God’s Judgment Saves His People – Family Devotion – December 2, 2020

Read: Genesis 6:1-3,5-14,17-22

Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark.
Genesis 6:17,18

God’s Judgment Saves His People

 

Family Devotion – December 2, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 6:17,18

See series: Devotions

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

If you listen to the news on TV or read the latest top story on your smart phone, it doesn’t take long before you hear news about bad storms and bad people that result in damaged homes and destroyed lives. It’s hard to hear of it. It hurts our hearts.

In Noah’s time, the world was no different. People didn’t care about God. They did not live as God wanted them to live. Instead, they did what they wanted, married who they desired and disrespected everything God asked them to do. When God saw that the people were very bad and were always thinking only evil in their hearts, it hurt his heart.

So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

As we read this, we do not need to look at our phone or watch the news to see the same disrespect. Go look in a mirror. The answer is staring right at us. Each one of us has, at times, cared more about what we wanted instead of God.

The weeks before Christmas (called the Advent season) are no different; we are more concerned about stuff than we are our sins. God should say, “I will wipe you from the face of the earth.” But he doesn’t. Listen: “I will establish my covenant (a mutual agreement) with you, and you will enter the ark.” God directed Noah to build an ark that would save him and his family. That ark would also keep safe God’s promise to send a Savior.

This same Jesus saves you and me. Jesus was “wiped out” on the cross, not you. As the waters lifted Noah and his family in the ark, the waters of baptism assure us that we are saved. We are God’s favorites! Now there’s some good news that brings joy to our hearts!

Closing Prayer:

Use your power, Lord, and come to help us! Protect us by your strength and save us from the threatening dangers 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 God tell Noah to build to save him, his family, and two of every living thing?
  • Who did God send to save you and your family?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Admit an evil thought in your heart that proves we are no different than the people of Noah’s day.
  • Why is God’s promise to save Noah and his family in the ark so important for us to know our badness is 100% forgiven?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How did God use the destruction of the flood to save the world?
  • Read 1 Peter 3:18-20. Then compare the waters of the flood and the waters of your Baptism.

Hymn: CW 6:1 – Come, O Long-Expected Jesus

Come, O long-expected Jesus,
Born to set your people free;
From our sins and fears release us
By your death on Calvary.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope to all the earth impart,
Dear Desire of ev’ry nation,
Joy of ev’ry longing heart.

 

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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Watch for Jesus Coming – Family Devotion – November 30, 2020

Read: Mark 13:32-37

“What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
Mark 13:37

Watch for Jesus Coming

 

Family Devotion – November 30, 2020

Devotion based on Mark 13:37

See series: Devotions

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

Two brothers rode the bus to school every weekday morning. Between 7:00 and 7:30 am, the bus would stop outside their home. The boys would run outside and hop on for the short ride to their grade school. Mom made them responsible to get ready each morning and to watch for the bus so that it didn’t come and go without them on it.

One morning, they were playing with each other and fooling around instead of watching for the bus. The unthinkable happened—the bus arrived and then left, but they weren’t on it. Despite having a small window of time to keep watch, they were not alert to its coming and going. They missed the bus. Their mom was upset when they called and admitted their mistake. She had to rearrange her schedule and drive out of her way to come home in order to take them to school.

The Christmas season will soon be here! The days before it are called the season of Advent. Advent is like a small window of time to keep watch. For what should we be watching? How easy to be distracted by the glitz and glitter of Christmas lights and trees. Will our eyes miss the true reason we love this time of year? It is not gifts, decorations, and holiday parties. It’s the incredible, almost unbelievable blessing of Jesus who once left a perfect heaven and came to this imperfect earth to be with us. Why? Because that’s the only way we someday can leave this imperfect earth to be with him in a perfect heaven.

The people of the Old Testament did not know when that first Christmas would arrive. They heard God’s promises that it would be coming. So they watched for them to be fulfilled. As we celebrate Jesus’ first coming to earth on Christmas, we also need to keep our focus on the day of his second coming to take us away from earth to be with him in heaven. Before he ascended into heaven, Jesus promised, “About that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32). Because we are unaware of the timing of Jesus second coming, it is so important that we be prepared to go at all times. That’s why Jesus encourages, “Be on guard! Be alert!” If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. (Mark 13:33,36).

Our God loves us enough to give us a warning to keep watch, to keep our eyes locked on Jesus despite the distractions and sin of the world.

So keep watch! When Jesus comes, you don’t want to miss the bus.

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, you have planted in us the hope of your coming again. In these days of Advent, keep us alert and watchful for an eternal Christmas that will never end. 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 birth do we celebrate at Christmas?
  • Until it’s Christmas, what does Jesus want us to be doing?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When will Jesus return to take us to heaven?
  • Why does Jesus warn us to keep watch?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Name two specific ways that you can stay focused on Jesus during the Advent season.
  • Think of the name of one person who may be unaware of Jesus’ coming. How can you help them keep watch for Jesus?

Hymn: CW 9:1,5 – Jesus, Your Church with Longing Eyes

Jesus, your church with longing eyes
For your expected coming waits.
When will the promised light arise
And glory beam from heaven’s gates?

Teach us in watchfulness and prayer
To wait for your appointed hour,
And fit us by your grace to share
The triumphs of your conqu’ring pow’r.

 

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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Our King is Victorious Now and Forever – Family Devotion – November 27, 2020

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

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.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22

Our King is Victorious Now and Forever

 

Family Devotion – November 27, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

See series: Devotions

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

Do people ever tell you that you look like your parents? Parents pass down their traits, or the way they look, to their children. You can probably recognize such things as the color of your hair, the shape of your nose, the color of your eyes, or your height as being passed on to you from your mom, your dad, or a combination of the two. Other things get passed down from parents to children as well. Children often have similar personalities to their parents, similar interests, or hobbies that they enjoy.

Today’s Bible verses remind us of something else that was passed on to us from our parents. But this time, it’s not good. From the moment we begin to exist, the Bible tells us we have inside us a sinful desire that naturally wants to do whatever we want, not what God wants.

Where did this sinful nature first come from? Today’s Bible reading tells us. These passages remind us about the how Adam and Eve fell into sin in the Garden of Eden shortly after creation. They disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Ever since, every parent has passed the same sinful nature to their children. Sin separates us from God and leads to eternal death in hell. That is why 1 Corinthians says that “death came through one man” and “in Adam all die.” How sad!

God loved us too much to let us die like that. If our inner sinful condition can be traced back to one man, Adam, so our rescue from it can be traced back to one man as well—Jesus! Jesus was born a human being from a mother just like us! Unlike us, Jesus was born the Son of God! He lived a perfect life—inside and out. Jesus kept God’s commandments perfectly. He died in place of every parent and person born with a sinful nature. Why? So that Christ’s pure nature would replace our human nature. His coming alive at Easter means we can look forward to an eternity with God in heaven. Death has no power over us anymore! In Jesus, the day we die will be the day we open our eyes to our heavenly home! “In Christ, all will be made alive!” Jesus has won the victory over sin and death!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for loving us despite our sinfulness! Thank you for taking upon yourself the punishment of hell that we deserved and dying to forgive our sins! Give us the confidence that heaven is our home and that we have the victory over sin and death through 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

  • How do you look like your parents?
  • What did Jesus “pass on” to you so that you can look like him?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How did death come from one man? How did life come from one man?
  • Why does our sinful nature make baptism so important—even for newborn babies?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why was it important for Jesus to be both true God and true man?
  • A common belief in our world is that someone gets to heaven by being a good person. Use our Bible passages for today to explain why that isn’t true.

