Watch Satan Fall – July 31, 2019

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. . . . However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17,18,20

Watch Satan Fall


Daily Devotion – July 31, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:17,18,20

See series: Devotions

How’s that for a thrill? Satan falls from the heights of power back to the abyss, as suddenly as lightning cracks from heaven to earth. Why? Because Jesus sent seventy-two workers into his harvest field to preach the good news of God’s forgiveness, and it renders Satan powerless.

The word Satan means accuser. Satan earned his name by accusing you of your sins before God. His power is destroyed because he has nothing to accuse you of. Jesus lived, died, and rose for you; therefore your sins are gone. The gospel tells you so.

And whenever people believe the gospel, the devil falls. Watch it. Every time a pastor’s hand dips into the font and pours a cleansing baptismal flood over someone, Satan falls like lightning. Every time you tell someone, “I forgive you, and God forgives you too,” Satan falls like lightning. Whenever you receive forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper, Satan falls like lightning. When you offer your money, your time, and your prayers to support God’s kingdom, Satan falls like lightning.

But as awesome as it is to know that Satan is falling, Jesus reminds you of what you should really be happy about: “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” That is cause for joy. The name of every believer in Jesus is written in heaven.

This is why the Father sent his Son into the world, and this is why the Son sends workers into his harvest field: to tell more and more people this good news.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for removing my sins and writing my name 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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Confident Because of Peace – July 30, 2019

[Jesus said] “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.”
Luke 10:3-7

Confident Because of Peace


Daily Devotion – July 30, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:3-7

See series: Devotions

Imagine going on a long trip with no wallet, luggage, or supplies of any kind. People would call you crazy to travel so unprepared.

Likewise, it seems foolish for Jesus to send seventy-two disciples ahead of him with no earthly provisions. Jesus even warned them of the difficulty when he said that they would be like lambs among wolves.

But he also promised that their needs will be met. When they arrived at a town, they could trust that God would provide for them. People would respond to their message by welcoming them with a place to stay and something to eat and drink. In other words, the disciples could be content because all their physical needs would be met as they went about their work in the Lord’s harvest field.

Do you see how their actions reflect on Jesus? Their contentment showed how great their Savior is because he is the One who made them content. Their lack of concern about earthly things—even the most basic needs of food and shelter—showed that they had a message more important than food and drink.

Their message was peace – the same message Jesus shares with you this day. All is right between you and God. In Jesus, you have the unconditional pardon of everything that you’ve ever done wrong. You are forgiven. When you stand before God, he sees you as absolutely perfect. You have freedom from the condemnation that you deserve. And in its place, you get a free pass to eternal life.

That is how you can be content. You have peace. Your eternity is guaranteed. And your present is provided for. You can have confidence as you go about your work in the Lord’s harvest field.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, make me confident that I have your peace now and forever. 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 Harvest is Plentiful – July 29, 2019

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Luke 10:1,2

The Harvest is Plentiful


Daily Devotion – July 29, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:1,2

See series: Devotions

You plant your garden and spend all summer tending it. You eagerly watch the beans grow and the tomatoes ripen. But when the time comes, you’re too busy to pick them. It’s a shame when vegetables rot because they are not harvested.

It’s an even greater shame when souls are not harvested. Jesus says that the world is ripe for harvest. There are countless people who do not know that he is their Savior and they are waiting to be harvested with that good news.

Don’t miss the promise in Jesus’ words: “many will believe and go to heaven.” The harvest is plentiful. There’s only one problem: the workers are few. Today, there are more than seven billion people in the world and only two billion Christians. Taking the gospel to over five billion people is a daunting task.

So notice what Jesus does: he prepares harvest workers and sends seventy-two disciples into the field. But before they go, he tells them to pray for more help. This is a reminder that we are completely dependent on God’s power to carry out his work.

A successful harvest does not depend on our skills or resourcefulness; it depends on Jesus. He has already done all the hard work. He lived a perfect life for the harvest, he died and rose for the harvest. He has given us the tools to bring it in: his Word, his baptism, and his true body and blood in the Lord’s Supper.

The harvest is plentiful. So he calls us to pray for his help and work with the confidence that he will meet all our needs and bless our efforts.

Prayer:
Lord of the harvest, send workers into your harvest field and bless our labor. 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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What Makes You Rich – July 28, 2019

“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her . . . you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.” For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream . . . As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem. When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass . . .”
Isaiah 66:10-14 (selected portions)

What Makes You Rich


Daily Devotion – July 28, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 66:10-14 (selected portions)

See series: Devotions

When I was young, I believed that if you had a cabin “up north,” that you had “made it.” You were rich. As I grew older, I began to realize things that challenged my youthful perceptions. I learned that those who did have cabins “up north” spent much of their time there cleaning, maintaining, and repairing. They hardly had made it!

More importantly, I realized that riches had very little to do with things—including cabins “up north” and everything to do with the spiritual blessings that come from a loving and personal God.

