Too Much to Lose – April 6, 2022

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
Philippians 3:7

Too Much to Lose

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Daily Devotion – April 6, 2022

Devotion based on Philippians 3:7

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Why did the religious leaders in Jesus’ day reject him as their Savior? The short answer: They had too much to lose, at least from their perspective. If Jesus really was right, then they were wrong about almost everything. They would have to admit they were wrong when they put their ultimate trust in their position in the community. Or when they trusted in how well they followed their own rules. Or when they tried to use their authority to control the people. So instead of admitting they were wrong, they rejected Jesus even to the point of crucifying him. They thought they had just too much to lose.

There was a time when another religious leader named Paul had the same point of view. He saw Jesus as a threat to everything he had gained through his religiosity. But Jesus himself confronted Paul and opened his heart to the truth of God’s love in Christ. And so, instead of trusting in his religious accomplishments, he came to say, “Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7).

When Paul met Jesus, he started prizing and pursuing what God treasured. He stopped trusting and boasting about his successes, and he started worshiping and honoring his Savior.

The same option lies before us. We can follow the example of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. We could trust in our trophies, accomplishments, and religious observances. Or we could consider our record nothing in comparison to knowing Christ and being found in him.

Following Christ might mean that we lose in the eyes of the world. But whatever we might gain in this world is nothing compared to what we already have in Christ.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me to trust in you, and you alone. 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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Even the Experts Can Get It Wrong – April 5, 2022

The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest [Jesus] immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
Luke 20:19

Even the Experts Can Get It Wrong

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Daily Devotion – April 5, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 20:19

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One of the most remarkable truths of Jesus’ story is that he was killed by religious professionals. The very people who studied, memorized, and taught the Scriptures, killed the hero of their own Bible. And it’s not because Jesus didn’t try to confront them and lead them to repentance. Even when he told the stories that were meant to get their attention, they still rejected him. The Gospel writer, Luke, says that after Jesus taught them, ‘The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them.” (Luke 20:19). Instead of listening to Jesus, they rejected him and wanted to get rid of him.

You see, sometimes, even the experts get it wrong. Sometimes the very people who are supposed to represent God end up rejecting God and cause more harm than good in his church.

The same thing can happen today. Religious leaders who are supposed to represent God might use their power and authority to harm or control their congregation. They might be more of a curse to your church than a blessing. Tragically, when this happens, many people walk away from Christianity altogether.

If you have been harmed by religious professionals, remember that Jesus was also harmed by religious professionals. If you have been burned by the selfishness of some leaders, remember Jesus, the true leader of the church, willing gave up everything to serve and rescue you. If you are considering giving up on God, remember that he has never given up on you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, lead me to build my faith on you alone, especially when human leaders fail 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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A History of Rejection – April 4, 2022

[Jesus] went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out. “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”
Luke 20:9-15

A History of Rejection

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Daily Devotion – April 4, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 20:9-15

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In this short story, Jesus is summarizing over a thousand years of Israel’s history. God gave Israel his word and his promises. But instead of learning and sharing God’s message with the world, Israel rejected God and his representatives.

You see, hostility toward God and the rejection of his word is not a new problem. It has been going on since the first people God created disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden. What is surprising is that God has not given up on his people. Not only did God continue to send prophets and teachers to his people, but he also sent his very own son, Jesus Christ. And although Jesus was rejected to the point of death, God used their failure to provide forgiveness to the world through the cross.

Don’t be startled when you see the world walk away from the truth. That’s to be expected. But let your heart continue to be renewed by God’s long-suffering and never-ending faithfulness and love.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I can get so depressed when I see so many leave the faith. Help me to see and believe in your faithfulness. 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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Finish the Race – April 3, 2022

I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. . . . I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12,14

Finish the Race

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Daily Devotion – April 3, 2022

Devotion based on Philippians 3:12,14

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“Citius, altius, fortius” is a Latin phrase meaning “swifter, higher, stronger.” It is the motto of the Olympic games and does well to embody what our calling in Christ pursues.

Christ has already taken care of saving us for a Christian life and setting us apart for an eternal life in heaven. He’s placed us on the path of righteousness but still lets us run. Swifter we flee from temptation. Higher we stretch ourselves to practice Christ-like love. Stronger we stand in the midst of suffering in this world. A shining example of this kind of fortitude was revealed in the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico.

A Tanzanian marathon runner named Akhwari was the last man to finish the marathon race. He arrived in the stadium staggering and limping; and finished his race long after the winner did. Of course, this prompted all kinds of post-race questions as to why he continued when he had no chance of winning.

He simply replied, “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish the race.”

A Christian who knew why God saved him and set him apart, the apostle Paul, also spoke in similar terms, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me . . . I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12,14).

Run, Christian, run. Finish the race.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I know you can understand me when I feel weak because you became weak. You became weary and tired. You were exhausted at times and overworked—like me. Sometimes I just want to sit down and give up and look for easier ways, but I know you don’t want that for me. Help me finish the race. Lift my feet to follow your steps. Extend my arms to reach others in love. Wipe my tears of sorrow so that I can better see the path. Lead me on, Lord. Lead me on. 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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Strength for Singing – April 2, 2022

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
Isaiah 12:2

Strength for Singing

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Daily Devotion – April 2, 2022

Devotion based on Isaiah 12:2

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Have you ever heard the saying: “whistling past the graveyard”? It is used to describe people who know they are in a terrible situation yet remain confident even in the face of overwhelming odds.

