Judgment Will Come – November 10, 2018

“As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”
Daniel 7:9-10

Judgment Will Come


Daily Devotion – November 10, 2018

Devotion based on Daniel 7:9-10

See series: Devotions

“Judgment will come!” Maybe the title of this devotion makes you feel that you don’t want to even continue with it. Who wants to talk about judgment? It’s not a popular idea in our day. It’s not a popular idea to us either. There’s something in us that doesn’t like the thought of being held accountable to anyone or anything. Maybe that’s why calling someone “judgmental” is one of the biggest insults you can throw at them.

But whether we like it or not, the Bible is clear. There will be a day when God will judge the living and the dead. The One who created every human being, and who formed the world and all that is in it, will judge those who have been given life and breathe and a soul. After seeing a vision of four beasts rising out of the sea, which represented the progression of different kingdoms that would rule the world, Daniel saw the Lord himself take his seat for judgment. It was an awesome picture. The Lord’s clothing and hair were gleaming white, there was fire, and thousands upon thousands of angels. But then silence. The books were opened.

It would be a terrifying vision if this is all that we had. We know our sins. We know what those books would say about us. “Guilty!” We are sinners who deserve to be sent out of God’s presence forever. Thankfully, a couple of verses later, we hear about someone else who is led into that courtroom. Daniel writes: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

It’s Jesus! It’s the One who has nothing against him in God’s books. It’s the perfect Son of God who lived in our place on earth and who gave himself on the cross for our sins, so that our record before God is cleared. This is why he is given all authority and power in heaven and on earth. He is the Lamb who was slain for us. Yes, judgment will come. But so has Jesus, and because of him you can stand confidently before the throne of God.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, as I await your second coming, please help me find my confidence in your perfect life and death. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Every Spot Is Gone – November 9, 2018

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Isaiah 1:18

Every Spot Is Gone


Daily Devotion – November 9, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 1:18

See series: Devotions

Lady Macbeth was confident that she and her husband had nothing to be concerned about. Yes, they both were guilty of murder, since Macbeth had stabbed King Duncan to death and she had insisted that he do it. Yes, they both had hands that were covered in King Duncan’s blood. But all they had to do, Lady Macbeth thought, was wash Duncan’s blood off their hands and then everything would be okay. “A little water clears us of this deed. How easy is it, then!” she said to her husband.

Lady Macbeth, however, soon learned that it wasn’t that easy. Washing Duncan’s blood off her hands may have rid her of the external evidence of her crime, but it did not wash away her guilt. That guilt gnawed at her and tormented her and drove her mad. Finally, she sleepwalked around her castle, trying in vain to wash away the spots of Duncan’s blood that she still saw staining her hands.

Sin is like that. When we do something wrong, something that we know God doesn’t want us to do, we like to think that we can easily remove the stain of that sin from ourselves. A little bit of doing good will clear us of our sin. A little bit of denying that the sin ever happened will clear us of our sin. A little bit of promising to do better next time will clear us of our sin. We tell ourselves that it is easy, but we soon find out that it’s not that easy. In spite of our best efforts to rid ourselves of the stain of our sins, the stain remains. And it only grows larger and darker with each subsequent sin.

So, are we, like Lady Macbeth, doomed to bear the blood-red stain of our sins forever? No. In our Bible passage today, God tells us, “Come now, let us settle the matter. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” But how can God cleanse such an indelible stain from us and make us clean? He does it by washing us in something much more powerful than water. He washes us in the blood of his Son, Jesus.

Normally, when we dip something in blood, it doesn’t come out clean. However, when God washes us in the blood of his Son, we do come out clean. Jesus’ blood, poured out on the cross, is the perfect payment for all our sins. And when we are washed in that blood, every stain of our sins disappears. Though our sins were like scarlet, in the blood of Jesus we become as pure as the freshly fallen snow. Though our sins were like crimson-red, in the blood of Jesus we become as white as wool.

Lady Macbeth tried and failed to remove the stain of her sins from her hands. Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on our own efforts to be cleansed of the stain of our sins. In the blood of Jesus, God has washed us and made us completely clean. We are now pure and holy in his sight, because in Jesus every spot of sin is gone.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I praise you for washing me in the blood of Jesus and making me clean. May I joyfully live in your forgiveness 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Established by God – November 8, 2018

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13:1

Established by God


Daily Devotion – November 8, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 13:1

See series: Devotions

God established governing authorities because human beings are not perfect. Sin doesn’t just affect our relationship with God; it affects our relationship with each other. Sinful humanity needs an institution to keep the peace, and God established the governing authorities to make the sin-infested world a safer place to live.

This is why the government does so much that is good. You experience that good whenever you drive on a highway or enjoy police protection. It’s a great blessing to worship and speak your faith without government interference. When God’s servants in government do their job, God’s servants in his kingdom can do theirs.

But sin always corrupts, and the governing authorities are no exception. Government often ignores God who established it and oppresses people rather than serves them. Jesus experienced affliction under government authority. He was unjustly arrested, tried, beaten, and crucified—all at the government’s command.

