Dads – June 17, 2018

Dads – June 17, 2018


Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.
Genesis 4:20




Military Devotion – June 17, 2018

Devotion based on Genesis 4:20

See series: Military Devotions

The prayer is not, “Our Mother, who art in heaven…” This person of the Trinity is addressed as “Father.”

This is not a putdown of human mothers. It is a notice given to dads. If the almighty God chooses to use the title father for a person of the Godhead, we had better be certain about what he expects a human father to be.

Living in our modern world, we are struck by the repeated biblical phrases that declare that a person lived so-and-so-many years, and then became the father of so-and-so. We ask, what about the mothers?

They are not forgotten. Adah’s name has been read by millions over thousands of years as the mother of Jabal. We can quickly name other noted women in the Bible. But fathers still receive special notice—because fathers have a special load of responsibility.

Fathers and mothers stand equal in the sight of God. They are to love one another and care for their children. God entrusts little ones into their hands. It is an awesome responsibility. Jesus issues the strong warning: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).

Heaven is watching!

Yet, fathers and mothers have also been assigned distinct and different roles in life. Not only are their biological roles different, so are their responsibilities: Mothers and fathers are responsible for the care of their children. Fathers are responsible for the entire family.

It is as if God points his finger at fathers and says, “The buck stops here!”

Sad, if the father is not there. Sad, if the father refuses to take responsibility. Blessed is the mother who then steps up to take charge. But no one else can truly take the place of the father. The best we can offer is a substitute.

Responsibilities may be properly delegated. Maybe the mother is better at handling the finances. Maybe the father will be deployed for months on end. That is not a rejection of a father’s role. That may be love and care in action.

So, from Jabal came people of the flocks and tents. From his brother, Jubal, came musicians. Adah was mother to both, and grandmother to their children.

This was God’s plan. This was God’s way. This is how God brought blessings to those families. This is how God brings blessings to the people of earth.

We look in with reverent eyes as we see the Son of God asking his Father for help. Jesus used the word, Abba. It’s like us saying, Dad.

“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36). By “cup” he meant suffering and death to rescue us.

We know how the Father answered. The reply was, No!

God the Father did not hate the Son. He loved him beyond all measure. But he also loved us. He loved us so much that he did not spare his own Son.

To define the role of a father, we cannot omit the word, love.

Fathers carry a heavy load of responsibility. But it is also one of the greatest of honors.

It is a gift from heaven to be called, Dad.



Prayer:  Father in heaven, those who bear that title on earth can never measure up to your standards. You have given fathers their children. You have placed great weight upon their shoulders. Be, then, the source of their strength. Enable them to be a blessing. Let them know the joy of being a faithful, loving dad. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Cheering crowds – June 10, 2018

Cheering crowds – June 10, 2018


The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Matthew 21:9




Military Devotion – June 10, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 21:9

See series: Military Devotions

Crowds enjoy seeing troops marching. They are quick to cheer. Usually, that is good. But sometimes it causes resentment.

Consider these words, written by a British soldier in WWI:

“You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.” (Siegfried Sassoon)

The cheering people would have been shocked and confused by these words. They thought they were doing something good; something that would show encouragement.

Why, then, did the soldier write, “You smug-faced crowds…”? Why the anger?

Those who lined the roads to cheer had no idea of what the troops were marching into. No idea of the desperation of those who had already been on the front lines. No idea of how much they did not want to go where the march would end.

Come to think of it, neither did the Palm Sunday crowds.

Those who watched Jesus heading to Jerusalem had no clue that Jesus was riding to torture and execution. No understanding of what really was taking place.

By Friday, the crowds would again gather. This time they would include women weeping and wailing at the sight of the bloody, stumbling Jesus. They would wonder at his words, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.” (Luke 23:28).

Again, they did not understand.

His later words were: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

A response far different from, “You smug-faced crowds…”

Those who are willing to step into harm’s way to defend a nation will regularly encounter people who do not understand. If that step brings one into the theater of war, the lack of understanding will escalate. Misconceptions will abound. Feelings will be hurt. Anger may arise.

Don’t let it.

The only way someone else could clearly know what the warrior went through is if that person had been there. Would we want our spouse, or parents, or neighbors to have done that?

It’s understandable that they do not understand.

If we are tempted to think that this is unfair, the example of Jesus will set us straight. We can say, “Jesus loves me.” We can know, “Jesus saved me.” We can sing: “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.” But we can never fully understand what Jesus went through to rescue us.

That much we do understand.

We will not stand smug-faced as we review the march of Jesus to his death. We will smile, however. We already know that this ends not with the grave or hell. Jesus was heading for heaven—and there, we will join him.

We will stand with his cheering crowds.



Prayer:  Jesus, Son of God and Savior, we look on in wonder as the story of your life is brought before our eyes in the sacred Scriptures. We cannot begin to imagine your pain and sacrifice. We cannot envision the depth of your love. You are beyond our understanding. But the Holy Spirit has worked in us a saving faith. Accept our words of praise. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Wings of the dawn – June 3, 2018

Wings of the dawn – June 3, 2018


If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:9,10




Military Devotion – June 6, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 139:9,10

See series: Military Devotions

The old recruitment slogan read: “Join the Navy and see the world.” Many a young American did just that. Some still do.

Another slogan announced: “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure!” That one was also successful.

Behind both of the slogans is the message that to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces will enable a person to see places and do things unusual and exciting. What is not mentioned is that the recruits will have little to say about where they will go or what they will do. In the lingo of the Marines, “The head shed decides all of that.”

The phrase, “the wings of the dawn,” points one to the east, where the sunrise spreads itself on the horizon as if it had wings. For the Israelite, “the far side of the sea” was to the west, where the sun sets. The psalmist is saying: “Wherever I go…”

Many who have worn the uniform have seen sunrises and sunsets in far off places. Sometimes they were on an adventure. At other times, they certainly would have not called it that. At all times, there was an element of risk. It came with the job. The job is to protect America, even if it means going to distant and dangerous places.

The writer of this psalm, King David, understood the risk of being a warrior. He spent most of his life at war. His career started with taking down of Goliath. He carried his weapons even into old age. He was a hero.

But he was not self-reliant. He was not cocky. He knew that his life was but a breath that could fade in less than a minute. He understood that the Lord God was king over him, and the source of his strength. Of the Lord, David said, “You shield my head in the day of battle” (Psalm 140:7).

The question every warrior asks as he heads into danger is, “Will my support be there when I need it? Will someone have my back? Will someone cover me when I move into danger?”

David had brave and tested troops under him. He depended upon them. But most of all, he depended upon the Lord his God. The Lord would be there no matter where he went. He would be there to guide him. He would be there to support him. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” David will write in the 23rd Psalm. “I will fear no evil” he will say. “For thou art with me…” he will explain.

“Wherever I go…” he said. East or west, or anyplace in between—his God will be there.

“Wherever I go…” On mountain tops or in valleys—his God will be there.

“Wherever I go…” In life or in death—his God will be there.

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” This is the promise of the one who defeated death and gave us life everlasting.

This God is our God. This promise is to us. Our God will be there to guide and support.

Even when we rise on the wings of the dawn.



Prayer: Almighty Father, strong to save. Be with us wherever we go. Guide and support us. Forgive our sins for Jesus’ sake and send the Holy Spirit to keep us from harm to body or soul. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Remembrance – May 27, 2018

Remembrance – May 27, 2018


There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.
Ecclesiastes 1:11




Military Devotion – May 27, 2018

Devotion based on Ecclesiastes 1:11

See series: Military Devotions

“The end of war is in remembrance.”

