another son? He did. Little David, the youngest boy, was out tending the sheep. When they brought him in, the LORD made it clear to Samuel: David was the one.

A thousand years later, David’s descendant Jesus was born. And just like David, Jesus wasn’t anything like the kind of king people were looking for. Many rejected Jesus immediately because of his lowly status. Others followed him for a little while, until they found out what he was about. He wasn’t here to defeat their political enemies. He was here to suffer and die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. None of us would ever have picked a king like this. But God did. At Jesus’ baptism, God made his choice known to all the world: “This is my Son whom I love.” (See Luke 3:21,22.)

Jesus is the reason God chooses sinners like you and me. He doesn’t choose us because of anything good in us. We know how far we often fall from our own standards, much less his. God chooses sinners purely out of love and mercy.

As David was anointed king, as Jesus was anointed Savior, so also, we sinners are anointed to be God’s children. In Baptism, God takes what he did for the whole world at the cross of Jesus, and he makes it personal. He singles you out. He comes to you with his forgiveness, not just forgiveness for the sinfulness you were born with, but forgiveness for all sins, even the ones you haven’t committed yet. Are you baptized? Then you don’t have to wait for a day of forgiveness to come. That day has already come. Your sins were forgiven at your baptism, through faith in Jesus, your Savior.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, whenever I wonder how someone like God could love someone like me, help me to remember the grace and mercy there is to be found in God’s gift of Baptism. 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 Most Important Question – January 15, 2019

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He 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.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.
Acts 16:25-34

A Most Important Question


Daily Devotion – January 15, 2019

Devotion based on Acts 16:25-34

See series: Devotions

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” This is the most important question in the world. It cuts to the heart of the most important issue of life—the matter of eternal life.

At the critical moment of life and death, there was only one correct answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” Human philosophies could not answer the jailer’s question, so Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.”

At the heart of the “word of the Lord” is the message that through faith in Jesus who lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death on our behalf, we are saved from sin—from the effects of sin (guilt and shame) and from the final result of sin (punishment in hell). Paul and Silas do not tell the jailer to “do” anything. He is to believe what Jesus has already done for him. There is no other way to be saved.

The jailer is in one moment a desperate, guilty, enemy of Christ and in the next a forgiven, loving servant to Christ. This is the power of Christ and his salvation. If you know it, share it. If you do not, keep coming back to hear “the word of the Lord.” It is for you and your household.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for your Word which is the Word of salvation. Thank you for giving us life in a world of death. 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 Voice in the Desert – January 14, 2019

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Mark 1:4-11

The Voice in the Desert


Daily Devotion – January 14, 2019

Devotion based on Mark 1:4-11

See series: Devotions

You hear one voice in the desert. You hear another voice from heaven.

It’s the first voice you might not listen to. Who would listen to a guy who preaches in camel’s hair and eats locusts? Who would listen to a guy that calls you a snake and a sinner? (See Matthew 3:7-10.) Your initial thought, as you listen to this voice, is to scoff and argue. But the more you listen, you end up crying for mercy instead. The voice in the desert speaks the damning truth. It cuts you to the core. You recognize the poison in your heart—poison that blasphemes, hates, lusts, and envies—and you are brought to your knees to confess that you deserve eternal punishment for your sins.

But the voice in the desert points to more than your sin. The voice in the desert points to the One so powerful, that no sinner is worthy to untie his sandals, and yet so powerful that he overwhelms and overcomes sinful hearts with his Spirit of grace. He points to the One who is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

Now you couldn’t be more ready to listen to the voice from heaven. As water runs down Jesus’ face, the Father’s voice from heaven declares his approval and confidence in his Son, because he purposely and willingly gives him as the sacrifice for your sin. His life for yours! His death instead of yours! Even the Holy Spirit descends with approval. And yes, you hear the voice from heaven correctly, it pleases God to do this for you. Through faith you will not perish but have eternal life.

