God’s Love for a Faithful Woman of Love – Family Devotion – May 12, 2021

Read: Acts 9:36-42

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.
Acts 9:40-41

God’s Love for a Faithful Woman of Love

 

Family Devotion – May 12, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 9:40-41

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tabitha was good at sewing. She liked to use her talents for others. Tabitha loved God. That’s why she loved others and was dearly loved by those around her in return. We know this because the family of believers was very upset when she died. They sought help from Peter, a disciple of Jesus.

Peter had seen Jesus raise others from death, so he knew that God has complete authority over life and death. Peter prayed for God’s power to perform a miracle. He knew it would happen if it was God’s will. Peter said, “Tabitha, get up.” And she did! God used Peter to raise Tabitha from death. There were witnesses who told all about it.

Do you ever wonder why God performed such amazing miracles in Bible times and not today? Why don’t we get to see dead people come alive?

In a way, we do. We see it every day, right here in this family of believers!

How? Well, we know from God’s Word that each one of us is born with sin. The Bible says that we are “dead” because of our sins. The Bible also says that “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead” (Ephesians 2).

So, every time we confess our sins and look to Jesus for forgiveness, we remember an amazing miracle. Just as Tabitha was raised from physical death, we are raised from our spiritual death in sin. It might not seem very dramatic, but this is no small miracle, and it can happen every day! When we have trouble seeing or appreciating it, we ask God to help us better understand what it is to be forgiven and renewed each day. As members of a family of believers, we remind each other of this amazing miracle.

In fact, let’s do right now. Reread verse 40, “Tabitha, get up!” Instead of reading the word, “Tabitha,” insert your own name. Then stand up! Do this for each family member, inserting his or her own name.

Like Tabitha, you are all standing, sins forgiven, loved and alive in Christ!

So let’s get busy and use our talents to serve and love others!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, please make us truly sorry for our sins. Forgive and raise us up from spiritual death. Make us truly grateful for this everyday miracle. Raise each one of us to meet the challenges of each new day, fully confident of your love, your forgiveness, and your triumph over sin and death. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • How did Tabitha use her skills to serve others?
  • List two things you are really good at doing. Can you use them to help others around you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How do we go from being dead in sin to alive with Christ?
  • Describe what it feels like to know that you are not dead in sin, that you are alive with Christ right now.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is it easy to take for granted the fact that we are forgiven and renewed each day in Christ?
  • How can we as a family encourage one another to appreciate being made alive with Christ every day?

Hymn: CW 460:1,2 – How Can I Thank You, Lord

How can I thank you, Lord,
For all your loving kindness,
That you have patiently
Borne with me in my blindness!
When dead in many sins
And trespasses I lay,
I kindled, holy God,
Your anger ev’ry day.

It is your work alone
That I am now converted;
O’er Satan’s work in me
You have your pow’r asserted.
Your mercy and your grace
That rise afresh each morn
Have turned my stony heart
Into a heart new born.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Love as Jesus Loved Us – Family Devotion – May 10, 2021

Read: John 15:9-17

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:12-13

Love as Jesus Loved Us

 

Family Devotion – May 10, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:12-13

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Start this devotion with an exercise. Stand up, stretch your arms wide, and say, “Jesus loves me this much!” Your arms are indicating a large amount of love, as far as you can reach, fingertip to fingertip. You are also acting out what Jesus looked like when he hung on the cross, giving his life for you, for all people.

Let’s sit down now and think about this.

Most of us would agree that giving up your life for someone is the greatest act of love. We hear stories of people who risk their lives for others. A firefighter who runs into a burning building. A nurse who cares for people during a pandemic. A soldier who goes to war. We call these people brave, and we appreciate them. Then there are those of us who have less daring lives: students, office workers, mechanics, waitresses, teachers, and other important but more “everyday” roles.

In today’s word of God, Jesus said, “Love as I have loved you.” But what does that look like? What if our lives don’t involve anything as grand as giving up life for someone else?

If we think our everyday actions aren’t important, that is Satan whispering a lie to us. He tries to convince us that “Love as Jesus loved” is something we say, not something we can actually do.

Is that true?

Stand up once again and stretch out your arms as wide as you can reach. As you look at the members of your family in this pose, what do you observe?

  • Your arms are wide open and ready to embrace someone.
  • Your heart is wide open and ready to receive love and give love.
  • Your hands are not clenched but open and ready to serve.

This is the pose Jesus assumed for us—arms out, exposed to insults hurled at him yet open to receive all our sins. Jesus surrendered himself to that position because he loved us. Now that love of God that flowed through him gushes out to each of us!

What does it mean to love as Jesus loved? Give up stubborn poses. Open your arms wide for those around you. Offer your hands in service to others—wherever God has placed you. What you do—what Jesus does through you—is important!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, open my heart wide so your grace and forgiveness can flow into my heart. Give me courage to live a life of love, letting all of your grace and love flow through me to others. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Finish this sentence: Jesus loved me so much that he…
  • Give two ways you can show your love to two people in your family.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Besides his life, recall two other things Jesus gave up when he agreed to be our Savior from sin.
  • Give an example of a way you can give up something important to show love for someone else.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Share an example of someone you admire who shows love to others the way Jesus showed love to us. How is that person a good role model?
  • How can our acts of love and service to others lead to a conversation about Jesus’ love for us?

Hymn: CW 488:1,3 – Savior, Thy Dying Love

Savior, Thy dying love
Thou gavest me,
Nor should I aught withhold,
Dear Lord, from Thee:
In love my soul would bow,
My heart fulfill its vow,
Some off’ring bring Thee now,
Something for Thee.

Give me a faithful heart,
Likeness to Thee,
That each departing day
Henceforth may see
Some work of love begun,
Some deed of kindness done,
Some wand’rer sought and won,
Something for Thee.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Reflecting God’s Love – Family Devotion – May 7, 2021

Read: 1 John 3:18-24

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth…. This is his command, to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1 John 3:18,23

Reflecting God’s Love

 

Family Devotion – May 7, 2021

Devotion based on 1 John 3:18,23

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

What do you think of when you hear the word “love”? Maybe you think of Valentine’s Day, when red, pink, and white chocolates show up in the stores; you hand out cards and candy hearts to your friends; and grown-ups give each other flowers, say “I love you,” and kiss.

None of those are bad thoughts, but they’re not what the apostle John means by love. The Greek word used for “love” in today’s reading is a special word: agape (ah-gah-pay). Agape isn’t something that you say to someone; it isn’t a feeling that can change from day to day. Agape is an action word. It’s not just saying, “I love you,” but also showing someone how much you love them. It’s the things you do rather than just the words you say.

Agape love shows up in one of the most famous passages in the Bible—John 3:16: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” God is the best example of agape love that exists. From the very beginning of our lives, he knew how totally and completely unlovable we are. But instead of hating us , God loved us. Then he showed how much he loved us by sending Jesus to us. There is no sin you commit that Jesus did not die to save you from. There is no guilt that you bear that Jesus’ cross does not relieve.

There’s an important connection between the love that God showed for us in sending his Son and the love that we should show to others. We don’t love others on our own. We can’t love others on our own. But because of the great love God showed for us, we respond in love—both love for God and love for those around us.

The next time you say “I love you” to your mom and dad, don’t forget about how you show your love for them. Think about God’s agape love and how you love others because God loved you. Think about love as an action, not just a feeling. What a privilege to be able to show God’s love to those around you!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me enough to send your Son to save me from my sins. Help me to share this love with others not only through my words but also through my actions. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Give one way you can you tell that your mom or dad love you.
  • In what way did God show his love for us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Can we show love to others on our own? Why or why not?
  • Give two specific ways you can act to show love to those around you.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • If God so loved the world, why isn’t everyone going to heaven?
  • When we don’t act in ways that show love, how do we know that God still loves us?

Hymn: CW 385:1,2 – Chief of Sinners Though I Be

Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed his blood for me,
Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine,
I am his and he is mine!

Oh, the height of Jesus’ love,
Higher than the heav’ns above,
Deeper than the depths of sea,
Lasting as eternity,
Love that found me—wondrous thought!—
Found me when I sought him not.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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How Can You Help? – Family Devotion – May 5, 2021

Read: Acts 16:11-15

The Lord opened [Lydia’s] heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Acts 16:14-15

How Can You Help?

 

Family Devotion – May 5, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 16:14-15

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Not many people knew about all the things that Miss Davis did at church. Setting up for communion, making the coffee for Bible study, cleaning up after special events—she did lots of little stuff behind the scenes that most people didn’t know about. That was fine with her; Miss Davis didn’t help out in order to be thanked or recognized. She just saw things that needed to be done and took care of doing them. She looked for ways she could help.

In today’s reading, we meet someone similar: Lydia. She listened to the preaching and teaching of the apostle Paul. The Holy Spirit opened Lydia’s heart. She believed in Jesus as her Savior. She was baptized, along with everybody in her house. Afterwards, she invited Paul and his friends to come and stay at her house. She saw a way that she could help Paul by providing for his needs while he was staying in her hometown of Philippi. Why? Because Lydia was so thankful for the good news of salvation.

The Holy Spirit has also brought us to faith—he has changed our lives—and now we respond in the same way as Lydia. We look for ways to help our pastors and teachers, to do the little things that make it easier for them to preach and teach. Why? Because Jesus showed great love for us, and we want to reflect that love by serving those called by God to be our spiritual leaders.

Sometimes it can be hard to find ways to serve, especially when there are so many other people who are older or who seem better at helping than you are. Sometimes you might feel discouraged or unappreciated. Sometimes there might be so much work to do and so little reward for doing it. Is it really worth trying to help, especially if nobody notices?

Yes! Even if nobody realizes how you help, God still sees it. He treasures the little ways that you help your pastors and teachers. He views your good works as a beautiful response, as a way of saying thank you for being brought to faith and made a member of God’s family. One day, he will say “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21) and invite you to share in his happiness. That makes all your helping worthwhile!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, help us always to look for ways to help our pastors and teachers. Even if no one sees how we help, remind us that you see and appreciate all we do for those around us. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did Lydia do after she came to faith?
  • How did Lydia help Paul and his friends?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Think of two ways you can help your pastor(s) and teachers.
  • What should you do if no one notices or appreciates your help?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Read Ephesians 2:10. What does Paul mean when he says God prepared good works in advance for us to do?
  • If you don’t look for ways to help, if you don’t do good works, does that mean you’re not really a Christian? Explain.