This old saying may surprise us. Few who have survived the trauma of war are anxious to relive those days in memory. The pain of the disorder from post-traumatic stress is often caused by the mental replaying of those traumatic events. Thus, the natural inclination is to avoid the memories of war, and many veterans have become quite good at doing that.

That is not necessarily good. Avoiding memories can prevent healing.

Memorial Day is a good time for us to remember war with its casualties of bodies and minds. King Solomon of old would encourage us to do this.

For all of his wealth, wisdom, and power, Solomon had much to lament. In the God-inspired Book of Ecclesiastes, he groans out his misery in life. He opens the book with the words: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

He soon moves to his complaint about remembrance. He says there is none. Thus, there is no meaning to what people have done.

As flags are lowered and wreaths are laid on tombstones at this time of year, the phrase that may come to our ears is, “They have not died in vain.”

This declares that the death of those who have fallen in service to our nation was not meaningless.

Not everyone agrees. Not everyone follows the parade to the burial ground. Not everyone acknowledges the flag at half-mast. Not everyone stands still at the sound of taps.

Not everyone appreciates the sacrifices of those who lost their life to preserve our freedoms.

But those who, like Solomon, lament the lack of remembrance of what was accomplished by those who came before, they will see the meaning of Memorial Day.

The Christian will see the day through God’s eyes. The Christian will remember that our nation does not deserve the blessings of freedom that float down upon it. The Christian will remember how close our nation has come to losing these freedoms at times. The Christian will remember that those who stepped forward to defend our nation were gifts provided by the hand of God.

It is a time to acknowledge the gifts we have received through the wars that have been waged and the sacrifices that others have made.

It is a time to consider the cost that the loved ones of the fallen have paid.

Remembrance allows us to see the larger picture, to weigh the fuller cost, and to appreciate the greater value of what has been handed down.

We will remember God’s promise that the day will come when, “Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Micah 4:3).

Until that time comes, on Memorial Day we will repeat the prayer of those who have gone before us.



Prayer: “Lord God of hosts, be with us yet. Lest we forget. Lest we forget.” Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Pure trash – May 20, 2018

Pure trash – May 20, 2018


What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
Philippians 3:8




Military Devotion – May 20, 2018

Devotion based on Philippians 3:8

See series: Military Devotions

The higher the hope, the greater the disappointment when the hope falls.

The young Marine was to be commended. Every other Sunday he drove some 200 miles to attend a WELS worship service. Sometimes he brought buddies with him. He probably came from a good Christian home. More recently, he had come from Vietnam. It was the early ‘70s.

His car broke down on a trip back to Lejeune, so he visited one of the typical used car lots that are sprinkled around military installations. The next time he showed up, he had big smile on his face. “God was with me!” he gushed. He had found a peach of a car at a bargain price.

Two weeks later, he returned with his “new” car. This time the words, “Pure Trash” were spray-painted on the front plate.

One’s heart had to go out to the hapless Marine. The car was a clunker. But he didn’t have enough money to simply buy another one—and the dealer surely wouldn’t take it back. So, he had to limp along from one repair bill to another for a while.

The peach had turned into a lemon.

The apostle Paul never did buy an automobile, but like this 20th century Christian, he had learned the value of everything apart from his Savior God. He used the word, garbage. He probably would have given a thumb’s up at this car being labeled, pure trash.

In fact, even if it was a brand-new Corvette that the young man found himself in, the apostle would still list it as, no better.

This is not to say that a new car is not an improvement over the clunker. The point is, nothing in this world is everlasting, truly precious, or worth trading one ounce of salvation for. Better to lose everything on earth than to lose the inheritance in heaven.

The nice house cannot be used as collateral against the debt we owe God. Those new clothes will not serve to get us out on bail when we face divine judgment. Nor will friends be able to influence the Judge.

In the court of God, the only thing that counts is the blood of Jesus.

No wonder the apostle treasured “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Without knowing Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he had nothing—though he was earthly rich.

With the certain knowledge that the Son of God paid his debt to God, he was rich beyond all measure—though he had nothing else.

He knew with absolute certainty: those who place their hope on Jesus are never disappointed.

We agree.



Thus we declare in the words of the hymn:
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. Amen.
(Christian Worship 382:1,3)



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Moms – May 13, 2018

Moms – May 13, 2018


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13




Military Devotion – May 13, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 139:13

See series: Military Devotions

We did not pick our mothers, nor did they pick us. Someone else was in charge of the selections.

If we wonder why we were not born in Bangladesh or in the year 1496, the answer lies not in our genes, but with our God. Without his direct action, we would not be. Before our mother was born, we were already chosen to be her child. It was foreordained.

But that does not mean that we are the product of some mechanical formula worked out eons before our birth. We are the result of individual, careful, and loving decisions by the same one who formed the stars and calls them out by name.

Our heart and lungs, our brain and nervous system were custom made. Our fingerprints were designed just for us.

As one knits a blanket to a certain size and with a certain pattern, so the Creator fashioned us. The psalmist calls out in the next verse, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

But the pattern we were made from was not completely new. Pieces of us match pieces of our parents and relatives before them. Maybe it is said that we have our father’s ears or our mother’s smile. Someone may have pointed out that we have our grandfather’s eyes. Maybe when we look at old pictures we notice that, as a child, we looked much like one of our great-grandparents when they were young.

We are not an accident. We are not merely the product of a biological process. We are the handiwork of God. We are wonderfully made.

He could have decided to call us into being out of nothing, as he did the sun and moon. Instead, he chose to form us inside of a woman. He picked out our extended family. He set the time and place for us to draw our first breath.

He selected our mother.

Our father was also of his choosing. A dad’s role is different, however. But both deserve special treatment. “Honor your father and mother!” is an order from our Creator.

That command stands no matter how good of parents we think they are. By honoring them, we honor God.

But mothers stand out as extra special. It was a female that was chosen as the one to serve mankind in a very special way. It was a woman who gave birth to the incarnate Son of God.

Jesus of Nazareth called Mary, “Mama.” He was both her son and her Savior. He brought her pain. He gave her heaven. It’s the same gift he offers us.

We were fashioned according to God’s pattern for God’s purpose. We were designed to live forever. Mary’s Son has made this possible.

For that, we thank our Savior God and acknowledge the wonder of his greatness. He has blessed us in many wondrous ways.

As one of his wonders, he has given us our moms.



Prayer: God of mercy and might, as we consider how wonderfully we are made, we are compelled to declare, “How great thou art!” We thank you for giving us life. We ask you to use us for the purposes you have chosen for us. We thank you for our moms. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Watch your step – May 6, 2018

Watch your step – May 6, 2018


Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.
1 Samuel 20:3




Military Devotion – May 6, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 20:3

See series: Military Devotions

The warning, “Watch your step!” takes on extra weight for those who do foot patrols where IEDs are likely to be placed. When King David said there was only a step between him and death, he may have been speaking figuratively. In modern warfare this is often a reality.

Actually, it is always a reality.

The transition back from a combat zone is seldom easy. Hypervigilant is the term sometimes used to describe the person having difficulty doing this. Reckless is another. So is unpredictable. Warzone thoughts and feelings do not fit well in the back-home peace zone. Adjustments need to be made.