In flowing poetic language, Isaiah the prophet speaks of some of those blessings.

He records the word of the LORD about peace flowing to us like a river. Think of the peace of forgiveness through Jesus who removed the guilt of sin and the punishment that comes with it, by his death on the cross.

The prophet tells of eternal blessings which the LORD describes as “overflowing abundance.” Think of the indescribable glory of heaven—riches beyond compare and beyond counting.

Isaiah gives us the LORD’s promise of comfort. Think of the comfort of God’s daily, personal presence with each one of his people.

Am I rich yet? Yes, extremely and incomparably rich! I may not own a cabin “up north,” but my God has blessed me through Jesus is calling me up, up to the glory of heaven.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I thank and praise you for sharing the abundance of your riches with me. Through the proclamation of your Word, I pray that many other lives will be eternally enriched by your grace. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Stand Firm in Your Freedom – July 27, 2019

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

Stand Firm in Your Freedom


Daily Devotion – July 27, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 5:1

See series: Devotions

In June of 1865, Major General Gordon Granger landed with his soldiers at Galveston, Texas to announce that the American Civil War had ended and that all slaves were now free. Note that this happened more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. By the declaration of the President, all slaves were free in 1863. However, it took more than two years for all the slaves throughout the United States to hear about it. For more than two years, countless people were living in a slavery from which they had already been set free.

Sadly, the same type of thing still happens. The United States no longer condones slavery. But people feel enslaved every day. Enslaved to alcohol or pornography. Enslaved to the high that comes from drugs or prescription medication. Enslaved to feelings of bitterness, anger, or jealousy. To be enslaved means that you no longer feel in control. You do not do what you want to. Someone or something else has control of you. When what controls you is sin, and you feel chained to the same sinful choices again and again; the discouragement and deep guilt that result can make you feel like you are living in slavery.

But sin’s slavery is one from which you have already been set free. Not by your ability to finally overcome the addiction or to stay away from the temptation. Not by your newfound faithfulness to God’s laws. But by the declaration of Jesus, who died on the cross to take the punishment for your sin, so that you could live every day knowing that you are forgiven. Your sin does not determine your status in God’s family. Jesus does. He declares that you are free from the power and punishment of sin.

“Stand firm, then,” the Bible says, “and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Remember that you have been set free–the next time temptation comes creeping in, when you are overwhelmed with guilt, or you feel weak. Remember “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for the precious gift of freedom from sin. Help me to stand firm against Satan and his wicked temptations by remembering your declaration that I am free. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Follow a Leader Worth Following – July 26, 2019

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51

Follow a Leader Worth Following


Daily Devotion – July 26, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:51

See series: Devotions

Would you want a surgeon to operate on you if he was only half-hearted about medicine? Would you want an attorney to represent you if she was half-hearted about practicing law? Would you want teachers in your children’s classrooms if they were only half-hearted about teaching children?

Neither would it be worth following a Savior who is only half-hearted about saving you.

Thankfully, Jesus wasn’t.

When this verse says that “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem,” it could literally be translated, “he fixed his face for Jerusalem.” In other words, he was absolutely determined to get there. And why? What was going to happen in Jerusalem?

He was going to die, and your sins were going to be paid for.

He was going to suffer, and you were going to be given a place in heaven.

He was going to be punished for your sins, and you were going to be given the right to walk through life knowing each day your Father in heaven is smiling in your direction.

Jesus wasn’t half-hearted about being your Savior. He was all in.

That is a leader worth following.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, let me never fail to see your wholehearted devotion to me so that I find abundant strength to follow you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Follow Jesus in Weakness – July 25, 2019

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
2 Corinthians 11:30

Follow Jesus in Weakness


Daily Devotion – July 25, 2019

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 11:30

See series: Devotions

A pastor received a phone call from one of his parishioners early in the week. “Pastor,” the woman said, “I need you to stop by the house as soon as possible. It’s very urgent.”

“What’s wrong?” the pastor asked, sensing the urgency in the woman’s voice.

“I need you to stop by so I can give you my church offering for this coming weekend,” the woman replied.

“Why don’t you simply bring your offering with you to worship on Sunday?” the pastor asked.

“Because if I don’t give it to you now,” she said, “I’m going to spend it on alcohol tonight.”

This woman had struggled mightily with alcoholism for many years. This temptation exposed her spiritual weakness over and over, again and again. Yet that day, she found the strength to keep fighting against it; a strength that came from knowing that Jesus didn’t die to save the people who prove they’re strong enough to follow him. He died to save a world full of sinners who regularly prove that they are not.

Maybe you feel weak against this same temptation. Maybe the temptation that makes you feel weak is entirely different. But whatever the temptation is that exposes your weakness most often, Jesus already died to forgive that weakness. God loves you. He’s still here for you. He has already prepared a place in heaven just for you.

That’s a special gift that will always provide the strength you need to keep fighting against your weakness.

