Sin Never Seems Far Away – March 23, 2024

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

Sin Never Seems Far Away

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Daily Devotion – March 23, 2024

Devotion based on Psalm 103:12

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“How far can you throw it?” That question was often asked in my neighborhood growing up. It resulted in several kids lining up and taking turns to see who could throw the football the farthest. It provided a way to measure ourselves against the other boys. But even as we grew older, the football never made it more than a few backyards away.

Our sins never seem all that far away, either. We try to forget them by thinking about something else. We try to rationalize our sins and make excuses for them. We try to pass the blame to others. We try to pretend that they never happened. But try as we might, we just can’t seem to throw them too far away from us. They weigh on our conscience. They float around in our minds and keep us up at night. We are often reminded of our sins by the hurt feelings and comments of others. Sin never seems too far away.

That’s where Jesus came in. He didn’t just pick up our sins and throw them a few backyards away. He has removed them “as far as the east is from the west.” Who can measure the distance from east to west? You can travel thousands of miles in either direction and still have just as far to go. God’s forgiveness for you in Jesus is immeasurable. His supply of forgiveness will never run out. When God removes your sin, he removes it completely. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, your sins are gone for good. They are not coming back. And trusting in Jesus as your Savior, you have an eternity in heaven to look forward to.

“How far can you throw them?” When it comes to sin, the answer is “not very far.” Our human ways of dealing with sin will always ensure that they keep coming back. Instead, lay your sins on Jesus and let him throw them away “as far as the east is from the west.” You are forgiven for all of your sins. In Jesus, they are nowhere to be found.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to be my Savior from sin. In your grace, through Word and sacrament, continue to remind me that all my sins have been removed completely. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus is Committed – March 22, 2024

[Jesus said] “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
John:12:27-29

Jesus is Committed

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Daily Devotion – March 22, 2024

Devotion based on John:12:27-29

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Jesus spoke these words during Holy Week. No one else knew what was coming next for Jesus, but Jesus knew. In a matter of hours, Jesus would be arrested. He would endure the indignity of a sham of a trial before the religious leaders. He would be paraded between two politicians. Soldiers would mock him, spit on him, and whip him. He would be executed like a common criminal.

But that’s not what truly troubled his soul. Jesus knew the agony that was waiting for him on that Roman cross. Worse than the crucifixion itself would be the weight of the sins of the whole world. Worse than the slow and painful suffocation would be the separation of Jesus from his Father, the punishment for sin.

It is no wonder Jesus said that his soul was troubled. But even as he could count the hours to the torment of hell he would suffer, he remained resolute. He was committed to saving God’s people and the glory it would bring his Father.

Next week, we start our Holy Week. We will travel with Jesus from Palm Sunday to Easter, with long and important stops at Holy Thursday and Good Friday. We will meditate, once again, on Jesus’ great love for sinners and the cost of our sin. As Jesus hangs from the cross, it will look anything but glorious. But it is there on the cross, an instrument of death and torture, that Jesus wins glory. It is there that Jesus does what the angels pronounced at his birth. Jesus brings, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for your commitment to me and the peace you’ve won between me and God. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Life Through Death – March 21, 2024

[Jesus said] Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
John 12:24-26

Life Through Death

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Daily Devotion – March 21, 2024

Devotion based on John 12:24-26

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You dig a small hole in the dirt. Carefully, you place a seed inside of it and gently push the soil over the seed. You wait, and all on its own, the seed sprouts. A green leaf pokes through the ground. And that single seed becomes a plant that bears more seeds just like it. Life comes through the death of the one seed.

It seems counterintuitive, right? Life through death. Yet, that was the very core of Jesus’ mission. He came to bring life to his followers through his own sacrificial death. Like a seed planted in the dark dirt, Jesus would be buried in a tomb dug from the earth for three days. After those three days, Jesus would rise to life and promise the same life to all who die believing in Jesus as their Savior.

But Jesus doesn’t just focus on death with his words; he focuses on life, too. A man once reminisced about the pastor he had growing up—he remembered the preacher saying, “You must die every day!” in nearly all his sermons. As a boy, he didn’t understand what the preacher meant. He didn’t want to die! He wanted to live.

He later understood what that preacher meant. Die to your sinful self. Die to selfish desires. Surrender your sinful agenda and submit to God’s love and will. Death to self brings life.

It’s a life full of love for God and the people in your life. It’s a life of peace and contentment. It’s a life with Jesus. It’s not easy. But it is life to the fullest, where Jesus promises his Father’s honor to all who serve and follow him.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you sent your Son Jesus to die so that I may live. Help me to die to my sins every day and live in the life you give. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Would Like to See Jesus – March 20, 2024

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

We Would Like to See Jesus

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Daily Devotion – March 20, 2024

Devotion based on John 12:20,21

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The capital city of Jerusalem was bustling with people visiting for the major festival. Among those visitors were Greek pilgrims. They came to Philip, a disciple of Jesus, with a simple request. “We would like to see Jesus.”

Perhaps they were curious because they had heard about Jesus’ miracles. Maybe they had seen the way Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey to shouts of “Hosanna” earlier in the week. Or it could be their souls were seeking the truth. Whatever the reason, they voiced the desire that resonates with every human heart. They sought God.

The world is full of people like those Greeks. They are searching for truth, hope, and meaning. They may not say it the same way as those Greeks did, but they ache for a meeting with their Savior.

If you are looking for truth, hope, and meaning, if you are searching for Jesus, there is no better place to look than where Jesus has revealed himself. Jesus shows himself to all through the Bible. God’s Word, the Bible, is where Jesus speaks truth, where God gives meaning to life, and where the Savior provides hope to a desperate world.

