His Calling Card – September 5, 2018

Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. … Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
Deuteronomy 4:1,2,6-8

His Calling Card


Daily Devotion – September 5, 2018

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 4:1,2,6-8

See series: Devotions

Jim was a salesman. He traveled to visit his customers. He always left them a business card, so they would be able to contact him again later.

God uses his people as his calling card. On his people, he imprints his promises: “I will be with you. I will be near you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will always, always listen when you pray.” And a host of other promises. On his people, he imprints his laws: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart. Love your neighbor as yourself.” And he added a fully fleshed out code of conduct for his people’s society, worship, and personal life. God wanted his people to be his calling card. The people of other nations would see Israel and see God’s promises and commands stamped across the fabric of their lives. And it would have worked…

Except his people sinned. They fell away from God again and again. They disregarded his commands and promises and turned to other gods.

How about you? Do you represent God well? Do you display God’s commands to the world by the way you live? Do you promote God’s promises by what you say and do? Or are you guilty of giving God “bad press?”

God in his mercy sent another calling card: his own Son. In his Son, people of every nation can see the imprint of God’s righteousness, God’s laws. In God’s Son Jesus, the world can see God’s love, God’s promises. Jesus not only publicized God well in life but connected lost souls with God through his death on the cross. People from every nation who believe in Jesus not only learn about God, but know God as their Father, receive forgiveness of sins, and live forever.

God forgives you through Christ. And in grace, sends you out as his calling card into the world.

Prayer:
Dear Father, forgive me for giving you a bad name by a sinful life. Forgive me and cleanse me in Christ and use me as your calling card in a world of lost souls. 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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Raw Recruit – September 4, 2018

Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.
Ephesians 6:13

Raw Recruit


Daily Devotion – September 4, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 6:13

See series: Devotions

In the world of the First Century AD, the Roman army was a sight to see. It had great numbers. It was well-supplied. It had cutting-edge weaponry.

However, its real strength was not in numbers, weapons, or supplies. It was the training. The training of the Roman soldier in the Roman army was superb. The historian by the name of Josephus got to observe the training of Roman soldiers firsthand. What struck him the most was their determination to always be ready for the day of battle. Their training was constant. Josephus wrote: “[T]hey do not sit with folded hands in peace time only to put them in motion in the hour of need. On the contrary, as though they had been born with weapons in hand, they never have a truce from training.”

In addition, this constant training was not just for the soldier who was new to the army. It was for the seasoned veteran as well. We know this from an ancient manual on Roman military training. After it emphasizes that the seasoned veteran has orders for daily training too, the manual then explains why. It says, “No matter how many years he has served, an unexercised soldier is forever a raw recruit.”

Which leads to you and me.

As a Christian, how many times have I presumed that I am a seasoned soldier of the cross when the reality is that I often behave like a raw recruit? As soon as the Lord gives me an opportunity to display some genuine Christian maturity for others, how often do I react with the immaturity of the raw recruit? And when this sinful world gives me a very trying day, how often do I glower, pout, and carry myself as if this were my first day in the Lord’s army?

We have all had our turn at letting down our Lord.

That is why my present strength as a soldier of the cross is not the number of years I have lived. It is not my happy memories of Sunday School or Christian Elementary School. It is not my past work on this or that committee at church. Rather, it is the Spirit-wrought realization that I need the Lord Jesus now more than ever. I need the forgiveness he has purchased for me at the cross. I need the peace and strength he gives me in his Word and Sacrament.

When that happens, the more fully I wear the armor of God. When that happens, the more fully I live to the Lord’s glory as a seasoned soldier of the cross.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, so often I have behaved as if I were a raw recruit. Wash me clean. Empower me by your Spirit to realize my need for you is greater than ever. 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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Heart Problems – September 3, 2018

“From within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.”
Mark 7:21-22

Heart Problems


Daily Devotion – September 3, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 7:21-22

See series: Devotions

Nancy was concerned about her husband. His lifestyle choices made him a perfect candidate for heart problems. Even Ken’s doctor agreed. Ken was overweight. He got little exercise. He was under a great deal of stress. What was most troubling was his attitude. Every time Nancy encouraged him to change, he replied, “You have to die from something.”

