Trust is a Blessing – May 2, 2019

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:26-29

Trust is a Blessing


Daily Devotion – May 2, 2019

Devotion based on John 20:26-29

See series: Devotions

On Easter Sunday, believers around the world love to joyfully sing this truth, “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.” But not Thomas. Thomas would have sang, “I don’t know, and I won’t believe My Redeemer Lives.” His fears and doubts got in the way. A week later, Thomas saw Jesus alive for himself. Jesus told Thomas: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

The trouble Thomas had is the trouble that followers of the Lord have had ever since. It’s hard to just believe and trust! There’s something way down deep inside us that urges us to seek proof and to believe only what makes sense to our minds. The Lord has told us over and over again not to worry—but we do! He tells us not to be afraid because he is always with us—but what scares you at the moment? The Lord tell us not to doubt or question his ways, but every time a senseless act of evil or sudden hardship happens in our lives, we wonder, “Is God in control?”

Like Thomas, you need an encounter with the living Lord! You need evidence that your sins are forgiven? You want assurance that God still loves you? You need proof that God’s promises are true for you?

Every day, approach Jesus who daily says, “Peace be with you!” Put your hand over his pierced side. Feel his hands and his feet. Taste and see that the Lord is alive and good, powerful to save, and abundant in love and mercy. He asks us to believe without seeing the future and to trust his plan for our life.

Prayer:
Jesus, we humbly and wholeheartedly believe you to be our Lord and God! Thank you for being so trustworthy and faithful to all your promises. Strengthen my weak faith to trust in you always. Because today, I KNOW that my Redeemer lives! Amen.

This week’s devotion focus on John 20:19-31 as we take a closer look at “Resurrection Trust.”

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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Trust and Forgiveness – May 1, 2019

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
John 20:21-23

Trust and Forgiveness


Daily Devotion – May 1, 2019

Devotion based on John 20:21-23

See series: Devotions

A father is about to hand the keys to his 16-year-old for the very first time. After last-minute instructions about buckling up and checking the rear-view mirror, he hands over the keys with a bit of reluctant hesitation. Why? He knows keys come with power and require responsibility.

A living Jesus confidently tossed a set of keys to his disciples. “It’s all yours,” he says, “I give you the keys to my kingdom.” There are earthly keys to a car, house, shed, boat, or bank vault. The keys Jesus gives are just as real, yet so powerful, they open and close heaven itself.

Heaven doesn’t have doors of wood or metal, but Jesus has the opening and closing of heaven in mind when he hands off two keys with these instructions, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” One key locks. The other unlocks. One key opens the door of heaven to the person hurt and devastated by the consequences of their own wrongdoing. That person then looks to Jesus and cries, “Lord have mercy on me!” The other key locks the door to a person still tied to their wrongdoings because they are not sorry for their sins. That person never looked to Jesus and asked for forgiveness.

What a powerful set of keys given us by a resurrected, all-powerful Savior! You have Jesus’ authority to forgive sins, too. Every time you say, “I forgive you,” you are speaking Jesus’ words and believing that Jesus untied you from your sins. His death paid for your freedom! His resurrection proves you are truly forgiven! And should you ever be forced to lock up forgiveness, may love for that person be your only motive—a serious warning, a sincere, loving call to repentance

Handle the keys of the kingdom carefully, my friends! Forgiveness is a spiritual power that brings spiritual consequences. Never forget the amazing mercy and grace of God who chose to forgive our sins in his Son and never tires of saying, “Peace be with you!”

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for unlocking heaven’s door! Help me be mindful of the power that comes with these keys. No matter how big my sin, your forgiveness is bigger. Increase my trust in the forgiveness only you can and do give. Amen.

This week’s devotion focus on John 20:19-31 as we take a closer look at “Resurrection Trust.”

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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Trust and Joy – April 30, 2019

After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
John 20:20

Trust and Joy


Daily Devotion – April 30, 2019

Devotion based on John 20:20

See series: Devotions

Emotions are contagious. You’ve probably noticed this as you’ve journeyed through life. Someone “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” They walk into a room and quickly sour the mood of everyone there. Meanwhile, another person bubbles with happiness. You find yourself feeling happy too. Why? Because emotions are contagious. Studies show this same thing. Moods can move through rooms, homes, organizations, and even cities.

Jesus’ followers were filled with sadness and fear. They had run away from Jesus in his hour of need. Jesus had been killed and buried. You can imagine the depressing mood in that room—shared and intensified by their mutual loss and guilt.