This is why the Apostle Paul wrote, “I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” His weaknesses and the truth that they are forgiven in Jesus provide powerful encouragement and strength to anyone who has ever felt weak against temptation.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I am sorry for my spiritual weakness, and for how often it shows itself in my battles with temptation. I am so grateful for the gift of forgiveness. May it always give me sufficient strength to keep fighting. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Follow Jesus With All Your Heart – July 24, 2019

[Jesus] said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:59-62

Follow Jesus With All Your Heart


Daily Devotion – July 24, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:59-62

See series: Devotions

John Hart is one of the 56 men who signed the United States’ Declaration of Independence. There were many who tried to stop him from signing this historic document. At one point, John had to make a choice between supporting his patriotic beliefs or being by the side of his dying wife and their 13 children. He forsook his family and put his signature on the document.

While his love for his nation is an admirable thing, it’s doubtful that everyone would forsake their family the way he did.

Yet, if we ever have to make a choice between following our family or following Jesus, Jesus clearly expects that we will follow him. In Jesus’ eyes, not even saying goodbye to a father was sufficient cause to delay in following Jesus.

Why? Because he knows that our families cannot save us from hell. Our families cannot pay our debt to God. Our parents cannot earn forgiveness for our sins.

But Jesus did. Jesus, in fact, is the one who keeps our families together even beyond death. His sacrificial death assures us that, though death on earth might temporarily separate us, we will be reunited with our fellow believers in heaven where we will be together forever.

Use your time with family and friends to celebrate this great gift given to us by Jesus. Gather around his Word and encourage one another with his promises so that heartfelt devotion to the Jesus who saves might be the one thing your entire family has in common.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you loved me with your whole heart. Help me to each day offer my entire life in heartfelt devotion to you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Follow Jesus No Matter the Cost – July 23, 2019

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Luke 9:57,58

Follow Jesus No Matter the Cost


Daily Devotion – July 23, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:57,58

See series: Devotions

One of the latest trends in some places of the world is to live in what are called “tiny homes.” These homes are exactly what the name suggests—tiny. Some are only slightly larger than a backyard shed. Though the living space is small, these homes are skillfully constructed to include most anything its residents might find in a larger house: a bed, kitchen, electricity, plumbing, and even room to store a few things. They have become the home of choice for many people who are glad to live with less compared to their neighbors.

But anyone living in a tiny home owns more property than Jesus did as he was looking for disciples. “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head,” he said to one man who promised to follow him. With that phrase, Jesus was really asking him a question—Would you be willing to follow Jesus even if it would mean losing all your earthly possessions, including your home?

There are many Christians in the world today who are forced to answer that question. And there are many who choose to lose their homes rather than forsake Jesus. Why?

Because in the Word of God, they’ve found a cross on which Jesus clearly shows his determination to love and forgive us, no matter the cost.

Because Jesus’ empty tomb on Easter morning gives us a better home to look forward to in heaven than even the largest and most extravagant home on earth.

Maybe you will never have to give up your earthly home to follow Jesus. But it would be worth it to follow the one who gave up his life for you.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you gave up so much, even your own life, to build a home of perfection for me in heaven. May I be willing to suffer any loss for the sake of following you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Follow Jesus as Your Priority – July 22, 2019

[Jesus] said to another man, “Follow me.”
Luke 9:59

Follow Jesus as Your Priority


Daily Devotion – July 22, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:59

See series: Devotions

When I was in high school, a friend of mine was driving a number of his classmates along a country road to a school-sponsored event. At one point, he reached over to the radio to change the station. As he reached over, he accidentally turned the steering wheel so quickly and sharply that the car swerved off the road, rolled over three times, and landed upside down in the bottom of a ditch. Remarkably, everyone was okay. My friend didn’t break any laws by trying to change the radio station. It’s a good thing to listen to the radio—except when it gets in the way of safe driving.

There are plenty of good things on which we might focus our attention—our families and friends, our jobs, our hobbies. God brings abundant joy into our lives through a wide variety of means, and it’s good to focus on them—except when we give more attention to them than we do to Jesus.

When Jesus calls individuals to “Follow me,” he isn’t suggesting that he is one of many good things in this world to which we might pay attention. He is expecting to be our highest priority. Why?

Because only Jesus keeps us safe for eternity.

Because our family, friends, jobs, and hobbies are all gifts from him.

Because, when we realize how inattentive we have been to his Word and will, Jesus always treats us with grace.

Because, when we look at the cross of Jesus, we see that his greatest priority will always be to love us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for making my eternal salvation your greatest priority. Out of gratitude for all you’ve done for me, help me to keep you as the highest priority in my life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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No More Slavery – July 21, 2019

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

No More Slavery


Daily Devotion – July 21, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 5:1

See series: Devotions

Robert Downey, Jr. is one of the most successful actors in Hollywood. He’s the star of the blockbuster Iron Man movies. He received an Academy Award nomination for his film portrayal of Charlie Chaplin. He has a reputation for a strong work ethic and for being a loyal friend.