That saying can describe Christians. Isaiah 12:2 tells us why. It says, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD is my strength and my song, he has become my salvation.” We human beings face a terrible situation and overwhelming odds. Sin infests our hearts like a disease, showing itself in hateful thoughts, hurtful words, and hostile actions toward others. The result is that we are headed for the graveyard, facing the death of our bodies and souls forever as our just punishment. And there is nothing we can do about it. There is nothing we can do to make up for our sins or set our wrongs right.

We need saving, and that saving comes not from us but from God. He has become our salvation. He sent his Son, Jesus, to endure the punishment for all our sins by giving his life on the cross. But that’s not all. Jesus not only fought our fight against sin and won, but he also rose again, conquering death. In Jesus, we have victory over sin and the grave. His work on our behalf gives us unshakable confidence in the face of overwhelming odds.

We can sing past the graveyard because, in Jesus and his sin-conquering strength, we have forgiveness. We can sing past the graveyard because the grave is not our end. Instead, Jesus makes heaven our eternal home. So, no matter the terrible situation, no matter the overwhelming odds, Jesus and his salvation give us strength for singing.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, you are my salvation. Give me strength not to be afraid even of death itself because you defeated sin and death for me. Give me strength to sing of the salvation I have in 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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The Spirit Gives Life – April 1, 2022

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
Romans 8:9,10

The Spirit Gives Life

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Daily Devotion – April 1, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 8:9,10

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Have you ever received a gift that made you so excited that you never used it? I doubt it! When we get a gift, we’ve longed to receive, it’s only natural to begin using it immediately.

Maybe you remember a toy you received as a child for Christmas. You couldn’t wait to get up the next morning to play with it again. Maybe you received a puppy and couldn’t wait to take it for its first walk around the block. Or maybe it was the gift of your newborn baby, and you couldn’t wait for the nurse to place that little one into your arms for the first time.

When you receive a wonderful gift, it just makes sense to use that gift immediately and often. To lay it aside and live as if you hadn’t received it simply would not make any sense.

So why would we ever think of laying aside the greatest and most precious gift we can ever receive—the gift of God’s Holy Spirit? When we freely receive the Spirit of Christ, we also receive the perfect forgiveness of sins, the assurance that our eternal condemnation is crushed, and the certainty of an eternal home in heaven. In short, the Spirit gives life, now and forever. Use it! Live it!

The apostle Paul could not have been clearer. “If Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.” Through the gift of God’s Spirit, Jesus’ righteousness—his perfection—is yours. That’s the gift of life! Use it!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, inspire me to use my new life in service to you and others in love. 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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Fighting the Flesh – March 31, 2022

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:7,8

Fighting the Flesh

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Daily Devotion – March 31, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 8:7,8

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The Bible teaches a rather uncomfortable truth. It says that you and I are sinners. On this side of heaven, we’ll continue to struggle with our sinful flesh. It’s a given. But with the Holy Spirit’s power, we are daily called to engage in a holy battle. And with his help, we will be victorious.

But if we throw in the towel and give in to our sin without a fight, we’re encouraging our sinful flesh and mind to continually disobey God’s good commands. And it’s addictive. Sin is a powerful and deadly drug that corrupts our minds and continually lies to us. When we allow our flesh to govern our mind, it eventually becomes “hostile to God.” Without the Spirit’s help, our mind “does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” In summary, Paul tells us, “Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God,” and eternal condemnation will be the inevitable outcome.

But Jesus can help us, and he does. Perfectly. He has conquered our sin and crushed our condemnation forever. Trust him!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, give me your strength to fight my flesh. 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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Mind Over Matter – March 30, 2022

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:5,6

Mind Over Matter

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Daily Devotion – March 30, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 8:5,6

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When we face something particularly challenging—maybe even something painful—it may be that someone alongside us will offer us some encouragement by saying, “Come on, now. It’s mind over matter.” What they mean, of course, is that we need to block out the thoughts of any immediate difficulty or pain that we might experience. Instead, we need to set our sights on the reward we will receive when it’s all said and done. It’s a matter of focus, mind over matter.

But, of course, the opposite is also true. If we set our sights on failure and mediocrity, that’s what we’ll end up achieving; maybe even worse than that.

The truth is, it’s natural for sinful human beings like us to choose the path of least resistance, to take the easier way, the path that seems less painful. And that’s especially true when it comes to our spiritual lives. Instead of setting our sights on the unseen, eternal blessings that our Father has promised to give us in heaven, we jump at the chance of securing as many creature comforts in this world as we possibly can right now.

St. Paul describes this as setting our minds “on what the flesh desires.” And he doesn’t pull any punches when he tells us what the result will be: “The mind governed by the flesh is death.” But because of our broken hearts and sinful minds, we’re doomed. Sinners can’t help themselves.