Hymn: CW 378:1,5,6 – All Mankind Fell in Adam’s Fall

All mankind fell in Adam’s fall;
One common sin infects us all.
From one to all the curse descends,
And over all God’s wrath impends.

As by one man all mankind fell
And, born in sin, was doomed to hell,
So by one Man, who took our place,
We all were justified by grace.

We thank you, Christ; new life is ours,
New light, new hope, new strength, new pow’rs;
This grace our ev’ry way attend
Until we reach our journey’s end.

 

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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Our King Heals Body and Soul – Family Devotion – November 25, 2020

Read: Luke 17:11-19

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.
Luke 17:17-19

Our King Heals Body and Soul

 

Family Devotion – November 25, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 17:17-19

See series: Devotions

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

Melpomeni Dina is a 92-year-old woman. Over 75 years ago, during World War II, Melpomeni and her family hid a family of Jewish people in their home in Greece to protect them from the German Nazi soldiers. Because Melpomeni and her family bravely hid this Jewish family in their home, the family survived World War II and were kept safe from those who wanted to harm them.

Seventy-five years later, one of the surviving children of that Jewish family asked to be reunited with Melpomeni. The first thing this person, now 86-years-old herself, did was throw her arms around Melpomeni in a hug and tell her, “Thank you,” over and over again. How good it felt for that Jewish woman to find the person who had rescued her so many years earlier and thank her face to face!

In our Bible verses for today, we also see someone returning to say thank you for saving their life. Ten men with leprosy had begged for Jesus to heal them. Leprosy was an awful disease that often led to a slow and painful death . When the lepers begged Jesus to have pity on them, Jesus did something interesting. Jesus told them to go to the priest and show themselves to him. While on the way there, they were suddenly healed of their disease! Jesus had healed them! Their lives were spared!

Sadly, only one of the ten men healed returned to thank Jesus for being healed. How good it must have felt that day for that cured man to thank Jesus face-to-face.

In this story we see the awesome power of Jesus to heal both our body and soul. Jesus loves us and cares for all our needs—both physical and spiritual. Whenever we are sick, we can pray to Jesus for healing with full confidence that he has the power to heal us!

Even more importantly, when we recognize the sickness of our sinfulness and repent of the sins we commit each day, we can trust how Jesus healed us by removing the horrible disease of our sins. Cleansed and forgiven, let us return often to Jesus and thank him for what he has done to make us well! Someday, in the glory of heaven, we will be able thank him face to face!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for loving us and having care and compassion on us. You have proven that you have the power to heal both our physical and spiritual sicknesses. Thank you for taking care of our worst sickness—sin—and earning us an eternal home in heaven where there will be no more sickness or sin to bother 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

  • After hearing today’s devotion, what is the sickness Jesus came to cleanse us from? Why is it the worst? (Hint: It’s not a physical sickness!)
  • Name a sick person you would like to pray for Jesus to help today.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Discuss why you would take the time to cry out to Jesus when you or someone in your family is sick.
  • Sometimes sickness ends in death. Why can we still be thankful?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Today’s reading tells us the one leper who returned to thank Jesus was a Samaritan. Why was that surprising?
  • What are three ways you can thank Jesus today for the spiritual and physical healing he has given you in your life?

Hymn: CW 385:1,4 – 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.

 

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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Our King Suffered and Died for Us – Family Devotion – November 23, 2020

Read: Matthew 27:27-31

After they [the soldiers] had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his [Jesus’] own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
Matthew 27:31

Our King Suffered and Died for Us

 

Family Devotion – November 23, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 27:31

See series: Devotions

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

Imagine your best friend’s birthday is next week. You spend hours shopping for the perfect gift to give them on their birthday. When you finally find that perfect item, you spend some of your own money to buy that gift and wrap it in beautifully colored wrapping paper.

Now, imagine your friend’s birthday has arrived. You can’t wait to give the present you picked out. You hand your friend the gift and watch eagerly. After unwrapping the present, your friend unexpectedly says, “Ugh! I hate it!” If that wasn’t bad enough, your friend begins to make fun of the present you chose and say unkind things to you. How would you feel?

You might be hurt and devastated, maybe even a little mad at your friend. Humiliated, you might even be thinking, “How can we stay friends after all I did to pick out a special gift?”

In today’s Bible verse, Roman soldiers make fun of Jesus before he was sent to be crucified. They spit on Jesus, put a crown of thorns on his head, and hit him over and over. Little did they know, they were making fun of and hurting the one who was about to give them the best gift they would ever be given. Little did they know, they were ridiculing the very Savior who was about to give his life for them to forgive them of all their sins.

We must admit that we, too, daily show ourselves to be ungrateful towards our Savior and all that he has done for us. Each day we must admit that we often ignore God’s commandments and choose to sin. Rather than treasuring Jesus and putting his Word first in our lives, we often put ourselves and our wants ahead of God.

Yet, despite the actions of the soldiers and despite our own daily sins against Jesus, we see the amazing love of Jesus. Humiliated, he still chose to die for those soldiers, for us, and for all people who have ever lived. At any moment during his suffering, Jesus could have put a stop to it. He could have used his awesome power or commanded his angels to defend him. Yet Jesus had you in mind when he selflessly chose the way of suffering and the cross. He laid down his life for his friends. Because of the forgiveness Jesus won for us, through faith we are right with God and fully forgiven! Heaven is our home!

We thank God for this amazing gift of grace. It’s truly the greatest gift of love that we will ever receive!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, your love for us is amazing! Even though we daily fall short of your commandments and expectations for us, you still choose to love us with a deep and undeserved love. Thank you for dying on the cross to take away our sins and earn us 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 the most loving thing someone has ever done for you? Why did they do it?
  • What are some ways you can thank Jesus for his great gift of love for you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What do you think of when you hear the word grace? Why is this a great word to describe what Jesus did for us?
  • To prevent us from being ungrateful for the gift of Jesus, name at least one way you can express your heartfelt thanks and love for Jesus.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Recall a moment you were made fun of or ridiculed. How did that make you feel? How did you respond to the people who gave you a hard time?
  • In light of today’s devotion, discuss how you would respond the next time someone is rude or unkind to you.

Hymn: CW 379:1,3 – Amazing Grace

Amazing grace—how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

 

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 is Only Sleep – Family Devotion – November 20, 2020

Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Death is Only Sleep

 

Family Devotion – November 20, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

See series: Devotions

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

What are you most afraid of? Is it spiders? Thunderstorms? Scary things happening on the news? Getting a shot at the doctor’s office? Are you afraid of the dark? Do you have a fear of heights?

There is one more fear we need to talk about: the fear of death. We may fear our own death or the death of someone we love.

Death can be an uncomfortable topic. It is not something we enjoy talking or thinking about. Thankfully, God knows that this is something we often have fears and worries about! He wants to take away our fear. That’s why in today’s Bible verse God compares death to something that doesn’t show up any list of fears young people have. Did you catch what God compared death to?

If you answered, “Sleep,” you are right! Is going to sleep at night something that you fear? Sleep is typically not something we would ever fear! Rather than being afraid of sleep, we often look forward to lying down, closing our eyes, and resting after a long and busy day.

