Keep Watch – September 7, 2021

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.
Deuteronomy 4:9

Keep Watch


Daily Devotion – September 7, 2021

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 4:9

See series: Devotions

How much time do you spend looking at yourself? Whether it is taking and editing selfies, re-watching the video we posted of ourselves on TikTok, or admiring our physique in the mirror after a workout, we spend a lot of time looking at ourselves. Society encourages it. Messaging from our culture continues to say, “you do you.” People are encouraged to focus on themselves and promote who they are and what they stand for.

The Bible also tells us to “watch yourselves closely.” But when God spoke those words, he did not have TikTok in mind. Rather, God wants us to watch our spiritual lives closely. He wants us to keep a close eye on how we live. We are to watch and make sure that we do not forget his blessings and live our lives in appreciation of those blessings. This is counter-cultural. The culture says to do and live however you want. The message really is that there are no boundaries. God tells us the opposite. We are to watch ourselves closely, so we do not stray outside God’s will for our lives. Sadly, we all too often fall short of that goal. We forget what God has done for us, and we are not always concerned about how our lives match up to what pleases our God.

There was one who always watched himself. Jesus never took a selfie, but he sure did keep an eye on his life. He never sinned or strayed from God’s will. He never once thought he should put himself out there and make it all about him. Instead, he was all about us. He offered his life in our place and died to take our sins away. Because of Jesus, we have forgiveness of sins. He watched his life closely so that you and I could have eternal life through him. In thankfulness for his blessings, we strive to keep watch on our lives of faith.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for earning my salvation. Help me to keep a close eye on my life of faith so that I may live my life for you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Plan – September 6, 2021

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.
Deuteronomy 4:2

God’s Plan


Daily Devotion – September 6, 2021

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 4:2

See series: Devotions

What do you like on your pizza? There are as many different answers to that question as there are people. If you order pizza for a group, you will find that people want to change the order. Some want to add more toppings, while others will pick off other toppings.

The same holds true for the Bible. We often do not want to leave the Bible as is. Maybe we do not like what it says about morality, so we take those parts away. Perhaps we do not agree with what it says about the origins of the universe, so we add human theories to mix with what God says. Maybe we want to have more say in how we are saved, so we sprinkle on the idea that if we are good enough people, God will let us into heaven.

All this may make us happy and give us religion that fits our style, but God does not want us to treat his Word like a pizza buffet. He has given us his Word so we can know him and find salvation in him, and he does not want us to add or subtract as that will only serve to mix up what God has given us.

Imagine if Jesus had treated God’s Word that way! Jesus came to earth to be our Savior from sin and to give us eternal life in heaven. But imagine if he had decided he did not like the part about suffering and dying for us and decided to leave that part out. Imagine if he had decided to skip going to the cross to take our sins away.

Jesus came to this world and perfectly fulfilled all that he was asked to do. He did not add to or subtract from God’s plan of saving sinners. Because of Jesus, we are forgiven and saved, and through faith in him, we will go to heaven one day. That is what God’s Word teaches, and there is no need for us to add anything else or take anything away.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to carry out your plan to save us. Help me trust your Word as is. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Loves Underdogs – September 5, 2021

The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.
Judges 7:7,8

God Loves Underdogs


Daily Devotion – September 5, 2021

Devotion based on Judges 7:7,8

See series: Devotions

Most people like to cheer for the underdog. We like to see someone prevail against overwhelming odds and adversity. However, it’s usually a lot more fun to cheer for the underdog than to be the underdog. This is especially true when it comes to life and death matters, like fighting cancer or going into war.

The Israelite army was the underdog. To begin with, it was outnumbered 135,000 to 32,000. Then after the Lord told Gideon to send home those who trembled with fear and to keep only those who lapped water with their hands, it was 135,000 to 300. That’s 450 Midianite soldiers to each Israelite! Impossible odds in an era of hand-to-hand combat. But the Lord gave his people the victory!

So why did God make it seem so impossible? He was making sure that the Israelites would not boast in their own strength or think that the victory came by their own planning or power. When it comes to our salvation, God wants us to recognize the same thing. He has done it all. We can do nothing!

Spiritually, each one of us was the most unlikely underdog imaginable. Not only were we separated from God by our sins, but we were also blinded by unbelief. On our own, we could not even make the first move toward God, nor did we want to. But God did the impossible by sending his Spirit through his Word to lead us to love and trust in his Son as our Savior from sin.

The victory is the Lord’s! Therefore, instead of boasting of our own strength or righteousness, we rely on God our Savior and praise him for his gift of righteousness.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, you have done everything for my salvation. I have done nothing. Give me such a faith that humbly approaches you and praises you continually for your great goodness. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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In the Eyes of God – September 4, 2021

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:1-4

In the Eyes of God


Daily Devotion – September 4, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 18:1-4

See series: Devotions

What is greatness in the eyes of God? Jesus’ disciples were concerned about this. They were probably masking desires of their own to be highly honored by their Lord. What they needed to understand, and so do we, is that greatness in relation to Jesus is different than it is in the world. Worldly greatness depends on people’s personal abilities, accomplishments, and positions that cause others to view them as important, influential, and respectable.

Greatness before God, however, is viewed in a completely different way. To help us understand this, Jesus pointed to a little child as an example. The nature of a young child is to accept things implicitly. Children also recognize how dependent they are on others for help, especially their parents. Gladly they trust those who show them love and listen to them and follow them.

Jesus teaches us that if we want to be great before God and enter his kingdom of heaven, then we must be humble like a little child. Humility means that we recognize that we are sinners before God, confessing that we deserve his condemnation, not his commendation. Humility means that we regard all of his Word as truth and listen to it without doubting its message or rationalizing its content. And very importantly, humility means trusting God who loves us and putting full confidence in Jesus, whom God sent to be our Savior to give us eternal life.