But Jesus can help us and does. Not only does Jesus assure us of our perfect forgiveness and willingly crush our eternal condemnation forever. But he gives us the gift of his Spirit, who renews our minds and empowers us to set our hearts on things above, not on earthly things. And, Paul explains, “the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

The Christian life is mind over matter. And in Jesus, our mind in the Spirit wins.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, empower me to live according to your Spirit and set my sights on 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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The Perfect Sinner – March 29, 2022

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:3,4

The Perfect Sinner

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Daily Devotion – March 29, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 8:3,4

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When Christians describe Jesus as perfect, they believe that he never did anything wrong. Not once.

That’s hard to believe, especially when you recall that Jesus was a human being just like we are and faced daily temptation just like we do. But the Bible is clear. Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

But for all his moral perfection, Jesus wouldn’t be our perfect Savior if he hadn’t been willing to suffer as our substitute. So our heavenly Father made Jesus “perfect through what he suffered” (Hebrews 2:10). What does that mean? It means he needed to endure the life of a sinner even though he wasn’t one. But he didn’t just become another sinner. He became the world’s greatest sinner, yes, the perfect sinner!

That’s what St. Paul is describing in Romans chapter 8. He begins by teaching us why we are unable to be perfect in God’s eyes. Try as we might to follow God’s law, it is powerless to save us “because it was weakened by (our sinful) flesh.” While God’s law is perfect, we are imperfect. Our following it perfectly is hopeless.

But what we are unable to do, “God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.” Elsewhere, Paul describes it this way: “God made [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Though Jesus was sinless, God laid our sin and the sins of the world on him. Then he condemned Jesus, the perfect sinner, in our place. Our perfect substitute.

So, Jesus hasn’t simply swept away our condemnation. He’s crushed it once and for all. The slate is clean for you, for me, for everyone. Our sin is forgiven and forgotten forever.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for becoming my sin so that I might be given your perfection. 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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Pardoned – March 28, 2022

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Roman 8:1,2

Pardoned

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Daily Devotion – March 28, 2022

Devotion based on Roman 8:1,2

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One of the greatest powers bestowed on the President of the United States is the near-absolute authority to pardon people who have been convicted of a federal crime. That power even extends over lawbreakers who have been sentenced to death because of their misdeeds. The second article of the Constitution of the United States grants this power to the president, except in cases where federal officers have been impeached and removed from office. Beyond that one exception, the president has the unconditional power to pardon whomever he pleases.

It has long been the custom in the Christian church to illustrate the eternal truths of the Bible with every day, earthly examples, with which we are familiar. So, when a Christian wants to illustrate God’s power to forgive sin, it might be tempting to compare it to a presidential pardon.

But when it comes to illustrating God’s power to forgive, all analogies limp. And that’s true of this one, too, because when God forgives our sin, we are more than pardoned. When a person is pardoned, the crime still exists. The president declares no person will pay for the crime and that crime simply remains unpunished.

But that’s not what God did with our sins. He didn’t ignore them or leave them unpunished through a divine pardon. That would mean our sin is still on our record; it would simply go unpunished.

But our sin is gone; it’s forgotten forever! Our rightful condemnation has been completely crushed by the perfect life and perfect sacrificial payment of God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. Our sin is not just pardoned; it’s vanquished and vanished forever. And not just our sin but the sins of the whole world. What power!

Make no mistake about it. We are more than pardoned. Sing for joy because “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for giving me the assurance that my sin has been paid for and my condemnation forever crushed. 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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Autopilots of Life – March 27, 2022

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Romans 8:5

Autopilots of Life

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Daily Devotion – March 27, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 8:5

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Do you feel trapped or stuck in a miserable pattern of life? Are your feelings making you feel caged? Are your sinful habits too hard to climb out of? Perhaps your autopilot is set wrong.

Often when we think of laws, we think of those rules that have been set up that we must abide by. But there is another way the word “law” is used. Think, for example, of the law of gravity. I don’t know of anyone arrested for breaking the “law” of gravity. This kind of law is an observed reality of how things work–the consistent pattern that holds true.

The pattern that holds true in the lives of people is the “law” of sinful nature. It is the autopilot that directs us to want the opposite of what God wants. But the Holy Spirit resets the autopilot of our lives. He creates in us a new heart as he leads us to trust what Jesus did by perfectly keeping God’s law for us and putting himself under the sentence of condemnation that we deserved. He became what we were to be, so we could be forever tied to what he is. When we live in trust in Christ, a new direction is set for our lives. There is no longer the slavery to the feelings and actions to the sinful nature, but rather a continued growing in Christlikeness. Keep reading and listening to the message of the Bible to keep your autopilot set right on Jesus.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, overcome the autopilot of my sinful nature and create a Christlike heart in its place. 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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Freedom – March 26, 2022

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.
Isaiah 61:1,2

Freedom

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Daily Devotion – March 26, 2022

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:1,2

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“Freedom!” Perhaps you recall Mel Gibson screaming that word in one of the final scenes of the movie Braveheart. He gave all he had so that the people of his nation would be free from England’s rule. He lost his life, the war continued, perhaps there were times of relative freedom and peace, yet any quick study of history reveals continued struggles and battles.