If you are a Christian, you live among people who wish to see Jesus, though they may not know it. You can show them Jesus not just through your words but through your actions. When you extend a helping hand to the marginalized, you show them Jesus. When you offer a listening ear to the brokenhearted, you show them Jesus. When you forgive those who have wronged you, you show them Jesus. In every act of kindness, every word of encouragement, and every expression of love, you reveal the face of Christ to a world in need.

Those acts of love are a reflection of Jesus, of the one who came to seek you out. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He came looking for you because he loves you.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, show me Jesus. Use me to show Jesus to others. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Through the Waters and Flames – March 19, 2024

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2

Through the Waters and Flames

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Daily Devotion – March 19, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 43:2

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The headline read, Dozens Burned During Motivational Exercise. They were encouraged to walk barefoot over a bed of hot coals. Their inner strength, their self-reliance, their personal empowerment would keep them safe. Except it didn’t. Their burned feet and ankles were all the proof they needed.

What happened? Maybe the people who ended up burnt did not believe in themselves enough or did not have the right kind of inner strength and self-reliance. Not likely. What happened? The coals were burning hot, and their bare feet lingered long enough to be burnt by the coals.

God promises to be with his people when they go through deep waters and fires of life. He does not tell them to trust in themselves or use their sheer willpower to get through those tough times. He promises to be there with them.

God also says when those troubles come, not if. There are no promises that Christians will be spared pain, sorrow, trouble, and toil in this life. But God does promise to be with them.

God’s promise to be with his people is not a guarantee of a trouble-free life. In fact, he acknowledges the inevitability of troubles. Yet, amidst the flames and deep waters, his promise remains steadfast. He does not promise to spare his children from pain and sorrow but assures them of his abiding presence that sustains and comforts even amid life’s fiercest storms.

The burned feet of those in the headline are a powerful reminder of the limitations of human resilience. God calls us not to lean on our own understanding but to trust in his promises. Trust in the promises of God, who walks with us through every trial and guides us with his unwavering love and grace.

Prayer:
Dear God, help me to put my trust in you when I go through the waters and flames of this life. Remind me of your abiding presence in all circumstances. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Puts His Name on Christians – March 18, 2024

But now, this is what the LORD says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1

God Puts His Name on Christians

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Daily Devotion – Date

Devotion based on Isaiah 43:1

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One of the world’s most famous artists was Michelangelo. One interesting fact about Michelangelo and his works is that he only put his name on one of his sculptures. It’s his work known as the Pieta, a marble statue of Mary holding Jesus after he’s taken down from the cross.

Michelangelo signed that sculpture in an unusual way. Instead of the typical, “Michelangelo made this.” He signed it, “Michelangelo was making this.” It’s like he was saying that he had started this work of art but had not yet completed it.

That’s what life can feel like for Christians. They know that God has made them. Not only did he create them, but he put his name on them, too. And yet, their lives can feel unfinished and unsettled. They can struggle with the same sins they struggled with for years. They can feel incomplete.

It’s likely Michelangelo signed his sculpture as if it were incomplete because he was such a perfectionist. He never felt his work was truly finished. When Christians look at their lives, they see how imperfect they are. But that’s not how God views them.

God sees Christians through the work of his Son, Jesus. His life was a masterpiece of perfect obedience to God. Instead of signing his name on his masterpiece, Jesus signs the names of those who believe in him. Jesus signed “It is finished,” not “was finishing.” God sees finished when he looks at Christians. He sees complete perfection.

Christians live in the tension of the already and the not yet. They are already saved by God even though their lives may not yet look like it. It is a reality that sin will always be a struggle until God calls them home to heaven. But Christians don’t need to be afraid because God knows their names. Jesus has signed his finished perfection over to them.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for giving me your perfection. Help me in my struggle against sin. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Perfect Savior – March 17, 2024

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
John 19:26,27

Our Perfect Savior

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Daily Devotion – March 17, 2024

Devotion based on John 19:26,27

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Six weeks after Jesus was born, a man named Simeon said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34,35). Three decades later, Mary felt the sharp edge of that sword pierce her heart as she witnessed the agony of her son on the cross.

Despite his great physical anguish on the cross and the weight of the all the world’s sin on his soul, Jesus did not forget his mother. He fulfilled his responsibility to see that she was cared for. Jesus instructed the disciple whom he loved—the apostle John—to look after her and provide for her needs as long as she lived. Right up to the end of his life, Jesus continued to keep God’s law perfectly. In his dying breath, he fulfilled the Fourth Commandment by honoring his mother.

That’s the kind of Savior we need—one who obeyed God’s will perfectly and lived completely without sin. Only a perfect Savior could assume our faults and failings, our wrongs and weaknesses, our depravity and immorality. Only the guiltless one could take the place of the guilty and make his unblemished sacrifice count for them. That is the kind of perfect Savior we need, and that’s the kind we have in Jesus!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you are my perfect Savior. In love, you took my sin and suffered the death I deserved. Lead me to honor you and live to your glory. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Giver of Life – March 16, 2024

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins . . . But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:1,4,5

The Giver of Life

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Daily Devotion – March 16, 2024

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:1,4,5

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In Ezekiel chapter 37, we read that the Lord took the prophet Ezekiel to a valley filled with dry bones. After leading him back and forth among piles of lifeless bones, the Lord asked him a question, “Can these bones live?”

These images were meant to impress spiritual truths about the people to whom Ezekiel prophesied. Physically, they were alive. Spiritually, they were dead. Today’s Bible reading relates the same spiritual truths without a trip to a valley of dry bones. Ever since sin entered the world, people are born physically alive, yet spiritually dead in transgressions and sins.