He also knows something about slavery and freedom.

For years, Downey was a slave to drug abuse. There was a cycle to his slavery. When things got out of control, he would check himself into rehab. For a time he would be clean and sober. But then he would return to the chains of his addiction. He started getting fired by directors and producers. But the cycle of slavery remained. He started getting into trouble with the law. But the cycle of slavery remained. Then he spent 12 months in a state prison. But the cycle of slavery remained.

Then it happened. He says he was at a restaurant and it finally dawned on him that, this time, he didn’t want to go back to all the awful things that his addiction had brought him. He went out to his car and threw all his drugs into the ocean. From that time forward, Robert Downey, Jr. has remained free.

Is there a cycle of slavery in your life? Is there an old pet sin that just keeps pulling you back? Perhaps it’s weekend benders. Perhaps it’s a gossiping tongue. Perhaps it’s your viewing habits on cable or online. Perhaps it’s your tendency to drift away from God’s house.

Whatever it is, don’t look for the answer inside yourself. Instead, look to the One who died and rose to set you free. Taste the sweetness of freedom and forgiveness you have in Jesus Christ. Remember the peace and security you possess in him. Turn your back on the old chains of sin. Your Savior has come. He has thrown them into the sea.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, by your forgiveness, fill me with your Spirit. Move me to see the freedom I have in you. Empower me to turn my back on my ancient chains. 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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Unity in Diversity – July 20, 2019

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29

Unity in Diversity


Daily Devotion – July 20, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 3:26-29

See series: Devotions

Most schools have a certain dress code, and some even require children to wear school uniforms. The purpose of this is to create an atmosphere of equality and to keep children from competing with one another to see who can dress the most stylishly and expensively. While dress codes and school uniforms might be a good thing, it is impossible to remove everything that makes us different. Some people are tall; others are short. Some are better in school, and others are better in sports. Some are wealthy; others are poor. Some are powerful and influential, and many are everyday working-class citizens. These differences can create tension and even animosity in our lives. The poor envy the rich. The powerful often take advantage of those with less power, and those with less power sometimes complain and grumble against their leaders.

Thankfully, when it comes to our status before God, all of these differences are dissolved in Christ. In fact, our baptisms are kind of like our spiritual uniform. Just think about that for a moment. Since all of us were born into this world with a sinful nature and hostile to God, we were all the same before baptism. We all desperately needed baptism to wash us clean of our sins. Through the water of baptism connected with the Word of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we were clothed with Christ.

Because of baptism we all wear the same clothes, the clothes of our righteous Savior, Jesus Christ. This is our uniform, but even more than that, this guarantees our relationship with God. We are his children. While there might be many things that make us different, we are all the same through faith in Christ. We are all God’s dear children. All diversity is removed in this perfect unity.

Prayer:
Dear God, help me to remember my baptism every day of my life and to rejoice in the fact that because of your dear promises to me, I am your own dear child. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Cross Carrying Christians – July 19, 2019

[Jesus said] “Whoever wants to be my disciple must . . . take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Luke 9:23,24

Cross Carrying Christians


Daily Devotion – July 19, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:23,24

See series: Devotions

Is it all worth it? Is the triumph to come worth all of the trouble we face now? Is the crown of life in store for us worth the crosses that we will have to bear for confessing Christ?

Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must . . . take up their cross daily and follow me.” The cross Christ calls us to bear includes everything we endure because of our faithfulness to Christ and his Word.

It is the opportunities we miss out on in this world because we put God first in our lives.

It is the way our conscience won’t leave us alone until we find peace in our Savior’s blood shed on the cross.

It is the rejection and the ridicule we face for believing and confessing that God’s Word is changeless truth in a world that is constantly reshaping truth to fit its own desires.

It is the broken relationships and the divided families that result when those we love deny some or all of the truth of God’s Word.

It is heartache for a world and, no doubt, for people we know, who increasingly deny God’s truth.

Carrying such crosses is not an option. It is not avoidable. And we can’t do it alone. The strength to bear our crosses comes only from Christ, who carried his cross up Calvary to die for us and for every sinner.

The weight of his cross was more than we could ever imagine. It was the weight of the guilt of the whole world’s sins. But he bore that weight willingly. He lifted its burden off of you and me and was crushed under its heavy load. Because he carried that cross, we are free from guilt and free to live forever with him who rose from the dead after he atoned for each and every one of our sins.

Whenever we confess Christ as Savior, the cross comes along with it. The cross of Christ, through which he overcame sin and death for us. And the cross we bear with the strength he provides, as we follow him through this life to eternal life.

Prayer:
Savior, who bore the cross for me, help me bear my crosses as I follow you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Self Denial – July 18, 2019

[Jesus said] “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves . . . For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”
Luke 9:23,24

Self Denial


Daily Devotion – July 18, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:23,24

See series: Devotions

Are you someone who has tried self-denial?