Because of such love, out of the overflow of the heart, another voice speaks. It’s your voice. It echoes the voice from the desert and the voice from heaven. It shows sin and shares saving love with others. It points people to Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, may I never lose sight of my need for a Savior from sin, and may I never let go of the fact that Jesus came for me and saved me. In his 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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A Bad Day – January 13, 2019

Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

A Bad Day


Daily Devotion – January 13, 2019

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:22-23

See series: Devotions

“I just need this day to end!” Ever felt that way? Ever felt that way already by noon? When things are going poorly, that thought can be a very real one. When things seem to go from bad to worse as the day progresses, a desire for it to end might well be our sentiment. There is something about a new day, a fresh start that seems to put things in perspective and gives renewed energy.

The Old Testament writer of these words from a book called Lamentations was having more than a bad day. He had experienced a whole bunch of them. Enemies of the nation had entered it ruthlessly. They deported most of the people. Cities lay in ruins. The temple of God in Jerusalem had been destroyed. The annihilated nation was the laughingstock of her neighbors. A once proud and mighty country had been reduced to rubble. And the worst part? It was their own fault! Because the people of Judah had turned away from the Word and the will of the Lord, he had caused this to happen. He had done it that they might wake up and turn from their current path of spiritual destruction.

But then right in the middle of this book of mourning come words of comfort and hope. Words of refreshment and renewal to the broken down and despondent: The Lord hasn’t abandoned us! The Lord is full of love and compassion toward us! No matter how faithless we’ve been, the Lord remains faithful! As a new day and a fresh start are the grace and mercy of God, the unfailing promises of God, centered in the rising Sun of a Savior from sin, gave hope to Jeremiah (author of this short book) and any of his countrymen who would give ear and heart to this beautiful message.

There are many things that contribute to bad days. Too often at least some of them are our own fault. A harsh word to a family member causes a rift. A rude email to a co-worker makes a project bog down. A bit of laziness or procrastination puts us behind schedule. A night of partying leads to a day of misery. The list might go on. As we come to a realization that we are often to blame for our own difficulties, let’s remember these words of comfort and hope from Lamentations. The One promised to them has come to us as the baby born in Bethlehem. The One they awaited to deal with their sin is the Savior Jesus Christ who gave himself as a sacrifice for sin on Calvary’s cross. In his forgiveness each day is a new and fresh one. And if we happen to be dealing with something that’s not particularly our fault, remember the One who has risen from the dead and stands to fuel your spirit with his compassionate love and faithful companionship. With the Lord and his promises, every day is a new one!

Prayer:
Lord, although we don’t deserve it, you shower us with your love and mercy each day and each hour of the day. Help us to look to you and to lean on you and your compassionate faithfulness in Jesus at all times. In his name we pray. 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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Who is Jesus – January 12, 2019

On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.
John 7:40-43

Who is Jesus


Daily Devotion – January 12, 2019

Devotion based on John 7:40-43

See series: Devotions

The crowds were divided. They could not come to any agreement regarding Jesus. Some thought he was the “Prophet” promised by God through Moses. Some thought he was the Christ, the one promised by God to set them free. Still others couldn’t accept anything about Jesus because he didn’t fit their understanding of the Scriptures. So, who is Jesus? It is a question for which I need an answer.

Today there are still many of the same beliefs and opinions about Jesus. Some people still believe he is a prophet, but only a prophet. Some still believe he was sent by God, but they stop short of believing he is God. There are even some who reject Jesus altogether because he does not conform to their ideas regarding the Savior they need. Unfortunately, all these opinions and beliefs end in conflict and confusion, and ultimately in eternal condemnation.

The only reliable answer comes from God’s Word and is accepted through faith worked by the Holy Spirit. God’s Word provides the clear truth regarding Jesus. Without hesitation or qualification it proclaims Jesus is true God and true Man born of Mary. It also proclaims Jesus is the Christ sent by God to suffer and die to pay the price for my freedom. It further proclaims Jesus is the victorious Savior who lives, rules, and protects me with his unsurpassed power and undeserved love. It is faith which trusts everything the Bible says. It is finally faith which leads me to confidently confess Jesus is everything the Bible says he is.

The world may be full of opinions and beliefs regarding Jesus, but there is only one truth. It is the truth which saves, and it is the truth to which I must cling: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and my only Savior.