Over time, most make the switch back to normal, or at least to the new normal. But few forget what it was like to live one step away from death.

That’s not necessarily bad. The remembrance pays dividends as life goes on. It reminds us that no matter where we are or how old we are, there is only one step to death’s door.

That honest realization should not terrify us, but it should make us careful. After spending time in distant and dangerous places, we may be tempted to think that if we made it through that, we can make it through anything. We abandon caution.

Or maybe, we are tempted to renew that emotional rush brought on by living on the edge. Defying death with speed down a roadway or with speed in our system can be exhilarating—but surely not wise. Those are deathtraps, and to be avoided.

Tiptoeing through life in fear or racing through life in bravado is not a good way to live a life. It is not God’s way. God’s way involves confident caution.

A troubled Job once asked about his Creator and Lord, “Does he not see my ways and count my every step?” (Job 31:4) The expected answer was: “Yes! Yes, he does!”

Yes, he does see my ways. I am never off his radar screen. He sees what is done in secret. He sees the plans I am making. Camouflage doesn’t fool him. The future doesn’t surprise him.

He counts every step. He knows how tired I become. He knows how many steps away I am from danger or disaster. He watches over my soul as well as my body. He sees the dangers that threaten either of them or both of them.

Some newer cars come equipped with sensors that detect when the vehicle crosses into a different lane without the turn signal activated. It’s there to prevent unintentional drifting into danger. A signal shows up on the dashboard. A vibration is felt in the driver’s seat. The steering wheel is nudged back to the original lane. It can be a lifesaver.

God does this even better. The Creator-God has given us an alerting conscience. His Word points us to the safe path and warns against the dangerous dead ends. As the Savior-God, he has given us forgiveness and redemption. As the Sanctifying-God, he empowers us to follow the road to heaven. We can joyfully live a life of cautious confidence.

After all, it is God who watches our steps.



Prayer: Lord of the nations and Savior of our souls, we live our lives—one step after another—without knowing what that next stride will bring. When we look back over our path, we can now see how close to tragedy we have come at times. When we look ahead, we wonder how we will avoid disaster. But you know. In you we put our trust. Keep watching our steps. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Living free – April 29, 2018

Living free – April 29, 2018


Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
1 Peter 2:16




Military Devotion – April 29, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 2:16

See series: Military Devotions

The ancient Greek warriors had a motto: “To Rule and to be Ruled”. Perhaps that will help us more easily understand these words of the Apostle Peter. At first glance, the commands to live as free people and to live as slaves seem to present a contradiction.

Isn’t it one or the other? How can we be free and slaves at the same time? Isn’t the first order countermanded by the second? Which order should we obey?

Both. One order declares our freedom. The other order defines our freedom. Those in service to defend our country are free Americans. But they are not free from authority. If confused before, the recruit quickly learns this to be true.

In all of life, the chain-of-command goes all the way to the top—way above the national commander-in-chief. Above every dictator, president, and king is the King of kings. His word is absolute. He owns us.

Saint Paul has written, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19,20). That’s true! Christians live not for themselves, but for him. We submit our wishes to his will. He is our master. We are slaves of the holy God—and glad of it!

We are not ground-into-the-dirt slaves. Listen to how the apostle Peter describes us: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…” (1 Peter 2:9).

We are people of powerful privilege. We enjoy the freedom of the redeemed. Jesus has declared, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31,32). He drives home the meaning of this with these words: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

But not free to sin! Not free to ignore the master’s will. Not free to use freedom as a cover-up for evil. Instead, we are free from the death-grip of evil. Satan, sin, and death rule us no more. We need not bow before them.

But that does not mean we obey no one. From the vault of heaven comes the standing order to the heirs of glory: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors…” (1 Peter 2:13).

To every human authority? Even those who issue foolish orders? Even those who do not acknowledge that God lives and rules?

Yes.

Except—except when they give an order that countermands one of God’s orders. This same Saint Peter once told Jewish authorities who they demanded that he stop preaching about Jesus: “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29)

We must obey God. Love for him makes us want to do this. Jesus set the example. As the Son of God, he was free to do whatever he wanted. Yet, he conformed his will to what his Father wanted, even when this brought him pain and death.

We want to do the same. When we freely follow the orders of our Savior God, we make that motto of the long-ago warriors our very own.

“To rule and to be ruled.” That’s living free.



We pray in the spirit of Jesus: Our Father who art in heaven…thy will be done. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Neither slumbers nor sleeps – April 22, 2018

Neither slumbers nor sleeps – April 22, 2018


Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 121:4




Military Devotion – April 22, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 121:4

See series: Military Devotions

Sometimes it does not seem that way. Sometimes we aren’t so sure that he is watching over us.

Sometimes we want to join the sons of Korah who shouted: “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever” (Psalm 44:23).

These were not the words of unbelief. The sons of Korah wrote the psalm that begins, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46). The famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress” is based upon their words.

These words flowed from confusion and stress—and a bit of doubt.

Their forefathers had flourished under the hand of God. Enemies had been pushed back. Victories had been gained.

“But now” they lament, “you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies.” The result? “You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us.” “I live in disgrace all day long…” (Psalm 44:10,15).

We might pass over this lament as just old words from the Old Testament, but the Apostle Paul repeats the thought for New Testament Christians. He writes: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

For many New Testament Christians, the meaning was literal. Many were killed because of their faith in the true and living God. Others faced hard-times, rejection, disappointment, and failure. Many wondered, “Why?”

So might we.

Those who have seen horrible sights in wars; those who have been unfairly judged and punished; those who have seen hopes die and evil triumph—those are the ones who sometimes wonder if God has fallen asleep.

It’s not as if we were expecting only good things in life. We know better. But we tend to set a limit to how much bad the good Lord will allow to come into the lives of his people. When bad gushes in like a flood over a dam, we fear all is lost.

We wonder if God is angry at us. We wonder if he is too busy, too careless, or just too tired to step in to help.

In short, we begin to view God as if he were only human.

He is not.

He is the Creator. He is the Judge who rules all things for our benefit. He is our Savior Lord. He does not lie. He does not treat us as we deserve. Again, and again he tells his sheep, “Fear not!” He has bought us with holy blood. Our doubts are foolish.

The sons of Korah knew that. That’s why they ended their lament with the confident plea: “Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 44:26).

That’s our petition, too. In a hymn we sing: “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” His love will never fail.

He who sent his Son to bleed for us—he is the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, dangers, sorrows, and fears wash over our faith at times. We don’t often see what you are doing to protect us. We read the worst into the cause of trouble in life. We easily doubt your love and your care. Send the Holy Spirit into our lives that faith may replace doubt; courage replace fear; and joy replace worry. Watch over us always and everywhere. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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The new normal – April 15, 2018

The new normal – April 15, 2018


Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
John 16:16




Military Devotion – April 15, 2018

Devotion based on John 16:16

See series: Military Devotions

With hand raised and back straight, the recruit begins to: “solemnly swear I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies…”

That step not only granted the former civilian some new clothes to wear, it ushered in an entirely new way of life. Gone were the carefree days of high school—living under the roof of parents and wondering what fun thing to do next. Suddenly life was filled with shouts of commands, strange living arrangements, and wondering what stressful demand would come next.

What used to be normal was no more. The first blasting strains of reveille woke the person up to a new normal. The message was, “Get used to it!”