Hymn: CW 385:1,4-5 – Chief of Sinners Though I Be

Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed his blood for me,
Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine,
I am his and he is mine!

Chief of sinners though I be,
Christ is all in all to me.
All my wants to him are known;
All my sorrows are his own.
Safe with him in earthly strife,
I await the heav’nly life.

Strengthen me, O gracious Lord,
By your Spirit and your word.
When my wayward heart would stray,
Keep me in the narrow way;
Grace in time of need supply
While I live and when I die.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Are You a Growing Branch? – Family Devotion – May 3, 2021

Read: John 15:1-8

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
John 15:5,6

Are You a Growing Branch?

 

Family Devotion – May 3, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:5,6

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Spring is here! It’s a season where plants poke through the soil, and tree branches sprout leaves… at least, most tree branches. Sometimes tree branches snap off and end up on the ground. The rest of the tree is growing new green leaves, but that dead branch isn’t connected to the tree anymore. It isn’t growing like rest of the tree.

Throughout the book of John, Jesus uses lots of word pictures to describe himself and his relationship with those who believe in him. In today’s reading, Jesus calls himself the vine and his followers the branches. Just like a tree helps its branches grow green leaves, so too Jesus helps his followers—us!—grow in our faith. And just like a branch on the ground is dead because it’s not connected to the tree, so too our faith will suffer and eventually die if we don’t stay connected to Jesus.

That can be a scary thought! Do you ever worry whether you’re still connected to Jesus, still a growing branch and not a dead branch? Sure, you go to church and listen to God’s Word. But is that really enough? There are times when you fight with your friends, when you talk back to your parents, when you are angry at everybody. Do these times mean you are in danger of becoming disconnected from Jesus? Are you close to becoming a dry, dead branch?

There’s a small word in today’s reading that can help you not worry about being strong enough to stay connected to Jesus. Did you catch it? Jesus says to “remain” in him. He doesn’t say “get connected to me” or “find a way to make your connection with me stronger.” Instead, he says “remain in me.” Jesus connected you to him like a branch is connected to a tree. Maybe you came to faith at your baptism, or maybe it was when you were a little older. Whenever it was, Jesus promised to remain in you so you can believe in him.

Yes, there are times when you will struggle with a certain sin, when you feel like you’re not doing anything right, when your faith doesn’t feel strong, but like a weak branch. In those moments, remember the strength of the vine—of your Savior, Jesus—and know that he’s the one keeping you connected to him. What a reassuring thought!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for doing everything needed to connect us to you. When we doubt or feel weak, remind us that our strength comes from you: the vine, the one who provides everything we need to stay strong and grow spiritually. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does Jesus call himself in today’s reading? What does he call us?
  • Why can’t branches on the ground grow leaves or fruit?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is the word “remain” so important in today’s reading?
  • How can you be sure that you’re a growing branch and not a dead branch?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What are some specific ways you can show that you’re growing, that you’re bearing fruit?
  • What could you say to help comfort someone who is worried about whether they’re producing enough spiritual fruit?

Hymn: CW 385:1,3 – Chief of Sinners Though I Be

Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed his blood for me,
Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine,
I am his and he is mine!

Only Jesus can impart
Comfort to a wounded heart;
Peace that flows from sin forgiv’n,
Joy that lifts the soul to heav’n,
Faith and hope to walk with God
In the way that Enoch trod.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Only Working on Sunday Mornings? – Family Devotion – April 30, 2021

Read: 1 Peter 5:1-4

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be.
1 Peter 5:2

Only Working on Sunday Mornings?

 

Family Devotion – April 30, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Peter 5:2

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Pastors only work on Sundays, right? Often, that’s when we see him—when he’s up in the front of church preaching and leading worship. We may not see him much during the rest of the week. What else could he possibly be doing with his time? It doesn’t take that long to write a sermon, does it?

Whether you see it or not, your pastor is doing so much more than “just” preaching on Sunday mornings. He’s talking with and taking communion to people who are stuck at home and can’t come to church. He’s sitting next to people in hospital beds and comforting them and their family members. He’s praying for the members of his church and praying that God would give him the strength and the wisdom to serve them in the best way he possibly can. He’s there for his members when they need him, sometimes at night or on the weekend when his workday should be over and done.

Okay, so pastors work more than “just” on Sunday mornings. What’s the point? It isn’t to make you feel sorry for your pastor or emphasize how hard he works. After all, your parents work hard too. It’s to remind you that your pastor faithfully serves as shepherd of your congregation—in fact, the word “pastor” literally means “shepherd.” God called him to be your shepherd. It also is reminder that you have a calling too: a calling to be a faithful sheep.

How can you be a faithful sheep to your pastor? There are lots of ways: come to church regularly, listen to and learn from what he teaches and preaches, talk to him and tell him what you particularly liked from his sermon or what part of it really hit home to you. Encourage your pastor as he seeks to serve his flock and strives to live up to the responsibility God has given him.

Most importantly, pray for your pastor. Pray that God would give him wisdom to proclaim the Scriptures in their truth and purity. Pray that God would give him strength to resist the devil and stand firm in the faith. Pray that God would give him the comfort to know that his labor in the Lord is not in vain. Pray for him—and then share with him that you’re praying for him. He’ll appreciate it more than you’ll ever know!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you have blessed me with a faithful pastor(s). Help me to be a faithful sheep and encourage my pastor as he guides and feeds me with the truths of your Word. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does the word “pastor” mean?
  • What else does your pastor do besides preach on Sunday mornings?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What is something you could tell your pastor to encourage him?
  • What is a prayer you could say for your pastor?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is it important for you to encourage your pastor? Isn’t coming to church encouragement enough?
  • Since your pastor is a shepherd and you are part of his flock, he cares for and watches over you. What are some specific ways he does this?

Hymn: CW 375:1,5-6 – The King of Love My Shepherd Is

The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness fails me never;
I nothing lack if I am his,
And he is mine forever.

You spread a table in my sight,
A banquet here bestowing;
Your oil of welcome, my delight;
My cup is overflowing!

And so through all the length of days
Your goodness fails me never.
Good Shepherd, may I sing your praise
Within your house forever!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Remember What Your Shepherds Have Taught You – Family Devotion – April 28, 2021

Read: Acts 20:28-32

So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God, and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Acts 20:31-32

Remember What Your Shepherds Have Taught You

 

Family Devotion – April 28, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 20:31-32

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It was the last day of school, and it was time for Miss Schroeder to say goodbye to her students. She knew all of her students very well. She had taught some of them for several years. Others she had known since they were born. The last day of school was always happy. Even if she didn’t have her students in class again, she knew she’d still see them at school or in the community.

This year was different though. It was Miss Schroeder’s last day at the school. She would be moving far away in just a couple of weeks and didn’t know if she’d ever see any of her students again. In the last couple of minutes before school let out, she reminded her students of the lessons she’d taught them and encouraged them to not forget those things.

In today’s Word of God, the apostle Paul was saying goodbye to a church where he had spent three years teaching and preaching. He knew and loved these people like they were his own family. He was sad because he knew he would never see them again.

Paul also knew that life would be hard for them. They would have to deal with false teachers and would be tempted to turn away from the truth that they had learned. So Paul committed them to God’s care. He trusted that God would take care of them. He prayed that they would remember what he had taught them. Even though Paul wouldn’t see them in person, his teaching would live on. They would be able to stand up against the false teachers—as long as they remembered what they had been taught.

All of us also have pastors and teachers in our lives who have taught us about God. They love and care for us, pray for us, and commit us to God’s care. And because they’ve been so faithful in teaching us the truths of God’s Word, we naturally want to remember what they’ve taught us and live according to these truths.

So the next time you’re tempted to stop listening because it seems like your pastor or teacher is telling you something you’ve heard a thousand times before, don’t! Remember that they are living out their calling of preaching and teaching God’s Word. Then, live out what you’ve learned from them! Act in a way that reflects what they’ve taught you. That’s the best thank you that you could ever give them!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for all the faithful pastors and teachers you have placed in our lives. Help us to always remember what they have taught us and live according to these teachings. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why was Paul so sad to say goodbye?
  • Discuss a way you can show appreciation to your pastor(s) and teacher this week.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Think of three things you’ve learned about God from your pastor(s) and teachers.
  • Discuss one way you can better remember what you’ve learned.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Paul warned about “savage wolves” that hurt our faith. What wolf are you facing in your life today?
  • How does remembering what you’ve learned and have been taught help you to fight off these savage wolves?

Hymn: CW 375:1,4 – The King of Love My Shepherd Is

The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness fails me never;
I nothing lack if I am his,
And he is mine forever.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With you, dear Lord, beside me;
Your rod and staff my comfort still,
Your cross before to guide me.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Listen to Your Shepherd’s Voice – Family Devotion – April 26, 2021

Read: John 10:11-18

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me… They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
John 10:14,16

Listen to Your Shepherd’s Voice

 

Family Devotion – April 26, 2021

Devotion based on John 10:14,16

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In a little town in Croatia (a country in Europe very far away from the United States), villagers raise sheep. They send their sheep out to graze in the morning, and then they call their sheep home at night. You’d think that would be a big mess—hundreds or even thousands of sheep all coming back to the village at the same time and trying to find their shepherds!

But it isn’t because the sheep only listen to their own shepherd’s voice. In fact, if a husband and wife each have their own sheep, the wife’s sheep won’t come when the husband calls, and vice versa. The sheep only listen to the voice of their shepherd, because he’s the one who watches over them, protects them, and even puts himself in harm’s way to keep them safe.

In today’s reading, Jesus calls himself our Good Shepherd. He watches over us. He knows each one of us by name. He protects us from the devil, who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He even put himself in harm’s way to keep us safe, laying down his life for us on the cross.