Has your soul ever cried out for “freedom”? Have you ever wanted to be completely free from a nagging or guilty conscience? No matter how hard you fight or how long you try, you can never seem to win that battle. The memory of your past sins and faults never seems to set you free.

In our Bible reading for today, the prophet Isaiah shouts, “Freedom!” Isaiah foretells the work of the coming Savior, Jesus. Because of the Lord’s great love and favor, he punished Jesus in your place. Jesus suffered and died on that cross as your substitute. The result is free and full forgiveness for each and every one of your sins. That’s freedom! That’s the good news that binds up even the most broken heart. Like a beam of sunshine, these words pierce the darkness of the prison of sin.

Now you and I can shout out loud each day, “I am free!” We can step forward into each day with a fresh and clean conscience, confident in the Lord’s proclamation of forgiveness through faith in Jesus. And, like a wonderful gift, what better way to say thanks to God for our newfound freedom than to shout it out and share the good news with others.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for wiping away my sin and giving me a fresh start. Help me to live for you each day so that I can show my thanks to you in my words and actions. Help me shine forth your love to others who are still searching for freedom from their sins. 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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Sparking Joy – March 25, 2022

Then [Jesus] told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
Luke 13:6-9

Sparking Joy

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Daily Devotion – March 25, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 13:6-9

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Does it spark joy? Over the last few years, many people have become familiar with that question because of the popularity of Marie Kondo and her KonMari system of tidying. Pick up any item and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” When the answer is yes, then you can be sure you’re retaining it for a good reason.

Does it seem like the fig tree sparked joy in the heart of the vineyard owner? Not so much. He saw little reason to keep it around. He’d been reasonable. After all, one would expect that a fig tree would produce figs. He’d been patient, looking for fruit from the fig tree for three years. To receive nothing in return for all his time invested sparked the opposite of joy. He was ready to get rid of it. The only thing that saved it was the intercession of the caretaker.

We also have a caretaker–a divine caretaker. Jesus pleads for us and nurtures us. His grace and forgiveness make us want to produce good fruit in our lives. Truly that sparks joy in the heart of God. And in our hearts, too.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, you work in people’s hearts to bring them to repentance and faith. Graciously do the same for me every day. And then help me to produce fruits of faith and repentance in gratitude to 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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Security Alarm – March 24, 2022

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Luke 13:1-3

Security Alarm

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Daily Devotion – March 24, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 13:1-3

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It’s a lot easier to shake our heads in disgust than it is to bow our heads in shame. In other words, we’re more than willing to get out our metaphorical magnifying glass to see the sins of the people around us better. But we’re not nearly as willing to subject ourselves to the same scrutiny. Things weren’t all that different in Jesus’ day. Especially when disaster struck, it was common reasoning that the victims had committed some sin to make God mad. And the worse the disaster, the angrier God must have been.

Our Bible reading for today tells us about some sort of altercation at or near the temple in Jerusalem and the blood of the worshipers ended up being mixed with the sacrifices they were bringing. Judging by Jesus’ no-nonsense response, one wonders if maybe the conversation included a question that reflected the popular thought at the time. “Who sinned? Whose sin caused this to happen?”

Jesus puts those thoughts to bed right away. “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Do you see what happened? Jesus took the magnifying glass out of their hands and got them to look in the mirror instead.

It might be hard to hear, but we depend on Jesus to lead us away from the false security that comes from dwelling on the sins of others and lead us to a place where we can see our own desperate need. Only there, crushed and broken by the mountain of God’s law can we marvel at the mercy that the Redeemer from Heaven shows us in putting us back together in the promises of God. That’s where we find true security, the kind that lasts forever.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, deliver me in mercy from the temptation to focus on the sins of others. Lead me to see my own need, and to rejoice in the security found in Christ Jesus. 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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Standing on Unshakeable Ground -March 23, 2022

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Corinthians 10:12

Standing on Unshakeable Ground

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Daily Devotion – March 23, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 10:12

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The Passu Suspension Bridge is a walking bridge that traverses the Hunza River in Pakistan. It’s composed of hundreds of rickety boards spaced several feet apart, all hung together by a few meager ropes. Some have called it one of the most dangerous bridges in the world. Looking at images of it online, it’s easy to believe them.

But at least when folks are walking on the Passu Suspension Bridge, they know the danger. They know they’re on shaky ground (or more appropriately, shaky bridge), and they can at least take appropriate precautions. It’s far more dangerous to be on shaky ground and have no idea of the peril you’re in. That’s especially true of spiritual matters. That’s why the Bible warns, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

The Old Testament Israelites had received blessing upon blessing from the benevolent hand of God. And they were pretty comfortable with being God’s special nation. So comfortable that they grew unappreciative, whiny, and disobedient.

What does it have to do with us? Having received so many gifts from God regularly, it can be easy for us to take them for granted—to think we’ve earned and deserved them. Taking credit for what God has done? That’s spiritually shaky ground. “Be careful that you don’t fall!” Paul tells us.