In many ways I can be like Ken, especially when it comes to the spiritual condition of my heart. Jesus wants to claim it as his own, but often I reject that claim and live my life the way I choose. This leads to a struggle between what is good and God-pleasing, and what could lead to my eternal condemnation.

My heart is the problem. Jesus’ warning to his disciples is one I need to take seriously. I may believe my heart is filled with good intentions, but the opposite is true. By nature, it is filled with evil thoughts and desires which result in evil actions. In the end, I either must confess I have a heart problem or deny it.

What a blessing it is that Jesus opens my eyes with the warning he gives. Not only do I need to see the horrible condition of my heart, I must acknowledge it. Once I admit my heart has a problem, my Savior leads me to look to the cure he provides.

In Jesus, I have forgiveness for the evil condition of my heart. In Jesus, I receive the desire and the strength to change. In Jesus, I have his peace which continually guards my heart and life. It is only Jesus’ undeserved love, his sinless life, and his triumph over every evil that replaces what exists by nature, repairs the damage, and renews my heart for a life of loving service.

This new life and new heart is mine only by faith in Jesus. And though I may never be completely free from heart problems in this life, I can live in hope. Jesus continues to call me, change me, and claim my heart as his own.

Prayer: (Psalm 51:10)
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

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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Following Jesus is Worth Whatever It Takes – September 2, 2018

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
Matthew 16:21-26

Following Jesus is Worth Whatever It Takes


Daily Devotion – September 2, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 16:21-26

See series: Devotions

Human beings put a value on everything. How much we value someone, or something affects the decisions we make. If we value a certain piece of meat enough to pay thirteen dollars a pound for it, we buy it. If we value our pet enough to pay a thousand dollars for the surgery she needs, we tell the vet to schedule the surgery. If we value winning a marathon enough, we get up early every morning to train for it. If we value losing weight enough, we avoid certain foods.

Jesus values you more than anyone has ever valued anything. He wants to spend his eternity with you. He knew that the only way he could do this was to go to the cross and spill his blood as a payment for your sins. It would be painful beyond words. It would be difficult beyond description. As Jesus said, he would have to “suffer many things.” But, for Jesus it was a simple equation. Lose his life or lose you. He chose to lose his life.

And now, because of what Jesus did, all his followers will live eternally with him. Those who do not follow him will suffer separation from him forever. So, what are you willing to suffer in order to follow him? It is a simple equation. Lose him and you lose everything. Or, to put it positively, follow him at all costs. Carry whatever burden you must. Put up with whatever ridicule you must. Pass by whatever temporary pleasure you must in order to follow him. Because when Jesus leads you to the glory of heaven you will exclaim, “Wow! It was worth it!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I thank you that you valued me enough to suffer so much to save me. My relationship with you is worth more than anything else. Send your Holy Spirit to strengthen me in this conviction so that every decision I make this day will reflect how much I value 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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The Wonders of His Mercy – September 1, 2018

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy … Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:1-2

The Wonders of God’s Mercy


Daily Devotion – September 1, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 12:1-2

See series: Devotions

Little hands shape Play-Doh into so many things: hot dogs, stars, and colorful creatures. And when they finish they make something else.

How much like Play-Doh we are! What is molding our hearts, minds, and character? Either the world is shaping us to conform to its standards, or the Lord is changing us inside and out.

The world works hand-in-hand with our inborn, sinful nature. An advertisement leaves us dissatisfied with what God has given. A movie scene or Internet picture stirs lustful desires. Another person’s harsh words kindle our resentment.

Even potentially good virtues like hard work, family values, and self-reliance become ungodly in the world’s hands. Work or family can become more important than our Savior. Self-reliance can fail to fully rely on God, and it can foster indifference towards the needs of others.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” But how? How can we resist the power of this world? Look at what the apostle writes: “In view of God’s mercy.”

The preceding chapters of Romans laid out the wonders of God’s mercy. The opening verses proclaimed the gospel of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. What mercy! Our own sin made us worthless. Yet even though all have sinned, God has freely justified all, because Jesus paid the ransom by sacrificing himself in our place. God justifies the wicked. He gives us a clean record. Faith believes the good news of this verdict. Only by faith in Christ, and not by works, we have access to God and rejoice in the hope of glory. “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (Romans 9:16).