Why did Jesus endure it? Because he loves us. He perfectly submitted to the governing authorities and demonstrated that he was in complete control. Government gone wrong sent Jesus to the cross, and that is exactly where he wanted to go. Even bad government is part of God’s plan to save sinners, because it sent Jesus to Calvary to complete his work of salvation for us.

Governing authorities are not perfect, but they are a gift from God. Government is a gift for this life from the Savior who will still be King of kings and Lord of lords when all earthly governments have passed away.

Prayer:
Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for the gift of government. Bless and guide all who make, administer, enforce, and judge our laws, so that we may live in peace until we enter your eternal kingdom. 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God the Potter – November 7, 2018

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
Jeremiah 18:1-6

God the Potter


Daily Devotion – November 7, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 18:1-6

See series: Devotions

Have you ever seen the potter at his wheel? It’s amazing! Starting with a lump of spinning clay, a good potter can form and shape until he has created a usable vessel, and often it’s a work of art!

But sometimes it just doesn’t seem to work. So what does the potter do? He reshapes, sometimes even beginning again.

How desperately I need God to reshape me, to reform me! I make a mess out of so many things, oh-so-often! I fail to listen to and focus on God and his Word. I fail to love God with all my heart. I fail to love my neighbor as myself. I make a mess out of myself and I often hurt others!

And yet God, the “potter,” continues to lovingly work with me! He continues to forgive me, love me, and assures me that I am his child. I deserve his wrath! He gives me his love!

And in love he, the potter, continues to shape me; a push here, a prod there, more—or less—pressure as needed. And in the end? I will be an amazing work of art, fashioned by THE Potter himself!

Prayer:
O God, continue to shape and form me that I might show your glory 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Pencil – November 6, 2018

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.
Revelation 14:6

Pencil


Daily Devotion – November 6, 2018

Devotion based on Revelation 14:6

See series: Devotions

Sixty years ago next month, a man by the name of Leonard Read wrote a short but extraordinary article. What made it so extraordinary was that it took the abstract and seemingly dull subject of economics and made it concrete. But his little article did more than that. With this piece, Leonard Read also filled countless readers with a sense of humility and a sense of awe.

The title of his essay was, “I, Pencil.” In it, Read demonstrates how even the making of a plain pencil involves all kinds of people in all kinds of circumstances from all over the world.

He starts with the wood. The wood had to come from a source of lumber—perhaps a place like the American Pacific Northwest. But the equipment to harvest the trees came from somewhere else, the metals for making the equipment came from somewhere else, and the transportation for moving the wood involved many scattered teams of individuals in various places. In addition, the human skill needed to transform massive loads of lumber into precise, delicate sizes involved many more.

In his article, Leonard Read then goes on to think through all the other parts of the pencil. What has to happen to get the graphite for the pencil? What has to happen to develop the yellow paint? What has to happen to construct a machine that will print the letters and numbers? What about the coats of lacquer that cover the pencil? What about the metal band on the end that fits just right? What about that mysterious piece of technology we call the eraser? What’s the nature of the glue that holds all the parts together? And finally, what does it take to assemble all of these different components in such a way that it does not cost a fortune to do it?

A major point in Read’s article is this. The creation of just a plain pencil does not involve a few select people. Rather, it involves wide swaths of people from multiple languages, multiple cultures.

In that way, it’s similar to how the Lord uses the gospel to create his Church. The Good News of what Jesus did on the cross to wash us clean is not for a select group or a select class. The gospel, John records, is for every nation, tribe, language, and people. The gospel is for everyone because everyone needs the gospel. And it is through this gospel that God builds his Church out of wide swaths of souls from multiple languages, multiple cultures; from Pakistan to China, from Cameroon to Germany, from the Navajo Nation to Brazil, from Siberia to Vietnam, from Montreal, Quebec, to Casa Grande, Arizona.

The next time you hold a pencil in your hand, think beyond the pencil. Think about the breathtaking miracle that is the Church.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your gospel. Move me to remember that your gospel is for everyone. Everyone. 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Deadly Deception – November 5, 2018

Jesus said to [his disciples]: “Watch out that no one deceives you.”
Mark 13:5

A Deadly Deception


Daily Devotion – November 5, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 13:5

See series: Devotions

Jesus offered an earnest warning to his disciples. He knew what they would endure while he was on this earth. He also knew what they would endure after he ascended to his Father’s right hand in heaven. Jesus issued the warning because of his sincere love and care for their spiritual well-being. The warning still applies today. I need to take these words of caution to heart, “Watch out that no one deceives you.”

Deceptions abound. Their purpose is always the same because their author is the same. The devil who is a liar is also a master deceiver. He manufactures half-truths with impunity. He manipulates conversations to fit his dialogue. He molds perceptions to accommodate his purpose. Each is a deadly attack designed to destroy my faith.

This is why Jesus’ exhortation is paramount. I need to be on my guard and keep my eyes open. There is never a “time out” from the devil’s attacks. His deceptions come when I least expect them, and they are compelling at my most vulnerable times. I can never let my guard down for a moment.