Someday you’ll be in heaven with Jesus and able to perfectly appreciate what he did for you, but what about your life right now? You can’t see Jesus, and even though you know he’s always there watching over you and protecting you, sometimes it seems like he’s really far away. When life is hard, when it seems like everything is going wrong, when your friends make fun of you for being a Christian, what good is a good shepherd that you can’t even see?

It’s true that you can’t see your Good Shepherd here on this earth, but you can still hear him speaking to you through his Word. As you read and study the Bible, you come to know his voice better and better. When it comes to making decisions—choosing how you’re going to behave—you don’t have to be distracted by all the other voices around you. They aren’t the voice of your Shepherd, and they aren’t the voices that are important.

So listen to the voice of your Good Shepherd! He’s the one who loves you, the one you can always trust, the one you’ll finally get to see face-to-face in heaven someday. He’s the one who loves you so much he laid down his life for you, and he’s always worth listening to!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our good shepherd and calling us to be your sheep. Help us to keep reading and studying your Word so that we can learn better and listen better to your voice. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Whose voice should we listen to?
  • As the Good Shepherd, who does Jesus protect us from?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Name two ways you can better learn what your Good Shepherd’s voice sounds like.
  • Do you like being compared to sheep? Why or why not?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • TRUE or FALSE: The voice of the Good Shepherd can be heard in the voices of your mom or dad.
  • Name two voices in your life right now that are distracting you from the voice of your good shepherd.

Hymn: CW 375:1,3 – The King of Love My Shepherd Is

The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness fails me never;
I nothing lack if I am his,
And he is mine forever.

Confused and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me
And on his shoulder gently laid
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Sweet Smell of the Gospel – Family Devotion – April 23, 2021

Read: 2 Corinthians 2:12-3:6

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?
2 Corinthians 2:14-16

The Sweet Smell of the Gospel

 

Family Devotion – April 23, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

When a general returned to Rome after he won a battle, he would lead a parade through the streets of the capital (kind of like Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade). People packed the streets to watch. What did they see? They saw carts and wagons stacked with gold and silver from the conquered land. Dancers went in front of and behind the chariot of the conqueror, carrying huge garlands of flowers and pots of fragrant incense that filled the air with an intoxicating aroma. Behind the fragrant flowers marched thousands of captives, divided into two groups:

  • The first group who followed behind were the lucky ones who would live.
  • The second group were not so lucky. Shackled together, they dragged heavy chains. They were doomed for execution.

As the procession weaved its way through the cheering crowds, the incense pots and fragrant flowers were to the first group a fragrance of life, while the same aroma was to the second group a fragrance of death.

Today, you are part of a triumph parade. It began when an angel at the empty tomb said, “He is NOT here. He is risen!” Every day since, the resurrection parade led by Christ continues. You always fall short. Jesus did not. When you think of homework, you cry out, “It’s never finished!” When Jesus thought of your sin, he cried out, “It is finished!” You’re in the parade directly behind the Conqueror himself. It means you’re part of the first group. You get to live!

As you walk the parade route today, at whom will you be pointing? When you point at yourself, you’re saying, “Look at me!” When you point at Christ the Conqueror, you’re saying, “Look at him!” And when you point out Christ to others, you’re really pointing them to the gospel, which is God’s power to save. You’re inviting them to live with Jesus.

But I warn you, the reaction to your pointing to Jesus will be mixed. Why do some people believe Jesus and find the fragrance of life? Why do others reject Jesus and only smell of death? How sad. It doesn’t seem to make sense.

But the victory parade goes on. You are still a part of it. Jesus promises to ALWAYS lead us in triumph. That’s why it is so important to keep pointing more people to Jesus. May God bless your efforts as you bring the sweet smell of the gospel to those around you!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, help me to spread the fragrance of life in Jesus so that many more may believe in him as their Savior. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Recount the last time you were at a parade.
  • Why does Jesus lead Easter’s parade?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Describe the two groups following behind the conqueror in today’s parade. In which group are you?
  • Why is it so important for you to point Jesus out to others?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why do some people believe Jesus and find the fragrance of life? Why do others reject Jesus and only smell of death?
  • Give two ways you can smell like the fragrance of Jesus in what you say or what you do.

Hymn: CW 560:1,2 – I Hear the Savior Calling

I hear the Savior calling! The gospel comes to me.
My eyes once closed in blindness are opened now to see
That I myself was helpless to live eternally,
But, dying, Christ did save me, and now he calls for me!

I hear the Savior calling! He leads a soul to me,
A soul in bitter anguish, one needing to be free.
The gift I have to offer is Christ, my Lord’s decree
That all have been forgiven My Savior calls for me!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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One Way – Family Devotion – April 21, 2021

Read: Acts 4:9-12

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

One Way

 

Family Devotion – April 21, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 4:12

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The apostle Peter had quite the life. As a simple fisherman, he was called by Jesus to be one of his first disciples and became one of his closest friends. He was an eyewitness to many of Jesus’ miracles, most importantly his resurrection from the dead. During his ministry he performed miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit and was an important leader of the early Christian church.

Like us, Peter wasn’t perfect. There was the time he almost drowned after failing to fully trust Jesus. He had a quick temper. He sometimes didn’t know when to be quiet. One time, Peter even denied knowing Jesus. Peter was a sinner, but he was also a great man who is now with Jesus in heaven.

You know what had nothing to do with him being saved? The fact he was a great man. Peter knew this truth. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, Peter realized the only way to eternal life in heaven is through trusting in Jesus, the risen Savior. This is the clear message he taught in our reading for today and throughout his ministry.

Sadly, there are many people today who feel there are many ways to get to heaven. They believe the way to heaven is like a mountain with many paths leading to the top. They are convinced that it doesn’t matter what God you believe in, as long as you do the right thing and are a good person, you can earn your way to heaven. This type of teaching is false and very dangerous.

The Bible is clear that there is only one way to heaven, and that is through faith in Jesus. To the unbelieving world this message is foolishness. As God’s children, this message brings us peace. If our salvation was based on our goodness, there would be no hope for our future. We sin each and every day by the hurtful words we speak and our unkind actions towards others. That is what makes the message of Easter so remarkable. We have done nothing to deserve God’s love and grace, yet he did everything necessary for us to be saved. We thank God the Holy Spirit for leading us to trust in the only one who truly saves, Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Holy Spirit, forgive us for the times we are tempted to believe we play a part in you wanting to save us. Help us to trust in the only one who truly saves, our Savior Jesus. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name one thing you did today that proves you sin.
  • How did Jesus save you from your sins?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How do many people incorrectly believe that we can get to heaven?
  • Why do we have peace knowing that Jesus did everything needed for us to be saved?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why do we say the message of Jesus is foolishness to the unbelieving world?
  • What do other religions teach about the way to get to heaven?

Hymn: CW 76:3,4 – Jesus! Name of Wondrous Love

Jesus! Name of priceless worth
To the fallen here on earth
For the promise that it gave,
“Jesus shall his people save.”

Jesus! Only name that’s giv’n
Under all the mighty heav’n
Whereby all, to sin enslaved,
Burst their fetters and are saved.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Peace Be With You – Family Devotion – April 19, 2021

Read: Luke 24:36-49

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Luke 24:36-39

Peace Be With You!

 

Family Devotion – April 19, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 24:36-39

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Being alone. The dark. Big animals. Bugs. Heights. What do all of these things have in common? They are fears of young children. After this past year, a new fear for many children might be pandemics. What can make a pandemic so scary is the uncertainty and confusion around it. When will it be safe to see my grandma and grandpa again? When can I go back to in-person school? When can I quit wearing a mask? Not knowing the answers to questions like these can lead us to be fearful and confused about the future.

The disciples were full of fear and confusion as they hid behind the locked door of their house. They had been told by close friends that Jesus’ tomb was empty and that he had risen from the dead, but they couldn’t believe it because this seemed like nonsense to them.

Then the unthinkable happened! Without the door being opened Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you.” The disciples were far from being at peace. They were even more frightened. They thought Jesus was a ghost. Then Jesus calmed their nerves by proving he was truly alive. He helped them understand and trust everything that happened over the past few days was part of God’s plan to save them and all people from their sins.

As we face challenges that make us afraid, we may wish we could just lock ourselves in a room. It isn’t just the global problems like natural disasters and pandemics that cause us to fear. There will always be something we must face each and every day. Maybe it’s the bully who constantly picks on us. The math lesson we just can’t figure out. The constant fighting that takes place in our homes. So often we find ourselves overwhelmed with fear and doubt.

Then we open our Bibles and hear our Savior say, “Peace be with you.” The Bible proves to us that Jesus rose from the dead and took care of our biggest problem: sin. That doesn’t mean we won’t face challenges or that our life here on earth as believers will be easy. What it does mean is that amidst the chaos of our lives we can have peace because our future in heaven is secure through Jesus. May Jesus’ words of comfort in John 14:27 calm your fears, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Closing Prayer:

Dear Risen Savior, all too often we are overwhelmed with fear and doubt. Help us find comfort in your promises and discover peace in the truth of your Word. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What are you most afraid of?
  • Who is more powerful than anything you might fear?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does God use to strengthen our faith in him and his promises?
  • How does Jesus’ resurrection from the dead give us peace even as we experience difficulties?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What part of this pandemic has caused you the most anxiety and fear?
  • What Bible passage(s) provides you with the most comfort as you face adversity?

Hymn: CW 158:3 – I Am Content! My Jesus Lives Again

I am content! My Jesus is my light, My radiant sun of grace.
His cheering rays beam blessings forth for all: Sweet comfort, hope, and peace.
This Easter sun has brought salvation and everlasting exultation.
I am content! I am content!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Truly Happy Ending – Family Devotion – April 16, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:12-22

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:17-20

A Truly Happy Ending

 

Family Devotion – April 16, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:17-20

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Imagine if the following movies ended this way:

  • The glass slipper was accidentally dropped and shattered. Prince Charming ended up marrying one of Cinderella’s stepsisters.
  • Aladdin foolishly wasted his third and final wish on a Cherry Icee. The genie remains trapped in the lamp.
  • Luke Skywalker’s mission to destroy the reactor system of the Death Star failed. The Empire still rules the galaxy.