The wife who comes back from the ER with only her husband’s wallet; the child who is told, “Daddy went to heaven;” and the victim of post-traumatic stress whose mind keeps replaying a dreadful tape—these too will learn that life will never go back to normal.

They are facing a new normal—and they need to get used to it. But it will not be easy.

The post-Easter disciples suddenly found themselves in a new, spinning world with little to grab onto. For some three years they had lived alongside of Jesus. They had been taught by him, warned by him, and comforted by him. They had seen miracles. They could see his face most every day.

Now they could not. After he returned to heaven, they could see him no more.

They needed to get used to it. That would not be easy.

To prepare them for the new normal Jesus had told them what to expect. “In a little while you will see me no more…”

His death was not a failure, it was according to plan. So was his resurrection. They would see him later.

So will we.

Imagine waking up to pure beauty and glory. Envision what life would be like with nothing going wrong. Picture us joining those first disciples in visiting with Jesus.

Imagine living in heaven.

What a change! What an experience! What a joy!

“…and then after a little while you will see me.”

That is the new normal we are waiting for.



Prayer: Lord Jesus, our eyes have not seen you face-to-face as did your early disciples. Our eyes of faith look at you through their eyes as they tell us what they saw and heard. We look forward to seeing you as we join them with you in glory. Until then, keep us safe. Keep us faithful. Bring us home. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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No ghost – April 8, 2018

No ghost – April 8, 2018


They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
Luke 24:37




Military Devotion – April 8, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 24:37

See series: Military Devotions

Sometimes God frightens us with his presence. Sometimes we mistake him for something bad. We would run from him if we could.

Sometimes we make the same mistake his early disciples made.

This wasn’t the first time they mistook Jesus for something frightening. Once they were caught in a fierce storm in a small boat. They feared they would drown. They panicked when Jesus came to them by walking on the water. This they did not expect. They cried out in terror at what they thought was a ghost.

When Jesus showed himself transfigured in the brightness of glory, Peter stammered out some senseless words about building shelters. In the gospel of Mark, we are told: “He did not know what to say, they were so frightened” (Mark 9:6).

And now we are looking in at the disciples on Easter evening. They knew the grave of Jesus was empty. Angels had told them he was risen. They should have been excited and happy to see the one they called Master. Instead, they were startled and frightened.

We shouldn’t be too hard on those disciples. We are tempted to act in the same way in times of alarm and stress.

Jesus may not appear to us in bodily form, as he did back then. But he did promise that he will always be with us. We know that he comes to us in Word and sacrament. He also enters into our time and space with his loving care. Many times, we aren’t aware of his presence. Sometimes we mistake him for something bad.

Like those disciples, we have expectations of how and when he will show himself in our lives. We look for things like days of joy and success, or recovery from illness, things that lift up hope. We sense the hand of our Savior in such things—and we welcome them.

When dark days dawn, when pain strikes, when a dreadful future suddenly looms—we don’t like what we see. These look like nightmares. We think, “This cannot be God at work.” We become frightened.

Jesus knows that. That’s why he has told us in advance that scary things can happen to his people. His words are: “Fear not!” He is still our Savior God.

To the disciples huddled in fright he said: “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet” (Luke 24:38,39).

We may be a long way from Jerusalem on the first Easter, but we can still do what he says. We can look at his pierced hands and feet. In his Word he shows them to us.

Already in prophecy he had called out, “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16).

So they did. In the New Testament we receive the details of his anguish at Golgotha. Roman hands drove the nails. Jewish voices called for it.

By means of the Scriptures the Holy Spirit allows us to see this, too.

If Jesus did this for us; if he loved us this much; then we need not be frightened if he startles us by acting in a manner we do not expect or understand.

This is Jesus. He is not some scary ghost.



Prayer: Lord Jesus, our eyesight is dim and our understanding of what is happening to us is often limited and flawed. Teach us to never be afraid of your presence in our lives. With eyes of faith we have seen the nails piercing your flesh. Remind us that this is proof positive that you are on our side. Stay there! Abide with us as we walk the path of life. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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No fooling – April 1, 2018

No fooling – April 1, 2018


And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.
Job 19:26




Military Devotion – April 1, 2018

Devotion based on Job 19:26

See series: Military Devotions

There are those who believe that the idea of rising from the dead to live with God in glory is an April Fool’s joke.

The same ones may also believe that God is a joke.

They may believe that only seeing is believing—and who has ever seen a person rise from the dead? Don’t all the graves covered with undisturbed grass testify that the dead stay dead?

Does that mean that Easter is a joke? Is a handful of jelly beans the best that the day offers?

Job knew better than that. So do we.

Easter announces that graves will be emptied. Easter tells us: “You will see God!”

Wonderful news for us! Frightening news for those who have been fooled.

The biggest joke played upon the human race is the fake news that the dead stay dead. This is often prefaced by the lie: “God is dead!”

Sad.

We must feel sad for those who believe Satan’s lies. We must feel sorry for those who think God is a joke and death has no end. We cannot wish them, “Happy Easter!” Easter will never be a happy day for them. Unless…

Unless a miracle occurs. Unless the living God brings the dead soul to life, even as he brought life to the dead body of Jesus.

Can he do that? He did that to us, did he not? How else can we explain that we who were dead in trespasses and sins now live in faith and forgiveness?

How else can we declare with Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”? How would we know proof-positive that we will live with him; that our soul will never die; that our lifeless body will return to us perfect and glorified? How else could we say without a doubt: “Yet in my flesh I will see God”?

Easter does not beg us to believe the message of the empty grave. Easter debunks unbelief. Easter shouts out to the believer, “Because he lives, you will live also!”

Some had spread the rumor that his disciples had stolen the body of Jesus from the grave. Angels were sent to set the record straight. “He is not here. He is risen. Come, see the place where he lay.”

By the working of the Holy Spirit our eyes of faith have done that. We accepted the invitation of the angels. We have seen the evidence. We know death cannot hold us.

We walk away from Easter happy.

No fooling!



We declare:
I know that my Redeemer lives; What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead; He lives my ever-living Head!

He lives and grants me daily breath; He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare; He lives to bring me safely there. Amen.
Christian Worship 152:1,7



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Hope to die – March 25, 2018

Hope to die – March 25, 2018


Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
2 Corinthians 3:12




Military Devotion – March 25, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 3:12

See series: Military Devotions

To convince his friend that he is telling the truth, the youngster declared, “Cross my heart, and hope to die!”

But he would not really hope to die. The words carried no weight. They were just decoration.

Far different are the words written by a German soldier fighting in the bloody snow around Stalingrad in the Second World War: “They were forever telling us at training camp how to service and use our weapons in order to kill our enemies, and we were trained, and proud to fight for Führer, Volk, and Vaterland, and if necessary, die. But no one told us what you might have to go through before you got killed. Nor that death might not be instantaneous—there are many forms.”

In the bloodbath at Stalingrad almost two million people were being killed. This soldier now wanted to be one of them. He was not the first warrior that hoped to die. He was not the last.

There was reason for his despair. German troops were under-equipped and ill-prepared to take on the Russians. The frozen bodies were piling up. But worse were the pitiful cries of the wounded. Snipers made it almost impossible to pull them to safety.

The soldier wanted the misery to stop. The ancient words were true, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” He wanted to be among them.

The Apostle Paul was also in desperate straits as he wrote his second letter to the Corinthians. He had been beaten, robbed, shipwrecked, and imprisoned. Soon he would face the executioner.