Our greatness before God is what he gives us through Jesus. Our humility to believe that is what God values as greatness.

Prayer:
Jesus, teach me humility. Never let me doubt your Word and its message of life. Make me willing to gladly submit myself to you, trusting you completely as my Savior. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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To Whom Shall You Go – September 3, 2021

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

To Whom Shall You Go


Daily Devotion – September 3, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:66-68

See series: Devotions

Jesus provided a massive crowd of over five thousand hungry people with a miraculous meal, and they wanted to make him their king. Then Jesus told them that he was there to provide them with eternal life, and they walked away from him.

The same thing happens today. People enjoy the blessings that Jesus gives them, but once he starts speaking, they turn their back on him. Even his followers can be offended at his teaching and stop following him.

What about you? Maybe you have your own struggles with what Jesus teaches about creation, marriage, or sin. How do you feel when Jesus says that salvation is found in no one else and that no one comes to the Father except through him? Even if you don’t struggle with those particular teachings, there is plenty more in the Bible that can bother you. And just like he did with his twelve disciples, Jesus asks you: “You do not want to leave too, do you?”

With the apostle Peter, let your answer be, “Lord, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.” All of Jesus’ words are true. And those truths lead to eternal life. So, if you want help with Jesus’ difficult teachings, spend more time with them and grow in your knowledge and understanding. These words are stronger than your doubts and more powerful than your misgivings. And, after all, these are the only words that can lead you to eternal life.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for eternal life. Help me to accept and understand your teachings. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Take Jesus at His Word – September 2, 2021

[Jesus said] “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.”
John 6:63

Take Jesus at His Word


Daily Devotion – September 2, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:63

See series: Devotions

Hope. Compromise. Change. Tolerance. Whenever an election rolls around, we drown in a sea of political buzzwords. It’s easy to be skeptical because politicians are often big on words and small on action.

Of course, the seeming meaninglessness of words isn’t confined to politics. Human beings are sinners, and when words come from sinners, they can be empty and unreliable.

But we make a big mistake if we judge Jesus’ words the same way. Jesus does not promise much and deliver little. In fact, Jesus spoke the words in today’s Bible passage because he had just delivered quite a bit—he had turned five loaves of bread and two fish into supper for over five thousand people.

But Jesus wanted the people to know that his goal was not to satisfy their earthly hunger but their spiritual hunger. He taught them: “I am the Bread of Life. Believe in me and you will be satisfied eternally. Reject me and you will starve eternally.” In other words: Jesus is all you need for eternal life.

How was his message received? Like empty words! The crowd grumbled and left him. This whole business about needing to believe in Jesus and reject your own works to get to heaven offended them. As they left, Jesus warned them that this attitude came from their sinful flesh.

Your sinful flesh will try to cultivate the same attitude in you and get you to treat Jesus’ words like nothing but empty sounds. But you can always take Jesus at his word because his words are full of the Holy Spirit and the life that only the Spirit can give!

The Word of God contains the good news that you are forgiven, and heaven is yours because Jesus lived for you, died for you, and rose for you. Here Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit works hand in hand with the Word to give you spiritual life. Through that same Word, the Holy Spirit defends you, forgives you, and empowers you. So take Jesus at his word, and don’t let go of it for all the world!

Prayer:
Blessed Jesus, help me to always trust your Word. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Suffering for the Sake of Christ – September 1, 2021

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
Hebrews 11:24-26

Suffering for the Sake of Christ


Daily Devotion – September 1, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:24-26

See series: Devotions

In the Old Testament hall of fame, Moses is second to none. He led God’s people out of Egypt, shepherded them through the wilderness, and brought them to the border of the Promised Land. It was a tremendous amount of work that involved an astronomical amount of hardship.

Of course, his life could have been much easier. He had been adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter as a baby and educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Moses possessed the knowledge, resources, and connections to do anything he wanted.

But instead, he made a conscious decision to live with the Israelites and spent the last forty years of his life leading stubborn people through a barren wasteland. Why did Moses do it? Because he trusted God’s promises about the coming Savior and knew that suffering along with the people of God had a better outcome than living in Egyptian luxury.

That’s how valuable it is to follow Jesus. Because only Jesus can provide us with forgiveness for our sins and eternal life. Every pleasure this world offers will come to an end. The eternal pleasures of heaven will not.

Like Moses, remember how valuable Jesus is and ask God for the strength to suffer anything rather than lose him.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, strengthen me for when I must suffer for your sake. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Keeping Christ at the Center – August 31, 2021

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. . . . Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy.
Ephesians 5:22,25,26

Keeping Christ at the Center


Daily Devotion – August 31, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:22,25,26

See series: Devotions

It’s not hard to envision someone reading this passage and asking, “Can you imagine what it would be like if people actually lived like this?” Maybe you even asked it yourself.

Biblically speaking, “submitting” refers to honoring the leadership of someone God has placed over you in life. The Bible also shows that “loving like Christ loved the church” means sacrificing what you want and acting in another’s best interests.

Our society, however, prioritizes personal autonomy, which makes these hard commands to follow. Also, people naturally act out of sinful self-interest, so this looks like a recipe for misery. Won’t submission mean that your husband takes advantage of you? Won’t setting aside what you want in life for your wife make you constantly unhappy?

It helps to look at this through the eyes of a Christian and not through the eyes of the world. The child of God does not act out of self-centeredness but out of Christ-centeredness. Christians want to put others first because they do not live for themselves.