What a difference it would make for some of our favorite stories if these events were how they finished. They certainly wouldn’t be the feel-good movies, with a happy ending, that we love to watch over and over again.

Paul was dealing with individuals in the Corinthian church who were denying the happy ending of Easter. They were arguing that people are not able to be risen from the dead. What a devastating ending for Christians if true!

If people cannot be raised from the dead, that means Jesus did not rise from the dead. If Jesus did not come back to life that would mean our faith would be in a still dead Savior which would be pointless. We would remain lost in our sins and our hope of living eternally in heaven would be a false confidence.

Praise be to God that the message of Easter is not just a made-up story to make us feel better. It is an undeniable fact that Jesus physically rose from the dead. There were hundreds of eyewitnesses who saw Jesus in the flesh before he returned to heaven. Paul was so sure because he himself saw his risen Savior. The happy ending to Easter will never change!

The truth of Jesus’ resurrection means everything for us. On judgment day, everyone who ever lived will be raised from the dead. Those who have received the gift of faith in Jesus as their Savior will be joined with him in heaven. The best part of this happy ending for believers is that there is no ending. In the perfection of heaven, we will live forever with no end. There are still many people today who don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, but we can have complete assurance that because Jesus lives, we also will live forever.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Risen Savior, you showed your power over sin and death by rising from the dead. Work in us the confidence of faith that we will also be raised on judgment day to live with you forever in heaven. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does it mean that people were eyewitnesses of Jesus resurrection?
  • What do you think heaven will be like?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What would it mean for believers if Jesus didn’t truly rise from the dead?
  • Why can we be confident that Jesus did truly rise from the dead?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How does the assurance of Jesus’ resurrection provide us comfort as we face challenges throughout our life?
  • What can we learn from Paul as he defended the truth of the resurrection with those in the Corinth congregation who denied it?

Hymn: CW 152:7 – I Know that My Redeemer Lives

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.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Bad News, Good News – Family Devotion – April 14, 2021

Read: Acts 3:12-20

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.
Acts 3:19,20

Bad News, Good News

 

Family Devotion – April 14, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 3:19,20

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Have you ever had to tell someone bad news? It isn’t very fun. For example, you wouldn’t be overly excited to let your parents know you got in big trouble at school or to tell your best friend you are moving out of town. On the flip side, it is great to share good news. We love telling people about the A we got on our big project or that we made the team or were selected for the lead in the play. In our reading for today, Peter shares some bad news and good news.

Peter was talking to people who had recently shouted for Jesus to be crucified. He spoke the law to these people to show them their sin. By following their leaders, they were guilty of putting Jesus, the Savior of the world, to death. This bad news must have been hard for them to hear.

God’s law is difficult for us to hear as well. It shows us that it was also because of our sins, those times that we have sinful thoughts, speak unkindly to our parents, or hurt others, that Jesus had to die a terrible death. Our sins have ruined our relationship with Jesus.

Peter’s command to those in the crowd is the same for us. Repent! To repent means to feel sorry for our sins, admit them, turn from them, and trust that Jesus has forgiven them. That forgiveness of sins was won for us through Jesus when he died on the cross and rose from the dead.

That was the good news Peter shared with the crowd he was speaking to. It was the message of the gospel which showed the people their Savior. Even though they were guilty of killing Jesus, God used their evil actions to carry out his plan. This plan to was to save them and all people from their sins. We know this plan was successful because on Easter morning Jesus’ tomb was empty. He was alive!

That first Easter was over 2,000 years ago. Yet the message of Easter still remains the best news ever for all people of all time. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can be certain that all of our sins are forgiven. Through the gift of faith, we can be sure that even though we don’t deserve it, we will live forever with Jesus in heaven.

May God give us the confidence of Peter to be honest with ourselves and others about the bad news of sin and the importance of repenting, and then give us the opportunity to point others to the solution to sin, our risen Savior, Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, we have done nothing to deserve the love you showed us by dying on the cross and rising from the dead to save us. Guide us to share this good news with others. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is it called when we disobey God’s commands?
  • What event do we celebrate on Easter?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean to repent of your sins?
  • Why is Easter the most important day in the history of the world?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Name two barriers that get in the way of you and your family sharing Jesus with others?
  • Why is it so important that both the law and the gospel are taught?

Hymn: CW 149:1 – Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

“Christ the Lord is ris’n today!”
Saints on earth and angels say;
Raise your joys and triumphs high;
Sing, O heav’ns, and earth reply.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Prove It – Family Devotion – April 12, 2021

Read: John 20:19-31

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples which are not recorded in this book. But these words are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:29-31

Prove It

 

Family Devotion – April 12, 2021

Devotion based on John 20:29-31

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

There are certain things that are hard to believe unless you see it. In December there was a story about Steph Curry making 105 three pointers in a row at practice without missing. If you have ever played basketball, you know how impossible that sounds. With a quick Google search you can actually watch the 5-minute video of him making three after three until he finally misses on his 106th shot.

Three days after Jesus died on the cross, he appeared in person to his disciples. They could barely believe it, and they were surprised to see Jesus in the flesh. One of the disciples, Thomas, was not there that night. The disciples told Thomas they saw Jesus, but he would not believe unless he saw Jesus himself. This is why he is often called doubting Thomas.

A week later, Jesus again visited the disciples, and this time Thomas was there with them. Thomas talked with Jesus and even touched his wounds. After seeing Jesus face-to-face, Thomas stopped doubting and believed.

At times we can be a lot like Thomas. We might doubt if God is real. We might doubt if Jesus could truly forgive us for a horrible thing that we have done. We might doubt if certain parts of the Bible at true. We might doubt that doing good things doesn’t save us. As with Thomas we want God to show us proof.

That is exactly what God does in the Bible. We certainly can’t see Jesus with our own eyes, but in the Bible, we can learn that Jesus did everything needed to save us from our sins. While he was on earth Jesus never sinned once, he gave up his own life for us by dying on the cross, and three days later his tomb was empty because he had risen from the dead. God gave us the Bible so that we might know and believe in Jesus as our Savior.

Each time we read and study the Bible at home or at church, God the Holy Spirit is working to strengthen our faith and trust in Jesus. The next time you find yourself doubting, open up your Bible and read God’s perfect promises. Believe! Trust! Jesus your Savior is truly alive!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, forgive us for the times that we doubt the truth found in your Word. Lead us to study the Bible often and increase our trust in your perfect promises. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is the nickname that people often call Thomas?
  • Where can we learn about Jesus and all that he did to save us from our sins?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • If you were Thomas, do you think that you would have believed the other disciples when they said Jesus appeared to them?
  • What parts of the Bible do you sometimes have doubts about or have trouble understanding?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why do you think so many people today have such a hard time believing the Bible is true?
  • What steps can you take this upcoming week to be more regular in studying God’s Word?

Hymn: CW 165:8 – O Sons and Daughters of the King

Blessed are they that have not seen
And yet whose faith has constant been;
In life eternal they shall reign.
Alleluia!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Christ First, Then Us – Family Devotion – April 9, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:19-26

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23

Christ First, Then Us

 

Family Devotion – April 9, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:6,8

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The summer months are fantastic. Not only do kids have off school and families go on vacations, but it’s also one of the best food times of the year. Yep, you guessed it, it’s time for sweet corn! After months of nourishment and growth and care, when the ears are still firm and the husks still green, farmers begin harvesting for hungry corn lovers everywhere. And perhaps that first batch of sweet corn harvested is the best—because it means there’s lots more to come!

You might call that first batch of corn the firstfruits. That’s what God’s Old Testament people called the very first of their grain harvest every year. And it’s an appropriate name—it was the first of the fruit of the ground, the very first of the wheat or the barley brought in from the fields.

But why, then, does the Bible call Jesus the firstfruits? That’s what the apostle Paul said in our reading: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” What does that mean? Why is Paul comparing Jesus to a plant?

That’s the good news about Easter! Just like the first of the harvest means there’s lots more grain or corn to come, so also the first resurrection—Jesus’ resurrection—means there are more resurrections to come. Or more simply: Jesus’ resurrection means we too will rise from the dead! Jesus is the firstfruits because he’s the first of many, including you and me, to be raised from death!

Think about what that means. On that first Easter, Jesus’ once lifeless body lived again. His eyes that had closed in death only days ago, opened. His voice that had become silent, spoke. His feet that had walked among his followers, stood among them again. His hands that had broken bread with his disciples, shared a meal with them once more. Jesus, once dead, lived!

So shall you and I. On the last day, when our Savior returns to raise all the dead, we too will live again. Our eyes will open. Our voices will speak. Our feet that once ran, jumped, skipped, and danced will run, jump, skip, and dance once more. Only this time, when Jesus raises us it will be forever! Just as Jesus lives and will never die again, so also we will live with Jesus and never die again.

We too will defeat death. Jesus, our firstfruits, is the guarantee. Because he lives, we too will live!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for rising from the dead so that one day my eyes will open, my voice will speak, my ears will hear, and I will live with you forever—never to die again. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is the very first of the harvest called?
  • What happened to Jesus’ body on Easter?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When does Paul say that we will rise from the dead?
  • In this life, we run and get tired, we fall and break bones, we catch a cold and get sick. When we rise, our bodies will be like Jesus’ body. What do you think that will be like?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • The apostle Paul says that Jesus is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Why do you think he calls our death a sleep?
  • Look again at verses 21-22. Why have all people died in Adam? Why will all believers live through Christ?

Hymn: CW 152:7,8 – I Know that My Redeemer Lives

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.

He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Death and Tears Are Gone – Family Devotion – April 7, 2021

Read: Isaiah 25:6-9

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines…
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.
Isaiah 25:6,8

Death and Tears Are Gone

 

Family Devotion – April 7, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:6,8

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Can you see it in your mind? You step into the banquet hall, and the aroma of your favorite foods fills the air. The meal is ready, the drinks are being poured, and dessert (triple chocolate cake with chocolate frosting?) is fresh from the oven. The sound of happy conversation, of laughter, and of joyful praise mingles together. You take a step forward and see your place at the table—reserved there, by name, just for you. And then comes a voice, a familiar voice, the voice of Jesus: “Sit friend, I’ve prepared everything.” And so the feasting begins.

