Whom Are You Following – January 26, 2020

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
John 1:43-46

Whom Are You Following


Daily Devotion – January 26, 2020

Devotion based on John 1:43-46

See series: Devotions

Do you remember playing “Follow the Leader” when you were in elementary school? The challenge was to do everything the leader did. Later in life, the fun and innocence of this elementary school game give way to a critical life question, “Whom am I following?”

All around us we hear the calls of our culture summoning us to “Follow me!” The call of wealth, the appeal of power and prominence, the desire for acceptance and relationships. What good can come from these enticing leaders? Is a blessing to be found as we follow them? Our finances disappear. Our position is eliminated. Our friends abandon us. When the façade of these “leaders” is shown for what it is, we are left without direction, hope, or a leader.

This is when the gentle sound of Jesus’ voice comes to us with the sweet invitation, “Follow me.” At first, our response might be like Nathanael, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Can anything good come from following Jesus? Why Jesus? Why fall in step with him? How is he any different?

Come and see. See him take your eyes off the treasures of this world that come and go to the treasures of heaven that have eternal value. See him show that power and prominence come not from being served, but from serving others. See him point out that the relationship that matters most is with him. See him give eternal hope to the lonely.

As the leaders in your life fail or abandon you, hear the gracious invitation of Jesus to “Follow me.” In him, we have the only leader who can lead us safely from this life to eternal life in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus forgive me for the many times I allow the distractions and facades of this world to be my leader. By your grace let me hear your call to follow you and gladly fall in step behind you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Priceless – January 25, 2020

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way.
1 Corinthians 1:4,5

Priceless


Daily Devotion – January 25, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:4,5

See series: Devotions

A few years ago, a series of commercials from Master Card has featured the word “priceless.” The commercials described some extravagant purchases the owner of the credit card made: a dinner at a five-star restaurant, a limousine ride, a diamond ring, celebrating his wife’s birthday—priceless!

As I watched those commercials, I thought, “Sure…but how are you going to pay off the credit card bill?” That comes with a price. Suddenly priceless gets pricey.

If God’s blessing came with a price tag on it, who could afford it? The price to obtain God’s favor would cost you your life. Unless you have kept every command of God perfectly, you cannot expect even an ounce of his favor.

The testimony of God’s Word says, “The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—that he should live on forever and not see decay” (Psalm 49:8-9).

With a great sense of relief, we know that God’s grace is free. He demands nothing from us. He gives us everything. He leaves us under no obligations because Jesus has so perfectly met them all.

The apostle Paul thanked God for his priceless grace given to the Corinthians in Christ Jesus. If you read Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, you will discover how undeserving this group was of God’s favor. If you read your life accurately, you will come to the same conclusion.

Jesus Christ secured God’s grace for us. His priceless, perfect life established the standard of conduct God accepted for all sinners. His priceless bloodshed on the cross established that no curse for sin remains for any sinner anywhere.

When you know this and believe it, then you are enriched in every way. Embrace God’s priceless grace in Christ Jesus and enjoy being enriched in every way.

Prayer:
Dear Savior God, impress on my heart the inestimable value of your priceless grace. Enrich me in every way as I contemplate your gift to me in Jesus Christ. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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He Brought Him to Jesus – January 24, 2020

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.
John 1:41,42

He Brought Him to Jesus


Daily Devotion – January 24, 2020

Devotion based on John 1:41,42

See series: Devotions

Throughout the season that the Church calls Epiphany, Christians learn about the far-reaching mission that Jesus came to accomplish. He came not for some people, but for all. He came not to begin the work of saving us, but to complete it.

Jesus accomplished his mission. He demolished the devil’s work. He destroyed death’s power over us. He broke the chains of sin and guilt that held us in their prison. When Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” when he was dying on the cross, his mission was complete. Our sins were forgiven. Eternal life was ours. End of story. The last seconds have ticked off the clock, and the victory is final.

All that remains to be done is to spread the news. That is where we come in. We, who have seen the Savior of the world, get to go out and tell others.

That is what Andrew did. When he met Jesus, whom the prophet John called “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” the Holy Spirit put faith in his heart to believe what he heard and saw.