Suddenly the mood changed for the disciples, their tear-filled eyes saw Jesus. The one who had been dead was alive! The one they had run away from had come to them. Jesus was there, alive! What else could they feel except joy!

For you and me, joy starts with seeing Jesus. The sight of freshly-pierced, nail-scarred hands and feet show us who he is and what he’s done to cover sin’s cost. It’s not until you see that—not a teacher with wounds, or a man with wounds, but to know that GOD had wounds for you! Such a sight melts our hearts! Now we know our sin, guilt, and shame have been taken away. With that good news, what else can we feel except joy!

The disciples would not stay cooped up in that room behind locked doors. They would share their joy with friends and neighbors near and far away. May Jesus fill your heart and life with nothing but joy today! Share that joy!

Prayer:
Jesus, many things in my life try to rob me of the joy you give me. No matter what hardships I experience, Increase my trust and joy in you. Bless me with the opportunities and the heart to share your joy with others. Amen.

This week’s devotion focus on John 20:19-31 as we take a closer look at “Resurrection Trust.”

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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Trust and Peace – April 29, 2019

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:19

Trust and Peace


Daily Devotion – April 29, 2019

Devotion based on John 20:19

See series: Devotions

Fear rattles your heart. I don’t know the particular things that scare you. But fear has this unsettling ability to change our plans and keep us awake at night.

Jesus’ disciples were afraid. Their leader and close friend died. He was the one they hoped would be the long-promised Savior. Their hope died with him. Afraid, they wondered, “Are we next?” Fear rattled their hearts as they hid behind the locked door.

But they couldn’t hide from Jesus. He knew exactly where they were and how they were feeling. Suddenly, Jesus stood among them. Their friend, their Savior, their Lord—he was alive! Their reasons for fear melted like snow on a hot spring day.

Jesus said to them: “Peace be with you!” Jesus didn’t just wish peace for them. Jesus proclaimed and gave peace to his formerly fear-filled friends. Only he could give the kind of peace which quieted their souls and strengthened their faith. Because Jesus said, “Peace be with you,” it changed everything! His resurrection guaranteed his peace can be trusted.

Jesus now gives this peace to you. He wants you to know the kind of peace which quiets the soul and removes fear. No matter how the circumstances of your life may change, Jesus’ resurrection and the peace he gives does not change. When the peace of God enters our hearts, the storms of life are not removed, but the presence of the risen Christ removes our fear of them.

Jesus lives! Trust and enjoy his peace!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for showing so clearly and repeatedly that you rose from the grave. Increase my trust in you. Increase the peace that you can and do give to me. Amen.

This week’s devotion focus on John 20:19-31 as we take a closer look at “Resurrection Trust.”

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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Worthy is the Lamb – April 28, 2019

In a loud voice [the angels] sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain.”
Revelation 5:12

Worthy is the Lamb


Daily Devotion – April 28, 2019

Devotion based on Revelation 5:12

See series: Devotions

His name was Charles Jennens. Charles was a wounded, broken man. His spirit had been broken by a tragic death in his family. But in his bouts of grief, he found comfort in the words of the Bible, especially in those passages that spoke to him about his Savior.

As a result, Charles decided to put together a set of lyrics that, he hoped, someone could set to music. The lyrics were unusual in that he lifted almost all of them from the Bible.

As it happened, the set of Charles’ lyrics caught the eye of a gifted composer. But that composer was under a cloud of sadness as well. A recent stroke, money troubles, and a series of failures in his life had left him feeling defeated. But in those lyrics, the Word of God spoke to him—so much so that it moved him to pick up his pen.

He started slowly. But soon the music began to flow. Note after note, page after page, he worked from morning until night. He wrote nonstop for a week. One week became two, then three. In 24 short, explosive days, he was done. The sad composer had set to music a collection of Bible verses that brought comfort and strength to a man reeling from tragedy and pain.

The composer was George Frideric Handel. He entitled his composition, Messiah. It declares that Jesus is the One who has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. It declares that Jesus is the One who has washed our every sin away. It declares that we have forgiveness and eternal life through faith in him, for Christ is risen from the dead.

At the conclusion of Messiah, the choir sings, Worthy is the Lamb. If you have a moment, find it on YouTube and listen. It is a song of victory and unbridled joy in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. The truth of that song will never fade. It will never fade because Jesus, our Messiah, lives

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. You have risen from death. Your promises are true. Move me to sing your praise with my life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Peace – April 27, 2019

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:19-21

Peace


Daily Devotion – April 27, 2019

Devotion based on John 20:19-21

See series: Devotions

Jesus’ disciples were paralyzed by fear. They were afraid of the Jewish leaders. They were afraid because they thought they were alone and didn’t know what was going to happen next. It was during this time of fear when Jesus appeared to them. No longer held by death and the grave, he came to offer them exactly what they needed. And it is exactly what you and I need.