As a believer in Jesus, thanks be to God that death is just like sleep. It is not something we have to fear! Because Jesus died and woke again to life on Easter, death lost its sting! It’s as harmless as closing our eyes and going to bed! Just like we look forward to our comfortable bed, pajamas, and blankets at night because we are tired, we can look forward with eagerness to our eternal home in heaven. There in heaven we will have an eternal rest from all the challenges, fears, and disappointments that sin brings to our lives in this world.

When a fellow believer in Jesus whom we love dies, there certainly will be sadness. We will miss them and be sad that they are no longer with us. However, we don’t have to be sad like people who have no hope or see that as the final ending. We look forward to the day where we will be together with our loved ones again in heaven forever! In heaven death will never be able to separate us from our loved ones again!

On judgment day, Jesus will bring all believers, those still living and those who have fallen asleep to be with him forever in heaven. How we long for that day when Jesus comes back again!

Closing Prayer:

Risen Lord, thank you for defeating sin and death on our behalf! Help us to view death as just sleep and as the day you will bring us home to our eternal home in heaven. Help us to look forward to our eternal home in heaven where we will live with you forever! 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 makes you afraid? How does Jesus help you with your fear?
  • What are you looking forward to most about heaven?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • List your top five fears in life. How does Jesus help us with each of them?
  • Do you think death is something we should talk about more? Why or why not?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What things do you see in the world around you that show people are afraid of getting older and dying? Why are people so afraid of death?
  • Imagine a friend just lost a loved one who was a believer in Jesus. What from today’s devotion would you use to comfort your friend?

Hymn: CW 376:5,6 – Jesus, Your Blood and Righteousness

When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
E’en then this shall be all my plea:
Jesus has lived and died for me.

Jesus, be worshiped endlessly!
Your boundless mercy has for me,
For me and all your hands have made,
An everlasting ransom paid.

 

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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Redeemed by the Blood of Jesus – Family Devotion – November 18, 2020

Read: Isaiah 52:1-6

For this is what the Lord says: “You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed.”
Isaiah 52:3

Redeemed by the Blood of Jesus

 

LISTEN HERE

Family Devotion – November 18, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 52:3

See series: Devotions

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

Sarah helped her family lug all sorts of unwanted furniture, household items, and clothes out to the garage to sell at their family garage sale that Saturday.

Among the items hauled out was a doll that Sarah considered herself too old to play with anymore. She hoped that she could sell the doll and use that money toward the phone she had her eye on.

During the garage sale a handful of people looked at the doll she had for sale. However, after seeing the price, everyone passed on buying it. Disappointed, she asked her mom why no one bought her doll. Her mom responded, “While that doll may have been worth that price when it was brand new, it is now slightly worn and well-used. You’ll have to lower the price if you want to sell it. Things are only worth as much as people are willing to pay for them.”

Things are only worth as much as people are willing to pay for them. How much are you worth? God’s Word tells us our worth and how much someone was willing to pay for us.

In our Bible passage today, we heard the word redeemed. The word redeem means to buy back. This is a beautiful word that describes exactly what God did for us. Because of our sinfulness, we were like slaves to sin. On our own, we were helpless to be free. We were destined to be enslaved forever.

Then, along came Jesus. Jesus loved us so much that he bought us back from our slavery. However, Jesus didn’t buy us with money. No, we are so valuable to Jesus that he paid the full price with his life. On the cross, Jesus suffered the punishment of hell that we deserved. On that day, Jesus declared how much you are worth to him! You’re priceless! Through faith in Jesus, our sins are fully forgiven! We have been redeemed—set free from sin and death!

This is why we are able to eagerly look forward to Jesus’ return on judgment day. He has already redeemed and forgiven us by his blood. That day will be a joyous day reunion with him! On that day, Jesus will bring us to be with him in our eternal home in heaven.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for redeeming us from our slavery to sin. Thank you for suffering the punishment for sins that we deserve and giving your life to save us! Help us to find comfort every day in knowing that we are your dearly loved children and to eagerly look forward to the day you 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

  • How much are you worth to God? How do you know?
  • Why will judgment day be a happy day for us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does the word redeem mean? From what did God redeem you?
  • Many people mistakenly believe that someone gets to heaven by being a good person. How would you explain to them how someone gets to heaven?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Many young people and teenagers struggle with negative thoughts and opinions about themselves. How does thinking about the way God views us help us deal with these feelings?
  • Identify a bad habit in your life that has enslaved you. How does Christ’s redemption through the cross free you from it?

Hymn: CW 304:2,7 – Jesus Sinners Does Receive

We deserve but grief and shame,
Yet his words, rich grace revealing,
Pardon, peace, and life proclaim;
Here their ills have perfect healing
Who with humble hearts believe
Jesus sinners does receive.

Jesus sinners does receive.
Even I have been forgiven.
And when I this earth must leave,
I shall find an open heaven.
Dying, still to him I cleave
Jesus sinners does receive.

 

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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Keep Watch for Jesus to Return – Family Devotion – November 16, 2020

Read: Matthew 25:1-13

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Matthew 25:13

Keep Watch for Jesus to Return


Family Devotion – November 16, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:13

See series: Devotions

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

“Don’t forget to prepare and practice your presentation about a United States president for next week,” Jeff’s teacher reminded his class on Friday. “Each day, starting next week Monday, I will randomly choose five students from the class to give their presentation to the class. Make sure you are ready to go on Monday in case your name is chosen!”

With 25 kids in his class, Jeff didn’t think it was likely that he would be chosen to give his presentation right away on Monday. Rather than work on his presentation for class that weekend, Jeff chose to hang out with his friends and play video games.

That following Monday, the teacher put all of the student names on slips of paper in a bag and drew one slip prior to each speech to randomly choose the next person to present to the class. Jeff sighed with relief each time his name wasn’t chosen for any of the first four presentations. Following the fourth student’s presentation, the teacher reached her hand into the bag of names one last time.

“Last up to present to the class will be…,” the teacher paused for a moment as she reached in to grab a slip of paper with the name of the next student. “…Jeff!”

Jeff’s heart sank the moment he heard his name called out. Ashamed, he turned bright red. He had to admit to his teacher and to his entire class that he had nothing prepared and was not ready to present.

Today’s Word of God warns us to make sure we are not caught unprepared for something far more important than a presentation for school. God tells us to be ready for when he comes back again on judgment day. God has kept the date and time of judgment day hidden from us because he wants us to always live ready for that day to come at any time.

How can we make sure we are prepared for judgment day? God tells us that every time we read and listen to his Word, the Holy Spirit is at work in our hearts strengthening our faith and preparing us for judgment day! Rather than distancing ourselves from God’s Word or being distracted by other things in this life, God wants us to stay connected with him so we hear his important warning to be ready.

As we study God’s Word, we hear how Jesus made us fully ready for that day. The forgiveness Jesus won for us on the cross has made us right in God’s sight and made heaven our home! Through faith in Jesus, we have nothing to fear about judgment day. On that day, our heavenly Father will identify us as his dearly loved children and bring us to our eternal home with him in heaven!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, thank you for lovingly reminding us that the world we live in is only temporary. Help us to always put hearing your Word on the top of our priority list. Thank you for forgiving us and earning an eternal home in heaven on our behalf, so that we can look forward to judgment day as the day where we will be 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 are some ways we can hear God’s Word this week as a family?
  • What are some things you are looking forward to most about heaven?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What are some things you and your family can do each week to make sure you are ready for judgment day?
  • What are some things that can distract us from putting Jesus first in our lives? What can we do to avoid letting that happen?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Being ready for judgment day means making sure that we set aside time to grow in our faith. Identify what other priorities may be getting in the way of God’s Word in your life? Discuss what you want to do that will help your priorities?
  • Read all of Matthew 25:1-13. What evidence do you see in the world around you that people don’t believe there will be an end to the world as Jesus says there will be? Why is it important for us to understand this truth from God’s Word?