Andrew knew he couldn’t keep it to himself. The Bible tells us, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah.’ And he brought him to Jesus.”

He didn’t need to give a long, detailed testimony. He simply said, “Come and see the Savior.” He didn’t need to travel to faraway lands. He went and found his brother.

You and I can tell others, just like Andrew did. Whom do you know, who doesn’t know that Jesus saved them? A friend, a family member, a neighbor? Just tell them about the one you met, the one who sealed the victory for you and for them. Invite them to read a devotion you read or go to church with you to meet Jesus.

And when you do, God will be using you to carry out his mission to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

Prayer:
Jesus, I’m so thankful that I met you. Use me to bring others to meet you too. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Came to Save Sinners – January 23, 2020

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:29

Jesus Came to Save Sinners


Daily Devotion – January 23, 2020

Devotion based on John 1:29

See series: Devotions

Don’t you hate the devil’s lies? First, he convinces us that sin is the best way to go. He convinces us that pride is better than humility before God. He convinces us that the solution to our worries is food or drugs or alcohol or exercise or sex. He convinces us that the sins we do in secret are no big deal because they don’t hurt anyone.

Then, after we believe his lies, he plays the guilt card. He says, “How could you? God says you should be humble. God says you should bring your worries to him. And God sees the shameful things you do and think in secret. How could you? There’s no way God can forgive you!”

God sent a prophet named John to point out people’s sins. But John didn’t leave his listeners in hopeless shame. Instead, he pointed to Jesus and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Jesus, the Lamb of God, is the world’s Savior, who takes away the sin of the world. Not just our individual sins and offenses but sin itself. He takes away our sinful condition and the guilt and shame that always come with it. He even takes away the death and damnation that we deserve for our sins. Jesus takes it all away. Jesus says to us, “You are no longer a sinner. I am. The sins that you once carried now rest on me.” Jesus, the Lamb of God, bore your guilt, suffered your shame, died your death, and faced the hell you deserve.

So, when the devil says God can’t forgive you, look at the Lamb of God. The Lamb takes away the sin of the world. If you breathe the world’s air, eat the world’s food, sleep and wake up in the world, then you are part of the world. And if you are part of the world, then Jesus took away your sins, no matter who you are or what you’ve done.

May that truth calm your conscience and move you to serve God daily in peace and joy.

Prayer:
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world. Have mercy on me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Perfect Sacrifice – January 22, 2020

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:29

The Perfect Sacrifice


Daily Devotion – January 22, 2020

Devotion based on John 1:29

See series: Devotions

Sacrifices were a part of everyday life for the Jewish people in Bible times. God’s law required the sacrifice of hundreds of lambs, bulls, goats, and birds every year. If you came to the temple at any time, your senses would be overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells of the sacrifices.

How easy it must have been for them to imagine they were doing God a service by bringing him sacrifices. After all, that is what every man-made religion teaches. If you do enough and make enough sacrifices, you will gain favor and avoid the fury of the gods.

But God required those Jewish sacrifices to teach a different point. Yes, payment is required for sin. The Bible says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” But what we do—the sacrifices we make—are never enough. That’s why those sacrifices needed to be repeated over and over again. A better sacrifice, a perfect sacrifice, was needed.

And God himself provided it. That’s right. Instead of punishing us for our arrogant attempts to earn his favor, God the Father offered a sacrifice of his own—the Lamb of God. Jesus was that perfect Lamb of God. Jesus was absolutely without blemish—perfectly sinless, spotless, stain-free. When he died in our place, God accepted his sacrifice as payment for all of our sins! No more payment is required.

Imagine that! God, angry at the disobedience of the people and receiving no valid sacrifice from them, offers his own sacrifice for them—for us! And the sacrifice he offers is none other than his own Son, Jesus, the Lamb of God! What amazing love!

Prayer:
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world. Have mercy on me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Big Plans – January 21, 2020

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:6

Big Plans


Daily Devotion – January 21, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:6

See series: Devotions

A young father holds his baby in his arms and talks to him about his plans for their future together and his hopes and dreams for his child.