That’s one of the ways the Bible pictures heaven—a great feast, a feast unlike any other. There are people from every place and of every language; every believer in Jesus is gathered together. There’s only the finest food and drink, the tastiest meal to enjoy. And our Savior Jesus is there—the host who’s prepared it all.

But there’s something else that’s special about this feast—something we can’t fully understand: the joy of the feast never ends.

Sure, we experience happy times in life—birthday parties, family get-togethers, celebrations, graduations. But all of these come to an end. The laughter dies out. The smiles fade. The games stop. Eventually everyone goes home. And on top of this, there are plenty of outright sad times in life too! Times when we’re sick, when our feelings are hurt, or when we miss people we love. Times of pain. Times of loneliness. Times of tears.

But when the Bible talks about heaven, it talks about joy that never ends. It talks about Jesus wiping every tear from our eyes. It talks about rejoicing and celebrating and praising that never stops and never gets old. Yes, it talks about life with God forever!

How can this be? Only because of Easter! You see, when Jesus rose from the dead, he didn’t just come back to life—he defeated death, he destroyed it, he swallowed it up forever! And not just death, but all pain and tears and sadness, yours and mine too! That’s the story of Easter. Because Jesus lives, you and I will one day live with him. Because Jesus lives, all our sicknesses, all our hurts, all our loneliness, all our tears—yes, all our pain will end. Because Jesus lives, our place at heaven’s feast is prepared, ready and waiting for us.

Now that’s a reason to rejoice and be glad!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, we praise you for defeating death, pain, and sadness through Jesus’ rising from the dead. Lead us to always trust in your promise to bring us home to heaven. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is your favorite food you’d like to enjoy in heaven?
  • What will happen to sadness and pain when we’re in heaven?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think the Bible calls heaven a “banquet” instead of just a simple meal? What’s the difference?
  • Think of the best party you’ve ever experienced. What made it so great? How will heaven compare to that?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • We all have hurts, we all feel pain, we all shed tears. Is there a hurt that you especially look forward to leaving behind when you go to heaven?
  • What do you think will be the best part of heaven and living forever? Why?

Hymn: CW 152:3,5 – I Know that My Redeemer Lives

He lives to bless me with his love;
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives, my hungry soul to feed;
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives to silence all my fears;
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart;
He lives all blessings to impart.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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He Has Risen! He Is Not Here! – Family Devotion – April 5, 2021

Read: Mark 16:1-8

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
Mark 16:5,6

He Has Risen! He Is Not Here!

 

Family Devotion – April 5, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 16:5,6

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Trembling and bewildered.” That’s how the Bible describes the women on that first Easter morning. And if we’d been there with them, we probably would have been a little shaky and confused too.

After all, the past several days weren’t what they had expected. These women came to Jerusalem with Jesus very much alive but watched as he was crucified. They saw him buried. They gathered spices to anoint his lifeless body. That’s not what they expected.

Early that morning, the women made their way to the tomb. They wondered how they’d get in. They asked each other who’d be able to help them. But when they got there, to their surprise, the giant stone had already been rolled away. Jesus’ grave was open. That’s not what they expected.

And when they set foot inside? There was a stranger, a young man in a white robe—an angel! He was sitting there, inside Jesus’ tomb, and he said: “Don’t be scared.” That’s not what they expected!

We can understand why they felt scared, upset, and confused. We would have felt the same way!

But there’s a much more important reason for their surprise and confusion. The angel told them, “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.” What?! This was more shocking than Jesus’ crucifixion, his death, the open grave, or even the angel. The women saw Jesus die. They knew he was buried. And now he wasn’t here? He was alive? That’s not what they expected!

It’s not what we expect, either! When the hero in our favorite book or movie dies, we understand that they’re not coming back to life. When we go to the grave of a friend or loved one, we know their body will be there. And if we were there with the women that morning, we would have been just as shocked to hear that Jesus was alive, to see that his body was not there—because things like this just don’t happen!

Except that’s exactly what happened. Jesus did the unexpected. Jesus did the seemingly impossible. Jesus rose. Yes, he’d died, but death could not hold on to him. Yes, he’d been buried, but the tomb could not contain him. Jesus did what no one else has ever done: he defeated death itself! That’s the bewildering—but amazing and true—story of Easter.

And the best part of all? Jesus did it for you and me.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for the amazing but true news of Easter: you live! Help me to trust this good news and to know that you did it for me! Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did the women see in Jesus’ tomb?
  • What happened to Jesus on Easter?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Imagine you were with the women when they saw that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb. How would you have felt? What would you have been thinking?
  • What does Jesus’ resurrection from the dead tell you about his power?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Recall one other time when angels brought news about Jesus. Why do you think God used angels to make these announcements?
  • Why do you think the women were afraid and confused, instead of joyful and relieved?

Hymn: CW 152:1,2 – I Know that My Redeemer Lives

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

He lives triumphant from the grave;
He lives eternally to save.
He lives all glorious in the sky;
He lives exalted there on high.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The King Died for Us – Family Devotion – April 2, 2021

Read: John 19:17-30

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19:30

The King Died for Us

 

Family Devotion – April 2, 2021

Devotion based on John 19:30

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If you’ve never played king of the hill on a snow pile, here’s how it works. You and your friends scramble to the top and, once reached, you do your best to be the last one up there. You grapple (gently!) with others to keep them off, or maybe throw snowballs, or perhaps just sit down to keep anyone from moving you. The stronger or bigger you are the better chance you have at being king.

Our Bible reading today talks about a hill, a place called Golgotha, and about a king, that’s Jesus. But if you were there that day and saw everything that happened, you’d never guess that Jesus was the King. One of the Roman soldiers would be a likelier option; they look strong, with solid armor. Or maybe one of the chief priests of the Jews; they look like important, powerful people. Honestly, you’d expect the king to be almost anyone but Jesus! After all, Jesus had been rejected by his own people—that doesn’t look like a king. And Jesus had to carry his own, heavy cross to that place—that doesn’t look like a king. And Jesus was nailed to that cross, with criminals crucified beside him—that doesn’t look like a king. Even Jesus’ clothing was taken from him and divided among the soldiers—that doesn’t look like a king.

But remember what kind of king Jesus is and why he came to be on that hill. Our King Jesus didn’t come to be waited on by servants; no, he came instead to serve others. Our King Jesus didn’t come to help himself; he came to help others. Our King Jesus didn’t come to boast about his power or knowledge or miracles; he came with a humble heart, to seek and to save those who were lost.

He came to save you.

When we understand what kind of king Jesus is, the scene on that hill makes sense. Jesus our King was rejected by his people because he loved you. Jesus our King carried his cross to Golgotha because he loved you. Jesus our King bled and died there because he loved you. Jesus came to be our King—not by showing his power and flexing his might, but by showing his love and giving his life as payment for my sin and yours.

Truly, Jesus was the King on that hill—your King and mine!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you are truly the King of love. Because of your sacrifice we will live forever. Help us today and always to treasure your saving love. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What’s the name of the place where Jesus was crucified?
  • Why do you want Jesus to be your king?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Think back to the crowds on Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem on the colt. What’s different about this scene?
  • What blessings do you get to enjoy because Jesus died for your sins?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Just before he died, Jesus said: “It is finished.” What is the significance of these words?
  • To those watching, Jesus’ suffering and death looked like defeat. Yet how was Good Friday actually Jesus’ victory?

Hymn: CW 138:1,2 – Oh, Perfect Life of Love

Oh, perfect life of love!
All, all is finished now,
All that he left his throne above
To do for us below.

In perfect love he dies;
For me he dies, for me!
O all-atoning Sacrifice,
You died to make me free!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The King Came as Promised – Family Devotion – March 31, 2021

Read: Zechariah 9:9,10

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9

The King Came as Promised

 

Family Devotion – March 31, 2021

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“I promise.” Those are special words, aren’t they? Those words mean that we can rely on what the person is saying. For example, when Mom or Dad promises that you’re all headed to the movies on Friday, you know it’ll happen. It’s a promise. Or if your teacher promises a field trip to the zoo or museum, you can rely on it. It’s a promise. Or if you promise to clean your room, it’ll definitely happen (right!?). It’s a promise.

Promises are for certain—except when they’re broken. Sometimes a parent plans for family movie Friday, but unexpectedly has to work late. Promise broken. Sometimes a teacher gets everything ready for a field trip, but suddenly school is canceled and everyone stays at home for months. Promise broken. Sometimes you have every intention of picking up your room, but you just forget or lose track of time or are exhausted from practice. Promise broken.

Over the years, God’s people Israel might have wondered, “Will God keep his promise?” God had promised to send a Savior many times, ever since Adam and Eve sinned. Our verses from Zechariah are one of those promises, where God assured his people that their Savior, their King, would come to them. But not long before this, God’s people had been conquered by a foreign nation and taken away to live in a foreign land. His people must have wondered: “Will God keep his promise?”

But we know what happened—the King came! We heard about it in our last devotion. Jesus entered Jerusalem just like Zechariah said he would: “…lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Isn’t that amazing? Jesus, the King, fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy given hundreds of years before—even the part about riding on a donkey! Jesus, the King, came! Which means, God kept his promise!

Yes, God keeps all his promises—because unlike people, God can’t break a promise. And that means we can trust everything God tells us about our King. The King came to save—and he has. His death on the cross has saved you. Promise kept! The King came to bring peace—and he has. Your sins are forgiven. Your guilt is gone. Promise kept! The King came to bring you into his kingdom—and he has, through your baptism. Promise kept!

No matter how things seem or how we may feel, we can always rely on this: God keeps his promises in Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you sending our Savior Jesus, just as you promised. Help us to trust all of your precious promises, because we know you will always keep them. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is a promise?
  • What did the Bible promise King Jesus would ride?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • God kept his promise to send the Savior Jesus. What does that tell you about God’s promise to take you to heaven?
  • What’s different about God’s promises compared to the promises we make?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why might the people of Israel have wondered whether God would keep his promise?
  • Think of an encouraging promise that God has made to you in the Bible. Why is it so special?