When God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel answered, “You know, Sovereign LORD.” Yes, the Lord knows, and he commanded his prophet to proclaim God’s life-giving Word over that valley. The power of the Word was amazing. The valley of death transformed into a valley of life. The dead were made alive!

Ephesians chapter two shares the same power of God’s Word in our own lives. God, who is rich in mercy, made us spiritually alive with Christ! Our gracious and merciful God wants us to know that he is the giver of life—physical life, spiritual life, and eternal life. Find life and gracious love in God through his powerful Word!

Prayer:
Lord God, you are the giver of life. Use your powerful Word to comfort me with your great love and to strengthen me in the new life you have given me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Sets Us up To Do Good – March 15, 2024

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

God Sets Us up To Do Good

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Daily Devotion – March 15, 2024

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:10

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I have been called a lot of things in life but never a Mr. Fixit. Now, I can tell the difference between a hammer, wrench, pliers, or saw. I have even used them from time to time. But for home, auto, or appliance repair, there are many other people I will happily point you to if you needed some help.

One of my friends knows this about me. And so when I offered to help him with a home renovation, probably not wanting to hurt my feelings, he graciously accepted. But it was funny. When I asked him how I could help and what he needed me to do, he pointed me to one of the back bedrooms that needed some new floorboards replaced. When I walked in the room, I saw all the boards had already been cut to size. There were screws counted out by each section. He even marked on the boards where the screws needed to go in. Everything was put out in advance. All I had to do was drill them into place. “Look at me! I’m helping!” the four-year-old inside of me squealed with glee.

Every day, God is setting us up to do good. He guides the paths our lives take, and he gives us opportunity after opportunity to make choices that not only glorify him but point others in our life to him and his love. Like my friend, God sets everything up for us to serve others and do good!

Look around you! As you help that neighbor of yours with his yard work or offer your ear to the person at the office that everyone else wants to avoid getting cornered by, as you love your spouse or spend time with your kids, these are just some of the ways God sets you up to do good. And why do them? Because we are so thankful for the gift of forgiveness that God has given us!

Prayer:
Dear God, open up my eyes to see the many ways I can serve you and others each and every day. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Free but Not Cheap – March 14, 2024

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8,9

Free but Not Cheap

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Daily Devotion – March 14, 2024

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:8,9

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I know some people who go crazy for free stuff. Maybe you’re one of them. It doesn’t matter what it is—candy, a pen, a magnet, etc., some people get incredibly excited when they get anything free. To be honest, I’m not one of those people. You see, I’ve been given enough free stuff to see that most of the free stuff isn’t really all that valuable. It’s often cheap and breaks. And, just between you and me, most of the stuff people give me for free often ends in the trash.

You see, I know how the world works. If you want to find something of value, you have to work for it. It can’t just be given to you! People usually aren’t handed paid-for houses, cars, or a college education. Those things have value and are worth something. And to get them, you have to put forward effort. You have to pour your blood, sweat, and time into acquiring those types of things—things that have value. Right?

And yet, that’s not how forgiveness with God works. The Bible tells us there isn’t anything in us that compels God to love us or want us. And there isn’t anything an individual can do to earn their spot in heaven. No, the Bible tells us that God’s forgiveness and eternal life has been given to us because of God’s grace.

We might be tempted to think that this gift is cheap. After all, we know so often through life experiences that anything given for free isn’t worth all that much. But not so with God’s grace. No, this is an expensive gift, and the high price was paid so we could have it. This gift cost Jesus his life. Free, but not cheap!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for giving your life on the cross so that my sins could be forgiven, and heaven could be my home. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Best Is Yet To Come – March 13, 2024

God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:6,7

The Best Is Yet To Come

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Daily Devotion – March 13, 2024

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:6,7

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I am a firm believer that anytime you go to a party and there are appetizers, it is going to be a good party. Appetizers set the stage for what kind of night you’re going to have. If the appetizers are delicious, you think, “Wow, if the appetizers are this good, I can’t wait for the main dish!” On the other hand, if the appetizers are terrible, you think to yourself, “I can’t wait to get this taste out of my mouth with what comes next.” Either way, appetizers get you ready for something better! At least, that’s my theory.

In our Bible verse today, we’re told that what God has in store for us in heaven is incomparable to what we are experiencing in life. That’s amazing! It blows your mind! Just think of it! If you’re saying to yourself, “My life is great! I am extremely blessed! I couldn’t ask for more.” God tells you, “You think that you’re blessed now? You ain’t seen nothing yet! Just wait until you come to heaven! You’re not going to believe what I have in store for you!”

On the other hand, if this week, month, or year has been plagued with problems and heartache, and you’re dying for it to get better, take heart, God assures you, “This too shall pass. The best is yet to come! Just wait until you celebrate at the banquet of heaven!”

All of this is made possible because of our Savior, Christ Jesus. He delivered us from death! He paid for our sins and has secured our home in heaven! May we find his blessing every day, and may God bless us with patience as we wait until he brings us home.

Prayer:
Dear God, continue to assure me with your Word that I am loved by you because of Jesus. And may the promise of my home in heaven lift my heart when times of pain come. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Saved by Grace – March 12, 2024

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:3-5

Saved by Grace

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Daily Devotion – March 12, 2024

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:3-5

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Do you compare yourself to other people? Of course you do! When we were in school, we looked at our grades to see how we measured up with our classmates. As we got older, we compared salaries, homes, cars, vacations, etc. We go to the gym and see who is in better shape than us and who isn’t. For most of us, measuring ourselves next to others lets us know where we stand.