I need Jesus’ peace because I am terrified by my enemies. The devil tries to confuse me. The world tries to corrupt me. Even my sinful nature tries to lead me into despair.

I need Jesus’ peace because I realize it is impossible for me to stand before God as he desires. He is without sin, and I am sinful. He desires perfect obedience, and I bring before him my disobedience. He longs to be my Lord and Master, but I rebel.

I need Jesus’ peace because I know how weak I am. Daily I struggle with sinful distractions and deceptions. Daily I lack the ability to stand my ground against the devil’s deadly temptations. Daily I am troubled by my guilt.

I desperately need Jesus’ peace. How blessed I am that he comes to me with his precious reassurance: “Peace be with you!” Because he established this peace which guards my heart and life, I can find rescue and relief. His peace removes my fear of enemies, reconciles me to God the Father, and renews me in my struggle with temptation. His peace reminds me I am not alone.

When I am paralyzed by my fear, I need to remember I have a victorious, powerful, and ever-living Savior. He comes to me with the very words I need to hear and trust: “Peace be with you!”

Prayer:
O gracious and living Savior, I need your presence, your power, and especially your peace. Give me the strength of faith to rely on the gifts of your love and the reassurance of your peace. 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 Firmly to the Word – April 26, 2019

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:1,2

Hold Firmly to the Word


Daily Devotion – April 26, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:1,2

See series: Devotions

Would you ever go digging through eight tons of garbage? That’s what one husband and wife decided to do. The wife had taken off her 12.5-carat wedding ring to do the dishes on a Sunday afternoon. She didn’t remember the ring until the next morning. But when she went to look for it, it was gone. They soon figured that it must have fallen into the garbage, which had already been picked up by the garbage truck. They were able to find the truck that picked up their trash just minutes before it dumped its load in the landfill. The truck dumped out its eight tons of dirty, stinky, who-knows-what-that-was-originally trash onto the street instead. The husband and wife both jumped in. Thankfully, they found her ring.

And, thankfully, you do not need to dig through eight tons of garbage to find what is most valuable to you. You only need to dig through the living and breathing Word of God to find the promises that will breathe life into your heart and soul. That’s why the Bible tells us to “hold firmly to the word.” In that Word, you will always find life, strength, forgiveness, and heaven. Because in that Word, you will always find the Christ who has risen.

In the risen Christ, you have the God-given right to look at death and expect to find life. You have the right to know that even your greatest pain will not separate you from the greatest joy God can give any of his children—eternal life with him.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for the priceless treasure I receive through Jesus my Savior. Give me strength each day to hold firmly to your Word so that I never lose sight of what I receive through him. 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 Was Raised to Life for You – April 25, 2019

By this gospel you are saved . . . For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.
1 Corinthians 15:2-5

He Was Raised to Life for You


Daily Devotion – April 25, 2019

Devotion based on1 Corinthians 15:2-5

See series: Devotions

In 1994, Nevest Coleman was working his dream job as a groundskeeper for the Chicago White Sox, until he was convicted of murdering a 20-year-old woman. He received a life sentence. Twenty-three years later, in November of 2017, DNA evidence proved that the crime was committed by someone else. He was released from prison. A few weeks later, for the first time in more than two decades, Nevest Coleman showed up again for work. The Chicago White Sox had given him his job back.

As he languished in prison those twenty-three years, Mr. Coleman must have thought he would never again work at his dream job. Just as Jesus’ disciples thought they would never see Jesus again—not after what had happened to him on Friday. His horrible death had shattered their dreams and left them wondering what they would do now.

But at various times over the following weeks, their friend who had been so wrongly convicted, was standing right there in front of them, fully alive even after he had died. Showing them that, in the end, death does not win. Jesus did. And, because of Jesus’ victory, death does not get the final say in the existence of Jesus’ followers. Jesus does. You see, it wasn’t his own victory he was most eager to show the world. It was yours. “By this gospel, YOU are saved,” the Bible says. No matter how weak, exhausted, guilty, or broken you feel from day to day. You are saved!