Hymn: CW 130:3 – Hosanna, Loud Hosanna

“Hosanna in the highest!” that ancient song we sing,
For Christ is our Redeemer, the Lord of heav’n, our King.
Oh, may we ever praise him with heart and life and voice
And in his royal presence eternally rejoice.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The King Entered Jerusalem – Family Devotion – March 29, 2021

Read: Mark 11:1-10

When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Mark 11:7-10

The King Entered Jerusalem

 

Family Devotion – March 29, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 11:7-10

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If that colt could talk, what do you think it would have said? “Ow, my back hurts!” Probably not. Even though it had never been ridden before, this colt had a strong back and could carry Jesus just fine. Well then maybe the animal was amazed at all the people shouting and cheering and would have wondered, “Are all these people here for me? Are they excited to see me?” But this was an ordinary donkey, and people don’t get so excited about ordinary donkeys, so probably not that either. No, if that donkey could talk, perhaps it only would have asked, “Why me?”

You see, all the excitement and attention wasn’t about the donkey, but about Jesus. The people visiting Jerusalem for Passover had heard about Jesus. They knew he was a powerful teacher and that he could heal diseases. Perhaps they’d heard that Jesus even raised his dead friend Lazarus back to life. It’s no wonder, then, that so many people came out to meet Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. It’s no wonder that they cut off palm branches or took their cloaks and laid them on Jesus’ path. The people knew that Jesus was someone special!

But Jesus was more than just someone special. Jesus was more than just a popular teacher. Jesus was a king! And not just any king—Jesus was, and is, the King! Jesus is the King of all people and all creation. Jesus is the King whom angels serve. Jesus is the King who made all the universe. Jesus is the King worthy of our worship. Jesus is the King!

That colt must have wondered, “Why me?” After all, shouldn’t the King of the universe enter his city with glory—in a beautiful chariot or accompanied by powerful angels or wearing a golden crown? But Jesus didn’t. Instead, he entered Jerusalem humbly on a simple, ordinary donkey. Though King of all, Jesus didn’t come to wear a crown of gold; though Ruler of all, Jesus didn’t come to claim a throne of glory. No, King Jesus came humbly, on a donkey, to wear a crown of thorns. King Jesus came humbly, on a donkey, to claim a cross of suffering. King Jesus came humbly, on a donkey, to save his people. King Jesus came humbly, on a donkey, to save you.

Because that’s the kind of King Jesus is—our Savior King.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us so much that you entered Jerusalem humbly to die, so that we might enjoy the glory of heaven. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did Jesus want his two disciples to bring him?
  • How did the people react when Jesus entered the city?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Imagine what powerful kings look like—their clothing, their crowns, their palaces. How is King Jesus different?
  • Though he could have acted like a king, how did Jesus reveal a humble servant heart?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Imagine you were there that day, seeing Jesus enter Jerusalem. What’s most surprising to you about that scene?
  • Why is Jesus’ heart of humility so important for the story of salvation?

Hymn: CW 133:1,2 – Ride On, Ride On in Majesty

Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Hark! All the tribes hosanna cry.
O Savior meek, pursue your road,
With palms and scattered garments strowed.

Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die.
O Christ, your triumphs now begin
O’er captive death and conquered sin.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Suffered and Became the Source of Our Salvation – Family Devotion – March 26, 2021

Read: Hebrews 5:7-10

Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Hebrews 5:8-9

Jesus Suffered and Became the Source of Our Salvation

 

Family Devotion – March 26, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:8-9

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It was 1925 in Alaska, and Leonhard Seppala was driving a sled pulled by dogs. They ran for 260 miles—five times as long as an average sled dog ride. While Mr. Seppala and his dogs were driving their sled, the temperature was −85 °F (−65 °C). They went through a lot of pain and danger, but they reached their goal. They made it to their hometown of Nome, Alaska. What motivated them to do that? They weren’t they racing to win a trophy. They weren’t trying to get bragging rights. Their motivation was people who needed them. Many children in Nome were sick, and Mr. Seppala carried medicine for their sickness. After he made it home, any children who came to him could get better.

Jesus also endured a lot of pain. Picture him in your imagination, kneeling on the ground and praying to his Father in heaven. In one more day, he will suffer and die on the cross. Because Jesus is God, he knows exactly what will happen to him. He will get hurt, and his heavenly Father will abandon him. Jesus will experience hell, and then he will die. What motivated Jesus to do all that? You. You motivated him.

The Bible says, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:8-9) When it says he was “made perfect,” it doesn’t mean that Jesus became less sinful. He never sinned at all. “Made perfect” is the Bible’s way of saying that Jesus made it to his goal. And his goal was to save you. When his body was hurting, you motivated him to keep going. When he felt all alone, he thought of you to inspire him. Jesus knew that you were much sicker than those children in Alaska. All people are sick with sin, and Jesus’ big goal was to save us so we could be with him in heaven. He did.

Now that Jesus accomplished his goal, any sinner can go to Jesus and be forgiven. Jesus suffered to become the source of our salvation.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for suffering for us. Help us to go to you for all our needs, especially the forgiveness of our sins. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did Jesus do to save us?
  • Who can go to Jesus to be saved?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean that Jesus was made perfect?
  • What motivated Jesus through his suffering?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • As true God, Jesus knew the future. As true man, Jesus had human feelings. How would both of those truths make his suffering difficult?
  • Describe an example of how Jesus’ obedience for you could motivate your obedience for him?

Hymn: CW 110:1,2 – My Song is Love Unknown

My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me,
Love to the loveless shown
That they might lovely be.
Oh, who am I
That for my sake,
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die.

He came from his blest throne
Salvation to bestow,
But such disdain! So few
The longed for Christ would know!
But oh, my friend,
My friend indeed,
Who at my need
His life did spend!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Remembers Our Sins No More – Family Devotion – March 24, 2021

Read: Jeremiah 31:31-34

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
Jeremiah 31:34

God Remembers Our Sins No More

 

Family Devotion – March 24, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:34

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

One of the most powerful superheroes in the X-Men series is Professor Xavier. He doesn’t have big muscles, but he has a powerful brain. Professor X can even make people forget things they know.

If you had that superpower, how would you use it? You could confuse your friends so that you always win at games. You could make everyone forget your bedtime so you can stay up all night. You could have a lot of fun playing with people’s memory.

Maybe you’d want to do something a little more important. You could make your family forget the mean words you said to them. You could make a friend forget something that hurt their feelings. You could undo a lot of sad things if you could make people forget.

That’s what God did. God has a super powerful mind. He knows all things, which means that he knows all the nice things every person has ever done. He also knows all the bad stuff. Even when nobody else is watching, God is. Even if you can hide your sins from some people, God knows about them. Every single sin makes God angry. Just think how mad he would be if he thought about all the sins of the world. It sure would be nice if we could erase God’s memory.

But here’s the good news: God chose to forget your sins. He said, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).

God knows what you have done, but he chooses to forget about all the bad things. He didn’t erase that memory by using a superpower. Instead, he used his Son, Jesus. Your sins didn’t magically disappear; Jesus took them from you. God got angry at Jesus instead of you. He punished Jesus instead of you. He killed Jesus instead of you. When Jesus died on the cross, he used his super-powerful death to wash from God’s memory every one of your sins.

Imagining Jesus on the cross can make us sad because we know our sins made him suffer. But imagining Jesus on the cross can make us happy too. Christians gave a happy name to the day when Jesus died; it’s called Good Friday. It is good that Jesus erased God’s memory of your sins. By the power of Jesus, God remembers your sins no more.

Closing Prayer:

Lord, please forget our sins. You sent Jesus to take our sins away. Help us to trust that you love us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does God know?
  • How did God get rid of our sins?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What are some examples of things God knows about us?
  • What are some reasons why Jesus’ death would make us feel bad? What are some reasons it would make us feel good?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain how God can know everything and still “remember our sins no more.”
  • How does Jesus erasing your sins from God’s memory affect the way you feel about God?

Hymn: CW 387:2,3 – Drawn to the Cross

How well you know my grief and fears,
Your grace abused, my misspent years;
So now to you with contrite tears,
Christ crucified, I come.

Wash me and take away each stain;
Let nothing of my sin remain.
For cleansing through your cross and pain,
Christ crucified, I come.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Came to Suffer for Us – Family Devotion – March 22, 2021

Read: John 12:20-33

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
John 12:27-28

Jesus Came to Suffer for Us

 

Family Devotion – March 22, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:27-28

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A humongous basketball player laid on the court and folded his arms under his head like a pillow. LeBron James was ready for a nap. He had just finished playing game three of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference finals, and he was exhausted. The television announcer praised LeBron for playing so hard, but it wasn’t easy.

Some people think LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time. When they try to convince others that LeBron is the best, they don’t say, “He is the best because he makes the tastiest tacos.” They don’t say, “He’s the best because he has a beautiful singing voice.” No, the best thing about LeBron is his basketball skills. He scores a lot of points, wins a lot of games, and plays very hard. That’s what makes him tired, and that’s what makes him famous.

Jesus got tired too. It wasn’t from running or jumping. It was because his body was going to be punched, whipped, and then nailed to a cross. Jesus’ friends would run away from him, and he would feel guilty in his heart because of all the things that other people did wrong. Jesus didn’t suffer for sins that he committed, but for sins that you and I committed. And worst of all, Jesus’ Father in heaven would ignore him when he was on the cross. You can see why he was going to be so tired. His suffering would take a lot out of his body and soul.

Before Jesus suffered, he was nervous. Suffering would tire him out, but he was determined to do it for you. Jesus felt guilt, so you don’t have to. God abandoned Jesus so that you will never be abandoned. That’s how much Jesus loves you.

And that’s why Jesus is famous. LeBron James might be the best basketball player, but Jesus is the glorious person of all time. Not because he was smart—and he was brilliant. Not because he was kind—and he was the most thoughtful. No, the best thing about Jesus is that he suffered and died for you, even though it was hard. He said, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

And God is glorious because Jesus suffered for us.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for suffering in my place. Help me appreciate your love and glorify your name. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What made Jesus tired?
  • What is the best thing about Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What did it mean when Jesus said, “My soul is troubled”?
  • For what reason did Jesus come from heaven to earth?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How could you respond to someone who says Jesus was a wise teacher, but not our Savior?
  • Explain how Jesus’ most humiliating experiences were also his most glorious accomplishments.