Hymn: CW 219 – Lord When Your Glory I Shall See

Lord, when your glory I shall see
And taste your kingdom’s pleasure,
Your blood my royal robe shall be,
My joy beyond all measure!
When I appear before your throne,
Your righteousness shall be my crown;
With these I need not hide me.
And there, in garments richly wrought,
As your own bride I shall be brought,
To stand in joy beside you.

 

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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Encourage Each Other About Judgment Day – Family Devotion – November 13, 2020

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness… Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, 11

Encourage Each Other About Judgment Day


Family Devotion – November 13, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, 11

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever played hide-and-seek? It’s a fun game to play! The rules of the game are simple. First, you wait for your friends to hide. Then, you look high and low, near and far, searching for the spot where your friends might be. One way to make the game even more exciting is to play in the dark with a flashlight! Now, the game is more challenging! You have to shine your light into every corner and hiding place to see who might be there. For those who hide, the darkness can be a big help. They can sneak around without anyone noticing… until the light shines on them! Then, they’re “it!”

The Bible talks about people who like to live in darkness and people who are called to shine a light. While the idea of hiding in the dark might make for a fun game, it’s not a good way for us to live. God warns that sometimes people prefer to hide in the dark because that’s where their sins and shame can’t be seen. A person in the dark can cheat and steal without anyone else noticing… not a good place for a Christian to be! God gives us the light of his Word to keep us out of the darkness and away from sin. In that Word, God reminds us that Jesus died for us and we are his dear children who live in the light of his love. God’s Word today reminds us, “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”

When King Jesus returns in glory on judgment day, his holy love will shine a light on everything we have ever done, just like a flashlight reveals everything that is hidden in the dark. Have you ever had the lights turned on first thing in the morning? What a shock! People who live in the darkness of sin and unbelief will be surprised when Jesus returns! But believers will be ready for Jesus to come back because we are awake in faith, living in his light. We are protected by his love and we are guarded from judgment by faith.

Games like hide-and-seek’ can be fun, but we know that they are only games. When it comes to the life that Jesus has given me, it’s not a game, it’s for real! Jesus calls me to live in his light and shine his light into the world. God wants me to stay connected to his Word. Let’s encourage each other and encourage others, so all live in the light of faith until Jesus returns to take us to be with him forever in heaven.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, without your love, I would be lost in the darkness of sin. But your perfect love and bright shining Word have shown me who I really am—your own child, called to share your love in a dark world. Make me strong to share your light until you come back to take me 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

  • When we do bad things, we might be tempted to hide them and not tell anyone. Why is that a bad idea? What good things happen when we come clean and admit our sins?
  • We are children of the light. What are some things we can do to shine like lights for Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it look like to live in the “darkness” of sin? What does it look like to live in the “light” of faith?
  • What can you do to encourage someone else to walk in the light with you?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In this passage, Paul encourages us, “Let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober” (v. 6). Compare and contrast what life looks like for a person who is spiritually “asleep” vs. one who is “awake and sober.”
  • Describe a time when someone’s encouragement meant a lot to you or impacted your life. What did they say that meant so much to you?

Hymn: CWS 771:1 – I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

I want to walk as a Child of the light
I want to follow Jesus
God sent the stars to give light to the world
The star of my life is Jesus
In Him, there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The Lamb is the light of the city of God
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

 

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 Is Our Great Judge – Family Devotion – November 11, 2020

Read: Daniel 7:9-10

As I looked,
“thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.”

Daniel 7:9-10

Jesus Is Our Great Judge


Family Devotion – November 11, 2020

Devotion based on Daniel 7:9-10

See series: Devotions

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

In a scene from one of the most famous movies of all time, a girl named Dorothy and her three friends enter the throne room of a great and powerful wizard. They shake in fear as flames explode and a great voice booms: “I am OZ, the great and powerful! Who are you?” But anyone who has seen this movie knows the truth. The so-called “wizard” has no real power, just some clever tricks. The flames and fireworks are made by a machine. The booming voice comes from a hidden microphone. He looks mighty and powerful, but Dorothy and her friends have no reason to be afraid.

The story of Jesus we heard today is very different. Jesus is great and powerful! When he sits on his throne with flames of fire, there are no tricks involved. When he calls himself “the Ancient of Days,” he reminds us that he has eternal authority to judge the world. If he were to make a list of all our sins, we would have no way to defend ourselves. If he were to judge the world with fire or send his voice booming over the whole earth, there would be no stopping his incredible power! Our God, the Ancient of Days, is truly a great and powerful judge!

But we do not need to tremble or shake when we stand in God’s presence. We do not need to be afraid of God’s judgment. When he looks at our lives and considers the list of everything we have ever done, he sees his loving mercy stamped on every page of the book. It means that because of Jesus, we are forgiven and the record of our sins wiped clean! If God were to look at us and thunder the question, “Who are you?” he would already know the answer: This is someone I love, someone for whom I died, someone I want with me forever in heaven!

God, the Ancient of Days, allows us to see him as he actually is—mighty and powerful on his throne! But because we know that Jesus our judge rules in mercy and truth, we are not afraid. May we be amazed by his power! May we trust in his love.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you are so great and powerful that no one can stand up to you.
Lord Jesus, you are so true and right that there is nothing false in you.
Lord Jesus, you are so gracious and merciful that no one could ever fully thank you.
Lord Jesus, Ancient of Days, look on me in love, now 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 kind of people sit on thrones? What does it mean that God sits on a throne, too?
  • How does God use his almighty power to take care of you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What is the job of a judge? When God judges you for your sins, will he find you guilty or innocent? Why?
  • Jesus shows himself to us in many ways in the Bible. What do each of these pictures of Jesus teach us about him?
    ○ Baby Jesus in a manger
    ○ Jesus on the cross
    ○ Jesus the judge sitting on a throne of flames

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Re-read the detailed description of God and his throne in today’s Bible verses. What do we learn about God’s power and nature through this vivid portrayal of him as the “Ancient of Days”?
  • Even when our lives and our world seem to be in chaos, God is all-powerful and reigning on this throne. How does remembering that bring you comfort?

Hymn: CW 243:1 – Oh, Worship the King

Oh, worship the King, all-glorious above;
Oh, gratefully sing his pow’r and his love,
Our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

 

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 Sheep and the Goats – Family Devotion – November 9, 2020

Read: Matthew 25:31-46

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
Matthew 25:32-34

The Sheep and the Goats


Family Devotion – November 9, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:32-34

See series: Devotions

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

Jason was excited about his new job for the summer. He would be working as a helper at the petting zoo. Working with animals sounded like fun! At the end of each day, he would get to bring different animals out of the big corral and sort them into their own pens. The sheep had to go into their pen, the rabbits needed to be herded into their hutches, and the stubborn goats needed to be sorted, too. Jason found that sometimes it was hard to get all the animals moving in the right direction! But the easy part was figuring out which animal was which. Jason could easily tell the difference between a rabbit and a pig or a sheep and a goat. He knew the animals, so he could sort them.