Maybe it was for the sake of losing weight or athletic endeavors—you denied yourself certain foods or extra sleep, or leisure time to exercise or train.

Maybe it was for the sake of loved ones—you didn’t do or eat certain things because you knew it would leave out someone else who couldn’t do those things.

Maybe it was for spiritual or discipline reasons. Fasting has long been used as an act of repentance or to sharpen mental and spiritual focus.

But the kind of self-denial Jesus expects of his disciples is a little different. To deny myself is to do the exact opposite of what my sinful nature wants to do. My sinful nature wants me to put myself first and serve myself and do only what’s best for me. Denying myself means never putting myself first.

But, my sinful nature objects, if you don’t put yourself first, who will watch out for you? If you deny yourself, who will take care of you? You have to put yourself first, at least some of the time.

But Jesus invites us to trust him. He says, “I denied myself to come and be your Savior. I put my Father’s will first as I served you in my life and my death so that the greatest thing you need is already yours. You are a child of God and an heir of eternal life!”

“And if I’ve given you that, you can be sure I will care for you in every other need you have. Because I love you perfectly, you can trust me enough to put God first in your life and to love others more than yourself.”

Self-denial is never easy. It is a constant struggle. It is a daily battle. Praise God that his Son was willing to deny himself for us. And turn to him daily for forgiveness and strength to deny ourselves as we serve him every day.

Prayer:
Prayer:
Dear Jesus, my self-sacrificing Savior, forgive my selfishness and give me strength to deny myself for you 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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Disgraced for Christ – July 17, 2019

By faith Moses . . . regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.
Hebrews 11:24,26

Disgraced for Christ


Daily Devotion – July 17, 2019

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:24,26

See series: Devotions

We live in a world that is increasingly anti-Christian. The truths that God speaks in his Word seem to face greater hostility every day.

Christian college students are ridiculed by peers and professors. They are mocked for believing that the world was created by God in six 24-hour days. They are marginalized for believing that the Bible is a reliable source for any truth at all.

Christians are labeled as out-of-touch and unloving for believing and promoting God’s design for marriage, family, and home.

Christian children and their parents face pressure to fill their lives with activities that leave no time for God’s Word.

For the sake of Christ, Christians are ridiculed, disgraced, and marginalized. In some places, they are forced to give up their jobs, their freedom, and even their lives for the sake of confessing the Christ of the Bible.

When Moses faced disgrace for the sake of Christ, he regarded that disgrace “as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.” It sounds strange, doesn’t it? Who considers disgrace to be something valuable?

But think about this. Christ himself left behind heaven to be mistreated on earth. He gave up the pleasures of life in paradise to endure disgrace and death in our sinful world.

Christ endured that disgrace for our sake and in our place. Christ died for our tendency to turn our backs on him and his truth in order to avoid the disgrace of the world. Then Christ was raised to life to give us the hope and certainty that life waits for us after death too—a life of peace and pleasure, harmony and happiness, treasure and triumph.

Christ did all of that because he knew what life was like without sin and sorrow, disease and death. And he wanted us to have that. He wanted to deliver us from our slavery to disobedience to enjoy the freedom of life with him forever.

Because Christ suffered disgrace for us, we gladly and willingly endure disgrace for his sake, knowing the perfect love we see in his suffering and the freedom we have through him for this life and for eternity.

Prayer:
Thank you for enduring disgrace for me. Lead me to willingly endure disgrace for your sake. 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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Faith Looks Ahead – July 16, 2019

By faith Moses . . . regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
Hebrews 11:24,26

Faith Looks Ahead


Daily Devotion – July 16, 2019

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:24,26

See series: Devotions

Athletes endure grueling training regimens and endless hours of practice, hoping to make the team, get the scholarship, or perform at the highest level. Students work hard and spend tens of thousands of dollars to earn a degree, hoping for a rewarding career in a certain field. Parents give up so much to raise their children, hoping to help them live a healthy and productive life. We are willing to pay a great price if we think the end result is worth it.

Moses chose to live as a child of God. His choice came with a cost. It meant giving up the easy life in Egypt’s royal palace. It meant being mistreated as a slave with his fellow Israelites. It meant enduring disgrace and hardship—perhaps for the rest of his life.

But Moses “regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Moses knew the promises of God. He knew that God promised a way out of this world of sorrow and shame. God promised an eternal reward in heaven, free from pain and problems. God promised that he would give up his own life to give us eternal life with him.

Clinging to the promises of God, Moses set his sights on the far greater blessings to come. That’s what faith does. Faith looks forward. Faith in God’s promises sees what lies in the future and lives to lay hold of those priceless blessings.

Faith comes at a cost. It requires giving up whatever threatens our faith and God’s blessings. That may mean we have less money, fewer friends, and a harder life. It may mean ridicule and persecution because we follow Jesus, but what a small price to pay for the priceless rewards that Jesus has won for us.