He promises, “We’ll play together and work together. I’ll teach you how to ride a bike, throw a football, and use a saw. Together we’ll change the oil in the car and plant a garden. I’ll pray with you and for you. And when I’m disciplining you and forgiving you, listening to you and loving you, I pray that you will see in me the unconditional love that God has for you.

“And when we go to church together, I pray that my faith and love for God will be unmistakable in the way I sing and pray, in the look on my face and the joy in my voice. And I pray that you’ll take that faith with you, as you go off to college and move out on your own, as you become a teacher or pastor, an engineer or doctor, as, Lord-willing, you raise a family of your own. I’ve got big plans, big dreams, for you, my child.”

Before he sent Jesus into the world, God the Father told his Son about the big plans he had for him. He would restore the tribes of Jacob and bring Israel back to God. But he would also be a light for non-Jewish people and bring salvation to the ends of the earth. Only Jesus could carry out these plans. And he did so perfectly.

Many today try to make Jesus into a Savior just for some. But God had bigger plans for him. He came to be the Savior for all. He came to be my Savior and yours. Jesus lived as the perfect Son for all people so that God will count you and me as his forgiven children forever.

What big plans! What a perfect Savior!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for carrying out God’s plan to be my Savior. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Pursuing the Dream – January 20, 2020

“I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all.”
Isaiah 49:4

Pursuing the Dream


Daily Devotion – January 20, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:4

See series: Devotions

In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and described his dream. He said:

“It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”
“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood . . .”
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
“I have a dream today.”

The world that King imagined was a far cry from the world in which he was living. It would not come easily. How discouraged he must have felt sometimes. How often he must have felt like giving up. But he pressed on. And history changed, as it followed his dream.

The Lord had a dream too. He envisioned his Son coming to be the Savior for all people.

That dream didn’t happen without a struggle. Jesus’ own people rejected him. The ones he came to save turned against him. It seemed like no one was listening, like every word he spoke fell on deaf ears. They mocked him, abused him, and put him to death.

We are no better, are we? We let our own dreams get in the way of his plans for us. We let the noise of this world drown out his loving voice that calls us to follow him and offers us real life. We receive his forgiveness and go right back to sinning.

“What’s the use?” Jesus might wonder. “Why bother? I should just give up.”

But Jesus pressed on and fulfilled his Father’s dream. He accomplished his mission of love for us. He defeated the devil. He carried our sins to his cross and buried them in his tomb. He opened up heaven for you and me.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for not giving up on God’s dream for me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Home – January 19, 2020

“[O]n those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.”
Matthew 4:16

Home


Daily Devotion – January 19, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 4:16

See series: Devotions

The rear half of a truck sat on the bridge. Eventually, divers found the front half, along with the rest of the bridge. They never found the driver. The mighty waves of Hurricane Ivan that had tossed concrete spans around like dominos, swallowed his body forever.

What possessed this driver to cross a 3-mile bridge in the middle of a category 4 hurricane? Maybe his wife was waiting for him in Pensacola. Maybe, in the darkness, he thought it wasn’t all that bad. He obviously thought he could make it. He didn’t realize on this bridge, in this storm, he was driving into the shadow of death.

What possesses me to think I can make it through this life without Jesus? On this earth, in this life, I am living in the shadow of death. Death that is more than a stilled heart. Death that is a stilled soul—empty, alone, constantly trying to convince myself, “I’m OK. I’ll make it!”

I’m not okay and I’m not safe. The darkness hides the waves of sin that swallow me. I won’t make it!

Then Jesus shines his light into my death-dark heart. With brilliant love, he turns my eyes to his cross. I see forgiveness there. He runs my eyes over his life. I see perfection there. He focuses my eyes on his heart. I see my God gifting me with both—Jesus’ forgiveness and Jesus’ perfection. He lifts my head up to heaven. I see his arm bending around my shoulders as he welcomes me into an eternity of life and light.

I will make it home.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, shine the light of your love into my heart so I always know your forgiveness and your goodness are mine. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Approaching God with Confidence – January 18, 2020

In [Christ Jesus] and through faith in him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Ephesians 3:12

Approaching God with Confidence


Daily Devotion – January 18, 2020

Devotion based on Ephesians 3:12

See series: Devotions

After being caught pushing his sister, does the naughty boy approach his parents with confidence? No, normally he hides under the covers. After the parents come home early and discover the unsanctioned party, does the teenage daughter feel at ease talking to her dad? No, normally she avoids him as much as possible.

