Escaping Death – February 17, 2024

As they [Elijah and Elisha] were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
2 Kings 2:11

Escaping Death

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 17, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Kings 2:11

See series: Devotions

Death and taxes—these are two certainties of life for everyone—everyone except for God’s prophet Elijah. God granted him the privilege of escaping physical death. God took him directly into heaven. The question is–why?

Elijah was a prophet of God, but that was not why he escaped death. God had called others to be prophets, and they died. Elijah fought against idolatry, but so did others, and they died. Elijah proclaimed the Word of God as countless others have done throughout the ages. It was not his calling or courage that earned him the right to escape death and go straight to heaven. It was only by the grace of God that Elijah was taken to heaven without experiencing death.

We cannot escape death on our own, either. The grave awaits us as the Bible teaches, “Man is destined to die” (Hebrews 9:27). Even worse, we have no power to escape the death that we deserve for our sins. This is death that separates us from God forever under his judgment. But God’s grace is revealed to us. He gives us an escape from the death that we face as sinners. He sent his Son, Jesus, and heaped the guilt of our sin on him, making him pay the penalty of eternal death that should have been ours.

Just as God revealed his grace to Elijah by sparing him from physical death, so God reveals his grace to us through Jesus. In Jesus, we are raised to a new life of faith. The death we will face at the end of our lives loses its sting because, in Jesus, we will be raised from the dead and taken to live forever in heaven with Elijah and all believers of all time.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for releasing me from the power of death. Keep me steadfast in your Word until I see you in your glory in heaven. Amen.

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

Veiled Hearts to Transfigured Lives – February 16, 2024

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Veiled Hearts to Transfigured Lives

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 16, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

See series: Devotions

If you’ve ever tried walking around wearing a blindfold, you know it’s not easy. Even familiar places, like your house or room, are suddenly shrouded in darkness. You gingerly take small steps with arms out in front of you, trying not to walk into anything.

The apostle Paul wrote about a different kind of blinding, a spiritual blinding. The god of this world, the forces of sin and unbelief, veil the gospel of Jesus. They do not want anyone to see the radiant light of Christ. Everyone begins life in this darkness, trapped under the veil of unbelief.

But there is hope. This hope doesn’t come from inside of you or from what you do. This hope isn’t even a thing; it’s a person. His name is Jesus. It’s why Paul constantly emphasized Jesus in his preaching and teaching. Jesus is the light. Jesus is the image of God. Jesus takes the veil of darkness away with the gospel, the good news of sins forgiven. Jesus has defeated the god of this world and all the forces of darkness.

You don’t have to walk around blinded by sin and veiled by unbelief. The Holy Spirit takes away the blindfold and puts faith in your heart. He illuminates your life through the preaching and teaching of Jesus.

Jesus changes you. Walking in his light gives you confidence and boldness. You know where you stand with God because Jesus has made things right between you and him. When you live without the veil, you can truly serve God in peace and joy.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for taking away my darkness. Help me serve you always. Amen.

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

Affirmed by the Father – February 15, 2024

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Mark 9:7

Affirmed by the Father

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 15, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 9:7

See series: Devotions

How do you find affirmation? You might find it in the number of clicks or “likes” on a social media post. Or perhaps you live for compliments and commendations. Maybe it’s in the stockpiling of material possessions or the power you wield. It could be as simple as comparing yourself to others.

But seeking affirmation through those things will always let you down. Someone else will always have more social media “likes,” more stuff, and more power. If you live for compliments, you live under the burden of constantly trying to outdo yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy because you can always find someone who looks like they have everything you want.

So, where do you find true affirmation? When Jesus stood atop the Mount of Transfiguration, the voice of God the Father, came from the cloud affirming Jesus as the beloved Son of God. God affirmed his relationship with Jesus and his identity.

Through baptism, Christians are connected to Jesus. This connection doesn’t come by works or achievements but through the grace and love of God. It’s a connection that means Christians are also in a loving relationship with God. They have an identity as God’s chosen people. They are God’s beloved children.

Christians are also affirmed in their purpose. God says to listen to Jesus. Tune out all the other distractions, and find true purpose, mission, and worth in listening to the words of the Savior. Listening to Jesus is not merely hearing with ears but heeding with hearts. In a world clamoring for attention, Jesus beckons you to prioritize his voice above all, allowing his words to be the guiding force in your life.

Hear the words of God as his divine declaration of grace. God affirms you not because of your perfection but because of his boundless love and grace. It is a reminder that in Christ, you are loved and accepted.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for choosing me to be part of your family. Help me find purpose in listening to Jesus. Amen.

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

Down From the Mountain – February 14, 2024

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Mark 9:8,9

Down From the Mountain

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 14, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 9:8,9

See series: Devotions

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. Christians begin Lent by remembering the cost of their sins. Some churches will smudge ashes, in the form of a cross, on people’s foreheads as a symbolic reminder that they are dust and to dust they will return because of their sins.

It’s a stark difference between the mountaintop Transfiguration experience and Ash Wednesday. Like the disciple Peter, it’s easy to want to stay on top of the mountain, skip the parts of Jesus’ story that make us sad, and just enjoy the radiating brilliance of Jesus. We don’t like to think about our sins or the awful price it cost to take them away.