They live for the Savior who did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage, who submitted himself to God’s law and lived a perfect life for selfish sinners. He sacrificed his time by performing countless miracles for people in need. He even sacrificed himself when he died to take away the sins of the world.

Marriage is such a supreme blessing from God that the devil, the world, and your sinful nature work overtime to attack it. Keeping Christ and his forgiveness at the center is crucial.

When sin threatens to break your marriage or smother your service to others, go to the Savior who sacrificed everything for you and pray for strength. Christ-like service comes hard for us, but it brings tremendous blessings. Can you imagine what it would be like if people actually lived like this? Live it and see for yourself.

Prayer:
Jesus, help me to keep you at the center of all I do. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Serve the Lord – August 30, 2021

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

Serve the Lord


Daily Devotion – August 30, 2021

Devotion based on Joshua 24:15

See series: Devotions

The words of this passage are some of the most famous in the entire Bible. Perhaps you’ve seen them artfully displayed in someone’s home—maybe even your own. They are a beautiful expression of faith in the Lord and commitment to him.

When separated from their context, however, their beauty can be blurred by a potential misunderstanding. They can give the impression that human beings are capable of choosing to believe in God all on their own.

But, in context, these words were spoken to people who already believed in the true God. Joshua, a great leader of God’s people, spoke these words shortly before his death. The Promised Land had been conquered, and Israel had a new home. Joshua knew that the Israelites would be tempted to serve the false gods of their new homeland.

But the Lord was not one god among many. He was the only true God who had given the land to them. The people already had the gift of faith from the Lord. So Joshua did not present them with a choice to come to faith, but a choice to serve God in thanks for the faith they already had.

The Bible makes it clear that by nature all human beings are spiritually dead because of sin. Dead people cannot choose to bring themselves to life. Instead, God brings the spiritually dead to life through the good news about his Son, Jesus, who paid for the sins of all people on the cross. God uses this good news to create faith in the hearts of people who would never have believed this on their own. This means that Christians can be certain of their salvation because God has done it all for them!

When God gives people faith, they become Christians, but they remain sinners. Because of sin, they cannot serve God perfectly. They need God to help them renew that purpose. That is why they can confess with Joshua, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Prayer:
Lord, give me a strong faith to serve you all my life. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Focus – August 29, 2021

[Jesus said] “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:16-18

Focus


Daily Devotion – August 29, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 6:16-18

See series: Devotions

A hypocrite is someone who acts differently outwardly than what they are on the inside. In today’s Bible passage, Jesus speaks against people who outwardly practice religion, but don’t truly believe it with their hearts. They are mostly interested in drawing attention to themselves and receiving compliments from others for being “such good people.”

Particularly, Jesus points out their misuse of the practice of fasting—voluntarily going without food and/or water for a period of time. Actually, God commanded his Old Testament people to fast in connection with their most important religious festival, the Day of Atonement. The purpose of fasting was to help people focus their attention on the Lord and what he accomplished for them according to his loving promises.

We may not fast or even know people who fast today as part of their faith-life. But other outward things indicate to others that we are practicing our faith. For example, folding our hands when we pray or placing a religious picture on our computer screen desktop. Jesus wants us to know that God is not pleased if we live our faith to get people to think better of us. However, God is pleased if our practices help us focus our attention on him and all that he has done to rescue us from eternal death and give us everlasting life.

Whatever ways we as individuals use to help us focus on our faith in God, we must remember that we gladly do it out of love for our Savior. That is worship that pleases God.

Prayer:
Jesus, I know that you examine my heart and understand the motivation for all that I do. Forgive me when I act only for show. Help me to worship you with a sincere heart and with practices that keep my attention on you as my Savior. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Swept Away – August 28, 2021

Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?”
Genesis 18:23

Swept Away


Daily Devotion – August 28, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 18:23

See series: Devotions

When you were a kid, were you ever in a group where one person did something wrong, and everyone was punished for it? The cry of “Not fair!” echoes through the group when that happens. No one likes to be punished for something they didn’t do.

Before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the mass wickedness in these cities, he talked to Abraham. In their conversation, Abraham pleaded with the Lord that the righteous not be destroyed with the wicked. The difference between the two groups was that the righteous were those who believed that the Lord would save them from their sin; the wicked didn’t. Abraham pleaded that those who had faith not be mixed in with the wicked. The Lord had mercy and saved the righteous from destruction.

We also have to ask the same question of the Lord. Will the righteous be destroyed with the wicked? How glad we are to know that the Lord is merciful! Jesus came to remove the guilt of our sin and give us his righteousness. On the last day when the Lord will judge all people, those who believe in Jesus have the assurance that they will be separated from the wicked who denied him in unbelief. Saved by faith, the righteous ones will not be swept away with unbelievers to everlasting destruction. Instead, they will be gathered up to live with God forever.

Prayer:
Merciful Lord, cover me with the righteous of Jesus so that I am never separated from you and your love for me in Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Bread of Life – August 27, 2021

[Jesus said to them] “This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
John 6:58

Bread of Life


Daily Devotion – August 27, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:58

See series: Devotions

It was the fifteenth-century B.C. The people of Israel were out in the wilderness. The Lord had performed miracles to bring them out of Egypt, where they had been forced into slavery. He told them he would bring them to the land he had promised to their ancestor Abraham.

But between Egypt and the Promised Land was wilderness. There was no market from which to buy food and hardly anything even growing around them in the desert climate. Soon they began to grow hungry. But the Lord would not allow them to starve out there in the desert. He provided miraculous bread that the people called manna. It appeared on the ground each night and kept them alive during their journey through the desert.