In view of God’s mercy, why wouldn’t we daily resist the world’s efforts to mold us like Play-Doh? Rather, take God’s word to heart to transform your mind, making you new each day.

Prayer:(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 70:4)
Jesus, be with me and direct me;
Jesus, my plans and hopes inspire;
Jesus, from tempting thoughts protect me;
Jesus, be all my heart’s desire;
Jesus, be in my thoughts all day
And never let me fall away.

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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God is Everywhere – August 31, 2018

“Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
Matthew 18:20

God is Everywhere


Daily Devotion – August 31, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 18:20

See series: Devotions

I know that God is everywhere. When I have done something wrong, I know I cannot hide from him, even though I feel like trying. No matter where I go, no matter how I try to avoid what I did, God is still there, and he knows the truth.

But I would like God to be present with me in a soothing way, not in a condemning way. I want his presence in a way that goes beyond his just being there. I want it to be something special, something good.

Jesus tells me how God achieves this special, soothing presence. Jesus invites me to come together with other people in his name.

What does it mean to come together in the name of Jesus?

The name of Jesus is his titles and everything else he has revealed to us about himself in the Bible. To come together in his name is to join with other people in listening to what God says about himself in the Bible. The good news about Jesus, the gospel, is how Jesus presents himself, with the name, “Savior.”

With these words recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is talking about church! Where the gospel is proclaimed in Word and sacrament, Jesus is present in a special way. That way is especially helpful when I have done something wrong, because the gospel tells me that Jesus has taken the punishment for my sin, and I have forgiveness through faith in him.

That way of Jesus being present is especially helpful when I am feeling lonely, because the gospel tells me that God will never leave me or forsake me. Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Because Jesus was doing that for me, God promises that he will never forsake me like that. Instead he will be with me my entire life, all the way to heaven.

I may not always feel like gathering with other people for worship in church, but I know it’s worthwhile, because Jesus promises his special presence there, and I do want to be with Jesus.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 533:1)
I love your kingdom, Lord, the place of your abode, the Church our blest Redeemer saved with his own precious blood. 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 Kingdom of God is In Your Midst – August 30, 2018

Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (NIV 2011)
Luke 17:20-21

The Kingdom of God is In Your Midst


Daily Devotion – August 30, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 17:20-21

See series: Devotions

Things are not always as they seem. An old, beat-up pair of shoes is the most comfortable pair in the closet. A restaurant that looks like a dive serves amazing food.

When the long-awaited Savior finally arrived, many who saw him weren’t impressed. He was from a poor family. He was too ordinary. Sure, there had been miracles. But if he was the promised Savior, when was he going to establish his reign? When was he going to usher in a new golden age for the people of Israel? In today’s reading, some religious leaders called Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come.

Things were not as they seemed. Jesus was not running for office; he was heading for the cross to pay for the sins of all. He was not raising an army; he was inviting people to repent and believe in him. And wherever people heard the Savior’s words and believed, there was the kingdom of God. So, when Jesus was asked when the kingdom of God would come, he said, “The kingdom of God is in your midst.”

Things are still not as they seem. When we read a devotion like this one, when we bow our heads and pray, when we go to church and worship, it all looks and feels so ordinary. We might wonder if it’s worth our time and effort to commit ourselves to such things. We might be tempted to focus on other things instead. Let Jesus’ words in today’s reading put any doubts to rest. Where the words of Jesus are heard and believed, there the kingdom of God is in your midst.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you have paid for all my sins. Keep me close to your Word. Reign as king in my heart. 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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Lord of My Heart and Home – August 29, 2018

“…as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

Lord of My Heart and Home


Daily Devotion – August 29, 2018

Devotion based on Joshua 24:15

See series: Devotions

God’s service to his people is ever-faithful! He served the children of Israel through his almighty Word as he promised to give them a home of their own in Canaan. He also served them through the work of his almighty hand as their faith-filled hope of a promised home was finally fulfilled. Buoyed by a bold faith in God’s promises, Joshua passionately pledged to serve the Lord.