But Jesus came down from the mountain. He knew there was still work to be done. Before Jesus could fully enjoy his rightful kingly crown again, he was going to first endure a crown of thorns. Before he climbed a mountain of glory again, he would climb a hill called Golgotha, the Place of the Skull—the spot where Jesus was crucified. Instead of being flanked by Moses and Elijah, Jesus would be killed between two common criminals. Instead of the brightness of the Transfiguration, there would be the darkness of death and damnation as God the Father turned his back on his one and only Son.

Lent can be an overwhelming season when we think about the guilt of our sins. But that is not the goal of this season. The goal is to get us to look at Jesus and all he did to save us from those sins. Let that be your focus and comfort this Lenten season.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, give me joy in Jesus this Lenten season. Amen.

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

The God of the Living – February 13, 2024

And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Mark 9:4

The God of the Living

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 13, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 9:4

See series: Devotions

It’s hard to imagine what Jesus’ disciples felt on the Mount of Transfiguration. Not only was Jesus changed before their eyes, but immediately, two other men appeared with Jesus: Moses and Elijah. These two men weren’t just former religious leaders but also heroes of their culture and nation. The earthly lives of these two men had ended hundreds of years ago, and yet here they were, alive and talking with Jesus. For Americans, it would be like seeing George Washington and Abraham Lincoln appear.

The disciples were shocked and amazed by who and what they saw. We can’t blame them for not processing at that moment what was happening. God the Father was verifying that his Son, Jesus, is the fulfillment of what Moses and Elijah each represented.

God delivered his law through Moses on top of Mount Sinai and Jesus came to fulfill every one of those laws. Jesus kept each law perfectly, never once stumbling or making a mistake. Jesus did what we never could when he kept the law of God delivered through Moses.

Elijah was one of God’s greatest prophets. On the mountain, he represented all the prophets and what they had said about the coming of the promised Messiah. Over 300 prophecies were made about the Messiah, and Jesus fulfilled every one of them. All God’s plans and purposes to save his people came together in Jesus.

The disciples saw Elijah and Moses alive. That had to be amazing. But soon, they would see something even more amazing. Jesus alive and risen from the dead after a brutal crucifixion. Even more proof that Jesus is the perfect Savior and the promised Messiah.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you are the God of the living, not the dead. Thank you for giving me life. Amen.

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

See Jesus Clearly – February 12, 2024

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.
Mark 9:2,3

See Jesus Clearly

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 12, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 9:2,3

See series: Devotions

I had a problem when I was in third grade. I was a decent student, but my grades were slipping. Thankfully, I had a caring and observant teacher, and it didn’t take her long to realize the problem. I kept squinting at the blackboard. My vision had changed, and I could no longer see clearly.

That meant a trip to the eye doctor. He asked me to identify letters on a distant wall. Then he set before me an intimidating-looking machine. I didn’t know it then, but it’s called a phoropter. The doctor worked the lenses on the machine and asked me which was better, “One or two, three or four?” I noticed that I could start to identify the letters on the wall. Instead of being blurry, the letters became clearer and clearer. Finally, I could even read the tiny letters at the bottom.

Jesus took his disciples, Peter, James, and John, up the mountain because Jesus wanted to clarify to them who he really was. They had seen his miracles. They had heard Jesus preach and teach with authority. But Jesus still looked like one of them. He was the son of a carpenter from insignificant Nazareth. Jesus was human in every regard the disciples could see.

But up on the mountain, something changed. Jesus was transfigured before them. He no longer looked like a mere human but divine. The disciples’ view of Jesus was no longer blurry but clear. Standing before them was God himself. They had seen glimpses through the miracles and Jesus’ teaching, but now there was no doubt.

The more time you spend with Jesus as he reveals himself in the Bible, the clearer you will see him. Like an eye doctor cycling through lenses, Jesus reveals more and more of himself to you, helping you see him clearly as your Savior—both true man so that he could die and true God so that his sacrifice could count for your sins and everyone else’s.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself as true man and true God. Help me see you clearly as my Savior. Amen.

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

You Are Never Alone – February 11, 2024

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
Mark 9:8

You Are Never Alone

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 11, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 9:8

See series: Devotions

Jesus’ disciples must have been disappointed. One moment, they saw a glimpse of heaven. Jesus allowed his glory as God to be seen. Moses and Elijah miraculously appeared. God the Father’s praise majestically echoed from the cloud. The next moment, everything was gone. All that remained was the familiar form of Jesus.

You may have experienced something similar. For a brief moment, everything in life seemed wonderful. There were no problems, no conflicts, and everything made sense. You were content because God was good, and his blessings were clearly evident. Suddenly, everything changed. Your life was filled with chaos, and you felt very alone.

Although you may suffer disappointment, loneliness, and emptiness, with Jesus, you are never alone.

You can be certain of his presence in your life because he said, “I am with you always.” This tells you there is never a time when you are alone. He is always there to guide you with his Word. He is always there to comfort you with his love. He is always there to encourage you with his promises.