If sinful children avoid approaching their sinful parents when they are confronted with guilt, how can it ever be possible for sinful humans to approach a perfect God? There is only one way: it is only possible in Jesus. When we trust Jesus as our perfect substitute, we trust that his life counts for ours. We believe that our sins have been paid for on the blood-stained cross. In faith, we believe that God no longer holds them against us.

We can approach God in freedom and confidence. We don’t have to hide from him; we don’t need to avoid him; we are not afraid that he will punish us for our sins…for he has already punished Christ for them instead.

What a blessing to approach God in freedom and confidence!

Prayer:
Dear Father, thank you for washing away everything that convicts me of wrong. Fill me with your thorough forgiveness that I might cling to Christ instead of running from you. Give me joy that I might make the most of the privilege to approach you in freedom and confidence. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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No Favoritism – January 17, 2020

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism …”
Acts 10:34

No Favoritism


Daily Devotion – January 17, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 10:34

See series: Devotions

Have you ever been in a situation where favoritism was at play? It’s hard, isn’t it? When favoritism works against us, the protestations are quick and real: “But I’m more qualified!” “I have more experience!” “She’s never even done that before!” No, we certainly do not like favoritism.

How wonderful it is, then, to hear the words of our Bible reading for today. The Apostle Peter declared that God does not show favoritism. Peter had been under the impression that his own people, the Jewish people, were the ones God loved. But God brought Peter into contact with a non-Jewish man named Cornelius who had been brought to faith in the true God. This showed Peter that God loves all people. He does not show favoritism. Once Peter discovered this, he told Cornelius and his family about what Jesus had done to save people from their sins. And, he ordered that they be baptized.

Baptism is one of the clearest illustrations of God’s unwillingness to play favorites. Because, you see, we all need baptism. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor we are, it doesn’t matter what skin color we are, it doesn’t matter how powerful we are, it doesn’t matter if our upbringing was happy or not so happy; every single one of us needs baptism. Why? Every single one of us needs to have our sins forgiven.

And in baptism, that is exactly what God does. He washes sins away. And, it doesn’t matter how rich or poor a person is, or what skin color a person is, how powerful a person is, or if a person’s upbringing was happy or not so happy; every single person who is baptized receives God’s unconditional forgiveness.

What a blessing baptism is! And what a reminder that our God does not play favorites.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for reminding me today that you do not play favorites. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Beloved Child – January 16, 2020

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:17

Beloved Child


Daily Devotion – January 16, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 3:17

See series: Devotions

Is the desire to please our parents built into us from birth? It seems to me that it is. Sure, that desire may be blunted or even destroyed by parents who treat their children poorly. But I’d guess for most of us, hearing our father or mother say, “I am pleased with you” would be welcome words.

Wouldn’t it be far, far better if God were to say that about you? Wouldn’t it be amazing if God were to say, “I’m well pleased with you?” Wow, that would be great!

This is precisely what the Father said about Jesus at Jesus’ baptism. He was well pleased with everything Jesus said and did. And, remarkably, this is precisely what the Father says about those who have been baptized. Not because everything they say and do is pleasing to him. But because everything Jesus said and did is applied to those who are baptized.

“But, but, but!” we sputter. “I’ve messed it up so badly!” Unfortunately, that’s true.

But God doesn’t look at us based on what we have done but based on what Jesus did in our place. That almighty, perfect heavenly Father can now look at us as if we were Jesus. Or to put it a bit differently, the Father can look at each of us and say, “You are my beloved child, too.”

Prayer:
O Father, assure me and remind me that, through my baptism, I am your beloved child. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Wonderful Assurance – January 15, 2020

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.
Matthew 3:16

Wonderful Assurance


Daily Devotion – January 15, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 3:16

See series: Devotions

Today’s Bible reading is one of the clearest narratives in which we get to see the threeness of God.