Imagine what that must have been like. A loaf of bread or a bag of groceries appears on your front porch each day, keeping you and your family alive. You don’t have to work for it. You just pick it up and eat it. As amazing as that miraculous manna was, God had something better in store.

All of the people who ate the manna eventually died. It didn’t keep them alive forever. But God provided for them, and he provides for us, bread that will keep us alive forever.

Jesus talked about that bread after miraculously feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish. He said, “I am the bread of life.” What he meant was this: As people listen to what Jesus says and believe him and trust in him as their Savior, their souls receive life and spiritual nourishment.

Jesus feeds us too. We come to him hungry for love, and he feeds us with the truth that he was willing to lay down his life for us. We come to him hungry for meaning, and he feeds us with the assurance that we are chosen, forgiven children of God, and heirs of heaven. We come to him hungry for hope, and he feeds us with the promise of paradise that he is preparing for us.

Jesus is just the food we need to live forever.

Prayer:
Jesus, Bread of Life, feed me, so that I live forever with you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Always Thankful – August 26, 2021

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20

Always Thankful


Daily Devotion – August 26, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:20

See series: Devotions

The Stevens family had a custom. Every night they went around the dinner table, and everyone shared something from their day for which they were thankful. One day, Josh was not feeling very thankful. It had rained for the third day that week. They couldn’t go out for recess, and in PE class, they had a lesson about health instead of playing soccer. No thanks!

His little brother Nathan spoke up: “I’m thankful it rained again. The plants need the rain to grow, and we need the plants to eat!” In fact, it seemed like Nathan could always find something to be thankful for.

Being thankful can be hard. So many people seem to have so much more than we have. Sometimes, it seems like we are the only ones who are having problems. And those problems just keep coming. How can we be thankful when it seems like nothing is going right. Death, disease, loneliness, loss, pain, violence, health problems, financial setbacks… the list could go on and on.

Today’s bible verse tells us to “always give thanks to God the Father for everything.” Always? For everything? That seems a little extreme, doesn’t it? But notice the words that come after that: “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Talk about extreme! Jesus showed extreme love for us by his willingness to be punished for our ingratitude and discontentment. The punishment he suffered in our place was pretty extreme, too. He was whipped, beaten, and nailed to a cross. Worst of all, he was cut off from God’s love. And he faced it all willingly for us!

If it weren’t for Jesus, even the best things we have would only be temporary, empty, and worthless. Because of Jesus, all of the trials and troubles we face are only temporary. We have God’s love now and the promise of eternal peace in his presence. And the sorrows of this life can’t compare to the joys of the life to come. Meanwhile, God will use even our troubles and trials, our suffering and sadness, for our eternal good.

Because of Jesus, we can always be thankful in everything!

Prayer:
God, thank you for blessing me always. Fill my heart with gratitude for all of your blessings in Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Sing and Make Music to the Lord – August 25, 2021

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:18,19

Sing and Make Music to the Lord


Daily Devotion – August 25, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:18,19

See series: Devotions

If you Google “quotes about music,” you will find hundreds of profound statements about music and its ability to move people and communicate in ways that words alone can’t. A well-written song engages our emotions and puts into words what’s in our hearts and on our minds. Joy and sorrow, anger and anticipation, fear and hope are sometimes most clearly expressed in the words of a song.

In fact, that is why music is such an important part of the life of many Christians. Those who hope in the Lord use music to express the deep sorrow we feel for the ways we’ve disobeyed and dishonored our God. We sing about the fears in our hearts and the foes that surround us. We confess our trust in our powerful and loving God and our confidence in his deliverance from physical and spiritual foes in hymns and songs. And, by reflecting on who God is and what he has done, we are moved to praise him with joyful songs.

Music is part of the shared experience of Christians. Whether in psalms and hymns directly from the Bible or in songs that summarize the message that God gave us in the Bible, Christians speak or sing the truths of Scripture to one another when we gather for worship. We sing those truths because we know that through them, the Holy Spirit fills us with faith to trust God’s promises and strength to live for him.

And in the truths we sing, we are reminded that we are not alone. With our fellow Christians, we share guilt and forgiveness, sorrow and joy, hope and peace. Our songs express the faith we share in a loving God whose marvelous mercy and might that no song can ever fully capture.

You may not sing well. You may not play an instrument. But, when you hear and ponder God’s forgiving love and care in Jesus your Savior, may your heart always be tuned to praise God not only in song but in all that you do.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for the gift of music. May my heart always be tuned to praise you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Watch Where You Are Going – August 24, 2021

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.
Ephesians 5:15

Watch Where You Are Going


Daily Devotion – August 24, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:15

See series: Devotions

Have you seen the videos on YouTube? Someone is looking down at their phone. They aren’t paying attention to where they are walking. And they run right into something or someone. It’s an important lesson, even if it takes some embarrassment or pain to learn: You need to watch where you are going.

This is not only true when we are walking down the street. It is also true as we walk through life. The truth is the path through life is difficult and dangerous. The Bible says, “The days are evil.” It says that “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The devil’s fingerprints are all over the world. He wants to destroy all people and drag us off to hell with him. Through his evil influence, wickedness is all around us. If we don’t recognize the deadly, destructive power of the devil in our world, we leave ourselves in serious danger.

And so the Bible says, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.” The problem is, we’ve already been influenced by the devil’s schemes. Our selfish approach to life, our tendency to trip and fall when temptation comes our way show that we can’t escape the devil’s influence on our own. The answer to the foolishness of my sinful heart doesn’t come from in my heart but from the Bible.

With the encouragement to live wisely, the Bible writer adds, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). God’s Spirit works through the Bible to give us the wisdom that we so desperately need to navigate the dangers of this world. In God’s Word, he makes us wise to the path to blessings with him.