Faith looks ahead and lives each day, focused on the eternal rewards that Jesus bought for us with his life. Faith looks ahead and lives each day, willing to give up whatever it takes to lay hold of those priceless treasures.

Prayer:
God, give me faith to live my life, looking ahead to your eternal blessings. 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 Who You Are – July 15, 2019

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
Hebrews 11:24,25

Remember Who You Are


Daily Devotion – July 15, 2019

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:24,25

See series: Devotions

Moses could have been very confused about who he was. He was born in Egypt, but his parents were Israelites. At the time, the Egyptians had made the Israelites their slaves. They forced them into hard physical labor to tear them down and demoralize them.

But, through a remarkable turn of events recorded in Exodus 1–2, Moses was spared that. Instead of living as a slave, he was raised in the royal palace by the daughter of the Egyptian king. He received a royal education and the finest of everything.

Who was Moses? Was he an Israelite? Was he an Egyptian? You could say he was both. You could also say that, in being both, he was neither one.

Do you ever have that feeling? You don’t really know who you are. You don’t feel like you fit in anywhere. You feel disconnected, lost, alone, confused.

As Moses looked at his life, he didn’t find his identity in his place in the palace of Egypt. He didn’t find it in his citizenship in the nation of Israel. Our text says, “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God.”

Moses knew that he was a child of God. He was part of God’s family, a citizen of God’s kingdom. By faith, he knew he was loved by God. He knew God could deliver him from physical slavery in Egypt. But more importantly, he knew God had promised to deliver him from slavery to sin and death. And that identity was more important to him than anything.

If you come to confess Jesus as your Savior, then you too are a child of God. If you have been baptized in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then God has placed his name on you, marking you as his own.

So, whether you are feeling connected or confused, accepted or all alone, remember who you are as a forgiven, loved child of God and a citizen of heaven. Cling to that identity. Treasure it. Celebrate it. Live it.

Prayer:
Loving God, lead me to find my true identity in you each 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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Perfect Love – July 14, 2019

“I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’”
Zechariah 13:9

Perfect Love


Daily Devotion – July 14, 2019

Devotion based on Zechariah 13:9

See series: Devotions

I have good news for you: you are in the midst of a very possessive relationship. Usually, that would sound like a bad thing. Many in this world try to “possess” the attention and affection of others—that is, to control and manipulate others for their own selfish purposes. But the possessive relationship that you are in and that I am referring to is a very good thing—it is your relationship with God.

Listen to his words from Zechariah 13:9, “I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” God is proud to possess you—to call you part of his people. Why? Because his Son, Jesus removed all of your sin and guilt by his death on the cross. You are washed clean and welcomed into God’s family. God is proud to call you his own.

And what is God’s motive in possessing you? Not to burden you with control, but to bless you with compassion. Not to restrict you with fury, but to release you from fear. Not to suffocate you with limits, but to strengthen you in every season of life. Not to use you for selfish gain, but to selflessly give you all things.

You belong to him. He belongs to you. Praise him and be at peace, for you are possessed by his perfect love!

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for possessing me and looking after my every concern! Through faith in you my worries melt away and I am showered with your blessings. The greatest blessing you have given me is your Son who died for me and took away my sins. Help me to always live as your possession! 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 Trip – July 13, 2019

I do not set aside the grace of God.
Galatians 2:21

The Trip


Daily Devotion – July 13, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 2:21

See series: Devotions

Not long ago, a Christian author by the name of Timothy Jones and his wife, Rayann, decided to take their family to Disney World. The trip would include their newly-adopted, 8-year-old daughter. The trip would also become a picture of God’s grace.

Before her adoption into the Jones family, the 8-year-old girl had come to believe that anyone’s love for her depended entirely upon her own, personal behavior. In her mind, if she didn’t behave well enough, no one would love her. Eight years of this had driven her into a quiet despair when it came to the idea of fitting into a family.

And so, when her new mom and dad announced that the family would be going to Disney World, the 8-year-old reacted in a disturbing way. She began to misbehave. Each time, however, her new mom and dad would exercise patient discipline. They would see to it that each episode was resolved, and they would assure their daughter that they loved her. Then they would move on.

Not long before the family was to leave on their trip, the daughter misbehaved yet again. As her new dad placed her on his lap to talk to her, she said, “I know what you’re going to do. You’re not going to take me to Disney World, are you?”

Her new father’s response was a pivot point. He asked her, “Is this trip something we’re doing as a family?” She nodded yes. “Are you part of this family?” Again, she nodded yes. “Then you’re going with us,” he said.

Fast forward to the end of their first day at Disney World. A different little girl has emerged. Her episodes of rebellion have faded. At bedtime, she unburdens herself with words few in number but packed with meaning. “Daddy,” she says, “I finally got to go to Disney World. But it wasn’t because I was good; it’s because I’m yours.”

It wasn’t because I was good; it’s because I’m yours.