Does this mean we shouldn’t be confident about our faith, forgiveness, resurrection, or eternity? No, that’s not Paul’s point. We can remain fully confident with our eyes fixed on Jesus, trusting that God will keep the promises he’s made in his Word. Full forgiveness through faith in the Lamb of God. That is God’s unshakable promise. And “God is faithful,” the Bible says in the very next verse. It’s things like smugness, complacency, and ingratitude that focus our attention inward and away from God. Those are the things we pray that the Holy Spirit would help us watch out for, the things that he would help us to sweep mercilessly from our hearts today and every day.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, lead me to focus my hope on the unshakeable promises of God. Help me to rely on you that I may remain standing firm till the end. 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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A Lesson in Gratitude – March 22, 2022

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.
1 Corinthians 10:11

A Lesson in Gratitude

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Daily Devotion – March 22, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 10:11

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Think of a time when your mom or dad taught you something important. Maybe it was how to tie your shoelaces or how to make your bed. Maybe there were times when it wasn’t a skill that you learned from them, but rather attitudes or values. And then, of course, because they were human, there were times when their mistakes taught you that some of their words or actions were best not to imitate.

Sometimes we learn what to do from those who’ve gone before us. Sometimes we learn what not to do. In our Bible reading for today we hear the apostle Paul tell the church at Corinth to look carefully at the generation of Israelites made famous in the book of Exodus. “Learn from them,” Paul says. “Learn what not to do.”

Those Israelites had every advantage, spiritually speaking. They had seen God’s hand deliver his people from Egypt. They had passed between the parted waters of the Red Sea. They had daily collected the manna that had fallen miraculously from heaven. They’d been on the receiving end of grace upon grace, miracle upon miracle. Humble gratitude would have been the appropriate response.

But presumption, rather than humble gratitude, was the dominant attitude among the Israelites. And if knowing that doesn’t lead us to check ourselves for presumption, the lesson to be learned here would be totally lost on us.

How easy for us to feel slighted because someone else has received something we haven’t. And to complain loudly—even if it’s just in our heads—about God’s providence, even as we live each day with food on the table, a bed to sleep in, a closet full of clothes—and a heavenly home waiting for us. That’s presumption when humble gratitude is called for. So we approach the cross, trusting Jesus’ promise that he will cover these sins, too, with his perfect life and innocent blood! And knowing that He has, we rededicate ourselves to lives of humble gratitude before the One who gives us every good thing.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, drive presumption from my heart, and keep me ever mindful, ever thankful for the undeserved blessings that come from your hand. 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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True Security – March 21, 2022

Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you.”
Exodus 3:11,12

True Security

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Daily Devotion – March 21, 2022

Devotion based on Exodus 3:11,12

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When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses appeared to be insecure and unsure of himself. He openly questioned God’s choice in sending him. But, perhaps rather than saying Moses was insecure, it is more accurate to say that Moses’ security rested in the wrong place. Moses held on tightly to the security that he believed resided with his shepherd’s crook and fuzzy flock, security that he had trouble envisioning in his new calling. After all, it would take tremendous courage to confront Pharaoh. His physical well-being might be in danger. He had certainly become a very public figure with a very sizable target on his back. If he saw greater security in the fields, one can hardly fault his thinking.

But here’s what we must not forget. Moses wasn’t leaving his security behind with his sheep. His God remained by his side. When the Creator of the Constellations says, “I will be with you” that’s real security—security that endures regardless of outward circumstances.

And that is his promise to us. Although all things are possible for him, our God chooses not to show us his visible presence in a burning bush. He shows us that he is nearby showing us, Jesus—God with flesh and bones who promises his continuous presence. God shows us he is nearby revealing himself in the words of the Bible, washing us with the water of baptism, and feeding us with his true body and blood in the Lord’s Supper.

Wherever we may go, we go with our God’s promise. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). His faithful presence is our true security.

Prayer:
Triune God, help me face every new day calm and trusting in the promise of your faithful presence. 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 Difference – March 20, 2022

All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked . . . All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.
Luke 4:22,28,29

The Difference

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Daily Devotion – March 20, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 4:22,28,29

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Notice the difference in the reaction of the same people to Jesus, and all in a matter of a few minutes. In verse 22, “all spoke well of him…” In verse 28, “All…were furious when they heard this.” In fact (vs. 29), they tried to kill him. What had Jesus said that so changed their demeanor? Using the words of the Bible, Jesus told the people that he was the Messiah (the Savior) promised by God for his people, Israel. Further, he pointed out that when Israel did not receive God’s plan of salvation for them in Old Testament times, God sent the message to foreigners.

Did Jesus’ hearers need a savior? Yes, they did. They were sinners, as have been all people since Adam and Eve. That includes us. You and I need a savior, too. We sinned and separated ourselves from God. Jesus took our sins on himself by living a perfect life in our place, then innocently suffering, and being sacrificed for us. Jesus paid the price for our sins and his Father accepted us back into fellowship with him.

Are there differences between Jesus’ hearers in Nazareth and us? Not in terms of our need for a savior. But thank God that he has convinced us that Jesus is our Savior. Because of the faith the Holy Spirit has implanted in us, we know that we will spend eternity in heaven.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, I thank and praise you for your work of salvation, taking my punishment on yourself. Take me to be with you eternally. 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 Citizenship – March 19, 2022

For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:18-20

Our Citizenship

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Daily Devotion – March 19, 2022

Devotion based on Philippians 3:18-20

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While my family lived in southern Alabama, we loved southern hospitality, greeting friends with a hug at the grocery store, and “slap my Momma” chocolate cake.