Such a desire to selflessly serve the Lord does not come naturally. The human heart instinctively seeks to serve the sinful self. Earthly idols abound all around us in the riches and pleasures that appear so attractive. The devil seduces the human heart and enslaves it into serving what is appealing to the eye rather than what is appealing to God. How disquieting it is when we repentantly recognize the countless occasions we have not lived up to the perfect service standards that God deserves and demands!

The Lord heals the haughty heart as he holds out his helping hand of grace to the helpless sinner. Just as he served Joshua and the Israelites through his faithful promises, he speaks to us of his promise to revive the brokenhearted with his free gift of forgiveness. In absolute selfless service to sinners, God sent his dearly loved Son, Jesus, who came to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.

Jesus teaches us that real freedom is found in serving him with all our heart. Like the lifeless idols of Joshua’s day, the modern gods that lead the heart to lust after them are helpless to liberate the sinner. They eventually lead to disappointment and eternal destruction. Only in Jesus does the empty heart find everlasting joy and peace. Our Servant-Savior once said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Through God’s life-giving Word he grants us freedom to serve him gladly and willingly.

Out of heart-felt thanks for our Savior’s service to us, we serve Jesus by sharing the Lord’s promises with our families. Not only did Joshua commit himself to serving the Lord, he committed his household to the Lord’s service too. God’s work in the hearts of sinners begins as babies are brought to be baptized. God’s service continues in the hearts of his children as parents and guardians share the life-giving Word of God through family devotions.

The Lord kept his promise to give the Israelites a home in Canaan. The Lord has graciously given us the infinitely greater promise of a home with him in heaven. Inspired by his promise of life eternal, we live to serve him with all our heart!

Prayer:
Almighty Lord, reign unrivaled in my heart through your powerful Word so that I selflessly and ceaselessly serve you. Amen.

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

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
Ephesians 5:22-31

Beautiful


Daily Devotion – August 28, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:22-31

See series: Devotions

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” The English poet John Keats began one of his poems with that observation. You have perhaps observed the same thing—in a beautiful painting, home, or sunset.

In Ephesians chapter 5, God paints a beautiful picture for us—the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church. Jesus loves and serves the Church. He sacrifices himself for her. He leads the Church. The Church loves, serves, respects, and follows Jesus. It’s a beautiful picture of a beautiful relationship.

God tells husbands and wives to imitate this beautiful relationship. The husband should love, serve, lead, and sacrifice for his wife. The wife should love, serve, and respect her husband. A marriage where that happens is a beautiful marriage.

Marriage often doesn’t look beautiful. Why? Marriage always joins together two sinners. Sinners, selfish by nature, find all sorts of excuses to not love and serve their spouse. Things like pride, self-centeredness, laziness, and anger wedge their way into marriages and between spouses. Too often sin multiplies as the offended person retaliates and becomes an offender too.

When sin gets unleashed inside a marriage, it’s not a pretty picture. Whether it’s your marriage or someone else’s marriage, that’s ugly. If sinners like us can see that as ugly, how do you think our holy God sees it?

God’s Word tells us that Christ loved the Church. Jesus “gave himself up for her [for the Church].” Jesus lived a perfect life in our place and died on the cross to cancel the debt of all our ugly sins. In baptism, the “washing with water through the Word,” Jesus washes all that ugly sin off. Jesus makes sinners holy and blameless. We are now beautiful in God’s eyes.

Are you in a marriage that’s so infused with sin that it feels hopeless? Do you doubt that marriage can be beautiful? Start painting. I have children who are better artists than I am. How did they achieve this? They had great teachers who have shown and modeled good technique for them. They have practiced, a lot. When a picture didn’t turn out how they wanted, they tried again and again.

Are you married? See the beautiful picture that Jesus and the Church paint. You are forgiven and loved. You have a perfect example to follow. Start painting. Love and serve. Repent and forgive. Love and serve some more.