Through faith in Jesus as our Savior, that is the security you and I possess in God’s forgiveness. We are not forgiven because we are good; we are forgiven because we are his.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, my whole relationship with you rests entirely upon your grace for me through faith in your Son. I am yours. You are mine. Thank you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Fragrant Faith – July 12, 2019

[Jesus said] “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Luke 7:47

A Fragrant Faith


Daily Devotion – July 12, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 7:47

See series: Devotions

Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus to dinner. Jesus accepted. He entered Simon’s home and took his place at the table.

Among the attendees was a woman who had lived a sinful life. When she heard that Jesus was at Simon’s house, she grabbed an expensive jar filled with expensive perfume. Somehow, she found her way into Simon’s house. In front of all the guests, she knelt at Jesus’s feet and began to weep. As her tears wet his feet, she dried them with her hair and covered them with kisses. Then she anointed Jesus’s feet with the costly perfume.

Simon was appalled. If Jesus was a holy man, he wouldn’t let this sinner touch him.

Knowing what was on Simon’s mind, Jesus told him a story. Two men were deeply in debt to a third man. One owed a year and a half worth of wages. The other owed two months of wages. Neither of them could repay their debt, so the third man canceled the debt of both. Then Jesus asked, “Simon, which man would be the most thankful?”

Simon grudgingly admitted, “The one with the greater debt forgiven.”

Jesus then pointed to the woman and praised her fragrant faith. While Simon assumed he had little to be forgiven, the woman knew she owed Jesus a great debt. When Jesus forgave her, she poured out her heart in thanks for his extravagant love. Simon, on the other hand, expressed little love toward Jesus.

If we, like Simon, think we don’t need Jesus’ forgiveness, we are fooling ourselves and denying the truth. But if we admit our sins, Jesus fully and freely forgives us and cleanses us from our moral decay.

How then will we respond? A fragrant faith admits that we are beggars, hands over our debt to Jesus, and leaves that life behind.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have forgiven me so much. Help me to love much. 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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We Can All Identify – July 11, 2019

Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11

We Can All Identify


Daily Devotion – July 11, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

See series: Devotions

A young man sat in church as a first-time guest. The pastor read these words of Paul, then asked for anyone who had these sins in their background to stand. At first, no one did. Then, after some hesitation, most everyone got to their feet. The young man thought, “These are my kind of people.”

Another young man stood in church as a guest speaker. He shared his story of sinful rebellion, God’s relentless pursuit, his eventual repentance and restoration, and his daily wrestle with sin. Then, someone asked him how he labeled himself. The young man replied, “I am a redeemed child of God.”

There is no difference between any of us. We can all point to a sin on Paul’s list that wants to master us. We can all say, “That was me.” We may have embraced that sin at one time, but we no longer identify with it. We are looking at that sin in the rear-view mirror. It may be closer than we would like, but by the grace of God and a life of daily repentance, it is behind us.

For we were washed. Certain household bleach may claim to remove 99.9 percent of germs. But in baptism, Christ cleanses us of 100 percent of our sin.

We were sanctified. Like the boy in the bubble, God’s protecting grace surrounds us. He sets us apart from everything that looks to disqualify us from inheriting eternal life.

We were justified. The devastating evidence of our wrongdoing is all around us. Yet because of Jesus, God sees past our sin. He focuses on his Son’s sinless life and sacrificial death on the cross and declares that we are not guilty.

You are not your sin. You are a redeemed child of God, an heir of eternal life!

Prayer:
Gracious God, thank you for my new identity in Christ. Help me daily to leave my past behind and press on toward the prize to which you have called 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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Freedom in Christ – July 10, 2019

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Galatians 2:19-21

Freedom in Christ


Daily Devotion – July 10, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 2:19-21

See series: Devotions

Positioned prominently above the gates of Auschwitz, a sign greeted the Jewish prisoners as they entered the camp. Arbeit Macht Frei: “Work Sets You Free.” It was an empty promise. They worked themselves to exhaustion, but the only escape they found was in death.

Arbeit Macht Frei is an ideal that sounds reasonable, even appealing. If we do the right things, we will have freedom and approval. But no amount of work will add up to the standard of glory that God expects from us. The only payment we receive for our efforts is death.

Jesus Christ has set us free from our dead-end existence. For us, he labored flawlessly under his Father’s law. For our salvation, he paid for our guilt on the cross with his sinless life. By faith in Christ, we are free from the law’s demands and empty promises. Rather than our own works setting us free from God’s anger, it is Jesus’ work that sets us free.

Remember this when your guilt is getting the better of you. Remember that the hard work of getting your soul to heaven has already been done, by Jesus. Then, like St. Paul, spend your life living for the one who has paid the price for your entrance through the pearly gate of heaven!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me believe that all you did, suffered, and endured you did to rescue me and set me free. In the hope of your resurrection, teach me to live in the freedom I have in you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The God of Second Chances – July 9, 2019

The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the LORD brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors.
2 Chronicles 33:10-13

The God of Second Chances


Daily Devotion – July 9, 2019

Devotion based on 2 Chronicles 33:10-13

See series: Devotions

Would you put a tweenager in charge of your life? An entire nation?