But hot boiled peanuts we never learned to crave—maybe because we weren’t from around there.

Christians can relate. We’re not “from around here.” So, we don’t live to make our belly happy, as if this were our home. Our citizenship is in heaven.

True, we sometimes live for our belly. We neglect family to make a few extra bucks with overtime. We rush out the door, ignoring a need for help that a neighbor has. Every day we sin by living for ourselves and not for our Savior.

Then Jesus steps in. Christians aren’t citizens of heaven because we deserve it. We belong in heaven because Jesus gave us citizenship. He signed our naturalization papers with his blood from the cross.

We yearn for the day when Jesus will come back, transform our bodies into glorious ones, and take us home to heaven.

Not sure if you’re a citizen of heaven? You don’t need a visa or to pass a civics test to know Jesus died for you. He’s already signed your naturalization papers. Your sins are forgiven, and there’s a place for you in heaven—all gifts of his love for you!

Enjoy his blessings here and look forward to your home in heaven!

Prayer:
Jesus, remind me of my home in heaven every day. Give me the strength to live for you and not for my belly. 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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Bless Him Whenever You See Him – March 18, 2022

[Jesus said] “I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Luke 13:35

Bless Him Whenever You See Him

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Daily Devotion – March 18, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 13:35

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Jesus comes in baptism in the name of the only true God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s a great blessing to have the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation that is promised through baptism. When Jesus comes in baptism to you or others, it is appropriate to say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Jesus comes to you whenever the name of the Lord is spoken in the reading of the Bible. The Lord’s name is broadly everything that he tells us about himself, and the place where he tells us about himself is the Holy Scripture. When Jesus comes in the Bible to you or others, it is appropriate to say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

When Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem on the Sunday before he died, the people shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” On Sunday, before you remember the Lord’s death and celebrate his real presence in the Lord’s Supper, it is appropriate to sing, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Jesus will return on judgment day. Instead of being afraid, you will rejoice in your salvation through faith in Jesus. That will be an ideal time to join with the angels and with every believer who has ever lived and shout, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I trust that I will see you again, and then I will say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” 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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He Will Cover You With His Wings – March 17, 2022

[Jesus replied] “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
Luke 13:34

He Will Cover You With His Wings

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Daily Devotion – March 17, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 13:34

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Patrick would have had good reason to curse the Irish. Born in Scotland, he was raised as a Christian but was not very serious about his faith. He was kidnapped at the age of sixteen and enslaved in Ireland. He did hard labor for six years and got much more serious about his faith. Finally, he escaped, made his way to the coast, got a job on a ship, and returned to Scotland.

But he could not get the Irish out of his mind. Something was compelling him to share Jesus, the one who had come to mean so much to him, with his former captors. After studying the Bible for nearly twenty years, he went back to Ireland a free man and never left. Despite opposition, he persevered and gathered the Irish into Christian congregations. We remember this remarkable man every March seventeenth when we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.

Jesus would have had good reason to curse the people of Jerusalem. He had come from heaven to save them, but many opposed him. Still, he longed to gather them together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. It’s a tender picture of love for people who did not deserve it.

It’s a tender picture of love for you and me. Jesus longs to gather us under his wings. He does not want to curse us. We ignore or oppose him at our own risk since salvation can come only from him. But he persevered, even to death, and he perseveres in gathering people into Christian congregations. Take refuge there.

Prayer:
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. 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 Does Not Avoid Death – March 16, 2022

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!”
Luke 13:31-33

Jesus Does Not Avoid Death

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Daily Devotion – March 16, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 13:31-33

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I know a man who heard from his national government that a local mob was coming for him and that the government couldn’t protect him. That man’s brother-in-law had already been kidnapped by a mob, so the man knew that he should take the warning seriously. He decided to leave temporarily. It is still not safe for him to return.

Jesus had a similar situation, only in his case, it was the national government that was wanting to kill him. Instead of running away, Jesus chose to go toward the seat of the national government and continue his work on the way. Why would he make a choice like that?

Jesus gives a hint to his motives when he talks about reaching his goal in three days. Jesus knew that the only way he would fulfill the prophecies about him would be to die and then rise to life again on the third day. Jesus did not avoid death. He walked right into it because he knew that by his death and resurrection, he would provide eternal life to everyone who believes in him.

One day we will all come face to face with death. Thankfully, Jesus has done everything in his power to give us eternal life when our time for death eventually comes.

Prayer:
Jesus, give me the confidence to face death and enter eternal life with 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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Glory Is on the Way – March 15, 2022

Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:20,21

Glory Is on the Way

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Daily Devotion – March 15, 2022

Devotion based on Philippians 3:20,21

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I wish I had a body like the Olympic athletes have. It would be so nice to be able to ski or skate or sled the way they do. I have to admit that my body is more lowly. I have limits and aches and pains.

Thankfully, it won’t always be that way. The apostle Paul tells me that my citizenship is in heaven. In other words, heaven is where I really belong. It is a citizenship won for me by Jesus. He is the Savior of my soul, but he is also the Savior of my body.