One of Jesus’ jobs when he comes back to earth on judgment day is to sort out the people who believe in him and the people who do not. It will be easy for Jesus to tell the difference. Jesus can tell who loves him and who doesn’t, just like a shepherd can tell the difference between sheep and goats. Jesus knows all things. He sees everything we think, say, and do, and he can see the faith in our hearts. Everyone who has faith in Jesus will live forever with him in heaven. But people with no faith in Jesus will go to hell.

So, how will Jesus sort us? Will we go to heaven or hell? We know the answer to that! Because Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins, we know that we will live forever with him in heaven! He is our Good Shepherd and we are his sheep. We do not need to worry when Jesus comes back on judgment day. The same Jesus who died to save us will come again to sort us. On the Last Day, he will take all believers to a special place in heaven he’s prepared “since the creation of the world.”

We don’t know what day Jesus will come back to judge all people, but we know what group we will be in! By faith, we will go to heaven! By grace, we are his precious sheep! And until Jesus returns, he will fill us with faith by the power of his Word and will strengthen us to live as his own sheep every day.

Closing Prayer:

Lord, it is only by your grace that I am who I am—one of your children, one of your lambs, one of your own. Keep me close to you until the day you return. 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 will happen on judgment day?
  • How do you know that you will go to heaven?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Does the thought of heaven or hell make you feel at all concerned or nervous about judgment day? Why or why not?
  • How could people around you know that you believe in Jesus without a word being spoken?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • It’s easy for Jesus to tell the difference between ‘sheep and goats’. What might we look at to tell if a person is a believer or an unbeliever?
  • What would you say to someone who argues that people can be saved through good works?

Hymn: CW 442:1,4 – Have No Fear, Little Flock

Have no fear, little flock; Have no fear, little flock,
For the Father has chosen To give you the kingdom;
Have no fear, little flock!

Thankful hearts raise to God; Thankful hearts raise to God,
For he stays close beside you, In all things works with you;
Thankful hearts raise to 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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Stand Firm in the Freedom Jesus Gives – Family Devotion – November 6, 2020

Read: Galatians 5:1-6

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Galatians 5:1,6

Stand Firm in the Freedom Jesus Gives


Family Devotion – November 6, 2020

Devotion based on Galatians 5:1,6

See series: Devotions

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

Every November our country celebrates Veteran’s Day. On this day, we honor the brave men and women of America’s armed forces who have fought to preserve our nation’s freedom. But what do we mean when we say that America is a free country? When we are free, we are not trapped or controlled by anyone else. We can worship, speak, and act the way we think is best. We thank God for the brave people who fought for this freedom!

In God’s Word for today, Paul reminds us that we need a different kind of freedom, too. We are all trapped in sin. We all do things that are wrong. Maybe you can think of some mistakes you’ve made already today. Maybe you got impatient with your brother or sister as your family rushed out the door this morning. Maybe you had a hard time sharing or you argued with a classmate. No matter how hard we try to be perfect, we all make mistakes that disappoint God every day. These sins tie us up, like we are trapped in chains. We are all tangled up in our mistakes, and we could never break free on our own. God knew that we could not save ourselves, so in love he sent Jesus into the world to rescue us. When Jesus died on the cross, he took away all of our sin and took the punishment we deserved. Our chains are gone! The guilt of sin is gone! Jesus has set us free!

Free from our sin, what should we do? We are so happy and thankful that we want to serve God with our lives. We praise God! We worship God! We love others! We can’t wait to show God how much we love him by living the way he wants us to live and by making choices that bring him glory. We don’t have to feel trapped by our mistakes or guilt anymore. We have peace. We don’t have to try to earn God’s love or fix our sin on our own. We have grace.

We enjoy many wonderful freedoms in our country, and many brave people have fought for us. But only Jesus could set us free from the biggest problem of our sin. Whenever we start to feel trapped by our sins, we turn to God’s Word and remember that Christ has set us free! We stand firm in the freedom Christ won for us on the cross, and we live joyful lives of love and thankfulness to God.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross set us free from our sin. Through your Word, remind us that we have your full and free forgiveness. Fill our hearts with joy as we live lives of love and thankfulness to 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 sin? What are some ways that you sin?
  • Why did Jesus die on the cross?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why can’t we solve the problem of our sin without Jesus?
  • What are some things we can do to thank God for saving us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or disagree: Christian freedom means that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.
  • What might you say to encourage a friend who is afraid they’ve sinned so big that they can’t be forgiven?

Hymn: CW 390:1,5 – Salvation Unto Us Has Come

Salvation unto us has come By God’s free grace and favor.
Good works cannot avert our doom; They help and save us never.
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone, Who did for all the world atone;
He is the one Redeemer.

Since Christ has full atonement made And brought to us salvation,
Each Christian therefore may be glad And build on this foundation.
Your grace alone, dear Lord, I plead; Your death is now my life indeed,
For you have paid my ransom.

 

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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Lord, Keep Us Strong in Faith – Family Devotion – November 4, 2020

Read: Daniel 6:10-12,16-23

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”… And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Daniel 6:6,23

Lord, Keep Us Strong in Faith


Family Devotion – November 4, 2020

Devotion based on Daniel 6:6,23

See series: Devotions

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

When you visit the zoo, what animal do you want to see first? Some people like the playful penguins. Others love the silly, swinging monkeys. A lot of people like the biggest animals the best—lions and tigers and bears! It’s fun to see these powerful creatures, as long as they are safely behind bars or a big glass wall. But can you imagine being on the other side of the glass? Can you imagine being locked in with the lions all night?

That’s exactly what happened to a man in the Bible named Daniel. The king made a law that said people had to pray to him, but Daniel loved God and kept praying to God even though he knew he could be punished for his faith. The king found out, and he punished Daniel by locking him into a den full of lions. But God protected Daniel from the lions! The next day, Daniel said to the king, “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me.” God showed his almighty power and his love for Daniel by keeping him safe when he was in trouble because of his faith.

Unless we’re at a zoo, we won’t have to face any lions. But as Christians, we will face difficulties because of our faith in God, just like Daniel did. Our friends might make fun of us or stop spending time with us when we refuse to say or do sinful things with them. We might lose our spot on a sports team because we attend worship on a Sunday instead of going to a game. When being a Christian comes with these consequences, we might be tempted to hide or deny our faith in Jesus.

But when troubles come, we don’t have to hide our faith or be afraid. God promises to protect our faith, just like he protected Daniel from the lions! When we were baptized, God put faith in our hearts, and when we hear God’s Word, the Holy Spirit grows that faith and keeps it strong. So, when we face hard times because we believe in Jesus, we go to God’s Word. His Word gives us peace in the midst of our problems. His Word gives us courage to confidently proclaim our faith in all situations. No matter what persecution we may face, God has promised to keep our faith in Jesus strong until he takes us to be with him in heaven.

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we may not come face to face with lions like Daniel did, but we do face problems and persecution because of our faith. Keep us connected to God’s Word and keep our faith strong, knowing that you have promised to guard and protect your Church on earth until you come again to take us home to be with you in heaven. In Jesus’ name we pray, 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 God save Daniel from the lions?
  • What did God do to save us from our sin?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does the word “persecution” mean? How might someone your age be persecuted for believing in Jesus?
  • If someone made fun of you for believing in Jesus, what might you say to them?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How did Daniel have the strength to stay faithful to God? How do we have that strength?
  • Agree or disagree: Adults face more persecution for their faith than young people do.