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for the gift of salvation. Help me to live confident of the victory I have been given through my risen Savior, 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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Praise the Lord for His Amazing Victory – April 24, 2019

The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. Pharoah’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea.
Exodus 15:2-4

Praise the Lord for His Amazing Victory


Daily Devotion – April 24, 2019

Devotion based on Exodus 15:2-4

See series: Devotions

There are many times in life when someone might believe that they will never see or feel anything good ever again—someone who has lost a loved one; someone who struggles with an addiction; someone who has lost a job, a friend, or a fortune. A person can begin to believe that there is no hope.

In Exodus 14, the nation of Israel wasn’t far from the land God had promised them. But coming after them was a well-trained Egyptian army very eager to destroy them, and right in front of them was a large body of water blocking the way to their freedom. But they learned that just because you can’t see how anything good can happen doesn’t mean it can’t.

In Exodus 15, Moses and the Israelites sing a song of praise to God for opening a way to freedom that they never saw coming. God showed Israel that he was with them, and that he was fighting for them, when he divided the waters of the sea, allowing Israel to walk to safety before bringing the waters together again to destroy the enemy that was pursing them.

You may never be caught between an Egyptian army and a body of water as large as the Red Sea. But the same God who delivered the Israelites has provided a way for you to enter an even greater Promised Land. Through the perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus, God has guaranteed that your enemies of sin and death will not keep you from the one place where there is no more pain and where every tear is wiped away.

Maybe you have days when it doesn’t feel like you’re on your way there. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t. Because of Jesus, you are.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, we praise you for making a way to heaven that we could never find on our own. May our hearts and lips forever praise you for the gift of salvation. 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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Remember What God Said – April 23, 2019

Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee.
Luke 24:6

Remember What God Said


Daily Devotion – April 23, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 24:6

See series: Devotions

A fan is nervously pacing the room. His favorite team is losing in the last seconds of a game. As the final buzzer sounds, the team scores the go-ahead points. Suddenly, the fan doesn’t feel nervous anymore. He feels excited. What he saw immediately changed how he was feeling.

On Easter morning, the woman who approached Jesus’ tomb were sad and scared. Then they saw an angel, and the angel said, “Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee.” What had Jesus told them? Jesus had told them they would be delivered into the hands of sinful men, he would be crucified, and that on the third day he would rise again.

There was probably a time not long before this, that they believed none of those things would happen. But Jesus said he would be handed over—and they saw that happen. Jesus said he would be crucified—and they saw that happen. Jesus said he would rise—and the angel assured them that he had.

They ran to the other disciples and told them that Jesus was alive—not because they had seen him with their eyes, but because the angel had helped them remember the promise he had made. The promise is what made the difference.

Which of God’s promises would the angel remind you of? Didn’t he say that one day he will wipe every tear from your eyes? Didn’t he say that you don’t need to worry about anything? Didn’t he say that all things work out for the good of those who love him? Didn’t he say that he is with you always to the very end?

He did. And God always keeps his word. May his promises change everything for you this day.

Prayer:
Dear Father, help me to remember and take to heart the many gracious promises you give me in your Word. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Find a Reason to Believe – April 22, 2019

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
Luke 24:1-3

Find a Reason to Believe


Daily Devotion – April 22, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 24:1-3

See series: Devotions

Easter Sunday morning was difficult for the women who went to visit Jesus’ tomb. It was just a few days earlier that they had seen their friend die. The image of Jesus hanging on a cross was still fresh in their minds. The rapid pace at which it had all happened was still stunning.

Have you ever felt like these women would have on their way to Jesus’ tomb early that Sunday morning? Have you ever gone nights without sleep because your sorrow is so deep? Has your heart ever tried to carry a heavy burden you did not see coming? Have you ever sat for days in the dark valley, wondering if the recent death of someone you love really happened? Have you ever mourned deep in your soul because of someone or something that suddenly went missing? And if you have felt any of those things, have you ever felt like that feeling is never going to change?

It seems the first women to the grave on Easter morning did. You wouldn’t bring burial spices to a grave if you were looking for the living. They weren’t expecting to see life. They were expecting to see death. But what they found instead was enough to give hope, peace, and joy to anyone who has ever been convinced they will never again feel those wonderful things.

They saw the emptiness of Jesus’ grave. They saw proof that Jesus was risen and that his sacrifice for our sins was accepted. They saw God’s ability to keep a promise to love us and give us the greatest victory of all. They saw, just as we do as we consider the empty tomb, the glorious significance of Easter morning.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for the gift of Jesus’ resurrection, by which you have given us the victory over death and sin. May we live in that victory each day and so overcome our daily enemies of guilt and discouragement. 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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Easter Up Close – April 21, 2019

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3,4

Easter Up Close


Daily Devotion – April 21, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:3,4

See series: Devotions

It may be easy to dismiss Easter at a distance. When Easter is a faraway object, it may be easy to label it as a fanciful story with lots of drama and a happy ending.