Even more convincing is the work he completed to assure you that “nothing will ever separate you from his love.” Jesus secured his Father’s approval to free you from the tyranny of your sin-stained life. Jesus accepted his Father’s just judgment to release you from the verdict of separation and punishment. Jesus endured the attacks of the devil and the horror of the grave to claim you as his own.

When you remember Jesus’ faithful promises, his precious work, and his undeserved love, you can live with complete certainty and peace. With Jesus, you are never alone.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 783)
I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless; Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still if thou abide with me.
Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me! Amen.

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

Renewed Strength – February 10, 2024

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30,31

Renewed Strength

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 10, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 40:30,31

See series: Devotions

Little children like to run everywhere. It doesn’t matter how short the distance. It can simply be from one side of the room to the other. The three-year-old is more than likely going to run that distance.

Part of the reason they do this is that they have short legs and need to take way more steps to cross the room than fully grown people. But they also run because they just have lots of energy.

Yet even those children with seemingly endless energy grow tired after a while. Eventually, they grow into adults, and their levels of energy decrease, and weariness sets in more quickly.

What a beautiful promise from the Lord that he will give us renewed strength! To “run and not grow weary”—it sounds too good to be true. Yet, it’s a promise from the Lord, so we know it is true.

Those who know that Jesus is their Savior, who treasures the forgiveness that is theirs because of his death on the cross, can walk with an extra spring in their step. The pressing weight of sin and guilt does not slow them down. They know that their relationship with God is defined by his love and will last forever.

When that relationship is enjoyed inside the gates of heaven, then their youth will truly and fully be renewed. None of the physical problems, none of the aches and pains that seem to grow more severe with age will be present there. Knowing that day will come gives the believer in Jesus a little extra energy in life as well.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you know that I am tired. Keep my eyes focused on the eternity in heaven that your Son, Jesus, won for me through his death on the cross. There I know that my strength will be renewed and will never grow weary again. Until I get there, give me strength and energy as you have promised. Amen.

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

Renewed Strength – February 9, 2024

Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:27-31

Renewed Strength

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 9, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 40:27-31

See series: Devotions

Scottish athlete Eric Liddell ran in the Paris Olympics in 1924. The organizers scheduled the heats for the 100 meters, his favorite distance, on a Sunday morning, but he chose to attend worship instead. He was disqualified from that event. He went on to win the 400-meter race, held on a weekday.

The story of his Olympic campaign was told in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. It includes a scene in which he was asked to speak in church and read the verses from Isaiah quoted above. It is especially moving to hear a trained athlete talk about encouragement from the Lord whose strength never fails.

After the Olympics, Eric Liddell returned to China, where he had been born to Scottish missionary parents. He served there as a missionary himself, bringing people to know Jesus as their Savior. He remained in China until his death in a Japanese internment camp in 1945.

On one occasion, he was asked if he ever regretted his decision to serve as a full-time missionary rather than a full-time athlete. He responded, “It’s natural for a chap to think over all that sometimes, but I’m glad I’m at the work I’m engaged in now. A fellow’s life counts for far more at this than the other.”

In 1991, the University of Edinburgh erected a memorial headstone for Eric Liddell at the site of the Japanese internment camp where he died. The inscription on the headstone is from Isaiah 40: “They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary.”

Prayer:
Lord, when my values are threatened, give me strength to persevere and testify to your glory. Amen.

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

Cares – February 8, 2024

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

Cares

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 8, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Peter 5:7

See series: Devotions

There had been an ice storm, but I had agreed to meet my friend at a restaurant and didn’t want to disappoint him. I arrived first, and the server was glad to seat me. I was the only customer, so we chatted as we waited for my friend.

“Did you have any trouble getting to work today?” I asked.

“Oh, yes,” she answered. “My husband had to bring me, and we went very slowly, but there were still times when we slid on the road. We were both pretty anxious.”

As we talked, I realized she was a Christian and sensed that I could offer some reassurance. “You know, don’t you, that the Lord sends his angels to care for us in these difficult situations.”

“Yes, I know,” she answered. “Every night, I take my little bundle of worries and lay it at the foot of the cross.” Then after a pause, she added, “The problem is that every morning, I go back and pick it up again.”

Everyone I meet has some anxieties and worries and cares. It just seems to go along with modern life. I want to reassure them, and I always have to start by reminding myself to leave my cares at the foot of the cross of Jesus. He has taken care of my eternal life and promises to take care of my everyday life as well.

When I am tempted to return to my cares after turning them over to God, he reminds me that he cares for me as his own dear child and that he will never leave me to deal with my anxiety alone.

Prayer:
Lord God, keep me safely in your hands because of your Son, Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

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

In Due Time – February 7, 2024

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. . . And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:6,7,10

In Due Time

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 7, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Peter 5:6,7,10

See series: Devotions

Are you at a time in your life when things are going well, or are you suffering?

If you are at a time when things are going well, give thanks to God for his many blessings. Use your clear mind and good health to read and meditate on God’s truths in the Bible. Encourage other people with your words and actions.

If you are suffering, don’t give up. God’s protecting hand is keeping the suffering from being worse. He will not let your suffering go on forever. Instead, in due time, he will lift you up and restore you. It is not easy to be humbled by suffering, but God is full of grace. He will give you eternal glory in Christ. He promises it.