While my heartfelt desire is to keep watch, I know what often happens. My eyes grow weary because of the strain. I fall asleep because I am exhausted from the battle. Even worse, I tend to minimize the deadly nature of the devil’s deceptions. I need to rely on Jesus’ encouragement. I also need to rely on his strength. He was faithful. He was unyielding. He was victorious. He endured every deadly deception I would ever have to experience, and he overcame them without fault or failure.

Through Jesus I am able to recognize the devil’s deadly deceptions. Through Jesus I have perseverance to keep watch. Through Jesus I have strength to be victorious.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 472)
Rise, my soul to watch and pray; from your sleep awaken!
Be not by the evil day unawares o’ertaken.
For the foe, well we know, is a harvest reaping
While the saints are sleeping.

But while watching also pray to the Lord unceasing.
God protects you day by day, strength and faith increasing,
So that still mind and will shall unite to serve him
And forever love him.

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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Persecution Preservation Perseverance – November 4, 2018

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Matthew 10:22

Persecution Preservation Perseverance


Daily Devotion – November 4, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 10:22

See series: Devotions

In love Jesus took his disciples aside to prepare them for the time when his earthly ministry would come to an end. He warned them about the persecutions they would face. He also encouraged them through his promise that he would preserve them. He even offered them the assurance that they would persevere.

In love Jesus provides me with the same preparation for my life. As a disciple of Jesus I need to understand the world in which I live is not my friend. There are distractions and deceptions. Each proves destructive to my faith because they draw me away from my Savior and his will for my life. Even more dangerous are the persecutions I will have to endure. These deadly attacks are designed by the devil to destroy my faith and rob me of heaven. Jesus alerts me to these dangers. He also makes me aware of the preservation he provides.

Jesus tells me I will be able to stand firm to the end. My confidence to remain steadfast comes through faith in his precious work. Jesus’ ministry brought him to this earth to secure the victory I could never win on my own. Through his death on the cross, he defeated the terror of death and the grave. Through his descent into hell, he proved that he destroyed the devil’s power and control. Through his resurrection he proclaimed the victory was won. Jesus further assures me he will preserve me from all harm and danger, and guard and protect me from all evil.

It is because of Jesus’ precious work that I will be able to persevere. Life can be wearisome and discouraging. I will have to endure troubles and persecution. The enemies of my faith will seek to strike terror into my heart and rob me of heaven. Jesus not only tells me, “Do not be afraid,” he also assures me I will persevere. Because of his strength and his victory I can endure and overcome all things.

How blessed I am to know that my Savior will preserve me so that I can persevere in every time of distress and persecution. How blessed I am to know he will be with me to save me.

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, by your death you have overcome death. By your resurrection you have declared your victory. Bless me through your work so that I can remain faithful to you in this life, and in the end, receive the gift of eternal life. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Courageous Faith – November 3, 2018

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Daniel 6:19-23

Courageous Faith


Daily Devotion – November 3, 2018

Devotion based on Daniel 6:19-23

See series: Devotions

They couldn’t believe that Daniel, the do-gooder Jew from Jerusalem, was being promoted to one of the most powerful positions in the kingdom. But no matter how hard they tried, they just couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Amazingly, after 70 years of public service, there wasn’t one intern who spoke against him, or proof of one underhanded deal, or one case where he fixed the books just a little to his advantage. If they were going to get him, it had to be with his religion. So they got the king to issue a decree that anyone who prayed to any god or man, except the king, would be thrown to the lions.

When Daniel heard the decree, he did what he always did. He went home, opened the windows, turned toward Jerusalem, got down on his knees and gave thanks to God. Instead of giving in to the threats of his enemies, instead of rationalizing reasons to hide his faith, he chose to courageously put it on display. And even though he didn’t seem to have any specific promise from God that he would be delivered from the lions, he trusted in the Lord. In this case, the Lord rescued him from bodily harm.

We don’t have a promise from God that nothing bad will ever happen to us as we follow Jesus and glorify him with our lives. But we do have this same marvelous promise from God that served as the foundation for Daniel’s faith: God has forgiven all of our sins, made us his children, and he will be with us in every circumstance and even use everything that happens to us for our eternal good. We live in a culture that seems to be growing more and more opposed to Christ and his followers. But like Daniel we can trust in God. His promises give us the confidence to courageously live our faith and look for ways that we can glorify God with our lives.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, remind me of your promises to be with me and to bless me in every circumstance. Help me by the power of your Spirit to courageously live for you. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Chosen People – November 2, 2018

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

Chosen People


Daily Devotion – November 2, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 2:9

See series: Devotions

When you hear the words “chosen people,” who do you think of? If you’re familiar with Old Testament history, you probably think of the Old Testament people of Israel. Throughout the Old Testament God repeatedly refers to the people of Israel as his “chosen people.” For example, as the people of Israel were camped at Mount Sinai on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan, God told them, “If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). Forty years later, as the people of Israel finally prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses reiterated God’s declaration when he said, “You are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6).