By God’s grace, as they reflect the beautiful picture of Christ and his Church, husbands and wives honor God and paint their marriage beautiful.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, sin stains and corrupts marriage. Forgive the sins of husbands and wives. Forgive all my sins. Strengthen and empower husbands and wives to love and serve each other and you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You Have a Place to Go – August 27, 2018

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
John 6:66-68

You Have a Place to Go


Daily Devotion – August 27, 2018

Devotion based on John 6:66-68

See series: Devotions

A woman was expecting twin girls. During the pregnancy it was discovered that their bodies were conjoined in the womb. They were joined at the chest, stomach, and hips, and they shared their liver and intestines. This happens roughly once in every 200,000 births. There’s only a 35 percent chance that both babies in this situation will survive even a single day after they’re born. The mother eventually went in for a c-section. The doctors worked on the twins for 5 hours. One died. The other survived but was in critical condition.

Sometimes difficult situations like this compel people to do what many disciples did in today’s verse. They turned away from Jesus and no longer followed him. “If Jesus is so loving,” someone might ask, “why would he allow a baby in the womb to die?” “Why would he allow a mother to suffer in that way?”  “Why does God allow certain bad things to happen?”

Often, from our limited perspective in life, we don’t have clear answers to these heartfelt questions. We often don’t know why God allows some babies to die so young but allows thousands of other births to happen without any complications or problems.

But we do know that God understands how difficult moments like these are. God also knows how it feels to be crammed in a womb with very little chance that he’s going to live; not because he was conjoined with a twin, but because he chose to conjoin himself with a world of sin. He knew that countless men and women would walk away from him, doubt and question him, when all he was guilty of was keeping his Word that nothing would stop him from saving us.

Do we understand how hard that was for him, to be born knowing that his flesh would one day be torn and bloodied? We don’t need to; we only need to see that it happened. When we look at Jesus and his cross, we don’t see or understand everything, but what we do see at the cross is that God really will stand by our side through anything. He really can make the best kind of good come from this world’s greatest pain, and that not even our worst moments of doubt, weakness, confusion, and sin can keep us from one day seeing and understanding exactly what God has prepared for us in heaven.

That’s why Peter answered the way he did when Jesus asked the Twelve if they wanted to leave him too. “To whom shall we go?” he said. “You have the words of eternal life.”

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for giving us a place to go in our pain. Fix our eyes on the cross of our Savior, Jesus so that we never fail to see the eternal love God has for us all. 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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How Do You View Jesus – August 26, 2018

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16:13-16

How do you view Jesus?


Daily Devotion – August 26, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 16:13-16

See series: Devotions

More books have been written about Jesus Christ than about any other individual in history. One website estimates the number in the tens of thousands. As one might imagine, these books contain just about every opinion imaginable. Some view Jesus as God in human flesh. Others view him as a great human teacher. And some even claim that Jesus never existed at all.

What about you? What do YOU believe about Jesus? That was the question Jesus asked his closest followers one day. There were all kinds of rumors floating around about this amazing Rabbi named Jesus. Although there were differences of opinion, everyone agreed that there was nothing ordinary about him. In fact, Jesus’ words and miracles were so amazing that many people thought he must be one of the prophets of old who had come back to life.

Peter, one of the men who knew Jesus best, understood why Jesus was so amazing. Jesus was none other than God himself who came to earth in human flesh. Jesus was the One God had been promising since Adam and Eve had first rebelled against him. Jesus was the One who would repair the relationship between God and his rebellious children. Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.

He still is. Jesus is not simply a great human teacher. He is not just an interesting historical figure. He is not one religious leader among many. And he most certainly exists. He is your God. He is your Savior. He is your hope for a life beyond this one and your hope for a life of meaning and purpose here and now.

Finally, it doesn’t really matter what a website says about Jesus. What matters is what YOU say about Jesus. Who do you say he is? Say he is your Lord and life and love…because he is.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself to me as my God and my Savior from sin. May this belief be reflected in everything I do and say. 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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Questions – August 25, 2018

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11:33-36

Questions


Daily Devotion – August 25, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 11:33-36

See series: Devotions

What will be the first question you ask God when you get to heaven? Maybe you will want to ask about something that happened in the Bible: “Lord, what really happened to the Ark of the Covenant?” Or maybe you will want to ask about something from history: “Lord, why did you allow those planes to crash into the Twin Towers?” Perhaps your question for the Lord will be on a more personal level: “Lord, why didn’t you give Grandpa more years with us on earth before taking him home?”