The first week of February can be a difficult time of the year. Other times of the year are easier for many people. Knowing those times are coming can give people hope.

The same can be said for the suffering we endure in this life. It is never pleasant. But let the knowledge that God will one day restore you make you strong, firm, and steadfast.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I know that you suffered for me. When I suffer, make me patient. Teach me perseverance to long for your final salvation and rest secure in your house forever. Amen.

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

Resist the Devil – February 6, 2024

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
1 Peter 5:8,9

Resist the Devil

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 6, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Peter 5:8,9

See series: Devotions

Temptation can come from looking at the world around you. So many things seem more important than the Word of God, and there is always someone who will validate those worldly things.

Temptation can also come from inside you. Sometimes, you aren’t even aware that a strong desire is wrong. Sometimes, you know a thought is wrong, but you have no idea how to resist it.

Your enemy, the devil, loves it when his work of temptation is done by the world or your sinful flesh. He is always looking to send people into despair because they realize their sinfulness.

Resist him. How? Stand firm in the faith. What does that mean? It means clinging to what Jesus has done for you as the truth, as the definition of who you are, and your confidence in the face of accusations from the devil.

When the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him, “I admit that I deserve death and hell. So what? I know the person who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God. He is in heaven now, and that’s where I will also be!”

The great sixteenth-century religious reformer Martin Luther said those words. You can say them too. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. The family of believers throughout the world is confessing that same truth.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for sharing in our humanity and dying to break the power of the devil. Amen.

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

The Devil’s Work Undone – February 5, 2024

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Mark 1:32-39

The Devil’s Work Undone

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 5, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:32-39

See series: Devotions

Demon possession is an ancient problem. When Jesus came to earth to undertake his saving work, many people were demon-possessed. Jesus drove the demons out of them. When the demons tried to speak, Jesus would not let them. They knew that Jesus was God, and they might have said so, but since demons like to lie, people might have been confused.

The devil and his demons are all liars. They claim the work of Jesus is not complete, and that people are not forgiven. Such lies are a problem both ancient and modern. Jesus spoke the truth when he preached so that people would not be deceived by lies. He undid the lying work of the devil.

People who speak the truth today continue to undo the lying work of the devil. The message of repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus is the central truth of the Bible. Anyone who speaks against that truth is doing the work of the devil and his demons. Anyone who speaks that truth is undoing demonic work.

There is still demon possession today. But the devil’s work is undone by the power of Jesus in his Word and sacraments. Let the promises of God give you strength in the face of all fears and temptations. Jesus has defeated the devil.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, let your holy angel be with me, that the devil may have no power over me. Amen.

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

Depending on Our Great God – February 4, 2024

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Isaiah 40:26

Depending on Our Great God

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 4, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 40:26

See series: Devotions

Have you ever wondered when Michaelangelo finally knew that the Sistine Chapel was done? How did Leonardo da Vinci know Mona Lisa’s smile was just right? At what point did Rembrandt know he had finished a masterpiece?

Now try to grasp our God creating the universe and concluding that one more star would be too many, and one less would be not enough. Think about the fact that he called them all into existence and named each one of them.

It is valuable to feel small and insignificant in the presence of our great God. We are reminded how blessed we are to be dependent on him. This great God has given his Son to pay for our sins. This great God assures us that we can rest securely in his protective care. This great God comes to us in his Word and tells us how much he loves us.

Prayer: (Psalm 108:3-6)
I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, let your glory be over all the earth. Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. Amen

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

We Live in God’s World – February 3, 2024

Every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.
Hebrews 3:4

We Live in God’s World

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 3, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrews 3:4

See series: Devotions

The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago is one of the tallest and most famous buildings in the world. That building did not just appear by itself. Behind the fame of that building is the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. This firm has received great honor for its work with that tower. Every time someone looks into the history of the building, its name is attached to it.

The accomplishment of this firm is put into perspective by the message we read today from God’s Word. God is the builder of everything. He built everything when he created the world. We live in his world, but we don’t always give him the honor he deserves. In fact, we do just the opposite. We tend to take what he has made and abuse it and waste and misuse what he has given us. We aren’t satisfied with the physical and natural blessings he provides. Through our sins, we heap insult and dishonor before his feet and destroy what he has built.

But in his grace, God did not wipe us out for the lack of honor we show him. Instead, he followed a plan to rescue us from our failures and restore us to himself. His plan included sending prophets like Moses, who proclaimed that a Savior would come to save us. His plan unfolded as the promised Savior finally came, revealing himself as Jesus, the Son of God. Through Jesus, God grants us the forgiveness of sins and gives us new life—life that lasts forever with God.

Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill may receive honor as long as the Willis Tower stands. Yet we have a God who will receive eternal honor, for he has restored us as a new creation through Jesus, a restoration that will never be destroyed.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I give thanks that you have restored me through Jesus as your new creation. Lead me to honor you always for every blessing you give for both body and soul. Amen.

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

Authority Worthy of All Honor – February 2, 2024

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
Hebrew 3:1

Authority Worthy of All Honor

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 2, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrew 3:1

See series: Devotions

Moses was a great prophet. Jesus is greater.