In our Bible passage today, the apostle Peter echoes those Old Testament words about the people of Israel. Only now, he’s not using them to refer only to the Old Testament people of Israel. He’s not even using them to refer just to those who might be physically descended from the Old Testament people of Israel. Instead, he’s using them to describe all believers regardless of their ethnic heritage. He’s using them to refer even to you and me. Everyone who believes in Jesus, regardless of their ancestry, is now a part of this “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.”

How did this happen? Was there something in us that caught God’s attention and led him to choose us? Did we do something to deserve this inestimable privilege? Not at all. Nothing in us and nothing that we could have done could ever have led God to choose us as his special people. But that was the case for God’s Old Testament people as well. God didn’t choose them because they were bigger or stronger than all the other people on the earth. Instead he chose them because he loved them (Deuteronomy 7:8). That was it. God loved them and, in his love, he chose them to be his special people. That ultimately is why God has chosen us as well. He loved us. In spite of the sinful, damnable, unlovable people that we were by nature, God loved us. And he demonstrated that love by sending his Son Jesus to live, die, and rise again for us. Now, through faith in Jesus, we are exactly what the Bible says we are: we are God’s chosen people. We are kings and priests, ruling with God and having direct access to him through Jesus. We are holy, for we are covered in Christ’s holiness. We are a people belonging to God, purchased with the blood of his Son and invaluably precious to him.

All this makes us eager to do what God has chosen us to do. As God’s chosen people, we are eager to declare his praises to all those who are around us. May God use us, whom he has called out of the darkness of unbelief into the light of faith, to share this good news with others, so that many more may come to faith in Jesus and join us as God’s chosen, holy people.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, all praise to you for making me a part of your chosen people through faith in Jesus. Lead me to declare your praises that many more may become a part of your holy people. 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Change That Brings Us Home – October 31, 2018

This is what the LORD says: “Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, ‘O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’ See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.”
Jeremiah 31:7-9

The Change That Brings Us Home


Daily Devotion – October 31, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:7-9

See series: Devotions

A year ago, Christians, especially Lutheran Christians, celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Five hundred years ago, all of Europe was caught up in a time of unparalleled change. The Reformation changed how people looked at God and at themselves. Five hundred one years later, very little has changed.

Lutheran Christians still look upon God as a God of grace—a God known primarily for his loving forgiveness of sins, based on Christ’s sacrifice.

Lutheran Christians look upon themselves as sinners and saints at the same time. They believe in and practice confession and absolution. They have a sure and blessed hope of heaven based on the promises of God and the completed work of Christ.

So, while little has changed for Lutheran Christians, we can also say everything is changing and that change happens every day. Every day the Holy Spirit is bringing people to faith or renewing faith that had faltered and waned. Of course, this is not just a Lutheran or Reformation thing. This is the work of God that Jeremiah prophesied about.

In our reading, we see sharp contrasts indicative of great change. The people of God—the ones he saved for his own glory “sing for joy” and “come with weeping.” They “shout” and they “pray.” The blind, the lame, and the expectant mothers return to their God on a “level path where they will not stumble.”

Everything changed for God’s Old Testament people Israel when they heeded the words of the prophets. When they listened carefully to men like Jeremiah and Isaiah, they saw God’s grace and mercy—his loving desire to be in relationship with them. They saw their sin and their need to repent and everything changed.

There was reformation well before there was the Reformation. God has been changing people since the fall into sin. He has been and still is calling us home on the path of salvation he established through Christ, leading us by faith step by step. This reformation is the change that brings us home.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for calling me heavenward in Christ. Lead me safely home by faith in him as my Savior. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Nobody Knows the Trouble I Have Seen – October 30, 2018

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:7-10

Nobody Knows the Trouble I Have Seen


Daily Devotion – October 30, 2018

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:7-10

See series: Devotions

“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…” Since 1867, the words of that song have been performed by many successful artists. However, they were originally composed and sung by struggling slaves.

Times change, but troubles don’t. Children have trouble with bullies. Adolescents have trouble with peer pressure. Adults have financial, health, relationship, and work troubles. We all have troubles because we all have sin. What we feel we may not have is someone who can empathize with us. And so, we find ourselves echoing the words of that African-American spiritual: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”

But the song doesn’t end there. The chorus continues, “Nobody knows but Jesus.”

Does he really? Is it possible for first century Jesus to understand twenty-first century problems? Is it possible for God to understand the problems of mankind? It is, and he does. Jesus is God, but he shared fully in our humanity except for one important difference. He was without sin. He was tempted in the same ways we are. He knew sibling rivalry. He knew what it was to not be understood. He knew loneliness, poverty, and hunger. He knew sorrow and suffering. He knew betrayal and bullying. Because he himself suffered, he empathizes with us when we suffer.