I’ll admit that I sometimes do this when I look at how my classmates, neighbors, and coworkers live as well. And when I see them doing something “bad,” a part of me says, “Well, at least I don’t do that!” I’m guessing I’m not alone. Do you ever think that you are better than other people? I’m sure, at times, that thought has crossed your mind.

Here is the truth: God doesn’t judge us by our standards of being a “good” or “bad” person. He judges us by HIS standard, and HIS criterion is perfection. None of us is perfect, however. All of us fall short of measuring up. All of us deserve to face God’s wrath.

But the Bible tells us that God is “rich in mercy.” His heart is overflowing with compassion, and God makes up for our shortcomings and failures. He did that by sending us his Son, Jesus, to live the life of perfection that we can’t live. So, no matter how bad you’ve been or how much better you think you are than your neighbor, the only way anyone can match up to God’s standard of perfection is to be saved by Jesus, saved by grace. Thank God that he has done that for us!

Prayer:
Dear God, I know I am unworthy of you and deserve nothing but your punishment. Thank you for sending Jesus to save me from your just wrath. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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I’m Alive! – March 11, 2024

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:1-5

I’m Alive!

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Daily Devotion – March 11, 2024

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:1-5

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A long time ago, there was a Christian man who had become highly respected in his church. He was a leader. He was someone people looked to for guidance. As far as most could see, it appeared that he lived his life in a way that pleased God. However, this man hadn’t always lived a Godly life. In his youth, he had lived a rather wild life. Women, wine, partying—he indulged in it all!

One day, he was walking down the street, and one of the women he used to party with saw him and shouted out his name to get his attention. She ran up to him and asked him, “It’s me. Don’t you recognize me” And he replied, “I do recognize you. But I am not that man anymore. That part of me is dead.”

In the words for our devotion we are reminded of the mercy God extends to us—mercy which graciously forgives us for all of our wrongs and faults. God does not treat us as our sinful pasts deserve—instead, he shows us undeserved love—grace. YOU are forgiven! Yes, even YOU! No matter what you’ve done or how far you may think you have fallen, God loves you and has forgiven you of that past because of Jesus!

When we realize this amazing gift, how can we do anything but say no to those desires and cling to our God who loves us?

Prayer:
Dear God, help me to remember each and every day of the new life I live for you. Help me to reject the deadened path of sin and walk with you today and always. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Keep On Looking at Jesus – March 10, 2024

The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
Numbers 21:7-9

Keep On Looking at Jesus

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Daily Devotion – March 10, 2024

Devotion based on Numbers 21:7-9

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To get healed from a snakebite, you look to … a snake? It seems crazy. But it worked because God had promised that it would. God didn’t take away the poisonous snakes; instead, he dealt with the poison.

And that is what he’s done for you and for me regarding the “poisonous snake” called “sin.” Has that snake bitten you this week? A better question would be: How horribly has sin bitten you this week? That’s more accurate, right.

God gives help for the poison of sin. Jesus talked about it in John chapter three, when he said to Nicodemus, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14,15). God’s answer to sin was to charge Jesus with all of those sins, and put Jesus on a cross to pay for them. When Jesus died, he paid for sin in full. Everyone who looks to Jesus and trust in him for forgiveness is healed of their sin, just as everyone who looked at that bronze snake in Moses’ day were healed of their snakebite. So, keep your eyes on Jesus and trust that through him, you really are healed of your sin.

Prayer:
O Savior, forgive me for underestimating the horror of sin. Lead me back to your cross over and over, that you might continue to assure me that I’ve been healed by your work, that indeed I’ve been healed forever. Lead me to live in the confidence of forgiveness, and to reflect your joy to those around me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Been There Done That – March 9, 2024

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25

Been There Done That

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Daily Devotion – March 9, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:25

See series: Devotions

Christian author Timothy Keller has made a compelling observation about Christianity in our society. He says that many in our culture look at Christianity and think to themselves, “Been there. Done that.” In other words, from their point of view they grew up with Christianity, know it through and through, found no satisfaction in it, are bored with it, and have long since moved on. “Been there. Done that.”

But according to Timothy Keller, the real problem is that many have become familiar with the trappings of Christianity—but just enough, in Keller’s words, to “inoculate” themselves. As a result, their attitude towards Jesus Christ might come down to something like this: Jesus is nice. Jesus is quaint. Jesus is good for my kids. Jesus makes me feel better when someone dies—and that’s about all.

If Timothy Keller’s observation is valid—if it is true that the attitude of “been there, done that” is a big part of the cultural air we breathe, then you and I have an important question to ask ourselves. Have we ever fallen into the same trap? Somewhere along the line, has our familiarity with the trappings of Christianity make us think we now have the right to smile that knowing smile, to nod that knowing nod, to sigh and say, “Been there. Done that”?

If we have, it means you and I have dabbled in the same kind of cultural “wisdom” that the apostle Paul describes in 1 Corinthians chapter 1. Such wisdom is no wisdom at all. Instead, it’s just a lie dressed up like some world-weary truth. Such lies are toxic and lethal. All they do is put cold, uncaring distance between us and our Savior.

Thank God that the Lord Jesus does what he has to do to pull us out of the trap, to shake us up, to call us to repentance. And when that happens, there he is, ready to embrace us in his assurance of forgiveness, cover us in the blanket of his love, and bring us back home.