God sent Jesus to share God’s message. He showed the world that sin is not just something we do. We are sin-sick. Sin so thoroughly stains our hearts that even the good we do is filthy in God’s eyes. But it is to sin-sick people like us that God sent Jesus. He shared with the world that God takes no delight in the death of anyone. He is our Savior who wants everyone to be saved.

That is why Jesus came into this world—to save sinners. He did not save us because of our good behavior. He saved us by the sacrifice of himself on the cross. He did it without our asking or pleading. By the sacrifice of his Son and the work his Spirit through his Word, God sets us apart for salvation. He makes us his sons and daughters and gives us a share in the glory of heaven.

For giving us what we do not deserve, Jesus deserves our highest honor. God told Moses that honoring Jesus means listening to him. But listening to him means more than just hearing what he has to say. Listening to Jesus means doing what he says.

Fix your thoughts on Jesus—and you will freely forgive as God in Christ has forgiven you. Fix your thoughts on Jesus—and you will find freedom in living a pure and decent life in word and action. Fix your thoughts on Jesus— and you will delight to serve others and consider their needs more important than your own. Fix your thoughts on Jesus—and you will never lose confidence or hope in the future glory Jesus is preparing for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to you forever and ever. Amen.

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

Verbal Authority – February 1, 2024

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.
Deuteronomy 18:15

Verbal Authority

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – February 1, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 18:15

See series: Devotions

This year, countries with more than half the world’s population will hold elections. That is a lot of campaigning. Some of what they say will be good and helpful, and some will be bad and harmful. Sometimes, what sounds good will be bad, and what sounds harmful will be helpful.

How can you know to whom and what you should listen? You need one voice that serves as the authority over all other voices. A voice that is always unchanging, reliable, and true. Who is like that? People lie. People fail to keep their promises. People change their minds. But God is not like us. He cannot lie and does not change his mind. He says what he means and does what he says.

Jesus, the Son of God, is a voice you can trust. The Old Testament records over 300 prophecies and promises regarding the Savior. Jesus fulfilled them all. Everything he spoke came from God. As God, Jesus has the authority to tell us what is right and what is wrong. He has the authority to condemn us for not listening to his Word but also has the authority to forgive us. And he has.

Because he is truly God, Jesus had the authority to lay down his life for the sins of the world. His death pays for sin, once and for all. But he also had the authority to take his life back again. His resurrection is proof that everything he did and said is unchanging, reliable, and true.

So, when it comes to other voices in the world, how can you know to whom and what you should listen? Compare what they say to what God’s Word, the Bible says. If what they say does not line up with what God says, cover your ears.

God’s Word does not tell us everything we might want to know, but it does tell us everything we need to know. By the authority of Christ Jesus, you are forgiven for all your sins. Listen to him.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, your Word is my light and my life. Lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.

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

Humble Authority – January 31, 2024

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites.
Deuteronomy 18:18

Humble Authority

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 31, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 18:18

See series: Devotions

God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of four centuries of slavery. Moses stood face to face with the Pharaoh of Egypt and won. He oversaw millions of people, handling their complaints, leading them through the wilderness, and judging their toughest disputes. Moses was important. He was the man. But he wrote of himself: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3).

Isn’t that ironic? It certainly does not seem like a very humble thing to say. Until you consider what author C.S. Lewis wrote, “humility is not thinking less about yourself but thinking about yourself less.” That certainly was Moses. Moses did not care about rank or reputation. He put the needs of the Israelites ahead of his own and brought them to the Promised Land.

As humble as Moses was, his sin barred him from entering the Promised Land. And his humility could not save all the Israelites who died in unbelief in the wilderness.

It was the humility of another like Moses that got Moses into heaven. Jesus is the prophet God chose to lead his people out of spiritual slavery. As God, Jesus has absolute authority over everyone and everything.

Yet Jesus did not use that authority to his own advantage. He put our needs ahead of his own and gave his life on the cross. He used his humble authority to pay our sin debt with his blood. Victorious over the grave, Jesus is the way through the wilderness. All who believe in him have eternal life in the land that God has promised.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, give me humility like yours so I can be confident in my salvation and share your salvation with those in need. Amen.

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

The Final Authority – January 30, 2024

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. . . Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”
Mark 1:21,23-27

The Final Authority

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 30, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:21,23-27

See series: Devotions

Seventeenth-century French philosopher Rene Descartes is known for the saying: “I think, therefore I am.” The Twenty-first Century bumper sticker equivalent is: “Honk if you exist.”

If you want to know what issues matter to society or the mindset of current culture, read their bumper stickers. One of the more popular is the command to “QUESTION AUTHORITY.” It is a warning not to follow blindly after anyone just because they are influential. Certainly, not everyone with authority is trustworthy, but that does not mean that everyone is not trustworthy.

Jesus is an authority you can trust. He proved it by what he proclaimed. When Jesus taught in the synagogue, he did not just regurgitate what other teachers of the law thought God’s Word meant. He did not reiterate their manufactured laws. Jesus proclaimed the freedom, healing, and release that God promised. Then he backed up his word with action. With the same authority that the people heard Jesus teach, they witnessed him drive a demon out of a man.