But to confront Easter up close is to wrestle with some pretty stubborn facts. The facts are these: By late Friday afternoon, Jesus of Nazareth was dead. A Roman soldier pierced his corpse to confirm it. The centurion in charge of Jesus’ crucifixion reported his death to Pontius Pilate. With Jesus’ execution complete, Pilate gave the body over to people who took it down from the cross and who buried it in a nearby tomb. Jesus’ disciples, paralyzed by fear and grief, kept themselves behind locked doors and did nothing.

Then, on Easter Sunday, something happened; something so extraordinary that it transformed Jesus’ disciples forever. It transformed these men from hiding in terror to men willing to spend the rest of their lives facing persecution, prison, and death just so they could tell others about Jesus.

The transformation of Jesus’ disciples is a matter of record. One day they were cowering in a locked room, grieving the death of their Master. The next they were changed men, men who possessed a bold, resilient courage no one would ever take away.

Let’s face it. A room full of terrified men does not suddenly change into lifelong courageous men based on some collective whim or wishful thought.

We know what happened. The Bible gives the account. Jesus had been dead and buried, sacrificed to pay for all sins of all people of all time. Then he rose from the dead to prove that his payment for sin was accepted and that he had conquered death for everyone who puts their faith in him.

That one stubborn fact has been changing hearts and lives ever since.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, bring me up close to the reality of Easter. You were dead, and now you live. Empower me with your Spirit. Let your resurrection refresh my courage to live for 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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What Saturday Means for Sunday – April 20, 2019

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
Matthew 27:62-66

What Saturday Means for Sunday


Daily Devotion – April 20, 2019

Devotion based on Matthew 27:62-66

See series: Devotions

After Jesus’ death, his enemies remembered that he had promised to rise from the dead. They worried that the disciples would steal Jesus’ body, then say that he had risen. So, they asked Pilate to allow them to post a guard and seal Jesus’ tomb. Pilate agreed.

Interestingly, these actions by Jesus’ enemies and a Roman governor on Saturday of Holy Week are important evidence for Jesus’ resurrection on Easter morning. Historians tell us that if a Roman guard fell asleep while on duty, the punishment was death. In addition, to break the seal of the governor also resulted in a death penalty. So, what do you think were the chances that the disciples (or anyone else) would have been able to steal Jesus’ body?

The recording of these events on Holy Saturday gives us a wonderful assurance. If Jesus’ tomb was opened, it was because God himself opened it. If Jesus’ tomb is empty, it is because Jesus left the tomb of his own volition.

On Easter Sunday, that is exactly what happened. And when the angel rolled back the stone it revealed an empty tomb. How remarkable that God used the actions of unbelievers on Saturday to bring us wonderful assurance that Jesus really rose on Sunday.

Prayer:
Lord, today I thank you that you have chosen to tell me about the events of that first Holy Saturday. Fill my heart with the joy of knowing you really rose from the tomb. 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 Good Friday – April 19, 2019

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.”
Matthew 27:41-42

A Good Friday


Daily Devotion – April 19, 2019

Devotion based on Matthew 27:41-42

See series: Devotions

Ironically, the religious leaders standing at the foot of Jesus’ cross had it right. Jesus came not to save himself, but to save us! Jesus came not for his benefit, but for our benefit. Jesus stayed on that cross not because it was it was helpful for him, but because it was VITAL for us!

So we are filled with awe on this day. Imagine! God loves you so much that he was willing to go to the cross for you. God loves you so much that he was willing to lay down his life for you!

The devil can try to lead you to doubt, to wonder if God really loves you, but the cross drives those doubts away. Look! Jesus is up there, on that cross! He’s up there for you! Because he loves you! He’s up there because he wanted to win forgiveness for you! He’s up there because he wanted to spend eternal life with you!

And oh yes, let’s be clear; if Jesus had wanted to come down, he had the ability to do so. And that makes it all the more beautiful, doesn’t it? He did all this—went through all this suffering—willingly. That’s how much he loves you.

No wonder we call this Friday, “Good.”