Prayer:
Forgive me, Lord Jesus, when I have used my familiarity with Christianity as a twisted excuse to ignore you. Embrace me. And help me begin again. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Zeal for Service – March 8, 2024

And God spoke all these words: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. . . “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not steal. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Exodus 20:1,2,12-17

Zeal for Service

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Daily Devotion – March 8, 2024

Devotion based on Exodus 20:1,2,12-17

See series: Devotions

As a child, you sometimes bristled at your parents, teachers, and coach’s rules. They felt restrictive, burdensome, and unnecessary.

There are times you feel like that about God’s rules, too. Today’s Bible reading focuses on the fourth to tenth commandments. God’s commandments are straightforward, but we might wonder, “Does God realize the situation that I’m in? Those government leaders are corrupt and inept. That person deserves my revenge. My lusting doesn’t hurt anyone. My employer should pay me more if they want more effort. It’s fun to talk about the juicy gossip. Some people do seem to have all the luck.”

God is aware of how your sinful nature thinks. That’s why he has rules. They aren’t meant to keep you from having fun. They are meant to help you and others enjoy life more. The God who gave you the Ten Commandments is the same God who saves you from hell and gives you freedom from slavery to sin. You can trust this God when he tells you that selfish sins never lead to a more enjoyable life. God wants to spare you from the suffering that goes with your selfish sins.

Unfortunately, none of us can perfectly keep God’s commandments. But Jesus did. And because he did so in our place, God gives us the credit for Jesus’ perfect life. Let this promise not only comfort you but motivate you to strive all the more to follow God’s loving commandments.

Prayer:
Gracious Savior, give me zeal to follow your commandments, knowing that you know what is best for me and those around me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Zeal for Purposeful Worship – March 7, 2024

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
Exodus 20:7

Zeal for Purposeful Worship

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Daily Devotion – March 7, 2024

Devotion based on Exodus 20:7

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Being a parent is a joy and a challenge. Your child can make you proud and look good by the way they live their life. Your child can also disappoint you and disgrace your family name. Fair or not, your child is a reflection of you.

The Bible says that God is your heavenly Father. Those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior are called God’s child and bear God’s name—Christian. They are part of God’s family. They represent God as they live their lives. People see who God is and what God is like as they encounter God’s people.

Today’s Bible passage is a strong warning against misrepresenting God and his good name. Every time we speak or act in ways that go against who God is and what God is like, we break this commandment.

Thankfully, God has given us the sacrament of holy baptism. In this sacrament, water is poured over a person in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In this act, God is giving the person his name and making the person a member of his family. Through faith in Jesus, God washes away their sin–even the sin of misusing his name.

If you’ve not been baptized, find a faithful church and find out more about it. You want and need the remarkable blessings it affords. And as a baptized child of God, you can spend the rest of your life properly protecting God’s good name.

Today’s reading is the second commandment. It sounds negative, but God is trying to help us understand the privilege and responsibility of being a part of his eternal family. It’s a special family. Embrace the privileges and responsibilities that go along with the name.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to always properly represent your good name. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Zeal for Joyful Worship – March 6, 2024

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
John 2:13-17

Zeal for Joyful Worship

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Daily Devotion – March 6, 2024

Devotion based on John 2:13-17

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Passover worship was one of three special worship times of the year for God’s Old Testament people. The Passover corresponds with celebrating Easter today. The Passover celebrated how God saved the nation of Israel from death and freed them from slavery in Egypt. The greater significance of the Passover was that it foreshadowed how a Savior was coming who would save sinners from punishment for their sins and free sinners from slavery to sin so they could live a God-pleasing life on earth. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover.

Imagine how joyous this occasion was for Jesus as he came to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem at the beginning of his ministry–a ministry that would end with him fulfilling the purpose of the Passover with his innocent suffering, death, and victorious resurrection from the dead. What should have been joyous, exciting, and uplifting was disappointment, as sinful corruption and distraction were everywhere.

How is your zeal and excitement for worship? Keep in mind that your attitude and behaviors regarding worship are a reflection of your relationship with God. Every time you gather for worship, you celebrate your Savior Jesus—the eternal salvation and spiritual freedom he provides.

Let Jesus’ zeal for you motivate you for zealous, joyful worship of him every week with other Christians.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, consume me with your zeal so that I zealously and joyfully worship you Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Zeal for Restful Worship – March 5, 2024

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD.”
Exodus 20:8; Leviticus 23:3

Zeal for Restful Worship

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Daily Devotion – March 5, 2024

Devotion based on Exodus 20:8; Leviticus 23:3

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Today’s Bible passage is the third of the Ten Commandments. The word “sabbath” means “rest.” If given the chance to work seven days a week, many would do it, and physical rest would suffer. God loves us, so he commands us to take time for physical rest every week for our physical health.

More importantly, these words remind us that God wants us to get rest for our souls. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest…for your souls” (Matthew 11:28,29). Whether we realize it or not, our souls are weary from daily battles against temptations to sin and the guilt of losing some of those battles.

We need rest for our souls. We need reminders that we are not alone; we are loved, forgiven, and victorious in Jesus to deal with anything in life. God gladly provides that rest in his Word. Daily time spent resting in that Word is vital to our spiritual health. So, too, is weekly time spent resting in God’s Word while gathered in “sacred assembly” with Christian brothers and sisters.

The German reformer Martin Luther summarized the Third Commandment in this way: “We should fear and love God that we do not despise preaching and his Word, but regard it as holy and gladly hear and learn it.” Guilt and weariness encircles us as we compare these words to our own mindset about worship. Lord have mercy! And he does! Jesus perfectly kept the Third Commandment, and through faith in Jesus, God considers us to have kept the Third Commandment perfectly as well. Since that is true, trust the Lord that gathering for worship while here on earth will provide you with the spiritual rest you need until you are safely worshiping God in heaven.