Prayer:(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 358)
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear!
It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds, and drives away all fear.

O Jesus, Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, my Prophet, Priest, and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring.

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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Sing a New Song – January 11, 2019

Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
Psalm 98:1

Sing a New Song


Daily Devotion – January 11, 2019

Devotion based on Psalm 98:1

See series: Devotions

Have you ever noticed how much music and singing is associated with the Christian religion? There are Christian radio stations that are singularly dedicated to playing songs dedicated to Jesus. Christian worship includes music played on various instruments and sung by trained vocalists. Many Christian churches encourage the people in the seats to join in singing hymns and psalms. Have you ever wondered why? I’ll bet you have, especially if singing’s not your thing.

Why do Christians sing? The words of Psalm 98 give us the answers. The first one is this: The Lord wants us to. But the reason for that is deeper than you might think. The Lord certainly loves music and takes delight in the beauty of melodies and harmonies that please the ear. Undoubtedly, he takes pleasure in beautiful music produced by trained musicians and practiced vocalists. But there is so much more! He is much more interested in the content of our songs than in the musical mastery or flawless performance.

He encourages his people to sing a “new song.” And then he tells us what that new song is. He doesn’t hand out a piece of music with notes and performance directions. He tells us that the new song he desires is one that declares the marvelous things he has done. He has worked salvation. He has carried out a saving act. He hasn’t done it for himself (as though he needs saving), but he has done it by himself because those who needed him to save them couldn’t do it by themselves.

God saves. Like a well-trained Navy Seal team sent on a rescue operation he invades enemy territory to deliver from captivity. Like a brave firefighter he enters a dangerous situation to rescue from the flames. Jesus Christ entered our world as a baby in Bethlehem. He grew from childhood to manhood, all the while perfectly carrying out his Father’s will. As a relatively young man he willingly went to a gruesome death. He did it all to save sinners who couldn’t save themselves. He came into our dark world to deliver us from death and eternal condemnation. When he rose from his tomb, he declared that death is defeated, and the devil rendered powerless. He came to seek and to save those who were lost, including you and me. And that’s worth singing about!

Whether you are a good singer or not; whether you can read notes and sing in a choir or whether you can’t carry a tune…the Lord wants to hear you singing a new song of thanks and praise to him as the one who has marvelously saved you!

Prayer:
Lord, you have provided us with the words of a new and marvelous song through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Help us to sing your praise with joy and thanksgiving all the days of our lives. In Jesus’ 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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Making Everything New – January 10, 2019

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:1-5

Making Everything New


Daily Devotion – January 10, 2019

Devotion based on Revelation 21:1-5

See series: Devotions

The Scriptures teach that our present world and all of God’s original creation will be destroyed at the end of time. God will, however, make a “new heaven and a new earth.” The apostle John was granted the vision of these things fulfilled, and he saw the “new Jerusalem” which is described as “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” At the end of time Jesus Christ will come in glorious procession attended by his angels to take his bride—the Church of all believers—to his heavenly home for an eternal wedding feast. The heavenly wedding feast of Christ and his church is when the “dwelling of God is with men.” The redeemed will see God. In his first epistle John wrote: “We shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The Church will no longer walk by faith, but by sight. And God’s covenant of grace will be established with them forever, for “they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

The description of bliss for God’s people in this new heaven and earth is comforting: “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” It is this glorious prospect that for centuries has sustained Christians in the midst of their earthly trials and sufferings. One day we will have the bliss of heaven where there will be no sin and no effects of sin. Nothing will dim the perfect bliss which God has planned and prepared for his faithful people.

Jesus himself gives us assurance that what John saw in his vision will indeed come to pass. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” All this will take place because Jesus is in charge of making it happen. He is the one who has all power in heaven and on earth is the one making all things new. Jesus’ words bring us much comfort and encouragement. No matter what the world situation looks like, no matter what types of persecution or hardship enter our lives, Jesus is in control and guiding everything for our good so that finally heaven and all its bliss will be ours. Jesus declares, “These words are trustworthy and true.” We can count on it…Jesus is “making everything new” …for us!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for the encouragement and comfort that finally everything will be new when you come and take me to be with you 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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Light of the World – January 9, 2019

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD.”
Isaiah 60:1-6

Light of the World


Daily Devotion – January 9, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 60:1-6

See series: Devotions

Bugs of all shapes and sizes are drawn to light. If you’ve ever spent any time outdoors in the summer, especially in the evening, then you know how true it is that outdoor lights attract bugs.