Prayer:
O precious Savior, forgive me for my sins. Assure me that you have saved me! Drive doubts out of my heart forever. Amen

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Perfect Servant – April 18, 2019

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.”
John 13:3-4

The Perfect Servant


Daily Devotion – April 18, 2019

Devotion based on John 13:3-4

See series: Devotions

“If I was all-powerful, what would I do?” Have you asked yourself that question? Just try to imagine the possibilities.

Well, Jesus was all-powerful. And, on Thursday night of Holy Week, what did he do with that power? He used it to wash his disciples’ feet. Washing feet was the job for the most menial servant. It was an unpleasant job. In Jesus’ day, people walked on roads which were dusty or muddy. And, remember that animals also traveled on those roads, leaving behind their, well, you know. So foot-washing was a nasty job!

Jesus was willing to do that nasty job. Even though he is all-powerful, he chose to set aside his power and his rights so he could serve.

As Jesus’ followers, he calls on us to have the same servant-like attitude. He calls on us to put the needs of others before our own—the needs of our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends, our co-workers.

And when we fail, Jesus tells us to look to him for forgiveness. After all, he promises to give his followers credit for his perfectly loving life. And, in exchange, he took our perfectly sinful lives to the cross. So now, in God’s eyes, we are perfectly loving servants.

Let’s live that way. May Jesus’ willingness to serve us perfectly move us to serve others just as willingly and selflessly.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank You for serving me! Fill my heart with gratitude and open my eyes to opportunities to serve others this day, even as you served 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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Holy Wednesday – April 17, 2019

NO BIBLE READING FOR TODAY

Holy Wednesday


Daily Devotion – April 17, 2019

Devotion based on Holy Wednesday

See series: Devotions

Did you notice something missing? Yes—there is no Bible reading for today’s devotion. Why?

Well, because we are walking through Holy Week, considering some of the things Jesus said and did on each of the days. What do we know about Wednesday? Nothing.

Yes, God chose to record absolutely nothing that happened on Holy Wednesday. Not a word.

“BUT…BUT!” we sputter, “this is the most important week of all time! Surely there were interesting things said or done on that day!”

Probably. But God knew that we didn’t need to know any of it. And so, he didn’t tell us.

This reminds us of an important truth: While the Bible gives us all that we need to know to get to heaven, it doesn’t tell us all that we would like to know. There are many things that God chose not to tell us: when the angels were created, when the Last Day will be, exactly what heaven will be like . . . and what happened on Wednesday of Holy Week.

Hopefully, knowing that God hasn’t told us all we’d like to know will lead us to treasure, even more, the things which God has told us! If God put it into the Bible, it means He thought it was really important for us. If it’s in the Bible, it’s a treasure from God.

One of my favorite professors used this illustration: “When you read the Bible, imagine that at the top of the page it says, Dear ____ (fill in your name). Then comes the message of the page, and at the bottom it’s signed, ‘Love, God.’ And of course it’s signed in red—the blood of Jesus. For on each page of the Bible God is speaking directly to you, telling you about how much he loves you, pointing you somehow, some way to Jesus and the salvation which he won for you.”

So, yes, we know nothing of what happened on Wednesday of Holy Week. That’s okay. In fact, we pray that it leads us to treasure all the more the wonderful things God has told us!

Prayer:
O Savior, lead me to treasure all that you have told me in your Word, that I might cling to you all of my life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God is in Control – April 16, 2019

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
Matthew 26:1-5

God is in Control


Daily Devotion – April 16, 2019

Devotion based on Matthew 26:1-5

See series: Devotions

Are you a controller? It seems that most people like to be in control of the situations around them, or at least think they are in control.

On Tuesday of Holy Week the chief priests and elders of the people thought they were in control. They schemed to arrest Jesus and kill him. They would wait until after the Passover festival. But, eventually, they were sure, they would get rid of him.

But who was really in control? It wasn’t the chief priests and elders. It was Jesus! Even as the chief priests and elders made their plans to arrest and kill Jesus after the Passover, Jesus was telling his disciples that it would happen during the Passover. Who was in charge? Jesus was!

And so he remains in charge today. True, we often question his control and even fight against his control. But, thankfully, God’s control doesn’t depend on how well we follow him. God remains in control whether we willingly bow to his control or fight tooth and nail against it.

Knowing that Jesus was in control of the Holy Week events makes them all the more beautiful, because it reminds us that he was doing all this willingly, because he loved us! Thank God that Jesus was in control then, and that he is still in control today.

Prayer:
O Savior, forgive me for questioning your control. Assure me that you are ruling all things for the good of all of your people, including 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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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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