That path is through Jesus alone. Jesus came into this world to destroy every enemy that wanted to destroy us—including the devil and death itself. He opened up the path to God by earning forgiveness for every foolish sin that stood in the way. He opened the gate to eternal life by dying and rising from the dead. Be careful how you live! Follow Jesus! He is the way!

Prayer:
Jesus, open my eyes to the dangers that surround me and lead me on your way that leads to eternal life. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Feast for Fools – August 23, 2021

“Let all who are simple come to my house!”
Proverbs 9:4

A Feast for Fools


Daily Devotion – August 23, 2021

Devotion based on Proverbs 9:4

See series: Devotions

The world’s greatest chefs have prepared the finest of foods and the best wines. The banquet hall has been adorned in beautiful lights, exotic flowers, and fine linens. World-renowned musicians have tuned their instruments, honed their skills, and taken their seats inside. Outside, a red carpet waits to welcome the guests.

This is not a wedding for earthly royalty, a party for Hollywood celebrities, or a political fundraiser. The guests at this banquet are not the rich and famous, the important and influential. To get into this party, it’s not a matter of how much you have or whom you know.

Listen to the invitation: “[Wisdom] has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city. ‘Let all who are simple come to my house!’ To those who have no sense, she says, ‘Come, eat my food.’”

This banquet is for the simple, the naïve, the foolish, those who look at their lives and realize they don’t have the answers and can’t figure it out for themselves. It is for those with needy hearts, the spiritually bankrupt, those who know that whatever good they might have done is worthless and won’t get them anywhere.

The Bible reveals that, by nature, we are all spiritually helpless and needy. If we don’t love others perfectly and love God more than anything, we can’t win God’s favor or get into heaven. If God doesn’t open our eyes, we are blind to the truth of who we are and how gracious God is.

To us, God extends an invitation. “Come in here. Come, listen to what I say.” As we listen, he feeds us a rich spiritual feast. A feast of forgiveness for all of our wrongs. A feast of love for unlovable sinners. A feast of hope standing firmly on all of the promises of God, including his promise that, because Jesus died in our place, we will live forever and feast with God in heaven one day.

So, come to the feast. Come as you are. Feast on the Bible’s message, in which God speaks to fill you with good things and to bless you forever.

Prayer:
God, thank you for inviting me to feast on your promises. Bless me through your Word until I feast with you in heaven. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The One Who Has Everything – August 22, 2021

“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11:35,36

The One Who Has Everything


Daily Devotion – August 22, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 11:35,36

See series: Devotions

What gift do you give the person who has everything? This question has often been used as an advertisement for various products. This slogan has been used because sometimes we feel obligated to give a gift to someone who seems to have everything already, and no matter what we would give him or her, it couldn’t be better than what they already have.

This is especially true when it comes to God. What could we ever give to the Creator and master of the universe? He already owns everything, even what we call our own and even our own existence. So what could we give him that he should be grateful to us? Nothing! The Bible says, “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” (Romans 11:35).

Does this seem like a depressing thought? Not at all. The fact that we can’t give to God to repay him makes the forgiveness we have in Jesus even more amazing. Since we could never move God to love us because of what we do for him, his free blessing of eternal life through Jesus is all the more remarkable. How much our great God loves us! We are led to give God glory forever.

Prayer:
Thank you, God, for giving me all that I have, especially my Savior Jesus. May the way I live today express how grateful I am. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Rest – August 21, 2021

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:1-4

Rest


Daily Devotion – August 21, 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 23:1-4

See series: Devotions

It’s nearly impossible to rest when under stress. We’ve all been there. We think about something we forgot to take care of at work, or we wonder if we locked the front door, or maybe we begin to think about an argument with a family member or friend, and we just can’t rest.

Sheep are kind of the same way. Sheep that are hungry, in pain, or under any type of stress take a long time to lie down. But when the needs of sheep are met, when they are well fed and protected, they quickly lie down and rest.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is our spiritual shepherd. We can rest in our Good Shepherd because he has taken care of our every need. Our biggest problem isn’t just forgetting to do something at work or forgetting to lock the front door. Our biggest problem is that we have often strayed from God. But Jesus assures us: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Our Savior laid down his life to pay for our sins and make us his sheep. We can rest in his love.

Sometimes it’s hard to rest. Sometimes things in this life can cause an enormous amount of stress and anxiety. At those times, we need to remember that the Lord is our Shepherd. He leads us to drink from the refreshing waters of his salvation and promises to take care of us and lead us through this life. No matter what happens, we can rest in the green pastures of our Savior’s forgiving love.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, please help me rest in your promises of love, guidance, and protection. Even when life grows dark and I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, lead me to see my Savior Jesus right there beside me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Spend Time With Jesus – August 20, 2021

[Jesus said] “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
John 6:44

Spend Time With Jesus


Daily Devotion – August 20, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:44

See series: Devotions

In his younger years, renowned Christian writer C. S. Lewis was an avowed atheist. When he was a young boy, his mother died. Her death so wounded him that it took him down the path of renouncing God. Left to himself, he would have continued in that path throughout his life.

But he was not left to himself. Little by little, the Lord rattled his presumptions and exposed him to the reality of his existence. Little by little, the Lord gave him passing encounters with the message of the good news of what Jesus Christ came to do. One key encounter involved a long walk he took after an evening meal. He took this walk with an old friend, J. R. R. Tolkien (yes, that J. R. R. Tolkien—the man who wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings). As a result of these various encounters with the message of Jesus, C. S. Lewis came to faith in Christ as his Savior from sin.