Danger and pain were there. But so was hope. He wrote: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

His boldness rested upon the powerful mercy of God. He confessed that he looked forward to death. But for as long as he was alive he would carry out his mission on earth. He could not lose. He wrote: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

We wonder if the soldier hoping to die at Stalingrad might have said the same. He had grown up in the Land of the Reformation. Had he been taught that salvation was a free gift of God? Had he sung the words, “A mighty fortress is our God, a trusty shield and weapon”?

Could he recite from memory the hymn that declared his Savior was always by his side? “And do what they will—hate steal, hurt, or kill—though all may be gone, our victory is won. The kingdom’s ours forever.”

Did he believe those words? We hope so.

If so, then when he hoped to die it was because he knew he would live where perfect peace reigns forever.

Then, we can expect to see him there.



We pray the words of the hymn:
Lord, be my consolation, My shield when I must die;
Remind me of your passion When my last hour draws nigh.
My eyes will then behold you, Upon your cross will dwell;
My heart will then enfold you—
Who dies in faith dies well! Amen.
Christian Worship 105:7



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Blood red – March 18, 2018

Blood red – March 18, 2018


When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red—like blood.
2 Kings 3:22




Military Devotion – March 18, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Kings 3:22

See series: Military Devotions

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is our God. The Savior God of Israel is our Savior. From the record of how he dealt with his people in the Old Testament we learn what we can expect from him today.

We can expect that he will control all things for our good. We should not be surprised if he does this in ways unexpected. The battle against Moab in the days of Elisha is a case in point.

Not surprisingly, tensions had erupted among Middle Eastern countries. Moab refused to pay tribute to the king of Israel’s Northern Tribes. In a rare display of solidarity, the king of Israel’s Southern Tribes (Judah) agreed to join in the effort to bring Moab back into line.

In an even more rare occurrence, the king of Edom joined the two Israelite kings in a march across the Desert of Edom to launch an allied attack.

It did not go well. After seven days in the desert, the allies ran out of water. Men and animals were about to perish. They began to wonder, “Is God against us?” They turned to the prophet Elisha for the answer. What they heard astounded them.
The Lord said, “You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink.” But that’s not all: “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD; he will also deliver Moab into your hands.”

Almost unbelievable! But there is more. Every young and old Moabite who could bear arms was called up and stationed at the border. Blood was going to flow. But not as expected.

As promised, water began pouring in from an unknown source. But there is more. As the sun shone on the water it looked red to the Moabites. “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”

What a mistake! The Moabite army rushed in to be decimated. Even the sacrifice of the king’s son in the name of an idol was for nothing. All for nothing!

We remember the words: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

“If God be for us…”

But is he for us? Ancient Israel did not deserve to have him on its side. We don’t deserve that either. But listen: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31,32)

That’s right! God is for us. We have better proof than that he has allowed us to have some success in life—even some victories over some enemies.

This King sacrificed his Son for us! Along with that, he will give us everything we truly need.

All this undeserved! All this paid for by blood.

The receipt for our salvation is colored blood red.



Prayer: Almighty and eternal God, whose ways are beyond our understanding and whose love is beyond our grasp, we come before you in humble admission that we deserve none of your goodness in our lives. We further admit that we often fail to recognize or thank you for your blessings and protection. But now we see more clearly. We see the blood-red stain that marks our ticket to heaven. We know you are for us, not against us. Thank you! Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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God Bless America – March 11, 2018

God Bless America – March 11, 2018


For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the LORD Almighty, though their land is full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel.
Jeremiah 51:5




Military Devotion – March 11, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 51:5

See series: Military Devotions

It isn’t a wish! A least it should not be. It surely is not a command. Who are we to give orders to the holy God? The words are not merely a request for God to pile heaps of good things upon the nation called America. They are something else. They are something more.

“God Bless America” is a prayer. At least it should be. It needs to be a prayer for mercy.

America needs the overflowing, undeserved mercy of God.

If we could look in at America through the eyes of angels, we might wonder why it still stands. Forget a booming economy. Pay no attention to how many ships and planes and warheads we might have. The finger of God could toss all this away as easily as we might flick a piece of lint off of our jacket.

Jeremiah had been describing what was in store for the ancient nation of Babylon. Babylon had impressed the world with its wealth, its culture, and its military might. It walked into the stronghold of Jerusalem, swept away its defenses, destroyed its magnificent temple, and carried home the best of its treasures and people. Babylon was impressive.

God had blessed these people. They took the blessings but rejected the Giver. Consequences would come. Babylon would be cursed.

Located in present-day Iraq, only the hot sand is left of that empire. Babylon was damned. Like a piece of lint, it was flicked off the world stage.

Israel survived. With the fall of Babylon, the survivors were free to return home. Jerusalem was restored. The temple was rebuilt. Some 700 years later Jesus walked within its magnificent walls.

The Holy One of Israel did not abandon these people, though they deserved to be. Only after Israel as a nation rejected and murdered the Son of God was it turned over to its enemies. Roman legions left nothing standing.

And America? The land of pornography and perversion? The place where God is laughed at and his kingdom attacked? Where money is worshiped, and law is dismissed? The land with enemies shouting out: “God damn America!”?

How long will we stand? What hope do we have? Where can we turn for help?

We can beg the Lord God to deal with our nation as he dealt with Israel in the days of Jeremiah. We can ask him to forgive our sin; save our nation.

We can point back to words he once spoke to his people of old: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

This is the blessing we seek.

We will pray for our country.



We will pray: God bless America! Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Sweet evil – March 4, 2018

Sweet evil – March 4, 2018


Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue…
Job 20:12




Military Devotion – March 4, 2018

Devotion based on Job 20:12

See series: Military Devotions

The problem with sin is that we instinctively like it. Our sinful nature loves it. As if it were mouth-watering candy, we want to savor the flavor.

The Savior God tells us, “Spit it out!”

Ever try telling a three-year-old to “Look, but don’t touch!” the chocolate bunny in an Easter basket? If the tyke obeys that command, what are the chances he will continue to do so as soon as we leave the room?

Does the little one love his mommy and daddy? Yes! Does that guarantee he will not pop that morsel into his mouth, even hide it under his tongue, and shake his head “No!” when we return to ask him about the half-empty basket saying, “Did you eat that candy?”

The smear of chocolate on the face gives the honest answer. Busted!

The friend of Job was describing a godless person. He pointed out, “The mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.” Then, as if thinking of our little candy eater, he states that though he cannot bear to let the evil go, he will end up with a bellyache—or worse!

“Yet, his food will turn sour in his stomach; it will become the venom of serpents within him (Job 20:14).

From the flavor of sweet candy to the vile venom of a snake—that’s quite a change! When that stage is reached, the person will not just spit out the bad, he will vomit it out.

That’s a scary picture! That should be reason enough for a person to refuse evil. That should tell the person living in denial of God, “Wake up! Stop kidding yourself! Sin is poisonous.”

So, what’s the alternative to sin? Are we supposed to live a life of denial, a life without pleasure? Where’s the joy in that? Are the only words from God: “No! No! No!”?

Is there never a “Yes!”? Do we ever have permission to eat the candy in life?

Satan would say, “No!” He maintains that, just as he reported to Adam and Eve, God doesn’t tell the whole truth. “Sin isn’t so bad!” he asserts. “Taste it and see how good it is!”

But he lies. He always lies. His words carry the venom of a snake.