Manasseh was twelve when he became the king of Israel. He did a poor job. Like a rebellious preteen, Manasseh was going to be different from his father. His father abolished pagan worship; Manasseh reinstated it.

What should God do? First, he tried to reason with Manasseh. When that failed, God didn’t give up. He used tough love on the king, allowing him to be taken as a prisoner to far off Babylon. Manasseh humbled himself before God and prayed for deliverance. God heard Manasseh and gave him a second chance.

You don’t have to be a tweenager to behave like one. We don’t always do things the way our Father wants. We worship our own modern-day idols. We fall into today’s culturally acceptable sins. We ignore God’s wisdom and counsel. The issue is not how big or small our sin-debt is. The issue is, we can’t repay it.

What should God do? Should he give us a second chance? That’s not what we deserve, but that’s what he does. He is the God of free and faithful grace. Because Jesus was an obedient Son who laid down his life for our sins, God’s mercy is always new.

As we live humbly before God, confessing our guilt, and trusting in Jesus Christ as our Savior, he delivers us. He gives us better than we deserve. Rather than death, he gives us life. Rather than hell, he gives us heaven. Rather than his fury, he forgives us and gives us a second chance—over and over.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I have disobeyed you in my thoughts, words, and actions. I am sorry for my sins and for Jesus’s sake, I pray: Lord, give me a second chance. 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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Confession is Good for the Soul – July 8, 2019

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.”
2 Samuel 12:13,14

Confession is Good for the Soul


Daily Devotion – July 8, 2019

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 12:13,14

See series: Devotions

David was a man after God’s own heart. But one late afternoon, David decided to follow his own heart rather than God’s.

From the palace rooftop, David caught sight of Uriah’s wife, the beautiful Bathsheba. He coveted her, called her to his palace, coerced her into bed, and got her pregnant. Panicked, David tried to cover up his affair. First, he buried it under a lie. Then, he buried Uriah so he could marry Bathsheba. David thought he was free, but for a year he was a prisoner of his own guilt.

That’s when God sent Nathan to David. Nathan told David a story. There were two men, one rich and the other poor. The poor man owned a single lamb that he treasured like a daughter. The rich man had hundreds of sheep and cattle. One day, a guest dropped in at the rich man’s house for dinner. Not wanting to give up one of his livestock, the rich man stole the poor man’s lamb, slaughtered it, and served it to his guest.

David was furious. He demanded to know the identity of the man who had destroyed another man’s family. He deserved to die.

Nathan replied, “You are the man.” Hard words. Honest words. Humbling words. God’s tough love set David free. Heartbroken, he confessed his guilt. And the Lord had compassion on him. Because of God’s promised Savior, Jesus Christ, David found spiritual freedom. The innocent Lamb of God, slaughtered in place of the many, brings spiritual freedom to every man, woman, and child held in bondage to sin.

That’s all of us. We don’t like to admit sin. We don’t want our guilt exposed. We bottle it up, bury it, and build walls around it. We think we are protecting ourselves. In reality, we are prisoners of our own making.

Confession is good for the soul. It’s the door to freedom. It gives us access to God’s love and forgiveness in Christ.

Prayer:
O God, I recognize my rebellion against you. I know that I began life full of sin. Purify me from my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart. And, restore to me the joy 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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The Right Path – July 7, 2019

“So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. . . . I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Galatians 2:16,20,21

The Right Path


Daily Devotion – July 7, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 2:16,20,21

See series: Devotions

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is told that to get to the Emerald City she must follow the Yellow Brick Road. It’s the only path to the great and powerful Oz. There were obstacles: a wicked witch, flying monkeys, scary woods, fields of poppies. But to leave that path meant never reaching Oz, and never getting home.

We’re faced with a similar situation. God’s Word shows us the only path to heaven: Jesus Christ. It’s the good news that we’re forgiven, crucified with Christ, new men and women because Jesus lived and died in our place. There’s no “good work” that we can do to cause this all to happen or make ourselves right with God. The path to heaven, though, is littered with obstacles: false teachers and teachings; our own sinful natures that lead us to try things that we hope will get us right with God; human reason telling us that there must be something we can do, to name a few. But we must stay on the true path.

Have you been straying from the path? Have you fallen asleep in the poppy fields of your own good works? Paul says if you have, then Jesus’ death means nothing! Adding works to God’s plan rejects God’s love and empties the cross of power. But there is hope in the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, who was crucified for you!

Because of Christ, we can stop asking, “What must I do?” By faith, we ask God to see Christ instead of ourselves. This is reality: we have died to sin and the law, with Christ. Here is the center of our life—our constant comfort, joy, and hope—Jesus Christ. Him for me!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me recognize the immense gift of grace that you have dropped in my lap, through faith—eternal life, freely bought and paid for by your blood, 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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