Prayer:
Triune God, give me zeal to gladly hear and learn your Word so that I am well rested for life and eternity. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Zeal for Foolish Worship – March 4, 2024

Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:22-24

Zeal for Foolish Worship

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Daily Devotion – March 4, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

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“Christ crucified” is the Biblical message that 2,000 years ago, God sent into the world his only son, Jesus Christ, so that he could be executed on a cross where he suffered the punishment of hell and death as the substitute for every sinner, including you and me. “Christ crucified” makes it possible for sinners, who believe in and worship him as their Savior, to avoid the hell they earned for their sins and to spend eternity in heaven instead.

The Jews of Paul’s day represent those who reject Jesus as their eternal Savior because they were expecting something different. In the minds of many, eternal condemnation in hell is not the biggest problem facing them. Climate change, terrorism, politics, health issues, financial worries, and racism are bigger REAL issues, and “Christ crucified” doesn’t seem to solve those problems. If God would take care of real earthly issues, they would be more willing to listen to the Bible’s message.

The Gentiles of Paul’s Day represents all those who reject Jesus as their eternal Savior because their human reason gets in the way of faith. Christ crucified is too exclusive because it excludes the possibility that non-Christians go to heaven. Christ crucified is too restricting because it keeps me from living my life on my terms as it tells me that there are certain attitudes, words, and behaviors that are sinful. Christ crucified goes against my human pride that wants to play a role in solving my problems in my own way.

Both the attitude of the Jews and the Gentiles lead people away from Jesus and the salvation he promises to all who follow him. Do not adopt either attitude. Instead, trust the truth that Christ was crucified for you to save you from your sins and assure you of eternal life with the God who created you. It may seem foolish to many people in this world, but it is the most precious message there is.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, give me the zeal to embrace foolish worship of Christ crucified, now and forever. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Beyond Cynicism – March 3, 2024

The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25

Beyond Cynicism

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Daily Devotion – March 3, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:25

See series: Devotions

If you were to ask people to say one word to describe our society’s attitude for the last twenty years or so, many might say the word “cynical.” A pure cynic is distrustful of everything. A pure cynic takes pleasure in mocking someone instead of listening and learning. A pure cynic always looks for the next punch line at someone else’s expense.

Recently, however, some observers of our culture have suggested that we have begun to enter what they call “post cynicism.” This is simply their way of saying that maybe, just maybe, our society is getting tired of assuming that everything is a big joke. After all, if you spend your life only making fun of other people and their ideas, when the day is done, you still have no answers.

How about you? Over the years, how much time and energy have you spent in figuring out ways to dismiss Jesus, to dismiss his promises, to dismiss the specific things he did to rescue your soul?

One thing is certain. As long as you keep embracing cynicism as if it were some great philosophy of the age and keep dismissing the promises that Jesus has made to you, nothing will change. You’ll remain in the same old mess, the same old bitterness, the same old despair.

Cynicism is not the answer. Jesus is. He will displace your buried guilt with full forgiveness. He will fill your darkness with light. He will fill your emptiness with himself. That’s why he came to live a holy life on your behalf. That’s why he died in your place. And that’s why he lives.

Come and see.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, speak to me in your gospel. Fill me with your Spirit. Wash me in your blood. Renew my mind and heart. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Peace That Matters – March 2, 2024

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1

Peace That Matters

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Daily Devotion – March 2, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 5:1

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A wealthy man wanted a painting that captured the ultimate picture of peace. Many artists entered their paintings and made noble attempts at putting down on canvas what peace really was. Some featured a mirror-smooth lake. Others featured quiet trees under a soft, evening sky. Still others featured a grassy meadow where a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed.

The winning picture, however, had none of that. On the contrary, it contained elements that were not peaceful at all. An angry waterfall hurled itself down a rocky cliff. Overhead, dark clouds were beginning to explode with lightning, wind, and rain. Everywhere in this picture, there were signs of danger, menace, and trouble.

But there was something else. Near the middle of the picture, a small, frail tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the falls itself. And there, in the elbow of that single branch, a bird had built a nest. Her little ones were asleep, content, and undisturbed under the shelter of her wings.

In this life, peace is not the absence of trouble or turmoil. After all, we live in a fallen, broken world and by nature, you and I are fallen, broken people. Unexpected storms, sudden grief, and jarring disappointment will be with us until the day we die.

But there is something else—there is Jesus. There is God’s forgiveness of our sins for the sake of his Son. And along with that forgiveness comes the Lord’s promise to shelter us in every storm, every trouble, every moment of turmoil.

That’s real peace. That’s the only peace that matters. That is the peace under which you and I can rest, content and undisturbed.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, through faith in your Son, you have given me full forgiveness. You have also sheltered me in every storm. Remind me that, in you, I have nothing to fear. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God is Watching Over Us – March 1, 2024

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job 1:22

God is Watching Over Us

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Daily Devotion – March 1, 2024

Devotion based on Job 1:22

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What a terrible day Job had! In a matter of moments, he lost everything: his livelihood, his wealth, and his family. Every earthly thing that he held dear was gone in an instant. We struggle to imagine what it would have been like to experience such a horrible day. How would you expect Job to feel?

Once the shock wore off, we would likely feel angry. In this anger, we may lash out at others or do something rash. We might shout at God and tell him that if he really loved us, he would not have allowed these terrible tragedies into our lives. And it may not be the first time we have had those sentiments.

How did Job keep himself in check? He was human like we are. He no doubt loved his family as we love ours. How could he not blame God or be angry with him? Job amazes us by not accusing God of doing anything wrong.