And because Jesus was without sin, he was able to do something about our troubles. He submitted himself to the suffering, scorn, and shame of the cross. Because he allowed sin to crush him and he passed from death to life, he is the source of our eternal salvation. God uses death to pull us, who are connected to Jesus by faith, safely from this trouble-filled world to the trouble-free existence with him in heaven.

“Glory hallelujah!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, our Great High Priest, help us to call on you in our weakness and to sing your praises in our troubles. 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus is There for You – October 29, 2018

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Mark 10:46-52

Jesus is There for You


Daily Devotion – October 29, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 10:46-52

See series: Devotions

“Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!'” How often do you think Bartimaeus was told to be quiet? How many times was the blind man shoved into the corner and ignored? How frequently was he out of sight and out of mind?

It can certainly feel demoralizing to be ignored or marginalized in any way. It can be lonely to feel like no one cares or notices us. When life gets us down, we can easily feel like God treats us the same way everyone else seems to. At such times, we may falsely assume that God is ignoring us or that he wants us to be quiet and stop bothering him. Satan knows us well and he seeks to drive us down into the depths of despair. Too often we follow his lead. Such despair is sinful and shows a lack of faith.

As hopeless as things looked for Bartimaeus, he knew where he could put his trust. Even as people were trying to quiet him down, “he kept on shouting all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!'” It’s hard to imagine a more powerful and worthwhile prayer than the one the blind man shouted to Jesus. His prayer was heard. Miraculously, Jesus immediately gave the man sight and vindicated his faith.

Thank God that Jesus doesn’t ever marginalize or ignore us! He never shoves us to the side or brushes us off. Rather, he pays attention to our every need and takes good care of us. Like Bartimaeus, keep on shouting! Keep on taking your prayers to Jesus. Don’t let the devil or this world quiet you or fill you with despair. Your Savior Jesus stands ready and willing to come to your aid.

Nowhere was that more evident than when Jesus went to the cross to meet our greatest need. We were in grave need of help—even more in need than blind Bartimaeus. We needed a Savior. We needed someone to suffer and die to take away the punishment that our sins deserved and to rescue us from eternal damnation. Jesus willingly took our place on that cross and earned our forgiveness and salvation. In his great love, he took care of our greatest need. In that same love, he stands ready to come to our aid today and every day.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for going to the cross and taking care of my greatest need. Help me never to despair, but to always look to you for help and to trust in your loving care. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Persistent Prayer – October 28, 2018

Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice quickly.”
Luke 18:1-8a

Persistent Prayer


Daily Devotion – October 28, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 18:1-8a

See series: Devotions

Prayer is such a wonderful gift and privilege from God. His disciples can pray to him at any time. We can ask him for anything we need, and he promises to hear us and help us. Still, we find that it isn’t always easy to use the gift of prayer as God intends it to be used. We might treat prayer like it’s our duty, rather than our privilege. We might pray thoughtlessly. We might forget to pray all together.

It’s easy to think that the key to improving our prayer life is just try harder. So, we think of weak spots in our prayer life and say, “Well, I’m just going to have to buckle down and do better next time.” But our commitment isn’t the key to improvement.

The key to a stronger prayer life is to remember that through faith in our Savior Jesus we are God’s own dear children. As dear children of God, we can pray confidently to him just as dearly-loved children confidently ask their parents. We can ask our Father for anything, and we can trust that he will always give us what’s best for us.

In today’s reading Jesus tells the parable of a persistent widow who keeps asking an unjust judge for justice against her adversary. Since he’s an unjust judge, he ignores her. But she keeps at him, and because of her constant pestering, he finally helps her. Jesus’ point is clear. If even an unjust judge is willing to help someone who keeps bothering him, how much more will our loving Father in heaven want to receive the prayers of his dearly loved children and answer them!

Is there something in your life you’ve been praying about? Does it seem as though God hasn’t answered you yet? Don’t give up. Pray persistently in Jesus’ name. Your dear Father in heaven will most certainly hear you and help you.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, lead me to pray boldly and persistently without giving up, trusting you to give me the best answer at the best time. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Chains – October 27, 2018

This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.
2 Timothy 2:8b-9

Chains


Daily Devotion – October 27, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 2:8b-9

See series: Devotions

There Paul sat. He was in a dungeon in Rome. His execution was near. And as he wrote his last letter, he also had to deal with something we don’t always consider. He had to deal with the reality of wearing a chain.

In the 1st Century, chains for prisoners were made of rough iron. They weighed an average of 15 pounds. How the authorities placed the chain on you could vary. They might place your chain on one of your legs or both of your legs, on one of your wrists or both of your wrists. Or they might decide to place it around your neck. They might chain you to another prisoner, or they might chain you to all the other prisoners who are there.

The chain you wore could be painful. The rough iron would easily rust from your perspiration. The sheer weight of your chain could be debilitating. And the noisy creaking of your chain would be constant.

In the darkness of that dungeon, therefore, Paul understood the limitations he faced as a Christian proclaimer of the gospel. All he had to do was see, and feel, and hear the chain on his body.

But he knew something else. He also knew that God’s Word was not chained.