The child of God learns that apart from God there is nothing good—no joy that lasts. The words of warning flow from love. They point towards words of blessing. That is good!

We know that. In our worship of the holy, loving God we sing: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed are they who take refuge in him.”

And we mean it.

We agree with the psalmist who wrote: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)

We will reach for the sweetness in life that the Savior God offers to us. We will hold it in our mouth. We will hide it under our tongue. We will savor it for time and eternity.

We will never spit it out.



Prayer: God in heaven, you alone are the source of true and lasting joy. Continue to warn us against the poison of sin. Create in us an appetite for your sweet words. Fill us with your goodness. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Watch my mouth – February 25, 2018

Watch my mouth – February 25, 2018


Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3




Military Devotion – February 25, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 141:3

See series: Military Devotions

We must have heard the warning: “Watch your mouth!” So, we must blush in shame at how often we did not.

We know all the excuses. We have used many of them: “I was angry.” “Everyone does it.” “Those are only words. They don’t mean anything.” And worse, “It helps me fit in.”

Yet, deep down we know such words should never come out of our mouth.

It isn’t just the cussing and the cursing; not just the filthy talk, and the frightened talk to make us seem tough; but also, the thoughtless talk; the hurtful talk; and the lying talk that make us sound like agents of Satan instead of what we are: ambassadors of the holy God.

Many will point out that bad language is found not only in military circles—and they are right. But it seems that it is hard to find military settings where this language is not found.

This doesn’t mean that Christian warriors never regret the words, or never fight against the temptation to use them. But many admit it is a hard fight—and often a losing one.

David, the warrior-king, would understand. He waged the same war and knew about that struggle.

Probably, many a time he told himself, “I have to try harder!” “I have to watch my mouth!” But in this psalm, he changes the wording. He asks the Lord God to man the ECP, to control his mouth’s flow of traffic. His prayer is, “Lord, please watch my mouth!”

It’s David’s way of saying, “Savior God, send some help! The enemy keeps swarming by. I can’t maintain control. Please step in!”

That’s a wise warrior. He knows when he is outmatched and overwhelmed. He knows that his weapons are inferior, his line of sight minimal, and breaches in his defense perimeter are many.

This is a warrior’s call for reinforcements. It’s a request sent up the chain-of-command for firepower to pour down from on high. “Send in the angels, Lord!” “As angels once guarded your tomb, Jesus, send some now to guard my mouth.”

Ironically, the guards are not to keep evil from coming in, but to keep evil from coming out. It’s an admission that our very nature fights against the holy God and everything that is good.

The enemy is inside the wire! An ally of Satan lives within us. It wants to turn us into a martyr for the cause of Evil. It wants to use us to hurt others and destroy ourselves in the process.

It’s like a terrorist in a sleeper cell. It wants to use our mouth as its weapon.

We can fight against our sinful nature. We must fight against it. But only the holy God can give us the victory over it.



Prayer: Holy, powerful, and merciful God, you know how weak we are and how easy it is for the forces of evil to control us. Break the satanic grip on our lives. Give us the power and the freedom to live for you and with you. Guard our mouths that they may only be used in the honor of your name and in faithful service for your kingdom. Please, Lord, watch my mouth! Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Game face – February 18, 2018

Game face – February 18, 2018


And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem…
Luke 9:51 KJV




Military Devotion – February 18, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 9:51

See series: Military Devotions

Determination shows itself on the face. We have seen it on the faces of athletes. That’s why we call it a game face. But it also shows up when games are not part of the picture. Warriors show that face when heading off into danger.

So did Jesus.

He had just finished busy days. He had fed thousands with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. He had allowed three of the disciples catch a greater glimpse of his glory when he talked with Moses and Elijah on that high hill. His face had changed then, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.

Afterwards, he again showed his power and glory by driving a demon from a helpless boy. About the nearby people, we hear: “They were all amazed at the greatness of God” (Luke 9:43).

After all this, most expected good times and easy victories lay ahead.

Not Jesus.

The disciples did not understand his warning: “The Son of man must suffer many things and be rejected…and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Luke 9:22).

They felt it could not be. He knew it must be.

It would not be easy for Jesus. He would beg his Father to find a different way to rescue us. His sweat would become as drops of blood falling to the ground. Later, blood would flow from his thorn-cut head, his whip-torn back, his nail-pierced hands, and finally his spear-stabbed body.

And he knew in advance all this was going to happen! When the time came that he should leave for Jerusalem with its waiting pain and death, he did not flinch. He put on his game face.

Good for us that he did! Good for our loved ones who call him Lord! Good for everyone who loves him.

He knew what was waiting for him beyond the pain and the grave. He had told his disciples about first death, then resurrection. He looked forward eagerly to “be received up.”

After death, the next stop would be heaven.

Thus it is for all who follow him. Thus it was for Elijah and Moses who had followed him in days of old. Thus it was for all who have died in the saving faith.

So it will be for us.

So, when the trouble and the pain and even the shadow of death show up on our life’s path, we will do as Jesus did.

We will meet them with our game face on—and walk on to glory.



Prayer: Lord Jesus, you were determined to rescue us from sin, death, and the devil, even though you knew you would have to go through agony and death to do it. We thank you for that. We are ashamed of the times that we flinched and failed to follow you in our lives. Keep us strong. Make us holy. Take us home. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Never again – February 11, 2018

Never again – February 11, 2018


We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.
Hosea 14:3




Military Devotion – February 11, 2018

Devotion based on Hosea 14:3

See series: Military Devotions

Few words are said with more conviction than the vow: “Never again!” Few regrets are as painful as those when we realize we did again what we said we would never again do.

Through the prophet Hosea, the Lord God put words into the mouths of his people. Never again does he want to see his loved ones making the lethal mistake of trading him in for a fake god.

It makes us wonder. Does he also want to hear those words from us?

To be sure, there’s no statue in the backyard that we bow down to. No hand-carved idol sits in our family room. But idolatry is not a sin we can check off our list of “Never Did Do—Never Will Do.”

If we look closely at our lives, if we examine them under God’s microscope, we will find many a would-be idol hidden in the cracks and creases.

Whatever comes first in our life, that’s our god. If anything is more important than the Lord of heaven and earth; if we trust anything more than him; if we love anything more; if we fear anything more—mark that down as an idol.

And every idol is a fake. Every hope placed in an idol is empty. Every act of idolatry is a shame.

Some of those in Israel did bow down to wood and stone. But many simply made up a god in their own mind—as we are tempted to do.

Wealth has often been put forward as a candidate for Most Important in Life. So, we are tempted to make money, expecting it will solve our problems. But the field is crowded with rivals for God. Popularity, career-advancement, and the easy life raise their hands to be recognized. So, we “make friends” and “build careers”, as if they were all-important. But maybe, the greatest rival to the only true God is Self. We prefer a life that is self-made.

Simply put, we want to be God. Yet, never can that be. We can create nothing. We cannot control the wind. We cannot control the stars. We cannot map out the future. We cannot stop loved ones from eventually dying.

As gods—we are failures.

By contrast, the Lord God is everything we are not. Life, death, nature, and history are in his hands. He meets every need—even those we may not think of.

Hosea could have pointed to the Lord’s control of sunrises and sunsets. He might have pointed back to the miracles that stunned the Egyptians. Instead, he points his finger at children—to fatherless children.