It’s true that there is one God, and only one God. The Bible also describes the true God as “three.” Jesus commands us to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19). There are passages which call the Father, “God,” which call the Son, “God,” and which call the Holy Spirit, “God.” So while there is only one God, there are three persons in the God-head, and this is one of the segments in which we see it clearly: the Father is speaking from heaven, the Son is coming up out of the water, and the Holy Spirit is descending in the form of a dove.

And why should we care? We care because this assures us of an amazing truth; it’s the entire God who wants you to be saved. Clearly, Jesus wants you to be saved. He lived and died for you! He was willing to be baptized to fulfill God’s holy law for you. But the Father also wants you to be saved. He said he was pleased when Jesus was baptized. And the Holy Spirit wants you to be saved. He descended upon Jesus to empower him to do what he needed to do.

And all of this gives us wonderful assurance. The Father wants me in heaven, the Son wants me in heaven, and the Holy Spirit wants me in heaven. Jesus’ baptism clearly shows me that.

Prayer:
O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit continue to assure me that you desire my salvation and continue to strengthen me that I might continue to travel on the road to eternal life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Stepping Into Our Place – January 14, 2020

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Matthew 3:13-15

Stepping Into Our Place


Daily Devotion – January 14, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 3:13-15

See series: Devotions

The Bible tells us that Jesus went to the Jordan River to be baptized. But why did Jesus even need to be baptized? It’s a fair question. After all, baptism is one of the ways that God forgives sin. That’s why each of us needs baptism. We are all sinful and need forgiveness.

But Jesus wasn’t sinful. Jesus was perfect. So, why did he need to be baptized?

The answer is in Jesus’ answer to John: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

Jesus was righteous; he didn’t need any more righteousness. But we needed righteousness because righteousness is the entrance requirement for heaven. God demands that for us to be able to enter heaven, we need to be perfect.

And … we can’t do that.

So, we needed a Savior who would not only die in our place but also live in our place. We needed a Savior who could live a perfect human life, in every sense. And, Jesus did that. His baptism was a part of it. It was a part of his fulfilling God’s law for us.

Jesus fully stepped into your place. He was even willing to do things that he didn’t need to do, all so that you could be fully confident that he had done all that he needed to do for you. He did what was necessary for your salvation. The measure of righteousness you needed was filled up…by Jesus!

So, as you are reminded of Jesus’ baptism today, see there your salvation. And rejoice!

Prayer:
O Savior, assure me that I now stand before you as righteous, because of all that you’ve 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Better Plan – January 13, 2020

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Matthew 3:13,14

A Better Plan


Daily Devotion – January 13, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 3:13,14

See series: Devotions

You can understand why John the Baptist was hesitant to baptize Jesus, can’t you? He was going to baptize Jesus? That seems oh-so-backward, doesn’t it? Consider the contrast: John was mortal; Jesus was immortal. John knew a few things; Jesus knew everything. Perhaps most importantly, John was a sinful human being; Jesus was perfect.

And so, yes, we can understand why John tried to deter Jesus. Jesus’ plan just didn’t make any sense to John. So, John thought he needed to deter Jesus because John thought he had a better idea!

Wait. A sinful human being thought that he had a better idea than God? Really? Yes, really!

And, how easy it is for us to do it, too. How easy it is to question God’s plans for our lives. Or, how easily we think or act in ways which are contrary to God’s Word, which is really saying, “No, Lord, I have a better idea.”

Amazingly, Jesus didn’t get angry at John or even chastise John. Instead, Jesus simply, said, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). What patient grace!

And God will always show that amazing, patient grace to you, too—over and over again.

Oh, and by the way; you can also count on the fact that God’s ideas will always be better than your ideas!

Prayer:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. Please show me your patient grace, O Savior, even when I question You. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Hold your Hand – January 12, 2020

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.”
Isaiah 42:6

Hold your Hand


Daily Devotion – January 12, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 42:6

See series: Devotions

Remember the Beatles tune? “I wanna’ hold your hand?” Holding hands is an intimate gesture. It expresses love and affection without using words. Humans appreciate a personal touch.

Our Bible reading for today pictures a parent taking a child by the hand. Can you picture it? The parent and toddler need to cross the street. So the parent takes the toddler by the hand, guiding, protecting.