Hymn: CW 200:1,3 – A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from ev’ry need That has us now o’ertaken.
The old evil foe Now means deadly woe;
Deep guile and great might Are his dread arms in fight;
On earth is not his equal.

Though devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us,
We tremble not, we fear no ill; They shall not overpow’r us.
This world’s prince may still Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none. He’s judged; the deed is done!
One little word can fell him.

 

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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Preach God’s Word With Courage – Family Devotion – November 2, 2020

Read: Matthew 10:16-23

On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Matthew 10:18-20

Preach God’s Word With Courage


Family Devotion – November 2, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:18-20

See series: Devotions

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

“Here’s the phone number,” Mom said to Emma as she handed her the cell phone. Tell them we want a large pizza with pepperoni and an order of garlic bread. Emma was terrified! She had to call to order the pizza. She had never done that before! What if she said something wrong? What if she didn’t know how to answer their questions? This was so embarrassing! Have you ever been scared to talk to someone? Young children will often hide behind a parent’s leg when a stranger speaks to them. Maybe you’ve felt terrified to stand in front of your class at school. No matter how old we get, it can still feel scary to talk sometimes!

In today’s Bible lesson, Jesus tells his disciples and us that we have the important job of telling people about him. Jesus wants us to tell everyone the good news that he died on the cross to take away their sins. But he warns us that it might feel scary. He warned his disciples they could get arrested or put in jail because of their preaching. Jesus tells us, “You will be hated by everyone because of me.” He says that even families will fight when they talk about him. Talking about Jesus will be hard. People will get angry with us or make fun of us. So, should we stop talking? Should we stop proclaiming the good news of Jesus?

No! Even when it feels scary, God is there to help us. Jesus promised, “Do not worry about what to say or how to say it…. for it will not be you speaking but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” When we tell people about the Savior, the Holy Spirit gives us the right words to say. Even when the conversations get hard, we are not alone. God is there with us.

If you have to call for pizza for the first time, your mom might sneak over and whisper the order into your ear. What a relief! If you have to present in front of your class, your teacher might walk over and point to the right answer on your paper. Phew! You’re not up there alone! God does the same thing for us when we tell people about Jesus. He is right there beside us giving us the words to say. This gives us the courage to keep speaking, no matter how hard the conversation gets and no matter what the consequences might be. Even when it feels scary to talk about Jesus, we can feel confident. God is with us and we will never stop sharing the amazing story of our Savior!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being with us and giving us the words to say when we tell people about you. Give us courage whenever we are scared to share your story, so that everyone we know can hear the good news that their sins are forgiven. In your name we pray, 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

  • Who is Jesus and what did he do for you that makes you happy?
  • Who are some people you can tell about this happy news?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why might talking about Jesus with an unbelieving friend or family member feel scary?
  • If someone asks you a question about Jesus, what could you pray about quickly to build up your courage to have that conversation?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • The Bible tells us to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15) We never know when a conversation about our faith might come up. How do we stay prepared to have these conversations?
  • Is it worth it to talk to an unbelieving friend about Jesus if you know you might lose that friend? Why or why not?

Hymn: CW 200:4 – A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

The Word they still shall let remain, Nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain With his good gifts and Spirit.
And do what they will—Hate, steal, hurt, or kill—
Though all may be gone, Our victory is won;
The kingdom’s ours 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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God Gives Us Strength in All Things – Family Devotion – October 30, 2020

Read: Philippians 4:4-13

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12

God Gives Us Strength in All Things


Family Devotion – October 30, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 4:12

See series: Devotions

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

Amos liked his bike. He didn’t love it—it was a hand-me-down from his sister, and so it was pink and a little too small for him—but he liked it. It was good enough for riding up and down his street and having fun with his friends. Good enough, that is, until his friend Silas got a new bike for his birthday. Silas’ bike was perfect: just the right size, just the right color, and not a hand-me-down from anyone. Suddenly, Amos wasn’t so content with his hand-me-down bike anymore.

Sometimes it’s hard to be content—to be happy or satisfied with what we have—isn’t it? Oh, it might be easy for a while. Even though that toy or game is getting older, it still works perfectly well and you still enjoy playing with it. But that toy or game can quickly lose its appeal when the newest toy or game is released, and then you aren’t content anymore.

In today’s reading, the apostle Paul says that he has learned to be content whatever the circumstances. That’s a pretty bold statement for him to make! When we read about Paul’s life in other parts of the New Testament, we discover that he experienced some difficult situations. There were times when Paul was hungry, when he was in prison, and when he was being mistreated and beaten. But Paul says he learned the secret of being content in any and every situation—even the toughest ones.

So what is the secret? He says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” What does that mean? What does being given strength have to do with being content? Who is this “him” that Paul mentions?

If you answered “Jesus,” you’re absolutely right! Jesus is the secret to being content in any and every situation! Jesus gives us the strength to remember that the situations we face here on this earth won’t last forever. Someday, we’ll be in heaven with Jesus. And until that day, we can be content in any situation, just like Paul.

Paul’s secret didn’t mean that he could do everything on his own. It didn’t even mean that he could do everything with Jesus’ help. But Jesus did give Paul the strength to do everything that was pleasing to God, and he gives us the strength to do the same—no matter what situation we are in.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, help me to be content in whatever circumstance I am in. Give me the strength to always trust that you love me and are working for my good. 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 to be “content”?
  • The next time you feel unhappy, what can you remember to be content?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why does Paul call his way of being content a “secret”? Why isn’t it obvious to everyone?
  • Talk about ways you can live in a way that shows others you are content in any and every circumstance.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • TRUE or FALSE: Contentment is about your attitude, not your circumstances.
  • Paul says that Jesus is the secret to being content. But sometimes it seems like unbelievers are happier and more content than believers. Discuss the source of their happiness. Compare it to the source of a Christian’s happiness.

Hymn: CW 213:1,4 – Forever With the Lord

Forever with the Lord!
Amen! So let it be.
Life from the dead is in that word,
My immortality.

Lord, be at my right hand,
Then can I never fail.
If you uphold me, I shall stand;
With you I shall prevail.

 

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 Will Save Us – Family Devotion – October 28, 2020

Read: Isaiah 26:6-9

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
Isaiah 26:8

God Will Save Us


Family Devotion – October 28, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 26:8

See series: Devotions

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

Crying is a natural part of life. When you’re a baby, it seems like you cry all the time! When you’re a little older and in elementary school, you don’t cry as much. You still cry, though, especially when something bad happens like getting hurt or having a friend move away.

When you get older you’ll probably cry even less. But there will still be times when you need to have a good hard cry. And at those times, there’s nothing better than someone who loves you handing you a Kleenex, giving you a hug, and telling you everything is going to be okay.

One event where it is difficult not to cry is a funeral. There’s something terribly sad about someone you love suddenly being gone and knowing you won’t see them at your next family gathering or hear their voice the next time the phone rings. There are Kleenexes handed out and hugs given at funerals, but there’s no bringing that person back from the dead. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that everything is going to be okay.