Like so many other passages in Scripture, these words from Romans remind us that God knows infinitely more than we ever will. Thankfully, our God is many times smarter and more knowledgeable than we are. He sees the whole picture while we often are left to wonder why he did this or allowed that. Often, we sinfully doubt God or question his will. We get frustrated and demand to know why he is doing what he is doing. As Christians we do well to simply trust him and know that his will in the end is always so much better than we could ever have thought or imagined.

That is certainly the case with God’s plan of salvation. From the beginning, God had a plan to save us from sin, death, and hell. It’s a plan we maybe haven’t always understood fully, but what a wonderful plan it was! In a nutshell, the plan was to send his only Son into this world and to sacrifice him for a world full of sinners. That’s not what we would have come up with. Our plan might have involved some way to try to earn our own way to heaven; a plan that could only end in failure and eternal condemnation. God’s ways are so much higher than ours! He sent Jesus to be our Savior from sin and promised that through faith in him we will receive eternal life in heaven. “To him be the glory forever!”

We will always have lots of questions in this life. We may at times wonder why God does what he does. One thing we need never question is God’s love for us. He has proved it in sending Jesus. With hearts full of love for our Savior, we trust God to continue to do what he knows to be best for us.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, I am often full of questions. Thank you for planning my salvation through Jesus. Help me to trust in you and your will and to know that your plan is always good. 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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Jesus Flock – August 24, 2018

[Jesus said], “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
John 10:16

Jesus Flock


Daily Devotion – August 24

Devotion based on John 10:16

See series: Devotions

The people who gathered to listen to Jesus preach thought they could look around and see what good church people should look like. They were mostly the same ethnic group, came from mostly the same socio-economic class, and spoke mostly the same language. The people around them, people just like them, were the best candidates to become followers of Jesus—or so they thought.

Jesus simply stunned them. He said that other sheep would be following him, and his meaning was clear. He was talking about people who were not present, especially people who did not look and sound like the crowds listening to him at that time.

His words divided the people who were there. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” (John 10:20).

Jesus went out and did what he said he must do. He laid down his life to pay for the sins of the world, and he called his sheep, his followers, from around the world. He taught that forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation through faith in him were gifts for people of all ages, all ethnic groups, all situations in life. He declared that everyone who believes in him would join his one flock with one shepherd.

Do you look different from other people following Jesus where you live? Do you struggle with the language they use to worship? Take heart! You are one of Jesus’ little lambs just like they are. You deserve to be in Jesus’ sheep pen just as much as they do—which is to say, not at all, because every member of Jesus’ flock is in it by grace.

Do not rule anyone out of the sheep pen because they are from a different ethnic group, live in a different way, or speak a different language. The voice of Jesus is powerful, and he calls people from every walk of life to follow him.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 263:3)
O Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, the heavenly Father, you did for all our sins atone, and your lost sheep you gather. O Lamb of God, to you on high from depths of woe we sinners cry. Have mercy on us, Jesus.

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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Many Members One Body – August 23, 2018

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Romans 12:4-5

Many Members—One Body


Daily Devotion – August 23, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 12:4-5

See series: Devotions

Isn’t it amazing how beautifully all the different parts of our bodies work together? Each part has its own function. Each part has something different that it is “good at.” Yet when everything is working as it should, no part fights with another part. No part gets in the way of another part doing its job. Each part does what God designed it to do so that the body, as a whole, can function the very best it can. In fact, the overall functioning of the entire body depends on how well all the parts work together and support each other in their individual functions.

Your heart pumps your blood. But that blood would have nowhere to go if it were not for the arteries and veins connected to your heart. Your eyes see. But those images would mean nothing to you if the optic nerve didn’t transmit those images to your brain to be interpreted. You breathe with your lungs. But without your diaphragm, there would be no way for your lungs to draw the air in and then press it back out. Even the seemingly most insignificant parts of our bodies have important roles to play. Would you really want to go without your fingernails?

In the same way, God’s church is made up of many parts, and each of those parts is different. Some Christians are good at speaking. Some have the gift of teaching. Some have the gift of serving with a selfless heart. Some seem to always know just the right thing to say to encourage us when we’re feeling down. Some are “prayer warriors.” Some are organizers. God has specifically designed each person in his church to be able to perform a particular function. And none of these functions is unimportant. In order for God’s church to function the best it can, all members need to be doing their part.