So, whose hand is being held in this Bible verse? Surprisingly, the picture is that God the Father is the parent, and it’s Jesus’ hand that is being held. It reminds us that Jesus—the true God—became truly human, with our human weaknesses and needs. And so, God the Father guided him, protected him, indeed, “held his hand” as he walked Jesus through life and finally to his death on the cross. The Father was guiding, protecting, holding the Son through it all.

But to what end? It was all for YOUR benefit and MINE. It was all so that forgiveness and eternal life could be won for YOU and ME. The Father held the hand of the Son; guiding, directing, and caring for him but ultimately with your best interests in mind.

And so now? Now God the Father—because of the work of God the Son—can look at you and say, “I wanna’ hold your hand, too!”

Prayer:
Thank you, Father, for holding Jesus’ hand so that he was able to win my salvation. Comfort me today with the assurance that, whatever comes my way, you are holding my hand through it 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Cannot Keep Quiet – January 11, 2020

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
Isaiah 62:1-2

We Cannot Keep Quiet


Daily Devotion – January 11, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 62:1-2

See series: Devotions

Have you ever had such important news that you couldn’t keep quiet about it? How much twittering and chatting and posting happen when a favorite team wins a championship?

When anything political happens the talking heads hardly stop to take a breath. When your 6-year-old gets a new Lego set you can be sure everyone will know about it. Presents, football games, politics… in the grand scheme of things, they matter so little, yet they garner so much of our time and excitement.

The prophet Isaiah had the same truly incredible news. News that was so good he could not keep silent. The news was not political but spiritual. The news was that God would make his people glorious.

What makes this news so amazing is that we, by nature, are anything but glorious. Our sins make us filthy in God’s sight. The rude words we speak, the selfish things we do, the silent lust and greed in our hearts should all rightly merit God’s wrath and eternal punishment. Yet instead of eternal separation, it’s a different “S” word for those who put their faith and hope in Jesus: SALVATION!

God gives us the gift of salvation. That means he takes away our sins and gives us Jesus’ righteousness as our own. We are glorious, not because of our own glory, but because Jesus’ glory makes us glorious.

Isn’t that great news? It’s better than any championship, political turn of events, or Lego set. Like the prophet Isaiah, we cannot keep quiet about it. We want everyone to know what Jesus has done for them. Whom can you tell today?

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for the incredible gift of salvation. Help me to treasure this gift each day and open my mouth so that I too may share the good news which you have for all people. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Mission to Accomplish – January 10, 2020

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
Matthew 2:12,13

A Mission to Accomplish


Daily Devotion – January 10, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 2:12,13

See series: Devotions

After the Magi visited Jesus in Bethlehem, God gave them a dream warning them not to return to King Herod in Jerusalem. Herod had told the Magi to return and tell him where the King of the Jews had been born so that he could worship as well. But Herod had no intention of worshiping Jesus. He intended to kill him. The Magi heeded God’s warning and returned home by another route. When they failed to return to Jerusalem, Herod flew into a rage. He ordered that every boy in Bethlehem two years old or younger be slaughtered, figuring that in this way he would be sure to eliminate this new King that was challenging him.

God rescued Jesus from Herod’s homicidal plans by having the Magi bypass Jerusalem on their journey home. He also rescued Jesus by commanding Jesus’ stepfather Joseph to take him and his mother Mary to safety in Egypt. God did all this because Jesus had a very important mission to accomplish. Jesus had been born to save all people from their sins. In order to do that, Jesus needed to live a perfect life, not just for a couple of years, but for thirty-three years. Jesus needed to die, but not as a young child at the hands of murderous King Herod. He needed to die as an adult on a cross on a hill outside Jerusalem.

God’s intense desire for the eternal salvation of all people led him to warn the Magi about Herod’s deceitful scheme. And for that, we can be eternally grateful. Because God protected the young Jesus in the way that he did, Jesus did indeed live to accomplish his mission. He lived, died, and rose again for us and all people so that through faith in him we might live in his kingdom forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, all praise to you for accomplishing your mission as our Savior. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 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.

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