And then someday, it will be our turn to die too. Someday we will be the one who is lying in that casket and having people cry at our funeral. That’s a sad thought—a thought that seems strange and unnatural—because we are so full of life right now. It is strange and unnatural, because death wasn’t part of God’s original plan. Death came into the world when Adam and Eve sinned, and death has been a part of our lives ever since.

But here is some good news! Isaiah tells us that God is going to swallow up death forever and wipe away the tears from all faces. When Jesus rose from the grave on Easter morning, he declared victory over death. He came back to life and took away death’s power. We don’t have to be scared of dying anymore, because Jesus already died in our place. On the Last Day, we will rise just like he did and will live forever with him in heaven.

Yes, all of us are going to die someday (unless Jesus comes back first). Yes, this is a sad thought, because there will be people left behind who will miss us very much. But it doesn’t have to be a scary thought, because we know that death is not the end. Heaven comes after death—so there’s no reason to be afraid. We have something much better to look forward to, and death is just the way of getting there.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for dying in my place and rising again from the dead. Even when death seems scary, help me remember that for me, it is actually the door 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

  • Why don’t you have to be scared of dying?
  • When one of your friends is sad because someone they love dies, what can you say to them to help them feel better?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Although we will have to wait until heaven for God to perfectly wipe away all of our tears, what are some ways he comforts you in your life right now?
  • Isaiah says, “Let us rejoice and be glad in [the LORD’s] salvation” (verse 9). Why can we rejoice even when someone we love dies?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • The reading for today is sometimes heard at Easter. Even though this reading doesn’t specifically mention Jesus, why is it so appropriate?
  • In verse 6, Isaiah talks about a feast that God will prepare for all people. What feast is he talking about? When and where will this feast be celebrated (cf. Revelation 19:9)?

Hymn: CW 213:1,5 – Forever With the Lord

Forever with the Lord!
Amen! So let it be.
Life from the dead is in that word,
My immortality.

So when my dying breath
Shall rend the veil in two,
By death I shall escape from death
To endless life with you.

 

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 Wedding Feast of Heaven – Family Devotion – October 26, 2020

Read: Matthew 22:1-14

“So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.”
Matthew 22:9

The Wedding Feast of Heaven


Family Devotion – October 26, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 22:9

See series: Devotions

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

Getting an invitation to a party is so exciting! Whether it’s a friend’s birthday party or a cousin’s graduation party, whether it’s inside at someone’s house or outside at a local park, spending time with your friends or family at a party is always fun. Lots of planning and preparation go into a party, and saying “Yes, I can come” makes both you and the host happy.

In today’s reading, Jesus tells us a story about a party: a wedding feast that was hosted by a king. Much planning and preparation went into this wedding feast, and the king sent out many invitations. But instead of eagerly accepting the invitations, the people whom the king invited refused to come. They behaved even worse than that—they mistreated and killed the servants who brought them the invitations.

What a mess! It would have been easy for the king to give up at this point and cancel the wedding banquet. Why should he work any harder to get people to come to his wedding banquet? Instead, the king sent out even more invitations. But this time, he sent his servants out to the streets and invited the most common people he could find. These people weren’t on the original guest list. They didn’t look like they deserved to be invited to the wedding feast. But because of the king’s great love and his desire to share his feast with everyone, these common people got to experience the joy of the wedding feast.

Just like that king, God is preparing a feast too—a perfect heavenly feast that will last forever. And just like those common people, we don’t deserve to be invited to this heavenly feast. We are sinful human beings who naturally reject God’s invitation. Without faith, we would also refuse to come to God’s heavenly feast. But because the Holy Spirit has worked faith in our hearts, we joyfully accept God’s invitation and now look forward to celebrating with him in heaven forever.

When I get an invitation to a party, I usually ask my friends if they are going. I know I’m going to have fun at the party, and I want to make sure my friends are going to go and have fun too. The heavenly feast that God is preparing is going to be better than the best earthly party we can imagine, and we want to do everything we can to make sure our friends will be there too. So don’t just accept your invitation and look forward to heaven someday—tell others about the heavenly feast too. God wants as many people as possible to be there!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for inviting us to your heavenly feast—a perfect feast that will last forever. Help us to tell those around us about this feast so that many more people will be able to celebrate with us in heaven someday. 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

  • Who is the king in Jesus’ story?
  • God is hosting a party and says you can invite someone! Who would you want to invite that doesn’t about Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Sadly, why would someone reject God’s invitation to his great banquet?
  • None of us is perfect—we think, say, and do wrong things more often than we want to admit. What assurance does your baptism give that you aren’t in danger of rejecting God’s invitation to his heavenly feast?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In 1 Timothy 2:4, we read that God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” If God wants all people to be saved and be a part of his feast, why doesn’t everyone believe in him?
  • Evaluate with your parents how often you take advantage of God’s invitation to the “banquet” of his Word and why it is so important for you and your family.

Hymn: CW 213:1,3 – Forever With the Lord

Forever with the Lord!
Amen! So let it be.
Life from the dead is in that word,
My immortality.

My Father’s house on high,
Home of my soul, how near
At times, to faith’s foreseeing eye
The golden gates appear.

 

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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Believers Have the Goal of Heaven – Family Devotion – October 23, 2020

Read: Philippians 3:12-21

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

Believers Have the Goal of Heaven


Family Devotion – October 23, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 3:14

See series: Devotions

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

Alyssa had run cross country for a while, but this season was different. Before this year, she usually finished somewhere in the middle of the pack. But all her hard work and practice was finally starting to pay off, and she kept moving up. 13th place, 8th place, 5th place—she was so close to a medal.

There was only one race left in the season, and it was the toughest race on the schedule. Alyssa knew that it would take more hard work to earn a medal. It would have been easy for her to just give up and quit. Instead, she spent even more time practicing and training. She dreamed of crossing the finish line first and could almost feel that medal hanging around her neck.

The apostle Paul uses the picture of a race to describe his life as a Christian. Paul had a very hard life. It would have been easy for him to just give up. He had been beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, left for dead, and spent a lot of time in prison—all because he told people about Jesus. Nobody would have blamed Paul if he had said, “I quit. Christianity is just too hard.”

But Paul refused to give up. Instead, he did the very opposite. He didn’t focus on all the bad things that happened to him in the past. He kept looking ahead and dreaming of crossing the finish line. And his prize for crossing the finish line was something much better than a cross country medal that wouldn’t last. His prize was being with God forever in heaven.

Paul worked hard at spreading the gospel. He traveled far and wide and shared the good news of Jesus with many people. But all of Paul’s hard work didn’t get him any closer to winning the prize. God called Paul to be a Christian and gave him faith in Jesus—a faith that led Paul to travel the world and be a missionary for the gospel. And when Paul’s life ended, God gave him the prize of heaven that Jesus had won for him on the cross.

You might not travel the world and be a missionary like the apostle Paul, but you do have something in common with him. God has also called you to be a Christian and given you faith in Jesus. And when your life ends, God will also give you the prize of heaven that Jesus won for you. That’s the best prize that you could ever receive!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, help me to be strong in my faith while I am running the race of life. Remind me always of the prize of heaven that is waiting for me—a prize of being with you forever. 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

  • Sometimes heaven seems so far away. What can you do to keep thinking about heaven and looking forward to going there someday?
  • While he was “running his race,” the apostle Paul told lots of people about Jesus. Do you know someone that needs Jesus? What’s their name?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think the apostle Paul compared the life of a Christian to a race?
  • What would you say to someone who claimed that all their hard work and good deeds should earn them a spot in heaven?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Later in this section, Paul says that we should “live up to what we have already attained” (verse 16) and that “our citizenship is in heaven” (verse 19). How do these phrases influence the way you run the race of your life?
  • Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and 2 Timothy 4:7-8. What other athletic word pictures does Paul use to describe the life of a Christian? What additional advice does he give for living our lives as Christians?