Not that we want to compare ourselves to insects, but there is something to be said about the draw of light. If you think about it, a light shining in a dark place is going to draw attention, naturally. The same is true about the Light of the world. The world was steeped in the darkness of sin. God’s Word says, “A darkness covers the earth, thick darkness is over the peoples.” That darkness was sin. But notice what happens when a light appears: We’re called to arise. We’re called to shine. We’re told that “nations will come to (the light) and people to the brightness (of the light). That light is none other than the Light of the world, Jesus. Only Jesus can bring the world out of darkness into his wonderful light. Only the truth of Jesus can bring people from the ends of the earth to look for his light. Only Jesus can prompt the praises of nations. Only Jesus.

Only the revelation of Jesus as the Messiah, the promised Savior could prompt such a reaction. Friends, the same is true today. Proclaim Jesus. Proclaim that the Light of the world has come. Proclaim Jesus, and “you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy.”

Prayer:
Jesus, Light of the world, shine in our hearts and lives and bring forth the joy and peace that only you can give. 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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Privilege – January 8, 2019

Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Ephesians 3:8

Privilege


Daily Devotion – January 8, 2019

Devotion based on Ephesians 3:8

See series: Devotions

In the world of classical music, a contralto singer by the name of Marian Anderson was a giant. The beauty of her voice enthralled audiences around the world. She sang in the White House for Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. She sang for the King and Queen of England. She brought tears to the eyes of a world-renowned voice teacher. A legendary conductor declared that Marian Anderson possessed the finest voice of the century.

Perhaps even more stunning, however, was Marian’s profound gratitude for what she had. A reporter once asked Marian to name the greatest moment in her life. Her answer said a lot about her and a lot about the sense of gratitude that empowered her throughout her career. When the reporter asked Marian Anderson to name the greatest moment in her life, she said it was the day she got to go home and share the news that her widowed mother wouldn’t have to do other people’s laundry anymore.

The Word of God before us comes from the apostle Paul. Paul was one of the greatest proclaimers of Jesus Christ the world has ever seen. Throughout his years of sharing the gospel, however, Paul endured difficulties and hardships of every description. Nevertheless, Paul never forgot the high privilege he possessed. He had tasted the sweet forgiveness of sin his soul had through faith in Jesus Christ. To know he now had the honor to carry that good news to others—such an honor filled him with a gratitude that empowered him throughout his ministry.

You and I have that same privilege. Like Paul, you and I have savored the forgiveness we possess through faith in Jesus. And now it is our high honor to share that good news of forgiveness with others. True, God has given each of us different gifts. But whatever those gifts are, we can use them to touch another soul. As Marian Anderson once said, “Everyone has a gift for something, even if it is the gift of being a good friend.”

And so take the gift you have. Praise God for it. And use it for the privilege to bring someone else into contact with Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of sharing Jesus with others. By your gospel, fill my heart to overflowing with gratitude. Fill it every day. 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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Further Instruction Required – January 7, 2019

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:1-2

Further Instruction Required


Daily Devotion – January 7, 2019

Devotion based on Matthew 2:1-2

See series: Devotions

It is easy to marvel at the journey of the Magi. They went to great lengths, faced many challenges, and endured many hardships. Even after all of that, upon their arrival in Jerusalem they didn’t achieve their goal. They still had to ask, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews?” They required further instruction to find the answer to their quest.

Like the wise men, I too search for the one who is born King of the Jews. While my journey is noble and sincere, if I rely only on my own efforts and knowledge I will fail to find him. Further instruction is required.

In my search I need to avoid the temptation to be satisfied with a king and god of my own making. This kind of deity and ruler would delight my sinful flesh, but it would accomplish nothing to bring me closer to the true God. Once again, further instruction is required.