Later in life, Lewis wrote about his conversion. When he did, his candor about it was disarming. According to his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, Lewis describes himself in his conversion as “the most…reluctant convert in all of England…dragged into the kingdom kicking, struggling, …darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape.”

In his own C. S. Lewis-like way, he made it clear that he could not take the credit for coming to faith in Jesus. On the contrary, he trusted in Jesus as Savior because the Lord had drawn him in through the power of the gospel.

Jesus himself acknowledged the same thing. He said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).

Perhaps you are in a period in your life where you don’t know what to make of Christianity. If so, keep spending time learning all that Jesus has done on your behalf. And know this, too. The Lord is at work in your life.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in those moments when I struggle, fill me with your Spirit. Draw me closer to your Son. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Familiarity – August 19, 2021

They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
John 6:42

Familiarity


Daily Devotion – August 19, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:42

See series: Devotions

Some early church history suggests that, while Jesus was growing up with Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, he worked with Joseph in his trade as a carpenter. That same early church history also suggests that some of the items they manufactured together were things like yokes and plows.

If that’s the case, put yourself in the place of someone listening to Jesus in John chapter 6. You know that Jesus grew up in nearby Nazareth. You know his family. Perhaps you even have fresh memories of Jesus repairing your plow or selling you a new yoke. But now, as you’re listening to him preach, he’s telling you that he, Jesus, has come down from heaven.

“Heaven?” you might say. “I don’t think so, Jesus. You can’t pull that on us. You’re from Nazareth. You’re Joseph and Mary’s boy. You’re the man who fixed my plow. You’re not from heaven. I know you too well.”

Familiarity with the Christian faith is a blessed, beautiful, powerful, comforting thing. But the evil genius of your old sinful self and mine can also use such familiarity as Jesus’ listeners did here. The evil genius of your old sinful self and mine can also use such familiarity as an excuse for not taking seriously the only Savior you and I are ever going to have. For not taking seriously the reality that the arrival of God the Son in the person of Jesus Christ is THE WAY by which God himself has entered our world to rescue us from the damning curse of our sin.

Thank God that he returns to us again and again in his Word. Thank God that, again and again, he calls us to repentance. Thank God that, when we come to him in repentant hearts, all is washed away, cleansed in the blood of the Lamb, all is made new. And thank God that, in this forgiveness, the Holy Spirit refreshes our eyes to see Jesus for who he truly is.

Prayer:
Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for all the times I have allowed my sense of familiarity to dismiss my desperate need for you. By your Spirit, keep me close. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Grownups – August 18, 2021

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5:14

Grownups


Daily Devotion – August 18, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:14

See series: Devotions

Here’s some context for this Bible passage from Hebrews chapter 5. As the Hebrew Christians are reading this inspired letter, they are learning many wonderful truths. In this particular section of the letter, however, there is a loving—but sobering—reality check. God’s Word has just made a candid observation about their lives as Christians. While the readers of this letter continue to trust in Jesus as their Savior, many of them have neglected to keep growing and maturing in the teachings of Scripture. As a result, many of them, God’s Word frankly says, are like infants, still feeding on milk. The implication is clear. It’s time for them to grow up. It’s time for them to sink their spiritual teeth into solid food. It’s time for them to get back to the business of growing in their knowledge of the Word of God.

Allow that same candor from God’s Word to speak to you. Someone once said that, when it comes to growing in the knowledge of Scripture, there can be a tendency among Christians “to treat children like adults and to treat adults like children.” Meaning this—there can often be a serious effort to make sure that children thoroughly learn the basic teachings of the Christian faith. When those children reach adulthood, the drive to keep growing and maturing in God’s truth often comes to a halt.

Let’s confess to our Lord that it has often been easy to look upon our personal knowledge of God’s Word in much the same way we might look upon the history class or the literature class we took in high school. We remember some big things, but other things have gotten fuzzy, and in some ways, we have not moved forward at all. If Satan knows this (and he does), then he knows how vulnerable we are.

But this is where the Lord steps in. He calls us to repentance, washes us clean in his blood, and draws us closer to himself. And as he does, he empowers us to mature in his Word—to become grownups.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, send me your Spirit. Move me to grow and mature in your Word. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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To Forgive – August 17, 2021

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

To Forgive


Daily Devotion – August 17, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:32

See series: Devotions

According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, you can gain health benefits for yourself when you forgive someone else. The article lists eight specific health benefits that can come your way when you let go of a grudge. These benefits include the following: healthier relationships; less anxiety; lower blood pressure; a stronger immune system; improved heart health; and improved self-esteem.

Without a doubt, such an article is a vivid reminder of what can happen when, for whatever reason, you and I choose to allow sinful resentment and bitterness to fester within us. As Solomon rightly warns, “Anger lodges in the heart of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9 ESV).

And so, as we consider all we have to gain by letting old grudges go, are these good reasons for us to forgive others? Yes, they are. And no, they are not.

Sure, we could grant forgiveness to others, reap the health benefits, and then congratulate ourselves for having upgraded the quality of our lives. But in doing so, you and I would miss the profound beauty of what forgiveness truly is.

Enter Jesus. God the Son entered our broken, hate-filled world. On our behalf, he lived a life of perfect patience, perfect kindness, perfect compassion. Then, to purchase full forgiveness for our every grudge, our every resentful thought, Jesus went to the cross to suffer and die for the entirety of our sinful, self-righteous arrogance.

But here’s the point. Jesus endured all this not to lower his blood pressure, not to boost his immune system, not to improve his self-esteem. He did it out of a selfless, other-centered, sacrificial kind of love that you and I will never fully grasp. Jesus did this out of love for you and me. He did it because we needed him to.