As we walk through this life, the Lord calls upon us to share the gospel with others. As we work to do that, however, you and I are painfully aware of our limitations. We know how lazy we can get. We know how fearful we can be. And no one has to tell us how often our sinful behavior has threatened to drown out the very message the Lord wants to proclaim through us.

The chains of our sinful limitations can be many. But God’s Word is not chained. The Good News of full forgiveness through faith alone in Jesus Christ—this Good News has a power and a vigor all its own. It is the gospel that pierces stone-cold hearts. It is the gospel that makes alive. It is the gospel that changes destinies—one soul at a time.

With all that in mind, Paul continued to share the unchained gospel, chains and all. You and I can too.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, never let the chains of my own limitations discourage me from sharing your gospel. I may be chained, but your Word is not. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Always Prepared – October 26, 2018

In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 Peter 3:15

Always Prepared


Daily Devotion – October 26, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 3:15

See series: Devotions

As I write this devotion, another hurricane is bearing down on U.S. soil. It is predicted to be the most powerful storm that region has seen in over 150 years of weather records.

Residents need to prepare for what’s coming to protect life and property from the storm. Meanwhile, people in other areas are preparing to help those affected by the storm.

God’s Word commands us to be prepared. The apostle Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

Peter was writing to people who were facing all kinds of troubles. They were being persecuted, arrested, and even killed because they trusted Jesus as their Savior and set apart Christ as Lord.

But Peter knew that God is always in control, and he wanted Christians to see even these troubles and hardships as opportunities. When they were arrested and ordered to defend themselves, they would have the chance to talk about Jesus.

They could talk about the difference Jesus made in their lives. They could talk about the sure hope they had even in the darkest moments of life.

They had hope because Jesus too was put on trial and faithfully spoke the truth about who he was and what he came to do. Through his innocent suffering and death at the hands of his enemies and his resurrection three days later, death was destroyed, and every sin was forgiven. Eternal life was theirs! And it is ours!

We too have the certainty of forgiveness and the sure hope of eternal life through Jesus. And we never know when our conversation with someone will lead to the opportunity to give the reason for the hope that we have. And so, we always want to be prepared.

We prepare by listening to God’s Word, by learning more about what God has prepared for us in his perfect love. Keep listening. Keep learning. And be prepared to share your hope in Christ.

And if you are among those affected by hurricanes or other hardships, we are praying for you. May God’s Word give you hope for yourself and hope to share.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have prepared heaven for us. Now prepare us to share our hope 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Scattered Preachers – October 25, 2018

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
Acts 8:4

Scattered Preachers


Daily Devotion – October 25, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 8:4

See series: Devotions

The pastor looks so dignified as he gets up to preach a sermon. He has spent long hours studying a portion of God’s Word and in a well-prepared and polished fashion he delivers a message that clearly shows you your sin and points you to the cross of your Savior Jesus. At least that’s the ideal! When pastors strive for this ideal, they strive to follow in the footsteps of Jesus’ closest followers who were commissioned by the risen Lord himself (Matthew 28:19). Throughout the Book of Acts the apostles looked so confident, polished, and prepared as they preached Christ boldly. But what do we see here in Acts chapter 8? “A great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1). How terrible! Because of violent opposition to Christianity, believing men and women were scattered! They were forced away from their loving and supportive church home in Jerusalem. They no longer had the apostles that God sent to preach to them. What could they do now? In verse 4, God tells us that “those who were scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

How amazing! These men and women were not divinely called to take a leading role in the church like the apostles were. They were mostly new believers in Christ. They were not sent preachers in the sense that Christ sent them out with a divine call. They were scattered preachers! Painful events in their life had forced them away from familiar people and places. Once scattered, they came into contact with new people and places. Many of them did what often comes naturally to a new believer. They shared the good news of Jesus wherever they went! Were they as bold, as persuasive, and as powerful as the apostles? Probably not. But through their testimony to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, people were saved and the church grew. It is amazing how God worked through these scattered preachers!

Sometimes people today may get the impression that because they are not as polished and prepared as a pastor, they have no business sharing the gospel with people. Nonsense! A professional football player doesn’t always need the perfect moves to score some points. Sometimes, all they need to do is push ahead, stumble, and bumble their way across the goal line. The reality of a Savior who died on a cross to forgive our stumbling and bumbling attempts to preach the gospel is certainly a source of great comfort for pastors who have been sent to preach. Let that same gospel comfort empower your efforts to share Jesus as a “scattered preacher.” You may not have been sent to preach in the same way as your pastor has been sent. But God has used events in your life to move you around and put you into contact with people who need to hear about Jesus. You have been “scattered” for a purpose. The Book of Acts shows us what wonderful things God can do with his “scattered preachers.”