Despite society’s efforts to convince us otherwise, regardless of whatever bumper sticker gets slapped on the back of a car, Jesus is the final authority. When Jesus died on the cross, he destroyed the devil’s work. And when he rose from the grave, he proved his victory over sin, death, and hell. That victory is yours through faith in your Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, what peace, what joy, what hope is mine that you are the final authority over all things in life and in death. Amen.

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

A Prophet Like Moses – January 29, 2024

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites.
Deuteronomy 18:15

A Prophet Like Moses

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 29, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 18:15

See series: Devotions

The prophet. When you hear those words, who comes to mind? If you are of Arab descent, you think of Muhammed, the founder of Islam. If you live in the western United States of America, you probably think of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church. If you are connected to Orthodox Judaism, you think of Moses.

There were many prophets that God commissioned in the Old Testament. But none like Moses. God himself sent Moses to the Israelites. God made Moses their leader, and he was their deliverer. Moses led God’s people out of slavery in Egypt. He performed miracles and wonders. And God spoke face-to-face with Moses, giving him the laws that governed the Israelites for over a thousand years.

As great as Moses was, God raised up a greater prophet—Jesus.

The law was given through Moses, but the Israelites could not fulfill it. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. We cannot fulfill God’s law either, but Jesus graciously kept the law in our place. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the laws that God gave Moses.

The truth is we all deserve to die for our sins, but Jesus graciously died in our place. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the entire world. We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. By his resurrection from the dead, Jesus has opened the way to eternal life with God in the Promised Land of heaven.

Jesus is the way for all who follow him in faith.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my Prophet, Priest, and King, teach me your way, forgive my sins, and govern my heart by your grace and truth. Amen.

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

Amazed – January 28, 2024

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
Mark 1:21,22

Amazed

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 28, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:21,22

See series: Devotions

What does it take to amaze you? Are you often astounded? Or does that happen somewhat infrequently, only when there’s something really out of the ordinary?

Mark says that the people were amazed when Jesus taught in the synagogue. Why so? It was because of the content of Jesus’ teaching. The religious leaders simply demanded from the people: “Do this! Live this way! Act this way!” Jesus, on the other hand, spoke not merely of external things, but spoke to the heart. He spoke of God’s promises being fulfilled of the promised Savior—himself! He told them that in him was the salvation which God had promised to send to the world.

Think of it—God loved you and me enough to come to this earth himself. God loved you and me so much that he was willing to live our life and willing to die for us. We sinful humans had separated ourselves from God and had no way to get back to him, but God loved you too much to lose you, so he did what was necessary to reunite you to him. He lived, he died, he rose, all for you!

Amazing. And true! Because it comes from God!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for teaching me about all you have done for me. May it always amaze me! Amen.

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

A Substitute – January 27, 2024

God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

A Substitute

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 27, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:21

See series: Devotions

On June 2, 1925, Wally Pip, the starting first baseman for the New York Yankees, was hit in the head by a pitch in pre-game batting practice. The manager put a substitute in to play for Pip that day. Pip never started another game at first base for the Yankees because his substitute went on to play in 2,130 straight games—a record that stood for many years. What a substitution! You probably never heard of Wally Pip. Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, you probably heard of Pip’s substitute: Lou Gehrig. He’s in Baseball’s Hall of Fame!

The Bible tells us about a substitution that was even more spectacular. Over 2,000 years ago, God put a substitute on Calvary’s cross for all sinners. Our substitute’s name was Jesus Christ. Although this God-man was perfect, he willingly took our sins and imperfections upon himself and was punished in our place. He experienced the agony of hell and the righteous anger of a holy God for you and me! By his wounds we are healed. Our sins are paid for. We are righteous in God’s sight because of our substitute.

Because of a substitution, Lou Gehrig is in baseball’s Hall of Fame. Trusting in the substitute that God appointed for you—Jesus Christ, you will be in heaven’s Hall of Fame, forever!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I confess that I often sin and deserve to be separated from you and all your blessings. But in love you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, who bore the guilt of my sin for me and died to set me free from the condemnation I deserve. Thanks and praise to you for Jesus, my substitute! Amen.

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

The New is Here! – January 26, 2024

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:16,17

The New is Here!

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 26, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:16,17

See series: Devotions

At the beginning of a new year, we desperately want an answer to this question: Can people change? That is, given enough time and effort, can I change my old habits and habitual sins? And, in a world characterized by selfishness and tribalism, can I change the way that I view other people?

Well, consider the man behind today’s Bible passage. Twenty years before he wrote these words, the apostle Paul was “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man” (1 Timothy 1:13). He hated Jesus and Jesus’ disciples, so he hunted them down and arrested them.

All that changed when Jesus blinded him with light, spoke to him from heaven, and sent a man named Ananias to preach the good news to him, to baptize him, and to shine the light of faith in his heart. That’s how Paul became “a herald and an apostle and a teacher of the true faith” (1 Timothy 2:7).

Paul is proof that people really do change. And God continues to change people to this very day. When you become a Christian, God changes you from dead in sin to alive in Christ. Because of Christ, when God the Father looks at you, he sees someone clothed in the perfection of his Son.

Because of Christ, when you look at other people, what do you see? That every single person—regardless of their age, their race, their economic status, or their politics—is someone for whom Christ died.