Fatherless children are a sad sight even today. But in ancient times there were no government programs, no adoption agencies, no job market for mothers without husbands. Overlooked and overwhelmed, the widows and the fatherless were often the helpless.

But not by their Savior God. He opens his heart to those with little hope. He is their Father.

Do we really want to compete with him? Do we want to continue making our own god?

The answer is: “No!” Once again, we vow, “Never again!”

This time we add, “So help me God!”



Prayer: Holy triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sometimes without thinking, we try to stand in your shoes and sit on your throne. We try to replace you with our own ideas, or with idols in this world that we have chosen to serve. Slap us across the head, if necessary. Wake us up. Show us again that we are but strangers here, and everything we see around us will pass away. You have told us, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Give us the strength, then, to remain faithful. Empower us to mean it when we tell all idols, “Never again!”  Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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When heroes fall – February 4, 2018

When heroes fall – February 4, 2018


Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad….
2 Samuel 1:20




Military Devotion – February 4, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 1:20

See series: Military Devotions

We remember the sight of US soldiers dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, with a downed Black Hawk in the background. We remember the smiles of Osama bin Laden following 9-11. Those scenes pain us. It hurts when our heroes fall.

It hurts worse when our enemies celebrate their fall.

King David would understand how we feel. He had tasted the bitterness of war. He knew the agony of losing a friend, losing a leader, and losing a hero.

Word was received that the Philistines had killed Saul, king of Israel, and his son, Jonathan. David had loved Jonathan as a brother. Each would have died to protect the other. Saul was a different story. Saul, jealous for his throne, had tried more than once to kill David.

We might have expected David to praise his battle buddy and denounce his avowed enemy. He did not. He sang the praises of both. While he wrote, “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother.” he also penned, “O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul.” He lamented, “How the mighty have fallen in battle.”

In David’s eyes, both were heroes. Both fought against the enemies of Israel. Both risked their lives to protect their nation.

It went deeper than that. Saul was David’s commander. He had been appointed to that position by God. That position demanded respect. David was not at the battlefield on which these men fell. When a foreigner brought news of the deaths, he thought David would be happy to hear of it. He even falsely claimed credit for the death of Saul. He thought he would be rewarded.

Instead, he was executed. David told him, “Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed’” (2 Samuel 1:16).

We can learn much from the warrior, David. We marvel at his trust in the Lord God. We admire his courage and fighting ability. We appreciate the way he commanded his troops and later ruled his nation.

But we dare not neglect to notice the way he regarded those who fought against his nation’s enemies. He saw them as God’s gifts to the nation.

David did not agree with Saul’s sinful ways. He did not join in the wrong. But he did not use that as an excuse to dishonor him in death.

From the line of David would come one greater than a Saul, a king greater than David. He, too, would die for his people. He would be the King of kings, and Savior of nations.

His spokesman, the Apostle Paul, would be led to write, “Give to everyone what you owe them: …if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Romans 13:7).

So, today we say, “Tell it not in Kabul, proclaim it not in Islamabad, when American warriors are struck down.” Let our enemies not gloat over our losses.

Let this be known: We give honor when heroes fall.



Prayer: Eternal Father, strong to save, we are sinful people of a sinful nation. We deserve none of your favors. Yet, you have favored our nation by providing those who are willing to risk their lives to protect our people. We praise you for freedoms passed down to us. Greatest is the freedom to proclaim and to hear the message of your Son’s victory over the forces of darkness. Permit us to honor you by honoring those you have provided to protect us. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Stand and wait – January 28, 2018

Stand and wait – January 28, 2018


On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.”
Acts 1:4




Military Devotion – January 28, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 1:4

See series: Military Devotions

He was brilliant. He was famous. He was relatively young. And then he became blind.

John Milton, the British poet and statesman of centuries ago, spent the last ten years of his life waiting to see what use he would be without eyesight. He found out. In a poem he had to dictate, he revealed he had come to understand: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

That’s a hard lesson to learn.

The one who said, “If the Army has taught me one thing, it’s how to wait.” probably has people from all branches of service nodding in agreement—but not in joy. Waiting is not fun.

When the Lord once asked, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah jumped at the chance to say, “Here am I. Send me!” We can relate to the eagerness.

Since the United States is not using the draft to call up troops, everyone currently in uniform has said to America, “Send me!” They wanted to serve their country. They did not say, “I want a chance to stand around and wait.”

We don’t want our careers to stall out. We don’t want to waste time. We don’t want to be bored. We surely do not want our return date from deployment to be delayed. We grumble at those responsible for making us wait.

That means, sometimes we are tempted to grumble at God. If truth be told, doesn’t he have the final say about what happens in our life?

The disciples of Jesus were eager to carry out the mission to bring the gospel to all nations as soon as he returned to heaven. That was not to happen. Jesus told them: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised…”

Something needed to happen first. They needed pre-deployment training. They needed special armament. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit would give them power from on high. They would see the power of the gospel in action as 3,000 became Christians before their eyes on one day.

The waiting was necessary. The waiting was worth it. It was part of God’s plan.

Only then were they ready to move forward with the gospel. And move they did! Christianity began to spread like wildfire. Thousands and thousands more came to faith.

When plans for our life do not unfold as quickly as we like; when God steps in to change those plans; when it appears that we are just killing time, remember Milton. Remember those early disciples.

When the time comes that we have no more work to do for God, we will know it. On that day, we will find ourselves standing in glory.

Until then, if he wants us to stand and wait once in a while, we will do that—knowing that by waiting we are still serving—and a divine plan is unfolding.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, we easily grow impatient. We come up with our own plans and expectations. We become frustrated when they do not work out. Remind us that your plans for us are good plans. Your plan to send your Son into the world to be the Savior is the best plan of all. Your Old Testament people grew weary of waiting for him. But now we can see how perfect your timing was. You still control the times and the plans for us in the New Testament. Use us even when we think we are useless. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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The friend of my friend – January 21, 2018

The friend of my friend – January 21, 2018


I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.
Psalm 119:63




Military Devotion – January 21, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 119:63

See series: Military Devotions

The common term is “Christian fellowship.” But those words are hard to grab hold of and stick into the picture of our life.

On the other hand, the phrase “The friend of my friend is my friend” captures our imagination. It has a mathematical quality to it. It is a way of stating, “Equals equal equals.”

There is another way to express the same thought: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Both phrases point out that if a certain relationship exists, another relationship must follow. The writer of Psalm 119 agrees.

“I am a friend to all who fear you,” the psalmist writes. There is no question about whom he is addressing. The first verse of the psalm states: “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.” A little later he calls out, “Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees.”

It is the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, that is to be praised, obeyed—and feared. But he is not—not by most to whom he has granted life. Instead, his commands are regularly ignored; his will scorned; and his name abused. It reminds us of the fabled three little pigs that chanted, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”

From the human race comes the taunt, “Who’s afraid of the big bad God?”

The psalmist raised his hand to say, “I am.” Then he looked around to see if any others said the same. To those he then announced, “You are my friends.”

This is not a dreadful, paralyzing fear. The writer of Psalm 130 puts it this way, “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.”

We agree. This is what we know and believe. This is the God we love and serve. We raise our hand with the psalmist. We say, “Me, too!”

Sometimes we call out, “Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good—and his mercy endures forever.”

We listen for others who echo that sentiment. We watch for others who also try to carry out his precepts, that is, his teachings.

We are astounded to learn that the Savior God tells us he is our friend—the Friend of sinners.