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, thank you for using the events of my life to bring me into contact with people who need your love and forgiveness. Bless me with opportunities to share your love and forgiveness that have been shared with 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Message for All Seasons – October 24, 2018

It was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53:10-12

The Message for All Seasons


Daily Devotion – October 24, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 53:10-12

See series: Devotions

For Christians around the world who annually observe the season of Lent (the 40 days before Easter—reviewing the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus), Isaiah’s amazing chapter 53 prophecy is, at that time, a common reading. But now it’s mid-fall! Many thoughts are trending toward mission festivals, the Reformation, and Thanksgiving! Yet, Isaiah’s Spirit-inspired prophecy continues to be “The Message for All Seasons.” It is a message that foretells the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ!

At first reading, or first hearing, today’s lesson seems complex and even confusing. That is because of the personal pronouns. Let’s repeat the lesson, identifying the pronouns and descriptive titles. The power of Isaiah’s chapter 53 prophecy lies in its precision. It was exactly fulfilled by Jesus!

“It was the Lord’s (God the Father’s) will to crush him (Jesus, our Savior) and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord (God the Father) makes his (Jesus’) life a guilt offering, he (the Father) will see his offspring (Jesus) and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his (Jesus’) hand. After the suffering of his (Jesus’) soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my (the Father’s) righteous servant (Jesus) will justify many (i.e. the great mass—all sinners), and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I (the Father) will give him (Jesus) a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.”

That’s “The Message for All Seasons” and for all people! Think about it, and if you can, yet today, read Philippians 2:6-11 as a glorious post log to Isaiah’s precious prophecy.

Prayer:
Lord, when a portion of your Word seems very deep to me, grant me the Spirit’s help to understand, and/or give me courage to ask a pastor about it. The message of salvation, foretold and fulfilled, is my peace and joy. 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Christ is Your Glue – November 25, 2017

[God the Father] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:13-20

Christ is Your Glue


Daily Devotion – November 25, 2017

Devotion based on Colossians 1:13-20

See series: Devotions

Your body is made up of 100 trillion microscopic things called “cells.” Cells are the basic unit of life, the foundation of every living thing. And the glue that literally holds those 100 trillion cells together is called laminin. Laminins are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of your body to the next cell. Without laminins, you would literally fall apart. The coolest thing about laminins is what they look like. The glue that holds you together, the foundation upon which your body is built, comes in the shape of a cross.

In speaking about Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul had this to say: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Cross-shaped laminins literally hold your body together, and the eternal life that Jesus Christ purchased for you when he died on the cross in your place is the foundation of your faith, the glue that holds your entire life together. No longer do you need to worry about where you will spend eternity—Jesus has made things peaceful between you and God now and forever. Jesus has freed you from being a slave to sin and now empowers you to say “no” to its temptations. And when we fail to say “no” to sin, Jesus is ready with his forgiveness to lift us back up and empower us to live as his children.

There is no need to worry about your life now or ever because Jesus, both true God and true man, is not only your Savior, but also your King. He is in control of your life. He is going to hold you together in every way.

Prayer:
Christ my King, I know you will never let me down. You will hold my life together in every way. When I forget about that, forgive me. And then lead me through the precious promises of your Word to trust that with you holding me together I can handle anything now and forever. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Happiest Day of My Life – August 18, 2017

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

Happiest Day of My Life


Daily Devotion – August 18, 2017

Devotion based on Philippians 1:21

See series: Devotions

A teacher asks her second-grade class to draw a picture of the happiest day of their lives. After they turn in their assignments, she straightens them into a pile and begins to scan through them. She pauses at one picture. The picture is of a funeral. She looks for the name at the top and calls the student up to her desk. When she asks him to explain, he tells her the happiest day of his life will be his funeral. The happiest day because he will go to heaven.

When the Christian Paul wrote “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” he was expressing the heart of being a Christian.

From the Bible, Christians understand and believe that they are full of sin. They see the selfishness inside themselves. They see how much they resent God commanding them to do things they don’t want to do. They realize how they really have nothing to offer God for him to look on them with favor.

They also understand and believe how much God loves them. Jesus lived a completely innocent and sin-free life. He then covered himself with all the garbage of our sin and guilt. Jesus took all the blame and all the shame we deserve. He stood still under the crushing justice of God’s anger over our sin. His sacrifice guaranteed no Christian will ever experience even an ounce of God’s justice.

Christians understand and believe that heaven is waiting for them. When they die, Jesus will welcome them into that place filled with joy and peace, where there is no sadness, and sorrows no longer exist. It’s no wonder Christians look forward to the day when they leave their pains, their aches, and their struggles behind to gain the perfect happiness of living with Jesus forever!

The same love from Jesus that fills Christians with hope also fills them with purpose. Jesus’ love leads believers to want to serve Jesus in any way and in every way they can. They live to give glory to Jesus.

I’m looking forward to my funeral. In the meantime, I thank Christ he’s given me another day to serve him.

What about you?

Prayer:
Jesus, thanks for giving me heaven. I can’t wait to be there with you! In the meantime, help me live for you, serving you with my whole 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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If Only… – March 8, 2017

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. … The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” … Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Genesis 2:7, 15–17, 3:1–7

If Only…


Daily Devotion – March 8, 2017

Devotion based on Genesis 2:7, 15–17, 3:1–7

See series: Devotions

“If only… I had more money.”