The Son of God does not see you as some hopeless, lost cause of a sinner. You are an heir of eternal life, and that changes the way you look at life. You don’t have to be selfish anymore. You don’t have to be angry anymore. You don’t have to lose control anymore. You have been changed. You have been forgiven. The new is here.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for making me a new creation. Please give me strength to live like it. Amen.

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

A Life Lived for Jesus – January 25, 2024

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. . . God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:14,15,21

A Life Lived for Jesus

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 25, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:14,15,21

See series: Devotions

You may have encountered the slogan “WWJD?” It is shorthand for “What Would Jesus Do?” The goal of that acronym is to get people to live like Jesus. Although its intent is noble, it has one major flaw: it gives an incomplete view of Jesus and his work.

The problem is that it presents Christ primarily as an example to follow. Today’s Bible passage, however, destroys the notion that Jesus is just an example for Christians to follow on their walk with God.

Have you ever heard better news than these three verses? Jesus died for all of our sins in our place as our substitute. And when Jesus died, it was as if everyone who has ever lived, is living, or will live had died. He died for all so that you will never know the horror of hell.

This means that when God saw his Son on the cross, he saw all of the sins and sinners, and Christ was punished for each sin of all sinners. More than that, Jesus gives sinners what he alone has—his perfection and righteousness. The love behind that great exchange is what compels Christians to live, not for themselves, but for the One who had died for them.

All this means that Christianity is not about what you should do. It’s about what someone else did for you. A better acronym would be “RWJD,” shorthand for “Remember What Jesus Did.” In other words, we don’t live like Jesus; we live for Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, let your life, death, and resurrection for me empower my life lived for you. Amen.

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

The Right Tool for the Job – January 24, 2024

Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
Jonah 3:3-5

The Right Tool for the Job

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 24, 2024

Devotion based on Jonah 3:3-5

See series: Devotions

Sometimes the right tool for the job is the last thing you would expect. For example, if you accidentally immerse your smartphone in water, you can salvage it by putting it into a bag of uncooked rice. That doesn’t seem like it should work, but in an emergency, the moisture-absorbing properties of the rice can save an expensive piece of technology.

What if you need to save a city full of thousands of people from the wrath of God? What’s the right tool for that job? Nineveh was one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. It was the capital of the Assyrian Empire and was renowned for its brutality and cruelty. It was filled with people who worshiped false gods. In short, the inhabitants of Nineveh were headed for hell.

So God sent Jonah to turn the Ninevites from their sin. That doesn’t seem like it should work. What could one man armed with the Word of God accomplish in a city with thousands of people? Turns out, quite a bit.

Jonah preached, and the people repented. They showed their sorrow over sin by not eating and wearing uncomfortable clothing. Of course, what made the difference was not Jonah but the Word of God that Jonah spoke.

God’s Word does what it says. In the beginning, God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Through his prophet, God said, “Repent,” and stony hearts were turned in repentance. The Word says “Believe,” and dead, unbelieving hearts come to life, trusting in the good news about Jesus.

Thank God that what at first seems inadequate is, in fact, the right tool for the job. Praise God for the power of his Word!

Prayer:
Lord God, give me confidence in the power of your Word. Amen.

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

A Lofty Charge – January 23, 2024

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Mark 1:16-18

A Lofty Charge

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 23, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:16-18

See series: Devotions

The Bible makes it clear that there is a vital chain of events that leads to salvation for sinners. In order to call on the Lord and be saved, people must first believe in him. In order to believe in him, they must first hear about him. In order to hear about him, someone must preach to them. In order for someone to preach to them, that person must first be sent.

This brings us to today’s Bible passage, where Jesus calls Simon and Andrew to be links in the chain that connects sinners to Christ. But why does God use people—even simple fishermen!—to spread his Word? Why doesn’t God speak from heaven, or why doesn’t he send angels to do this important work?

Well, read the Bible and you will discover that when God spoke directly to the people, they begged him to stop. When angels delivered messages, the recipients were often terrified. Sinners cannot stand in the presence of God’s holy perfection.

So, God sends ordinary people like Simon and Andrew to spread his Word. God wants one sinner to tell another the greatest words ever spoken: “Jesus has done it all for you! Repent and believe the good news!”

Jesus has not called you to be an apostle; like these men. He may not have called you to be a pastor or teacher in his church. But every Christian gets to declare “the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

What a lofty charge! What joy to know that the God in whose presence you cannot stand brings himself into your presence by his Word; that the God who called you, sought, and bought you forges you as a link in that vital chain of events that leads to salvation for sinners.

Prayer:
God of salvation, help me to speak your Word and fish for people. Amen.

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

A Different Kind of Kingdom – January 22, 2024

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Mark 1:14,15

A Different Kind of Kingdom

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 22, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:14,15

See series: Devotions

Today’s Bible passage has an ominous start. John was the man sent by God to prepare people for the coming Savior. Why was he put in prison?

Because preparing people to meet Jesus meant confronting them with their sins, and not everyone appreciated that. When John called a king named Herod to repentance for his unlawful marriage, Herod put John in prison. The message was clear: in Herod’s kingdom, confronting sin could make you an enemy of the state.