What part are you in the body of Christ? What function has God designed you to perform? Is there something that God has given you a passion for that you could use in service to your congregation? It doesn’t matter if the gift God has given you isn’t one of those gifts that seem to be more important. God’s church simply cannot function at its best unless you are also doing what God has designed you to do. Whether you’re the heart or the arteries, whether you’re the lungs or the diaphragm, whether you’re one of the fingers or a fingernail, you are important and what God has given you to do is important. In Christ, we who are many truly do form one body, and each of us supports everyone else, just as God designed us to do.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for so beautifully designing each part of your church to work together. Help me do what you have designed me to do, so that your church as a whole may do the work you have given it to do. 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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Wisdom is Calling – August 22, 2018

Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point of the city. “Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment. “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.
Proverbs 9:1-6

Wisdom is Calling


Daily Devotion – August 22, 2018

Devotion based on Proverbs 9:1-6

See series: Devotions

One of life’s more enjoyable experiences is getting together with friends for dinner. Time spent talking, laughing, and savoring good food is time well spent. In today’s reading, Wisdom herself invites you to a feast at a banquet she has prepared for you in a house she has built. This Wisdom that calls to you is the wisdom of God.

Don’t confuse God’s wisdom with worldly wisdom.

Worldly wisdom offers us an impressive-looking banquet of her own. On her table we see advancements in the fields of medicine, technology, and engineering. She offers clever advice on how to improve our health and our relationships. These things are of some value here and now, but they can do nothing to help our relationship with God, nothing to solve the problem of death.

We need wisdom that will mean true blessings for us both in this world and the next, wisdom only God can give us. We need God’s Son, our Savior. On his cross, Jesus took our sin and death on himself and secured eternal life for us. By the forgiveness of sin he won for us, our relationship with God is restored. Friend, be assured: he paid for you!

Be assured also of this: every time you put yourself close to the message of what Jesus has done for you, you are heeding Wisdom’s invitation. You are spending time with the Lord himself, and you are enjoying a feast for your soul. So keep coming back to God’s Word each day. Savor the food that strengthens your faith and makes you ready for heaven. Wisdom is calling! Come to the feast!

Prayer: (Psalm 119:37)
O Lord, turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your Word. 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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It’s Time for a Fill Up – August 21, 2018

…(Make) the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil … understand what the Lord’s will is … be filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:16-18

It’s Time for a Fill Up


Daily Devotion – August 21, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:16-18

See series: Devotions

Time is a gift of God as old as creation itself. From the moment God created light, each day has been marked by evening and morning. On average, human beings will witness about 28,000 evenings and mornings during their earthly existence. As God continues to bless us with the gift of time, his unending kindness presents opportunities to serve him in our daily lives as we journey toward eternal life in heaven.

How do we utilize the precious hours God has given us? Our conscience can convict us when time is misspent. Have the blessings of the digital age become a destructive distraction that weaken both our faith and our relationships? Do hours of mindless television take precedence over the tasks on our “to-do” lists? Do social media sites seize our attention, causing us to lose sight of our God-given priorities in our church, family, or work?

Burdened by the weighty guilt of our sins, we repent. For the Lord provides refuge and relief in his timeless grace. At just the right time in human history, God fulfilled his promise to send a Savior from sin. Jesus Christ’s entire earthly life was unstained by sin. He made the most of every opportunity as he proclaimed the promises of God and provided the only way for mankind’s salvation.

Undistracted by the evil of his day and unmoved by the devil’s empty lies, Jesus fulfilled the heavenly Father’s will. One dark Friday, Jesus gave his life on the cross to pay for the sins of all our misspent days. There is never a day in our lives where we need to doubt his boundless love.

The limitless love of the Lord strengthens us to serve him as we strive to make the most of every opportunity he presents us to serve him. If we are tempted by evil, God encourages us to daily seek the clear will of his Word. The timeless truths of the Bible remain a constant light for our path of life.

If the rapid tempo of our daily schedules and demanding deadlines imperil our precious hope in God, we draw strength from the life-giving gospel. The Holy Spirit fills us with a fervent faith to meet the opportunities of each new day. We aim to make the most of the opportunities the Lord provides here on earth. We do so with a Spirit-driven zeal, and a heaven-focused faith.