Jesus has a real human body. It separated from his soul when he died, but when his body and soul came back together, he rose from the dead. He has a body now that is ageless and perfect.

Jesus promises that my soul and body will also be together in eternity, even if they have separated in death. I have a lowly body now, always in training and decline. But due to my citizenship in heaven, glory for my body is on the way. Someday it will be ageless and perfect, just like the glorious body of Jesus. I can hardly wait.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, give me the strength to persevere with this lowly body until you make it a glorious body with you 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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Ready Recipients – March 14, 2022

Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!” Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you. As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right.”
Jeremiah 26:11-14

Ready Recipients

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Daily Devotion – March 14, 2022

Devotion based on Jeremiah 26:11-14

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Every year I hear people complain about the beginning of Daylight Saving Time because, on that first night, everyone has to set their clock ahead one hour and lose an hour of sleep. Have you ever been the one to remind someone that “Daylight Saving Time begins tonight?” They usually aren’t very happy to hear it. It’s never fun to be the one who shares unwelcome news.

Jeremiah was a prophet who had to share some unwelcome news—news that was far more important and serious than the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. God had commanded him to warn the people of his day that if they did not repent of their sins against God, he would destroy them. When leaders of the people heard it, their response was, “This man should be sentenced to death.”

You may never have wanted to put one of God’s messengers to death, but all of us have at times treated God’s calls to repentance with something less than ready acceptance. What is remarkable is that, even for this ungodly attitude, we have God’s forgiveness through Jesus. We can be certain that when we turn from our sin to him for forgiveness, he will always be there to restore us. May this reality make us ready recipients of God’s messengers when they call us to repentance.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, make me a ready recipient of your messengers. 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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Call to Repentance – March 13, 2022

Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you.”
Jeremiah 26:12,13

Call to Repentance

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Daily Devotion – March 13, 2022

Devotion based on Jeremiah 26:12,13

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What do you do when your child runs out into a busy street? Do you ignore it? Of course not! When you see your child run into that busy street, you call him back because you love him.

Our heavenly Father loves us perfectly. When we sin against him, he calls us back because he knows that sin is always harmful to us. At first, sin may seem fun, just like playing in a busy street might seem fun at first. But as long as we play in the street of sin, we are in danger of losing our life—our eternal life. So, loving Father that he is, God calls us to repentance.

What will you do when God sends his messenger to warn you about your sin? He may use a friend, a family member, or a pastor. We pray for God to help us turn from our sin when he calls us to repentance. And we pray that God grant us the confidence to know that when we turn back to him, he is waiting with open arms and a forgiving heart.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, your death on the cross has paid for my sin. May this truth give me confidence to turn from my sin, knowing that you are there to welcome me with open arms. 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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Come to God with Confidence – March 12, 2022

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:15,16

Come to God with Confidence

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Daily Devotion – March 12, 2022

Devotion based on Hebrews 4:15,16

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Airport security has become quite a process. Want access to the gates? You go through security. It’s serious scrutiny: boarding pass in hand, shoes off, pockets emptied, laptops and liquids out, you slowly walk through a metal detector or stand with hands over your head in a body scanner. It can be unsettling. But if you have nothing to hide, you pass through the security checkpoint with confidence.

What about access to God? The thought can be unsettling. But you can approach God with confidence!

How? Doesn’t God’s living, active, penetrating word scrutinize us more than an airport scanner? Don’t we have plenty we don’t want God to see?

Sure. And our sin is nothing new to Jesus; our high priest isn’t surprised to see our sin. He knows about sin. He was tempted to sin. Yet he successfully avoided sin in his own life. And he sacrificed his perfect, sinless life for our sin. He takes away our sin and gives us access to God.

So, cling tightly to Jesus, our high priest. He’s better than a boarding pass—he’s our personal escort to God. He died and rose again and went up through the heavens for us.

So, approach God with confidence. Heavenly rest is yours through Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, my high priest, you have taken away all my sin. With you at my side, I come to God with confidence. Bring me to my heavenly rest. 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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Stand Strong – March 11, 2022

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God…”
Luke 4:3

Stand Strong

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Daily Devotion – March 11, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 4:3

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Do you think the devil’s question got under Jesus’ skin? It is a question he would hear throughout his ministry on earth. One can imagine how he might get sick and tired of being doubted, questioned, and threatened by the very people he came to save. So many were skeptical that he was, in fact, the true Son of God. Along comes Satan, who essentially whispers into his ear three times: ‘prove it.’ “If you are the Son of God.” It is not too difficult to imagine that question pushing Jesus over the edge.

Similar phrases from the devil push us over the edge and right into sin. The devil whispers them into our ears as well: “Just this one time, no one will ever know…,” “Come on, you know it will make you happy…,” “Go ahead, you deserve it.” So often, we allow the devil to plant a suggestion in our ear and push us right into sin.

Thankfully Jesus stood strong. Every time Satan tried to bait him or goad him into sin, Jesus stood his ground. He used God’s Word to shut the temptation down. And Jesus did not just say ‘no’ once or twice. Throughout his entire life, Jesus said no to sin and shut down the devil’s temptations. Then, at the end of that perfect life, Jesus willingly gave his life for you and me as he died on the cross to pay for all the times when you and I have failed to say no to temptation. His sacrifice has paid the price our sins deserve and earned us a free ticket to eternal life in heaven.