Unknown to Herod, however, was the fact that the Savior had arrived. No sooner was John in prison than Jesus began preaching his own clear message: “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

His message is about a different kind of kingdom from Herod’s. It doesn’t have a set location because it is not a place; it is God’s saving activity among people. It is not characterized by ignoring sin or imprisoning its enemies. Instead, it is all about forgiving sin and turning its enemies into citizens.

Because of sin, all people enter this world hostile to God. Repentance changes that. When you repent, God changes how you think about sin. He makes you sorry for it and turns you away from it and toward himself. He is your King, who wore a crown of thorns and shed his blood on a cross to obliterate all your sins.

That good news characterizes this kingdom and is the reason why we need to be confronted with our sin so we will repent of it and believe the good news that we are forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Repentance is not a turning you do to yourself; it’s a turning Jesus’ Word does to you. Belief is not something you conjure up in yourself; it’s a gift that Jesus’ Word gives to you.

This King establishes his kingdom not by fighting, but by speaking. Remember, this is a different kind of kingdom. You are its citizen by the grace of God, by repentance and faith in the good news.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for bringing me into your kingdom. Amen.

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

Come, Follow Me – January 21, 2024

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Mark 1:14-20

Come, Follow Me

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 21, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:14-20

See series: Devotions

Jesus is a king who has a kingdom, and he calls us to follow him as our leader. We are usually suspicious of people who claim to be great leaders, especially political leaders like kings. We wonder if they are gathering a following so they might use their power over us. So, we are cautious about following those who claim to be great leaders.

But that is not what happened in Galilee 2,000 years ago. Jesus came proclaiming that he was a king who had a kingdom and that all people should follow him. Remarkably, men like Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John did. They left everything to follow Jesus.

They were willing to follow Jesus because he was a different kind of king with a different kind of kingdom. Instead of taking from people, he gave great blessings to people. Instead of gathering a following to control, he gathered a following to set them free. He didn’t rule to take the lives of others. He came to give up his life to rescue people from sin and death. That is why the first disciples were willing to give up everything and follow Jesus.

Now what about you? Are you willing to follow this King? Jesus’ kingdom is one of freedom and forgiveness. It is a kingdom of good news—the good news of eternal salvation.

Repent and follow Jesus your King!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my King. I repent of all my sins before you. I ask you to wash them all away. And now teach me to follow you in all my ways that I might bring glory to your name! Amen.

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

Hold Tight to God’s Promises – January 20, 2024

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:13,14

Hold Tight to God’s Promises

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 20, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14

See series: Devotions

Photos often capture that special moment in the hospital when parents hold their newborn child for the first time. Embodied in that first embrace is the selfless love parents strive to give their tiny, helpless child in the months and years that follow.

Photos could not capture the moment God first embraced us with his love. Long before God gave birth to the earth and all living things, through Jesus, he chose us to be his own. He knew us and loved us before time began.

How can we be sure that he chose us? We turn to the good news of the Bible. The Word comforts us with the message of the perfect life of Christ and the cross he willingly bore for us. His death and resurrection assure us that our sins are paid in full and that God’s eternal love for us endures!

God’s love is so great he even promises that we will share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. No photo can capture the splendor and joy that await us in our eternal home at our Savior’s side. Since God embraces us with endless love through Jesus, we are moved to give him endless thanks with our lips and our lives.

Prayer: (Christian Worship – A Lutheran Hymnal – 610)
Now thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices, who wondrous things has done, in whom his world rejoices, who from our mother’s arms has blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love and still is ours today. Amen.

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

Eternal and Everyday Encouragement – January 19, 2024

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16,17

Eternal and Everyday Encouragement

Press to listen to the audio file in a new tab or window.
Daily Devotion – January 19, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17

See series: Devotions

There are two kinds of encouragement the Lord gives us in our Bible verses today. One kind of encouragement is “eternal encouragement.” This is something God has already given us. Because we know Jesus is our Savior, we already have eternal encouragement. We are encouraged to know that God has a chair in heaven reserved for us with our name on it. This kind of encouragement is a done deal because Jesus has already died and risen from the dead for us. Our eternity is rock-solid and certain.

The other kind of encouragement God gives us is what we could call “everyday encouragement.” The apostle Paul prayed that the Lord would encourage the hearts of the Thessalonian believers. They had the eternal encouragement of heaven always in their hearts, but they also needed encouragement to face the trials of each and every day. They needed strength to carry out God’s will among their friends, neighbors, and even their enemies.

God gives you both eternal and everyday encouragement. You’ve got the big-picture hope of a life forever with Jesus. That kind of hopeful encouragement is always there. It is your safety net ready to catch you when big, bad things happen. But you’ve also got encouragement from God to live your everyday life according to his will. The Lord gives you his Word to be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path to make correct decisions. In his Word, God gives you countless stories of real people facing real situations so you can find something in common with one of them. You’ll also find favorite Bible passages that encourage you before a big test in life.

Whether you need big-time encouragement in the face of hardship or everyday encouragement for following God’s will for your life, God will have the kind of encouragement you need.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, you are the ultimate encourager for my soul. Keep me hopeful and encouraged for eternal life and everyday life. Amen.

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