We rejoice to learn of others who share this same friendship. We are tied to those people by a common faith. We are united with them in common service. With them we enjoy a common state of holiness granted by the sacrifice of Jesus for us.

We have a common union with them. It is a type of communion. It is called the communion of saints. It is also known as the holy Christian church.

The friend of my Friend is my friend.

In a common hymn, we lift up our voices to declare the fellowship we have with him. We sing out: “What a friend we have in Jesus!”

And from around the world and the vault of heaven, our friends call back: “Amen.”






Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Rise and shine – January 14, 2018

Rise and shine – January 14, 2018


Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
Isaiah 60:1




Military Devotion – January 14, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 60:1

See series: Military Devotions

The wakeup call originated in the logging camps. It spread from there. I have been told of drill instructors shouting the words out to recruits: “Rise and shine! It’s daylight in the swamp.”

City folks may not catch the urgency contained in the word, “swamp.” But those from woods and fields know that the lowland of the swamp is the last place the morning sun will strike. If there is daylight in the swamp, the sun has been up for some time already. The cowboy would have said, “We’re burning daylight!” The call to rise and shine is a call to action.

But that call is not always met with delight. A song popular with the doughboys of WWI carried the title: “Oh! How I hate to get up in the morning!” In that ditty, the life of the bugler blasting out reveille was hypothetically threatened.

Isaiah’s call to rise and shine tends to receive a similar reaction by the troops called Christian Soldiers.

By the time Epiphany comes, we have already been marching from Thanksgiving, all the way through Advent, and then we took on the 12 Days of Christmas. We have gotten our fill of food and carols and celebrations. We’re ready for a break, not another call to action.

Unless.

Unless we spent Christmas away from home, bobbing on some ocean somewhere, or watching the blowing sand, instead of drifting snow. Unless we barely had time to chow down something that was supposed to be turkey, before we grabbed some sleep ahead of the next trip outside the wire.

Then, we may feel even less motivated to rise and shine.

But if we think the enthusiasm to answer the call will come from ourselves, we are dead wrong. The ability to shine forth comes from outside and beyond us. The glory of the Lord must first rise upon us before we can rise to glorious action.

We remember that phrase, “The glory of the Lord.” That’s what shone around the Christmas angels. That’s what led Israel to the Promised Land. It is a demonstration of the presence of the God of grace and glory!

The Savior God comes to us, calls us by the gospel, enlightens us with his gifts, and keeps us in the true faith.

We are like the moon. No light of ourselves, but when the Sun of Righteousness shines upon us we are able to shine forth like a full moon over snow-covered fields.

The call has come to us. It is meant for us. There is no time to waste. Jesus told us, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

So, rise and shine!



Prayer: Lord of light, in whom is no darkness at all, lift up sagging spirits. Fill us with your Spirit. Enable us to throw away the works of darkness. Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Use us to show this to the world. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Best laid plans – January 7, 2018

Best laid plans – January 7, 2018


Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21




Military Devotion – January 7, 2018

Devotion based on Proverbs 19:21

See series: Military Devotions

Someone once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Others repeated the words. Now they are considered as fact.

What was not said is, “Sometimes plans fail.” Some might say, “Most times.”

There appears to be a difference between plans that are made, and plans that are laid. Perhaps made plans are arrived at casually. Serious, well-thought-out plans are laid—as a person might lay out the foundation for a new house. Historically, it appears that most plans are laid at the beginning of a calendar year.

Sometimes they are called resolutions.

We know what usually happens to those resolutions. That’s why some of us are tempted to give up making them. But that would mean we have given up planning. And we know what that means.

It isn’t only lack of willpower that can foul our plans. It isn’t only a sketchy plan that may come to a bad end. The problem is we cannot control what might happen to our plans—and that can be frustrating. Sometimes frightening.

A Scottish poet once directed famous words to a field mouse whose plans failed when a ploughshare cut through the nest the mouse had made. Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.” Those last words mean, “go to pieces.”

Of course, the words weren’t meant for the mouse, but for us, his readers.

It may disturb us to think that the plans of humans and the plans of rodents are similarly apt to fail. But history has shown us, if our own experiences have not already driven the point home, that even the best of human plans, put into place with great effort and will, many times do “gang aft a-gley.”

Wise King Solomon was used by his Creator and Savior to explain this to us, lest we become either over-confident or discouraged.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart…” he tells us. And we nod in agreement. “But it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” And we nod in comforting appreciation.

Sad we would be if we were condemned to have all of our plans come to fulfillment. We know so little. Understand even less. What we think is best, sometimes turns out to be the worst.

Thank God, an all-wise, loving Guardian has the power and the love to override even the best of our plans. Only in the rearview mirror are we able to catch a glimpse of the potholes we missed, and the dead ends we avoided when he grabbed hold of the steering wheel of our life. Left to ourselves, our lives would be as much of a wreck as the nest of that field mouse.

Whoever first said, “I do not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” was a wise person. Those words are worth repeating. Blessed are those who know them as fact.

The best laid plans—they are the ones that the Lord plans.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, Prince of Peace, and Guardian of our bodies and souls, we thank you that you have a plan for each of us. We praise you that you allow us to share in your plans for the whole world. Keep us from making bad plans. Permit our flawed plans to fail. Bless us with your best laid plans—plans made from eternity into eternity. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Old news for a new year – December 31, 2017

Old news for a new year – December 31, 2017


You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”
Isaiah 40:9




Military Devotion – December 31, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 40:9

See series: Military Devotions

News, by its very name, draws attention to what is new. We expect each day to reveal new things—so we believe a new year will be filled with things new.

We get bored with the old. Old clothes hold no fascination for us. We prefer the new. We may throw away the old even though it is still good. We hunger for what’s new.

How strange then, when we turn to the One who holds time in his hands, he keeps pointing us back to what is old.

His message for us in 2018 will be the very same as the news he shared with people living 700 years before Jesus was born.

It was wonderful news then. It is good news yet today.

“Here is your God!” The almighty Creator and Ruler is not far away in time or space. Good news! He is here!

There may have been times in years past that we wondered if God was nearby. Maybe we felt he didn’t pay close enough attention to the trouble we were in. Maybe we felt abandoned.

The people of Jerusalem and the rest of Judah may have felt that way when they were warned about the coming invasion and captivity. The report frightened them. This was not good news. But good news was issued along with it.

“Lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid.”

Do not be afraid? Who is not going to be afraid, with the enemy about to attack and disaster looming? Who would not be terrified at that news?

Those who put their trust in the Savior God should not be. They need not tremble in fear.

Does this mean they will not be harmed? Is God promising to rescue his people every time they face danger? No.

When David wrote that he would walk unafraid through the valley of the shadow of death, he was not certain he would survive that trip. He was convinced that he would not be alone. “I will fear no evil,” he said to the Lord God, “for thou art with me!”

If God is with us, everything will have to work out for our good.

The God of grace and glory will continue to walk with his people as they step into this latest new year. The message that once came to Judah should now be shouted out to us. “Here is your God!” He will never leave you. “Do not be afraid.”

It may be old news, but it remains wonderful news. There will be enough that will be new in the coming year. How comforting to know that some things will stay the same.

When it comes to our God, old news is good news for the new year.



Prayer:
O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.

A thousand ages in your sight are like an evening gone,
Short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Still be our guard while troubles last, and our eternal home. Amen.
(Christian Worship 441:1,4,6)



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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