And as we wait for the day when Jesus takes us home to heaven, he has given us a powerful tool to defeat temptation—the Word of God. Get to know that tool and ask God to bless you as you fight temptation in your life. The devil is no match for the Word of God. Jesus will be with you and will bless your trust in his Word.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for defeating sin and for being my perfect substitute. Teach me to use God’s Word to fight temptation in my life. 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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Victory and Strength – March 10, 2022

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
Luke 4:1,2

Victory and Strength

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Daily Devotion – March 10, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 4:1,2

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“You’re not you when you’re hungry.” That was the tagline of a successful series of commercials run by Snickers. The commercials featured people who were not at their best when they were hungry. Their hunger had transformed them into crabby versions of themselves. They would yell at people and behave in ways that were rude and selfish until someone would give them a Snickers candy bar. Then they would suddenly become themselves again.

As funny as those commercials were, they illustrate something we all experience: we are not at our best when we are hungry, or our needs are not met. Think of what you are like on a bad day or when things don’t go as planned: we lash out at people at work or school; we complain about minor things; we get short-tempered with the kids and sarcastic with the spouse, we may even threaten worse behavior. The devil has a way of kicking us when we are down. He knows when we are not at our best, and he moves in for the kill. All too often he succeeds in leading us into temptation when we are not at our best.

But he did not succeed with Jesus. Even after not eating for 40 days, Jesus was not led astray. He fought temptation. He resisted the devil’s attacks. He did not take out his frustrations on others or behave in a way that was less than godly. And he did this all for us. We are saved by the perfect obedience of Jesus. His life and death has saved us from our sins. Even when he was physically weak, he was still strong enough to defeat temptation for us and to win our salvation.

So, when you are not at your best, look to Jesus. Look to the One who has saved you. Find victory and strength in Christ.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, when I am weak, you are strong. Help me to look to you and find strength in your victory 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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Temptations – March 9, 2022

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
Hebrews 4:15

Temptations

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Daily Devotion – March 9, 2022

Devotion based on Hebrews 4:15

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How many temptations do you suppose you will face today? Temptations will come every day in different ways: at work, on the internet, in our thoughts, with the words we choose, when interacting with friends and spouses and siblings, etc. For our purposes, let’s imagine that you will face 100 temptations today. That is likely a low number, but let’s go with it—100 temptations a day. That’s 36,500 temptations a year. If you live to be 80, you will have faced 2,920,000 temptations in your lifetime.

That’s a large number! How many times do you suppose you have failed to fight off those temptations? The Bible says one sin is enough to condemn us for all eternity, but we have all failed far more often than that. Even if we said we avoided temptation half the time, that still means we will have failed to defeat temptation roughly one million times. That means we fall woefully short of the perfection God requires.

Isn’t it remarkable, then, that Jesus faced at least that many temptations and never once sinned? “Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” Amazing! And he did that for you. Jesus knew that you would fail, so he came to make it right. He came into this world to live a perfect life on your behalf. Jesus’ perfect obedience crushes your temptation and sin. As your perfect substitute, Jesus earned forgiveness and salvation for you. His perfect life in your place and his death on the cross for you assure you that you have a place with him in heaven forever.

And this same Jesus, who has already died for you, also knows what it is like to face temptation. He has been there and done that. So go to him! When you are tempted, turn to Jesus. He has the power to help you defeat temptation.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, forgive me for my sin. When I am tempted, help me to turn to you. Give me the strength to say no to temptation and to trust in 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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Confidence – March 8, 2022

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.”
1 Samuel 17:45,46

Confidence

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Daily Devotion – March 8, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 17:45,46

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We live in an age of confident boasts. Politicians make bold promises about what they will do in office. Athletes post on social media about how they will dominate on the court or the field. So many people in this world are ready to tell us what they are going to do. All that confidence is impressive, except sometimes things do not turn out as planned. Very often, the politician fails to accomplish what was so boldly promised. Frequently the confident athlete walks off the court, failing to deliver on the predicted championship.

In 1 Samuel 17, David makes some confident statements of his own. Notice that he does not boast in himself. Rather, he boasts in the Lord. David stares up at the 9-foot giant and boldly confesses his faith in the Lord and predicts that he will win the battle in the Lord’s name.

Are you looking for similar confidence? You will find it in Jesus. He has redeemed you. He has died on the cross to take your sins away. He rose from the dead so that, through faith in him, you could have eternal life. He has defeated your enemies. He has obtained forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven and given them to you free of charge. He promises to be with you always and encourages you to put your faith in him.

This mighty Lord, who has already done so much for you, will also be with you, bless you, and fight for you. And unlike so many others in this world, his bold statements have never gone unfulfilled. His promises have never fallen to the ground. Trust in him. Have confidence that Jesus’ victory is your victory. In Jesus’ name, you can defeat temptation.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, grant me the boldness to trust in you no matter what. Lead me to place my confidence in the victory you have won 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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