That’s the kind of love we possess in Jesus Christ. And it is that love that empowers you and me to forgive others.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, move me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Journey – August 16, 2021

The angel of the LORD . . . touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
1 Kings 19:7

Journey


Daily Devotion – August 16, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:7

See series: Devotions

His name is Elijah. In this moment, Elijah is depressed. He’s overwhelmed. He’s exhausted. He is discouraged beyond words.

Here’s the backstory. It’s about 800 years or so before the birth of Jesus. Elijah is a believer in the true God and a proclaimer of his Word. He works to share God’s Word among God’s Old Testament people. But these are dark times, toxic times. The worship of a fertility god called Baal is all the rage. And while many around Elijah may not come right out and renounce the true God, the practices of Baal worship have saturated the culture. As a result, to Elijah, it looks as though no one—no one—cares about the LORD anymore.

And so Elijah leaves. He leaves out of fear, disgust, and disappointment. Once he’s far into the desert, he sits down under a tree, prays a prayer of grief and defeat, and falls asleep.

And then this happens. As Elijah sleeps, the angel of the Lord gently touches him. Elijah wakes up to find food and water prepared for him. The angel says, “Arise and eat. The journey is too great for you.” Elijah does.

How’s your journey? At this moment in time, perhaps your journey is smooth. Perhaps it’s rough. Perhaps it’s exhausting and awful. Whatever it is, remember that the same Lord who tenderly refreshed Elijah is the same Savior who tenderly seeks to refresh you and me with his promise of his forgiveness and presence. The One who journeyed to the cross on our behalf to wash us clean is the same One who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The journey is too great for us. The Lord knows this. He gives us what we need. Thank God.

Prayer:
Lord, my journey is long. Move me to find refreshment in you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Give Me Strength – August 15, 2021

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
1 Kings 19:3,4

Give Me Strength


Daily Devotion – August 15, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:3,4

See series: Devotions

Burnout, depression, anxiety, panic attacks are common problems in our day. Maybe you’re dealing with some of these issues right now. Life was going along just fine. Then the bottom fell out. Family problems, issues at work, the hectic pace of everyday life—it finally catches up with us. We’re overwhelmed. We feel like failures. We’re tired, discouraged, and we want to quit.

This is how the prophet Elijah felt. Even though with God’s help, he had just defeated the prophets of Baal, he was on the run. Wicked Queen Jezebel wanted revenge. She vowed to take his life. Elijah ran in fear. He had hoped his victory over the prophets of Baal would turn things around. Instead, he was on the run. He was tired, discouraged, and wanted to die.

God knew Elijah needed help. He sent an angel to give Elijah food and water and sent Elijah on his way. There was still work that needed to be done.

When you think you can’t go on, remember that you’re not alone. The Lord knows what you need. The same God who sent his Son to save you from your sin is there to help you with the troubles of life. He knows how you feel. He knows the problems you face. He will help you. You have his Word on it.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, when life gets hard and I want to quit, give me strength as you did Elijah. Let me never lose sight of your love nor forget your promise to help. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Never Go Hungry – August 14, 2021

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:35

Never Go Hungry


Daily Devotion – August 14, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:35

See series: Devotions

In the movie The Lion King, the lion named Scar wants to usurp the throne, and he’s recruiting the hyenas to be his henchmen. His sales pitch? “Stick with me, and you’ll never go hungry again!” That sounds pretty human, doesn’t it?

We are so easily focused on the things of this world, thinking that if we could satisfy earthly longings, that we could thereby be content: “If only I had more money in my retirement account, then I could be happy.” “If only I had a different job, then I could be happy.” “If only I could get that new car, house, clothes, shoes, furniture, television, then I would be satisfied.” It never works.

What we need most is food for our souls. We need to know that our sins are forgiven and that we are at peace with God. We need to know where we are going when we leave this world. We need to have an answer to guilt and a purpose in life.

And in Jesus, we get all of those things. Jesus paid for our sins and washed our guilt away. Jesus opened the gates of heaven for us. And in loving and serving Jesus, we are given purpose in life.

So do you never want to be hungry again? Then feast! Feast on God’s Word, feast on the good-news message of Jesus, your Savior. And you will never go hungry again.

Prayer:
O Savior, feed me! Lead me into your Word, that I might feast on the truths that my sins are forgiven, that I’m at peace with you, that I’m your eternal child. Use the Bible to bring eternal satisfaction to my eternal soul, that it might rest in confidence. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God is Faithful – August 13, 2021

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of (the Israelites); their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry. We should not commit adultery, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:5-13



Daily Devotion – August 13, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 10:5-13

See series: Devotions

The apostle Paul listed for his friends in Corinth various sins that Israel committed during their years in the wilderness. There were two things all their sins had in common. Firstly, all the Israelites who committed them had seen God going with them, working for them, and providing for them in impossible situations. They didn’t suddenly forget these things had happened. They didn’t suddenly stop believing in God. They were just trying to believe in God and enjoy a little sin on the side at the same time. The second thing all these things have in common is that they didn’t get away with it. God noticed, and he didn’t just let it go.

Paul wanted to warn the Christians in Corinth and us about how quickly someone can stray into a sinful path. Israel was proof of that. So were the people in Corinth and each one of us.