Hymn: CW 100:1,2 – A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,
Our guilt and evil bearing
And laden with the sins of earth,
None else the burden sharing.
Goes patient on, grows weak and faint,
To slaughter led without complaint
That spotless life to offer,
Bears shame and stripes and wounds and death,
Anguish and mockery and says,
“Willing all this I suffer.”

This Lamb is Christ, the soul’s great friend.
The Lamb of God, our Savior;
Him God the Father chose to send
To gain for us his favor.
“Go forth, my Son,” the Father said,
“And free my children from their dread
Of guilt and condemnation.
The wrath and stripes are hard to bear,
But by your passion, they will share
The fruit of your salvation.”

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Rejoice that We Are Saved by Grace – Family Devotion – March 19, 2021

Read: Ephesians 2:4-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Rejoice that We Are Saved by Grace

 

Family Devotion – March 19, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:8-9

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Why does a grandma cook for a grumpy grandchild?
Why does a mom sing lullabies to her baby who is screaming in her ear?
Why does a dad give a hug to a teenager who crashed the family car?
Why does a friend play with a person who spoke mean words yesterday?
And why does God give you family and friends who love you?

Why do you get to hear birds singing on days when you feel like crying?
Why does a puppy come to sit by you when you’re feeling all alone?
Why does your favorite food make you smile when your whole day has made you frown?
Why does your best friend make you laugh when you were bored?
And why does God let us smile while we live in this world?

Why did God imagine your life before the world began and choose you to be in heaven?
Why did Jesus scrub your sins away with his blood when he died on the cross?
Why did the Holy Spirit ignite faith in your heart when you heard the story of Jesus?
Why did God save you from hell and put you on the highway to heaven?

You can answer all those questions with one word: GRACE. Here’s a simple definition: Grace is why you get good things that you don’t deserve. Grace is essential when you realize you’ve messed up. If your family only took care of you when you behaved well, you would not make it very long in this life. If God only allowed you to smile when you worked hard enough to smile, you’d have a very frowny life. And if God only rescued people who earned his love by doing good works, nobody would go to heaven. If God weren’t gracious, we would all be worried.

But that is crazy talk. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast“ (Ephesians 2:8-9). You see God’s grace in all the good things you don’t deserve—from your family to your happy days, and even the forgiveness of your sins and your eternal life in heaven. God gives you good things just because he’s nice. So don’t worry. Rejoice that we are saved by grace!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you love us and bless us because you are so kind, even when we are not. Make us happy to receive your grace so that we can focus less on ourselves and more on you. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is the one word that explains all the good things God does for you?
  • How would you feel if God only saved people who earned his love?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Can you list five examples of grace?
  • If people are saved by grace and not based on their behavior, predict what different types of people you might meet in heaven.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain how God’s grace can stop you from becoming proud and braggy.
  • Explain how God’s grace can stop you from becoming guilt-stricken and hopeless.

Hymn: CW 384:1,2 – By Grace I’m Saved

By grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless;
My soul, believe and doubt it not.
Why waver at this word of promise?
Has Scripture ever falsehood taught?
So then this word must true remain:
By grace you, too, shall heav’n obtain.

By grace! Oh, mark this word of promise
When you are by your sins oppressed,
When Satan plagues your troubled conscience,
And when your heart is seeking rest.
What reason cannot comprehend
God by his grace to you did send.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Rejoice and Look to Jesus in Faith – Family Devotion – March 17, 2021

Read: Numbers 21:4-9

But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

Numbers 21:4b-9

Rejoice and Look to Jesus in Faith

 

Family Devotion – March 17, 2021

Devotion based on Numbers 21:4b-9

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Did you know that a one-dollar bill does not cost one dollar? The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (or B.E.P. for short) makes one-dollar bills in Texas and Washington D.C. The workers at the B.E.P. weave linen and cotton into paper. Then they use special ink to color the paper, so it looks like a dollar bill. If you add up the cost of the linen, the cost of the cotton, and the cost of the ink, can you guess how much it costs? A one-dollar bill costs 7.7 cents.

Of course, if you take a one-dollar bill to the store you can buy more than 7 cents worth of candy. That’s because a dollar is worth more than the paper and ink that are used to make it. A one-dollar bill is a promise. It says, “I promise you can trade this paper for one dollar’s worth of something you want.”

Imagine somebody who doesn’t believe that promise. He might say, “This is only worth seven cents. I’ll throw it away.” That would be crazy! He would miss out on some good things.

A dollar bill is like what God did for the Israelites one time. God loved the Israelites as his special people. But they began to complain about God. The Lord sent venomous snakes into their land so they would learn to not complain. God’s lesson worked. The people stopped complaining and asked for help. So God made a promise. He told them to make a statue of a snake and hang it from a pole. Then God promised, “anyone who is bitten can look at it and live” (Numbers 21:8). A metal statue cannot heal a snake bite. But just like a one-dollar bill, the snake wasn’t important because of what it was made of. The snake was important because of God’s promise. People who looked at the snake were trusting God’s promise. “Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived” (Numbers 21:9).

God saved your life with a promise too. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Money and statues can’t save sinners, but Jesus can! That’s God’s promise. Rejoice, and look to Jesus in faith.

Closing Prayer:

Lord, thank you for your lifesaving promise to take us to heaven. Help us trust in Jesus today and always. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What bad thing happened to the Israelites?
  • What did God do to save them?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What was God teaching the Israelites when he told them to look at a bronze snake?
  • What are some ways that Jesus is like the bronze snake? What are some ways he is different?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How can God use bad things, like snakes, to help people trust him? List some modern-day examples.
  • Explain this statement: Christian faith trusts God’s promise even when it doesn’t make sense.

Hymn: CWS 747:1,2 – There Is a Redeemer

There is a Redeemer, Jesus God’s own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.
Thank you, O my Father, for giving us your Son
and leaving your Spirit till the work on earth is done.

Jesus, my Redeemer, Name above all names,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Hope for sinners slain.
Thank you, O my Father, for giving us your Son
and leaving your Spirit till the work on earth is done.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Rejoice that God So Loved the World – Family Devotion – March 15, 2021

Read: John 3:14-21

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Rejoice that God So Loved the World

 

Family Devotion – March 15, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Ella sat with a full heart, surrounded by torn wrapping paper and two lovely birthday gifts. Her uncle bought her a pricy present, something everyone wanted—brand new wireless earbuds. When Ella thanked her uncle, he didn’t say, “You’re welcome.” Instead he said, “I love you.” Then she remembered what her parents gave her—cute earrings in the shape of a dolphin with Ella’s name etched into the silver. It was as if they were specially made just for a dolphin lover like Ella. With her arms around her mother, Ella whispered, “Thank you.” Mom breathed back, “I love you.” So Ella sat with a heart full of love, and she did a little birthday dance.

Maybe you’ve received a Christmas gift so expensive that any person would love it. That kind of gift says, “I love you so much!” Perhaps you’ve received a birthday present that was picked out special just for you. That kind of gift says, “I love you—unique, precious you.”

God gave you both kinds of gifts when he sent Jesus. You may get some expensive gifts, but none as expensive as the one God sent you. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” Even people who spend lots of money on presents would never give up their son or daughter. But God did. When Jesus came to live as a human, it cost God his Son. When Jesus took away your sins on the cross, it cost him his life. Why did God give us so much? He did it to say, “I love you so much!”

God’s gift is also unique, just for you. God wants you to be in heaven with him. You were Jesus’ motivation when he came to earth. Hanging on the cross, he pictured you. There will be a party in heaven when you arrive. Jesus is precisely the right gift for you. But there’s one more gift with your name on it—God gave you faith to believe in Jesus. “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Why did God give those things to you? He wanted to say, “I love you, exactly you.”

Jesus is the kind of gift that makes you want to do an eternal life dance and rejoice in God’s love.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, you have given us the best gift ever. Put joy in our hearts and praise on our lips because of your love for the world. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What gift did God give to the world?
  • What blessings will you have because you believe in Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How expensive was it when God gave his Son to the world?
  • What are some ways that you express joy when you remember God’s love?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • List some reasons why it is surprising that God would love the world.
  • What are some differences between someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus and someone who does?

Hymn: CW 391:1,4 – God Loved the World So that He Gave

God loved the world so that he gave
His only Son the lost to save
That all who would in him believe
Should everlasting life receive.

Be of good cheer, for God’s own Son
Forgives the sins that you have done.
You’re justified by Jesus’ blood.
Baptized, you are a child of God.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Spirit Helps Us Live in Obedience – Family Devotion – March 12, 2021

Read: Romans 8:1-10

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:5-6

The Spirit Helps Us Live in Obedience

 

Family Devotion – March 12, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:5-6

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

As you grow up, you need help. You need help eating. You need help with changing your diapers. You need help getting dressed. You need help learning to crawl and then walk. You need help to cross a street. You need lots of help. We all do as we grow up, so who provides that help? Mom or Dad, grandmas or grandpas, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers—they all help us learn what we need to do every day as we grow up and live our lives.

There’s one more thing you need help with. You need help to live as God wants you to live. You need help to obey and serve him. You see, from the moment our lives begin, we are all hostile toward God.

It means we are like a rebellious child that wants his freedom and hates the rules. If God says, “Go right,” he will go left. If God says, “Talk nice,” he will reply with sarcasm.

We need help. Thankfully, help is on the way! Like Mom or Dad helping us learn how to move or get dressed or eat, God sends help for us. He sends the Holy Spirit to help us. Now the Holy Spirit doesn’t come to help us in a dream or through our imagination. No, he comes to help us through God’s Word, through the waters of Baptism, and through the bread and wine of Holy Communion. He creates faith in our hearts as we hear and learn about Jesus our Savior who came to help us with the problem of our sin by forgiving us of all our sins. Through that faith, he makes us holy and gives us life with Jesus that lasts forever.