Prayer:
Gracious Lord, I rejoice in the many opportunities you place before me to serve you. When the stress of obligations threatens to overshadow my joy, fill me again through the quiet rest your Spirit brings through the Word. 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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It’s so Hard to Trust – August 20, 2018

Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.”
John 6:51

It’s so Hard to Trust


Daily Devotion – August 20, 2018

Devotion based on John 6:51

See series: Devotions

Have people made it tough for you to trust anyone? Perhaps your friends have betrayed you. Maybe your parents didn’t follow through on their promises. Have your co-workers or bosses ever lied to you? Fake news makes us question media reports. And sometimes we even lie to ourselves.

Who can we trust?

Jesus told the people (and us) to trust him. Jesus tells us to trust him when he said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Jesus is the Bread of Life. “Eating this bread (Jesus)” was another way of saying: “believe in Jesus.”

Jesus had made big claims about himself. He told people he was the eternal God and the promised Savior.

Could Jesus be trusted? People of his day struggled with that question. Some said “yes,” others said “no,” and still others just weren’t sure.

So, Jesus directed their attention to the promises about the Savior. Jesus fulfilled those promises. God’s Word said that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Jesus reminded the people of the miracles he did. The miracles testified that he was who he claimed to be. Jesus pointed people’s attention ahead to his death and resurrection. They could wait and witness as he suffered, died, and rose. Through Jesus, they would be forgiven and given eternal life.

Could they trust Jesus? Yes. God’s Word, Jesus’ miracles, and Jesus’ saving work all assured them. Trust Jesus.

Can you trust Jesus? Yes. God’s Word and Jesus’ many miracles still testify that Jesus is who he claimed to be—our God and Savior. Jesus died, rose and lives.

Trust that Jesus and everything he said is 100 percent truth. And trust that through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection you are forgiven, at peace with God, and have eternal life.

Prayer:
Jesus, forgive me for doubting you and your Word. Give me a stronger and deeper faith in you. Increase my trust in you, your Word, and all that you have done for me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s House – August 19, 2018

“Foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” The Sovereign LORD declared—he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”
Isaiah 56:6-8

God’s House


Daily Devotion – August 19, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 56:6-8

See series: Devotions

Meditate a moment on God’s declaration: “I will gather still others.” Do you realize that by God’s grace through faith, you are a fulfillment of these words? Think of all the amazing stories in the Bible you wish you could have been a part of. This one in Isaiah—it includes you!

Imagine yourself sitting in the house of God. Now reflect on why you are here. You have a phenomenal story, don’t you? Consider where you came from. There is no darker place than “dead in sin,” is there? But here you are. Recall your prodigal paths, each one illustrating how lost in sin you were. Still, here you are, in God’s house. You realize you should be on the outside looking in. “Foreigner” describes you well, doesn’t it?

But here you sit in God’s house, bound to him, loving his saving name, giving him the glory he deserves, clinging to his promises, praying with fellow believers. Why? The Sovereign LORD has gathered you here. That word “sovereign” says a lot about your Lord.

And it says a lot about your life, about the Lord’s gracious rule that has brought you into his presence. Do some more reflecting. Think of where you’ve been, the company you’ve kept, the rebellion of your life. You know there are times you could have died because of your foolishness. You would cringe at the thought of detailing these disgraces in an autobiography for all the world to read, but your God knows your story intimately. Yet here you are, sitting in the Lord’s house. Again, why? You sit here because of God’s grace. You sit here because the saving waters of baptism have made you alive in Christ. You sit here because “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

You sit here because while you were still a sinner, Christ died for you and saved you from God’s wrath. This isn’t just your story. It is the story of countless others from all nations, all whom the Lord has gathered by grace.

The next time you go to church, remind yourself, “I get to sit here in the house of God because of his astonishing grace.” And may your heart stir with delight as you recall his promise, fulfilled in you: “I will give them joy in my house of prayer.”

Prayer:
Dear Lord, it is a humble honor and privilege to be in your house. Thank you for your grace. In Jesus’ name. 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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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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