Yes, Job would struggle to understand why these things happened. He trusted that God was there for him and loved him. He trusted that God had a plan for his life. A plan that was centered around a promise. Later in this book, Job would confess his faith in the promise God had made to send a Savior. A Savior who would come to take away all sin and suffering and pain. A Savior who would come to give us victory over death. This Savior is Jesus, and he has come. He came to live and die for us all and to remove the curse of sin so that we could live forever in heaven.

This same God is the one who is watching over us. He has a loving purpose for us and is always focused on getting us home to him. So whenever you are tempted to be angry at God, realize this only pulls you away from the One who loves you and can help you. Instead of anger, turn to God in faith and let him lovingly lead you through each trial.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, forgive me for the times I have directed my anger at you. Help me to trust you and to rely on your love for me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Earthly Blessings – February 29, 2024

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
Job 1:21

Earthly Blessings

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Daily Devotion – February 29, 2024

Devotion based on Job 1:21

See series: Devotions

Have you ever taken a toy away from a toddler? How did he react? There were likely screams and tantrums and tears. He likely held on as tight as he could to whatever toy you were trying to take away.

What happens when God takes things away from us? Whether it is a family member or friend, a job or client, a vehicle or a house; how do we react when blessings are taken from us? Like the toddler, we perhaps can be too attached to the things of this world. We often have a sense of entitlement, as if we deserve everything we want from God. In fact, the world tells us to value all of these things more than God. Instead of rejoicing in the blessings we had for a time, we often angrily accuse God when those blessings are gone.

Job suggests a better way. In this verse, Job demonstrates contentment for the situation he is in and a thankfulness for God allowing him to have those blessings for as long as he did. His statement demonstrates peace in a very trying time.

Where does such peace come from? It can only come from knowing Jesus. Jesus brings a peace that nothing else in this world can give. His life and death in our place and his glorious resurrection have assured us that we are forgiven and on the way to heaven. Jesus has already given us the greatest gift we could ever have: eternal life in heaven. That is a gift that cannot be taken away!

In addition to giving Jesus to us, God also gives us many earthly blessings to enjoy. Rejoice in those blessings as long as you have them, and when they are gone, find peace in knowing that heaven is yours. God knows what is best for us, and one day, he will take all believers to heaven, where we will be reunited to live forever in true peace.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for the gift of heaven. Bring peace to my heart and lead me to be grateful for my earthly blessings. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Hardships – February 28, 2024

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship.
Job 1:20

Hardships

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Daily Devotion – February 28, 2024

Devotion based on Job 1:20

See series: Devotions

When hardship hits, it is easy to wallow in sadness and self-pity. We imagine that things cannot get better, and we cannot imagine how we can go on. We perhaps slide into despair and cannot get out of our funk.

Could any of us have blamed Job if this was his response to the horrible tragedies that had struck his life? As understandable as that would have been, Job went in a different direction. He worshiped his God. Yes, he felt grief. But his was a godly grief. He certainly was hurting, but rather than collapse inward on himself and his grief, he turned outward to the One who could ease his pain. Grief and faith are not mutually exclusive. In his grief, Job trusted in the One who gives all good things.

Why is God so worthy of trust in moments like these? Because God has been there and done that. Jesus suffered more than we could ever imagine. Yet, he did not despair. He did not wallow in self-pity or sadness. Rather, he trusted in God’s plan and went on to die in our place on the cross. Jesus has won for us forgiveness and eternal life in heaven. You are his child!

No matter what challenges or hardships you face in life, remember that you are a forgiven child of God. No one can take that away from you. When hardship hits, do not fall inward and wallow in sorrow and self-pity. Instead, turn to God, who has given you every reason to look to him. Worship him who saved you from sin. You are his, now and forever!

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for giving me the gifts of forgiveness and eternal life. Lead me to worship you in both good times and bad. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Hardships – February 27, 2024

“When suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
Job 1:19

Hardships

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Daily Devotion – February 27, 2024

Devotion based on Job 1:19

See series: Devotions

It has been said that Job experienced the worst single day of anyone in history. Very few can say they experienced anything as tragic as he did on that day. Family. Wealth. Possessions. All gone in a flash. Who could compare their tragedy to his?

Has anyone tried to comfort you that way? Maybe you were going through something terrible, and the well-meaning friend said, ‘Well, at least you aren’t Job.’ Or ‘It could be worse; did you hear about what happened to so-and-so?’ When tragedy comes into our lives or the lives of others, we tend to focus on the size and severity of the event, as if to suggest that the magnitude of the event compared to others should make us feel better.

But that doesn’t work. Does it? Such ways of thinking do little to help the hurt we are feeling. In fact, comparing our hurt to others might leave us feeling unimportant or unloved. It is important for us to realize that it is not about the size of the hurt but the purpose of it. One of the things we learn from Job is that hardship is an opportunity for us to put our trust in God and lean on him.

God is not a stranger to hurt. He watched from heaven as his one and only Son died on a cross for sins that he did not commit. The Father stood by and sacrificed his perfect Son for a world full of sinners. Jesus suffered and died, and that hurt the Father more than we will ever know. But there was a purpose in that hurt. The purpose was for you and I and the whole world to have sins forgiven, to be saved, and given the gift of heaven. God allowed himself to go through that hurt so that we could have eternity in heaven, where we will never be hurt again.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, when hardship hurts, help me to look to you and to find peace. Help me to focus my eyes on eternal life in heaven. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Be Ready – February 26, 2024

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
Job 1:13-15

Be Ready

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Daily Devotion – February 26, 2024

Devotion based on Job 1:13-15

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I would imagine that Job never forgot where he was and what he was doing when he received the terrible news that his flocks, herds, and workers were completely wiped out. And how could he forget the next moment when he heard that all of his children and their wives were lost in a single tragic event? It was likely just another day in his life. A day full of routine and daily tasks.