Now through faith in Jesus, God’s Holy Spirit works in us a new way of thinking. He helps us love to obey God’s will. He helps us want to obey God’s will. He helps us be able to obey God’s will at home, at school, in the neighborhood, at church, at work, everywhere. We could never do any of that on our own, but every day through faith, the Holy Spirit helps us live in thankful, willing obedience to our God.

Closing Prayer:

O Holy Spirit, strengthen our faith in Jesus every day. Help us to love God. Help us to want to obey his will, and help us to be able to obey his will all our lives. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name two people who help you every day.
  • Who does God send to help you do what God wants you to do?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is it impossible for any of us to obey God’s will on our own?
  • What does the Holy Spirit use to create and strengthen faith in your heart?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How do you respond to someone who says, “People are basically good and will do the right thing”?
  • What does the apostle Paul mean when he writes, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace?”

Hymn: CW 185:1,2 – O Holy Spirit, Grant Us Grace

O Holy Spirit, grant us grace that we our Lord and Savior
In faith and fervent love embrace and truly serve him ever,
So that when death is near at hand
We at his cross may firmly stand and there find our salvation.

Help us that we your saving Word in faithful hearts may treasure;
Let e’er that bread of life afford new grace in richest measure.
Make us to die to ev’ry sin;
Each day create us new within that fruits of faith may flourish.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Wants Us to Keep his Commandments – Family Devotion – March 10, 2021

Read: Exodus 20:1-17

I the LORD your God am a jealous God. I follow up on the guilt of the fathers with their children, their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren, if they also hate me. But I show mercy to thousands who love me and keep my commandments.
Exodus 20:5-6 EHV

God Wants Us to Keep his Commandments

 

Family Devotion – March 10, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 20:5-6 EHV

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Do I have to??” Ruth whined. The kitchen counter was covered in dirty dishes. Mom had asked Ruth to load the dishwasher. “But why?? That’s not fair!! Why can’t Jacob and Ellie do it?” Ruth’s older brother had homework to do, and Ellie was cleaning her room. Mom made it clear that Ruth was to load the dishwasher. There was no getting out of it.

“Do I have to??” So often we complain when we have to do something we don’t want to do. Yet it’s not just the assignments or chores that make us whine. We complain about the every-day tasks that God gives to us.

God tells us, “Always put me first in your life above everything and everyone. Don’t misuse my holy, saving name, but instead use it for prayer and praise. Spend time with me in my Word and give it the respect that it deserves. Listen to your parents and teachers. Don’t have hateful, dirty, or greedy thoughts. Don’t speak poorly about others, but rather speak well of them and defend them. Recognize that what I have given to your neighbor is not yours, but my gift to them.”

God tells us to do them and we think, “Do I have to??” “Do I really have to put you first, Lord? Do I always have to listen to your Word when we have devotions or when I go to church? Do I always have to listen to my parents? What about that person who made fun of me? Or what about that toy or that game that I really, really want?” Yes, God wants us to keep his commandments, but we fail. When we disobey, we deserve consequences that last forever in hell.

That might not seem fair, but our God is a holy God. He is serious about wanting us to keep everyone of his commands. So what can we do? First, shiver a bit. Because we can’t keep all of God’s commands perfectly all the time, it’s okay to be afraid (like you are when a parent punishes you). Second, say, “I’m sorry.” We are sinful in God’s eyes. But third, be relieved. We also have a Savior who kept all of those commands perfectly in our place. Just think about that! Jesus kept every single one of God’s commandments perfectly for you and me. Then Jesus suffered the punishment that we all deserve. Because Jesus did all that for us, we now live to serve our God and our neighbor in love.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, your will is holy. You want me to keep your commandments each and every day, but I am a sinner. For Jesus’ sake, forgive me for disobeying your will and help me to live for you. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name two commands that God has given us.
  • Why are we not able to keep God’s commandments perfectly?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain this statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • How does God give us the ability to keep his commands even though we are sinful?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How is loving my neighbor also loving God?
  • How can the Ten Commandments be summarized with the word love?

Hymn: CW 287:1,2 – The Law of God Is Good and Wise

The law of God is good and wise;
It sets his will before our eyes,
Shows us the way of righteousness,
But dooms to death when we transgress.

To Jesus we for refuge flee,
Who from the curse has set us free,
And humbly worship at his throne,
Saved by his grace through faith alone.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Deeply Desires We Keep his Word – Family Devotion – March 8, 2021

Read: John 2:13-22

In the temple courts [Jesus] found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
John 2:14-17

Jesus Deeply Desires We Keep his Word

 

Family Devotion – March 8, 2021

Devotion based on John 2:14-17

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Why was Jesus so angry? Why would Jesus get so angry that he forced sheep, cattle, and the people who were selling them to run away from the temple courts? Why would Jesus get so angry that he even flipped tables over, knocking coins all over the ground? Is Jesus throwing a temper tantrum like a little two-year-old who didn’t get his way?

The simple answer is no, but why was Jesus so angry? Well, Jesus actually had a very good reason. Remember who he is. When you think of Jesus, what comes to mind? A powerful Lord who calms storms, heals the sick, and raises the dead? A Savior who blesses the little children? How about Jesus as the holy God, who is King of kings and ruler over all things—time, space, creation, and people?

Jesus is our holy God, who deeply wants us all to keep his Word. Unfortunately, we all fail to do that on our own. In his Word, God tells us what he wants us to do and not to do, but we do what we want. We go our own way rather than God’s way. We need Jesus to help us. That’s why Jesus came into our world. He cares so deeply about each of us that he became a human being like us. He perfectly kept God’s holy will in our place, even dying on a cross for us. We learn all about that in his Word.

So why was Jesus so angry in the temple? There was nothing wrong with selling animals or exchanging money, but that’s not why God gave his Word or the church where we hear that Word. The temple, like church, was meant to be a place where people could worship and offer prayers to God. There they learned God’s Word. The last thing Jesus wanted to see in his Father’s house was people arguing over prices and purchases rather than hearing his Word and worshiping his heavenly Father. So, in holy love for his Word, Jesus cleared the temple that day.

Do we love God’s Word like Jesus? Do we get angry when something gets in the way of hearing it? Do we love learning about Jesus and what he has done for us? Jesus passionately desires that we love his Word. In that Word, we learn about him. With his help, we will see how important it is to spend time with Jesus in his Word. With his help, we will love his Word as we learn how deeply our Savior loves us. With his help, we will keep that Word as we live each day, serving Jesus, our Savior-God.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you are our Savior and our God. Forgive us for not giving your Word the respect it deserves. Help us to gladly learn and keep your Word all the days of our lives. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Describe what happened when Jesus went into the temple.
  • Name two places where you can listen to God’s Word.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why was Jesus so angry in the temple?
  • Why do we need God’s Word?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: Studying God’s Word is time spent with Jesus.
  • How do you respond to someone who tells you that attending worship and Bible study is not that important?

Hymn: CW 282:1-3 – Lord, Open Now My Heart to Hear

Lord, open no my heart to hear, and through your Word to me draw near.
Let me your Word e’er pure retain; let me your child and heir remain.

Your Word inspires my heart within; your Word grants healing from my sin.
Your Word has pow’r to guide and bless; your Word brings peace and happiness.

To God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, Three in One,
Shall glory, praise, and honor be now and throughout eternity.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Mercifully Works Suffering for Good – Family Devotion – March 5, 2021

Romans 5:1-11

Not only this, but we also rejoice confidently in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces patient endurance, and patient endurance produces tested character, and tested character produces hope. And hope will not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us…. But God shows his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:3-5,8 EHV

God Mercifully Works Suffering for Good

 

Family Devotion – March 5, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 5:3-5,8 EHV

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Do you like illusions? Illusions can be fun or frustrating. They trick your brain. For example, your brain thinks your eyes are seeing one image, when in reality, you are looking at the very opposite. It’s a trick. One image may actually be two images. Or, what looks big may actually be little. Or, what looks little may actually be big. The illusion gets your brain to think the opposite of what you are seeing. Would you find that frustrating or fun?

When you hear the word suffering, does that sound like fun or would that be frustrating? Suffering hurts. Suffering is hard, not enjoyable or fun. Yet in God’s Word, Paul tells us something that almost seems like an illusion. He says that suffering can be a blessing and that God can make suffering into a blessing.

How is that possible?! How can something bad, hard, or painful turn out to be something that helps us grow closer to Jesus? How can something bad, hard, or painful turn out to be something that helps us stay on the path to heaven? It all starts with Jesus. Jesus faced suffering, even though he did not deserve it. Jesus was innocent because he is the holy God. Yet Jesus faced suffering and even death for your sins and mine. It was no illusion. His suffering on the cross turned out to be our greatest blessing. Why? God loves each of us so very much that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Sometimes God allows us to suffer. Maybe your family is going through a tough time. Or someone becomes very sick or loses a job. Maybe we lose a loved one. Maybe someone made fun of you and made you feel miserable. Even in those times of suffering, God works a blessing. Jesus helps us to patiently endure that tough time. Jesus helps us to grow closer to him and others. Jesus helps us to put our trust and hope in him. Jesus turns our suffering into blessing. Why? Because he loves us so much. His own suffering turned out to be our greatest blessing. Surely Jesus can turn even our toughest times into times of blessing for us as he guides us on the way to heaven—and that is no illusion.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, when times are tough and I face suffering as your child, help me to trust that you will turn my suffering into blessing either in this life or in heaven with you. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name one way that God has shown his love for you today.
  • Name one way that Jesus’ suffering on the cross was a blessing for you.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How can God make suffering into a blessing?
  • In 5:3, we are told that “suffering produces patient endurance.” What does that mean?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain what makes Christ dying for us so impossibly rare.
  • Knowing that God turns suffering into blessing for us, how does that impact your life as a child of God?

Hymn: CW 428:3,4 – Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me

God gives me my days of gladness,
And I will Trust him still When he sends me sadness.
God is good; his love attends me
Day by day, Come what may, Guides me and defends me.

Since I know God never fails me,
In his voice I’ll rejoice When grim death assails me.
Trusting in my Savior’s merit,
Safe at last, Troubles past, I shall heav’n inherit.

 

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