The only way I can find the true God and his Son is to go directly to the Scriptures. In the Bible, God’s inspired book for instruction, I come to know who God truly is. I also come to understand what he has done for me. He sent his Son to this earth to be more than a king of one nation of people. God sent Jesus to be the King of kings and Lord of lords, “so that every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10,11). What is even more important is that through the instruction of God’s Word I come to know what Jesus has done for me. His unquestioning obedience to fulfill his Father’s will in my place. His sinless sacrifice on the cross to secure my release from guilt. His innocent death to rescue me from the power of the devil. His victorious resurrection to proclaim my freedom from death and the grave. He did all of this so that I could come to him and worship him.

In order to know Jesus as my Savior I need to be guided to him. Without the instruction God the Father has provided in his Word, I would remain lost and condemned to a fruitless and futile search. This is why I rejoice, because God has provided all the instruction I required.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, heavenly Father, I rejoice in your Word of Truth. Through that Word I receive the instruction I need to know that Jesus is my Lord and my 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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How Long Have You Been Waiting – January 6, 2019

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 2:28-32

How Long Have You Been Waiting


Daily Devotion – January 6, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 2:28-32

See series: Devotions

How long did you wait—for that perfect partner, that perfect job, that perfect house? Once you had what you were waiting for, was it everything you had hoped it would be? Is your marriage perfect in every way? Do you absolutely love driving to work every day? Is your house without defect of any kind? I didn’t think so. Most of the time, the people and things we wait for fail to live up to our expectations.

Simeon was waiting for the promised Savior. And, unlike your marriage partner or job or house, when Simeon received what he was waiting for, it was perfect in every way. It is why Simeon was able to tell the Lord, “You now dismiss your servant in peace.” Simeon could die in peace because his eyes had seen his salvation. Imagine Simeon letting the baby wrap his little hand around his finger, the way babies do. That same hand would be pierced by a spike and nailed to a tree. That same precious face would be darkened by fists and bloodied by a crown of thorns. But that act would mean light for a sin-darkened world.

And that means you, dear friend. Jesus was born for you, to die for you, to win forgiveness for you. Like Simeon you can say, “Lord, now dismiss your servant in peace. For even though I may not have the perfect marriage, perfect job, or the perfect house, I have peace—the peace of knowing I have eternal life through you.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when you finally dismiss this servant through death, I know that when I open my eyes again, they will see your face, for you have done what you have promised for me. May I always sing your praises as Simeon did. 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 Christmas Present – January 5, 2019

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God.
Luke 2:25-28a

The Perfect Christmas Present


Daily Devotion – January 5, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 2:25-28a

See series: Devotions

Simeon was waiting for the perfect gift. The Bible doesn’t tell us how long he waited for that gift. But, it would be the greatest present Simeon ever received. The Holy Spirit had given Simeon a special revelation that he would not die before he saw the promised Savior. This Savior would be “the consolation of Israel”—someone who would comfort sinners by living, dying, and rising again for them, to save them from sin, death, and the devil.

Simeon held that gift in his arms, a baby, only 40 days old, in the temple courts in Jerusalem. Imagine Simeon’s face, tears of joy streaming down his cheeks as he stared at the face of God wrapped in human flesh. This little child had already begun to comfort sinners, because as a 40-day-old baby, Jesus was fulfilling God’s law for sinners. His parents had brought him to do what the law required: a sacrifice of purification for mom (Leviticus 12:7,8), and the dedication of the firstborn to God (Exodus 13:2-13). He would grow up to do so much more. He would live with perfect joy in perfect obedience to all of God’s laws for you and me. By that life of perfect joy and obedience you have the perfect Christmas gift, a gift that will last: Christ’s life lived for you.

Like Simeon, hold the baby Jesus in arms of faith and praise God for such a gift!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, already as a forty-day-old baby you began to keep the law for me. I never have to wonder if I have done enough for you because I know that you have done enough 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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A Promise Kept – January 4, 2019

He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Luke 1:69-75

A Promise Kept


Daily Devotion – January 4, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 1:69-75

See series: Devotions

Each New Year, millions of people make a promise to improve something about themselves. Each New Year, millions of people break those promises within a couple of days.