“If only… I had a better relationship with my family.”

“If only… I could just find the right job.

It’s not only greed. It’s not only a desire for more. It’s a complete lack of faith in God to provide all that’s good. Adam and Eve fell into that trap.

“If only… we could have our eyes opened and be like God. If only we could know evil, as well as good. If only we could enjoy something more than what God has already given.”

What more could God have given them? What more could God give us? We have from him all that we need and so much more.

Yet we are not content with him. “If only …”

If only there was a way out of this trap we have fallen into. If only God would take pity on us and forgive us for wanting more than him. If only there was a Rescuer to set us free from our foolish sin and greed and mistrust of God. If only there was a way to escape the curse of death that we have brought on ourselves.

It’s more than “if only”–it’s a rock-solid, gospel-truth promise of God: the “offspring of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) has crushed the serpent’s head for us. His name is Jesus. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

We don’t need “if onlys”. We have a gracious, forgiving Savior who is our all in all.

Prayer:
Dear Father, forgive me for wanting more and failing to trust you for all. Thank you for forgiving me and saving me through Jesus, your Son. In him, I have all I could ever want. 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Angels Attend Me – March 6, 2017

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Matthew 4:11

Angels Attend Me


Daily Devotion – March 6, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 4:11

See series: Devotions

All too often I am tempted to think I’m on my own. No one is concerned. No one is paying attention. No one offers any help. The thought becomes especially strong as life becomes more complicated. I may wrestle with uncertainty in my job. I may be anxious over family matters. I may be overwhelmed with health issues. It seems when I really need someone, no one is there. I may even be tempted to think God has abandoned me as well.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. I can always rely on the Lord for his help, just as he sent angels to attend to Jesus’ needs.

Jesus had just completed forty days of grueling and incessant temptation. The devil tried to derail Jesus’ God-given ministry, but he was not successful. Jesus triumphed over every deceptive device his enemy employed, yet his faithfulness came at a cost. He was physically and emotionally drained. This is why the Father sent angels to attend him.

Today, I live with the same assurance. When I am physically and emotionally drained, when I feel abandoned, when I think I am on the verge of despair, I know where I can look for help. God will send his angels to attend me.

Angels attend me according to God’s gracious command. Angels attend me to strengthen and keep me safe. Because of what the Lord has done for me, and continues to do for me, I am never alone. By faith I know God’s angels will be there to attend me. Even more important, by faith I know God’s angels will work in perfect harmony with Jesus for my blessing.

My Savior wants me to be in heaven with him, and he gave up his life to give me this assurance. Through his blood-signed promise and his precious sacrifice on the cross I also know I will never be alone. Jesus will always be with me, and he will always strengthen, comfort, reassure, and forgive me. I also have every confidence he will send his angels to attend me.

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, I rejoice in your all precious promises. Keep me in your care. Strengthen me through your grace. Send your holy angels to attend 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A New Covenant – November 2, 2016

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:31-34

A New Covenant


Daily Devotion – November 2, 2016

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:31-34

See series: Devotions

You get a new job. Before you go to work, you have to sit down with your employer and come to an agreement on your wage, benefits and the tasks you are expected to complete. When all of those details are ironed out, you and your employer put those details down on paper and sign it, stating that each of you will honor your end of the deal. You promise to work a certain amount of hours completing a certain task or tasks. Your employer promises certain compensation to you for your work. It’s a contract, a legally binding agreement between two parties which outlines what each party does for the other.

While it is not an exact parallel, the word “covenant” in the Bible is much like a contract. In Jeremiah chapter 31, God says, “The time is coming… when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers…because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them.” God speaks about two covenants, the new one and the one which had been broken but not by God.

God had made a covenant with Israel. It is summarized in Exodus chapter 19, verses 5 & 6, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations, you will be my treasured possession… you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Simply put, God would make Israel his special people for a special purpose, and on the other side Israel was to obey God fully. Sadly, the Israelites were just like all of us: sinful. They forsook God and broke his covenant. We’re no different. Daily we choose sin over righteousness, lies over the truth, hurtful words over kindness, grudges over forgiveness, anger over patience, selfishness over selflessness. The list could go on.

If our status before God depended upon holding up an agreement with God, eternity would not look good for us. But here is where God’s “new” covenant comes in. This is a one-sided covenant, where God does something for us and that’s it. He says, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” This sin-forgetting forgiveness is accomplished by the sinless life of Jesus, his death on the cross, and his victorious resurrection from the dead. Through faith in Jesus, God does not hold our sins against us because he held them against his Son. Through faith in Jesus, the God of heaven and earth is our God and we are his.

The only covenant, the only contract that matters for you is one-sided: God declares you his forgiven son or daughter and he signed it with the blood of his Son, your Savior, Jesus.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 389):

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee; Let the water and the blood from thy riven side which flowed be of sin the double cure: cleanse me from its guilt and power.

Not the labors of my hands can fulfill thy laws demands. Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone. Thou must save, and thou alone.

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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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