But Paul didn’t leave his friends dwelling on their unfaithfulness to God. He pointed them to God’s faithfulness in loving and forgiving us. “God is faithful,” Paul wrote. God was faithful in sending the Savior promised long ago. He was faithful in providing the sacrifice that would forgive every sin. He was faithful in conquering death for us. And he will be faithful in leading us safely through every trial and temptation.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, may my focus always be on your faithful love in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Christ is Our Only Rock – August 12, 2021

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Christ is Our Only Rock


Daily Devotion – August 12, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

See series: Devotions

In his first letter to his Christian friends in the city of Corinth, the apostle Paul mentioned some of the most famous moments in Israel’s 40 years in the desert. He talked about the pillar of cloud God placed over them, the time God parted the Red Sea for them, and the miraculous ways God provided food and water in the desert every day of their 40-year desert wandering. But he mentioned one other important thing. Four times in these four verses, he used the word “all.” All of Israel saw the same things. They all saw God going with them. They all saw God working for them. They all saw God providing for them all, even in impossible situations.

If you compare the people of Israel with the people of Corinth, they were incredibly different—different genetics, histories, skin color, economic situations, music preferences, entertainment, and styles of clothing. But there was one important thing they had in common that Paul wanted them to value above everything. They had the same God. The same rock. And “That rock was Christ,” he said.

The apostle Paul would say the same to you and me two thousand years after he wrote his letter to the Corinthian Christians: Jesus Christ is our rock. This means that: wherever you live in the world; whether your skin is pale white, dark as night, or anything in between; whether the people around you treat you like a celebrity or a nobody, whether you are dirt poor or phenomenally wealthy, whether your sins are well-known to everyone or only to you, you can rely on Jesus. He is your rock.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, establish my feet firmly on the work of Jesus Christ, my rock, and my Redeemer. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Perfectly Satisfying Future – August 11, 2021

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” . . . The LORD said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’”
Exodus 16:2,3,11,12

The Perfectly Satisfying Future


Daily Devotion – August 11, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 16:2,3,11,12

See series: Devotions

Our bodies need food to live. That is just as true for us as it was for the nation of Israel during their 40 years of wandering through the wilderness. They needed food to live. So God gave them food. God literally made it rain bread. For 40 years. But the main reason he did wasn’t to fill their bellies. He told them he did it so that “you will know that I am the LORD your God.” When they saw the manna, God wanted them to see the kindness of the God who gave it to them. And, at first, they did. But eventually, when they got tired of eating the same food day after day, they started complaining that they wanted something different. They weren’t grateful to receive whatever God sent them. Rather, they wanted the right to tell God how he should be taking care of them. They didn’t want to see God as much as they wanted to be God.

Like the manna, there are a lot of very good things God gives us in our lives—food, health, job, relaxation, family, friends, money, and possessions. But if, like Israel, we start complaining when those gifts aren’t all we would like them to be, we commit the same terrible sin of telling God how to be God.

Jesus came to give us a better way to live. His work as our Savior allows us to live each day without wondering if we are forgiven for all the times we have told God how to be God. His work for us allows us to live each day knowing that our fragile existence has God’s undivided attention. And he will not fail to provide all that is needed as he leads us to the perfectly satisfying future that has already been prepared for us in heaven.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for all the gifts you graciously give me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Bread That Will Always Satisfy – August 10, 2021

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
John 6:28,29

Bread That Will Always Satisfy


Daily Devotion – August 10, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:28,29

See series: Devotions

When Jesus promised the crowd a bread that would always satisfy and never spoil—they asked him a very natural question. “What must we do to get it?” We all ask what must I do in many categories of our lives.

What must I do to live a long and healthy life?
What must I do to have a good marriage?
What must I do to make sure my children turn out well?
What must I do to find the results for which I’m looking?

Those are important questions, and we are wise when we apply the best-known answers to our lives. But when the crowd asked Jesus what they must do in order to never feel hungry again, Jesus didn’t tell them to do anything. Instead, Jesus told them, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Jesus knows we cannot do the works that would make us worthy of eternal life. This is precisely why Jesus came into this world–to do the works for us that we could not do for ourselves.

That’s why Jesus didn’t tell the crowd to do anything but “believe in the one God has sent.” In other words, he wanted them to stop working so hard to find the acceptance, love, forgiveness, and approval from God that had already been given them in himself. Jesus tells us the same–trust that Jesus has done everything necessary for you to enjoy eternal life with him.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for sending Jesus, my Savior who never fails to satisfy my soul. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Is the Bread of Life – August 9, 2021

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval” . . . Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:26,27,35

Jesus Is the Bread of Life


Daily Devotion – August 9, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:26,27,35

See series: Devotions

There is a park in Arkansas called Crater of Diamonds State Park. Inside is a 37.5-acre field in which anyone can go and look for diamonds, and you get to keep any diamonds you find. A few years ago, a woman found a 3.69-carat diamond. The diamond was worth about $20,000. The year before, someone found a 6-carat diamond. The largest diamond ever found was a 40-carat gem called the “Uncle Sam” diamond–worth over $50 million.

But these are the exceptions. Most people who look for diamonds in this large field don’t find anything, no matter how hard they look, no matter how long they stay. Everyone hopes to find the very best diamonds. But the vast majority end up disappointed.

The group to whom Jesus was speaking in John chapter 6 never wanted to feel disappointed again. One day earlier, Jesus used five loaves of bread and two small fish to miraculously satisfy the hunger of thousands. But do you know what happened the next day? The same thing that does the day after we eat even the most satisfying meal. Their bellies were hungry again. So they came to Jesus, who then promised them a food that would never fail to satisfy them.

But he wasn’t talking about food for their bellies. He was talking about nourishment that would never fail to feed their hurting hearts and sinful souls. He was talking about himself—the one who would feed their souls with forgiveness by his sacrificial death and fill their hearts with hope by his resurrection.

He was pointing them and us to the Bread of Life, who will never disappoint us.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, as I listen to your Word, feed me with the living bread that will never fail to satisfy. Amen.

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