So often, we are not prepared for tragedy. As a result, we are shocked when it comes. We get upset. We fret. We jump into panic mode and wonder why this is happening.

Job wasn’t aware that he was suffering for his faith. That was the root cause of his pain. Satan wanted to attack Job and make him lose his faith. To accomplish this, the devil went after what Job loved most in this world. The Bible describes Satan as a roaring lion always on the prowl, looking for ways to destroy our faith. That is his nature. He attacks. We need to expect it and be ready for it.

And we can take heart because we have One on our side who has already defeated Satan. Our Savior, Jesus, by going to the cross and rising from the grave, defeated the devil, and has given us the victory. Through Jesus, we have eternal life. In Jesus, the devil cannot harm us. And one day, suddenly, Jesus will return and take us home to heaven. We also need to be ready for that day. Every day, even in days of hardship, keep your eyes on heaven and know that the victory is yours in Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for defeating Satan once and for all. When he attacks, lead me to trust in you and give me strength to endure my earthly trials, always looking forward to the day when you will take me home. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Certain Hope – February 25, 2024

Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:5

Certain Hope

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Daily Devotion – February 25, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 5:5

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“I hope we have decent weather for our trip this weekend.” “I hope the wait at the restaurant isn’t too long tonight.” “I hope I get a raise this year.” “I hope the test results come back negative.”

There are many things we hope for in our lives. Sometimes, our hopes and dreams are realized. When they aren’t, disappointment, ranging from mild to heart-wrenching, is the result.

We have become accustomed to our plans giving way to disappointment. We are all too familiar with the fact that things don’t always turn out the way that we hope they will. So the gift of hope that does not disappoint us sounds pretty wonderful.

That’s the gift God gives—hope that never disappoints. It’s a hope better described with the word certainty.

“I hope God still loves me after what I have done.” “I hope God is in control because I sure am not.” “I hope to go to heaven when I die.”

These “hopes” will not end in disappointment. There is no uncertainty. They are guaranteed by God’s love.

The amazing love that sent his Son to be born into our world, the sacrificial love that sent him to the cross to be punished for all sins—this love guarantees that your hope is certain. You have forgiveness! You have life! You have God’s love! Through the faith that the Holy Spirit has worked in your heart, you know it to be true.

In a world filled with disappointment, it is wonderful to know that we have a God who is faithful. It is comforting to know we have been given the gift of sure and certain hope.

Prayer:
Gracious Lord, you know all my hopes and dreams that have resulted in disappointment and heartbreak. Send me your Holy Spirit to comfort my heart and give me joy in the certain hope that comes from you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Who Can Be Against Us – February 24, 2024

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:31,32

Who Can Be Against Us

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Daily Devotion – February 24, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 8:31,32

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One of my favorite television shows of all time is Cheers. It was produced in the 1980s and 90s, but you can still watch reruns of it today. The setting for this comedy was a pub in Boston. My favorite character on Cheers was a man named Norm. Norm’s funny lines have become known as “Normisms.”

In one episode, Norm walks into the pub, and he is obviously having a really bad day. When he is asked how he is doing, he waves his hand in disgust and quips, “It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and I am wearing milk bone underwear.”

The truth is, we can all relate to Norm, can’t we? Some days, it seems like our lives are dog-eat-dog, and we are wearing milk bone underwear.

We might wonder, “God if you are loving, why do bad things happen to me? Are you out to get me? Are you punishing me for something I have done?”

My friend, God isn’t out to get you. Don’t think he is throwing darts at you from heaven. God is for you one hundred percent! He gave his Son for you and laid him in a manger on that first Christmas. He had his Son nailed to the cross on Good Friday so that every single one of your sins might be fully paid for by his holy, precious blood! You are forgiven—completely and fully.

Because God is for you, he won’t ever let you down. He will lead you through this dog-eat-dog world. Nothing can separate you from his love. He will provide strength to handle every trial and challenge. Don’t be afraid.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I face trials and tribulations in this life, comfort me with the reminder that with you on my side, nothing can truly harm me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus’ Love Conquers All – February 23, 2024

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38,39

Jesus’ Love Conquers All

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Daily Devotion – February 23, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 8:38,39

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“Omnia vincit amor.” These words were penned by the ancient Latin poet Virgil. We know them in English as “love conquers all.” The only problem with Virgil’s conclusion is that he was speaking of a self-centered love, where sinful people finally choose the person or thing most irresistible to their sensuous desires. In other words, whatever brings me the greatest pleasure is the thing I will choose; my “love” for it “conquers” all other options. I get what I want the most.

Is that the kind of love Jesus has for us? Does he choose that which brings him the most pleasure? No, just the opposite. Earlier in his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul explained that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). In other words, there was nothing in us that was pleasurable to Jesus.

But Jesus loved us and sacrificed his perfect life for our broken lives anyway. He took the world’s sins on his own shoulders and carried them to the cross, washing them away forever. More than that, he replaced our sins with his perfection.

Why would Jesus do that? Simple. Because he loved us. But his love wasn’t about bringing pleasure to himself; it was about giving salvation to us by his sacrifice.

But Jesus didn’t just love us in the distant past. He still loves us, and nothing else gets in the way of his love. As the apostle Paul explained, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There’s no other love like it. Jesus’ love conquers all.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for loving me with a love that conquers all. Amen.

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