I don’t know how serious you are about New Year’s resolutions, but they seem to be promises that aren’t taken too seriously by people who aren’t very serious about improving something in their lives.

Zechariah lived in the same world we do. He knew how sin infects a person. He also experienced the fickle nature of the promises of man. When an angel came to Zechariah to deliver the good news that his son John would prepare the way for the Savior, he doubted God’s promise.

How easy it can be to doubt our God. When things don’t go as planned, when we experience heartache and loss, we might assume our God has forgotten us, left us, maybe even forsaken us.

But despite our doubt, God keeps his promises. God kept his promise and sent a son to doubting Zechariah and Zechariah rejoiced, “He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies.”

Because God kept his promise, Zechariah knew God’s love for him, knew God had not forsaken him. Because God kept his promise of a Savior to us, we know God has not forgotten us. He has given us hope and a future—an eternal future. Praise God for his promise of salvation!

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, we praise you for keeping your promise of a Savior. Remind us of your love and faithfulness every day of our lives so that we never doubt you. In Jesus’ name we ask this, 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 Lasting Joy – January 3, 2019

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.”
Luke 1:68

A Lasting Joy


Daily Devotion – January 3, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 1:68

See series: Devotions

For most of us, Christmas is over. In all likelihood, the presents are unwrapped; the pretty paper is in the garbage can. And take a good look at your Christmas tree, because in a week or so, it will be gone. Many of us are getting back to school and work, back to our regular lives. In order for the joy of Christmas to last, it needs to mean so much more to us than trees, presents, and nicely decorated homes. As we put away Christmas for another year, Zechariah’s words are an important reminder: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.”

Zechariah was a new dad. He and Elizabeth had just had their first son, John. One can understand the joy of a new parent at the birth of their first child. But how quickly that new joy can wear off. Time goes by and it becomes evident that neither child nor parent is perfect. Sin infects us all.

So for Zechariah, his joy had to be based on more, and it was. God had revealed to him that his son, John the Baptist, would be the forerunner of the promised Messiah, Jesus!

Zechariah could see something far greater at work here than just the birth of his own child. His son was preparing the way for someone who would change every life that has ever walked the face of this earth, someone who would change Zechariah’s life too, long after his son was old and grown.

God gave us a gift that lasts! At Christmas, he says to you, “Here is my Son, born in poverty in a manger who will live among you and die for you. Because of him, you will know that I have done everything necessary to draw you to myself. Your sin is forgiven. Your debt is paid. You are my child!” What a gift!

So, put away your Christmas decorations, take down the trees. But remember the gift of joy he gives us to last the whole year through!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, we praise and thank you for the gift of joy you give to us and our families. As we enter into a new year, fill our hearts with the joy of the Christ child in all we say and do. In Jesus name we pray, 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 Brother Frees Us Forever – January 2, 2019

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:14-15

Our Brother Frees Us Forever


Daily Devotion – January 2, 2019

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:14-15

See series: Devotions

The man sat in my office and said, “Pastor, I’m afraid to die.” He lived in fear of what would happen when his heart stopped beating and his lungs stopped working. He’s not the only one. Many people live in fear of death. But they don’t have to.

There was a reason Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Jesus came to be your substitute. He needed to have a human body to serve as your substitute. He had to have a heart that pumped blood, a brain that functioned on oxygen, a body that was fueled by nutrients. He had to experience weariness and a need for rest. Only with a real human body could Jesus live a perfect life in your place.

And, only with a real human body could Jesus die in your place. Jesus died to make death powerless. One day your heart won’t pump, your brain won’t think, and your lungs won’t breathe. But, death will have no power over you. The grave will not be able to confine you. You will be with the Lord. Because this is true, death does not need to terrify you. Jesus’ perfect life and innocent death replace the fear of death with the hope of eternal life.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you came to free me from my fear of death by defeating it for me. When Satan tries to make me afraid of death, remind me of your power over him. 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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