Hymn: CW 431:1,6 – I Walk in Danger All the Way

I walk in danger all the way;
The thought shall never leave me
That Satan, who has marked his prey,
Is plotting to deceive me.
This foe with hidden snares
May seize me unawares
If e’er I fail to watch and pray;
I walk in danger all the way.

My walk is heav’nward all the way;
Await, my soul, the morrow,
When you farewell can gladly say
To all your sin and sorrow.
All worldly pomp, begone!
To heav’n I now press on.
For all the world I would not stay;
My walk is heav’nward all the way.

 

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’s Own People Didn’t Believe – Family Devotion – October 21, 2020

Read: Isaiah 5:1-7

“What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?”
Isaiah 5:4

God’s Own People Didn’t Believe


Family Devotion – October 21, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 5:4

See series: Devotions

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

I love fruit. Cherries, peaches, watermelon, pineapple, grapes—one of my favorite parts about summer is all the good fruit. Whether you buy it at the grocery store or pick it from your own garden, fruit is one of the best parts of summer.

Growing fruit isn’t an easy process. It can take three years from when a grapevine is first planted to when it produces grapes, and there’s a lot of work that needs to happen during that time. The prophet Isaiah describes that work in the beginning of today’s reading: digging the vineyard, clearing it of stones, planting it with the best vines. Such a well-cared-for vineyard should produce good fruit—but it didn’t.

Isaiah tells us that this vineyard represents Israel and Judah. God chose them as his people and gave them everything: deliverance from Egypt, safe travels to the Promised Land, the promise of the Messiah who would save them from their sins. But they produced bad fruit instead of good: they disobeyed God and turned away from him. So, God allowed them to be taken off into captivity.

On our own, we would be exactly like that rotten vineyard. On our own, we would produce nothing but bad fruit. And on our own, we would deserve exactly the same punishment that happened to the vineyard Isaiah described: being trampled and destroyed. The song that Isaiah sings about the vineyard ends sadly, and the song of our life should end sadly too.

But because of God’s great love for us, our song doesn’t end sadly. Jesus came to suffer and die in our place. He came to take the consequences for our sin upon himself. He came to live a perfect life and produce good fruit—perfect fruit—the kind of fruit we could never produce on our own. What would be a sad ending to the song of our life is replaced by the happy ending of heaven.

Jesus did something more than produce good fruit in our place. He also gave us the ability to produce our own good fruit by how we live. The fruit that we produce—our words and actions here on this earth—won’t be perfect. Some days will be better than others; sometimes our fruit will be good and sometimes not-so-good. But when we stay close to Jesus, the perfect Vine, we will grow in our ability to produce good fruit, fruit that God loves. And one day, we will be with Jesus in heaven where we can enjoy perfect fruit for all eternity.

Closing Prayer:

Almighty God, on our own we would only produce bad fruit. Thank you for sending Jesus, who produced good fruit in our place and gives us the ability to produce good fruit. 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 something you say or do that shows you are producing good fruit?
  • What can you do if you are having a hard day and producing bad fruit?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Isaiah tells us what the owner did for the vineyard to care for it and help it produce fruit (verses 1-2). What has God done for you in your life to care for you and help you produce good fruit?
  • Even though the owner cared for the vineyard, it still produced bad fruit. Why? How can you avoid being a vineyard that produces bad fruit?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • The punishment described by Isaiah in verses 5-6 sounds very harsh. If God is a loving God, how can he carry out the punishment described here? (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34)
  • In his letter to the Galatians, Paul talks about the fruit of the Spirit (cf. Galatians 6:23-24). Which are the easiest fruits from that list for you to produce? Which are the hardest?

Hymn: CW 431:1,5 – I Walk in Danger All the Way

I walk in danger all the way;
The thought shall never leave me
That Satan, who has marked his prey,
Is plotting to deceive me.
This foe with hidden snares
May seize me unawares
If e’er I fail to watch and pray;
I walk in danger all the way.

I walk with Jesus all the way;
His guidance never fails me.
He takes my ev’ry fear away
When Satan’s pow’r assails me,
And, by his footsteps led,
My path I safely tread.
In spite of ills that threaten may,
I walk with Jesus all the way.

 

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 Warning for Those Who Don’t Believe – Family Devotion – October 19, 2020

Read: Matthew 21:33-43

Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
Matthew 21:43

A Warning for Those Who Don’t Believe


Family Devotion – October 19, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 21:43

See series: Devotions

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

What is your favorite thing to do? Color and draw? Read a book? Play video games? When you’re coloring, reading, or playing at the computer and your parents want you to do something, do you listen right away? Or do they have to call you lots of times—and even then you don’t always do what they’re asking? Your parents are patient with you, but their patience eventually runs out. Then there might be consequences for not listening to them.

The same thing happened in today’s story from Jesus. The people who were supposed to work the land ignored all the servants the owner sent. They did worse things than that: they treated the servants badly and even killed some of them. When the owner sent his own son, they killed him too. That’s when the owner’s patience ran out, and he punished the people.

It’s easy to read this story and think, “I would never do that! I would always listen to Jesus and never cause God’s patience to run out!” But is that really true? Do you always listen to your parents during devotion time? To your pastor in church on Sunday morning? No. None of us listens to Jesus all the time, because none of us is perfect.

So what’s the difference between us and the people in Jesus’ story? We sin every day; we test God’s patience, just like the people in Jesus’ story. Should we be worried that God’s patience with us will run out? God punished those people! How do we know that he isn’t going to punish us too?

We know because God gave us faith. God’s Word assures us that instead of punishing us for our sins, God punished Jesus instead—even for the sins that we have done over and over again. So we trust in Jesus as our Savior. With his forgiveness in our hearts and heads, we stop worrying that God is going to lose patience with us. Because the Holy Spirit created faith in our hearts, God loves and sees us as his children. He will always forgive us and is always patient with us for Jesus’ sake.

Yes, we are to listen to God and do what he says. But even when we don’t, his Word tells us that we can be sure that he still loves us and won’t take his kingdom away from us like he did with the people in Jesus’ story. What an amazing gift!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the gift of faith. Remind us that because of this gift, we can be sure that you will never lose patience with 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 might make God lose patience with you?
  • When you are afraid that God will punish you, of what does God’s Word assure you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Jesus told this story to the chief priests and Pharisees who deeply disliked him and wanted to arrest him. How do you think they felt when they heard this story? How should we feel?
  • Before our verse Jesus says, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Some people reject Jesus, but we know he is the cornerstone of our faith. Why is this important?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Read the assigned text and then look at the three actions of the tenants in verse 35. What do you notice about the intensity of their actions? Why do their actions make the owner’s actions in verse 37 even more extraordinary?
  • Recount with your parents the last time their patience ran out with you. Discuss how together you can better display godly obedience and God’s patience.

Hymn: CW 431:1,2 – I Walk in Danger All the Way

I walk in danger all the way;
The thought shall never leave me
That Satan, who has marked his prey,
Is plotting to deceive me.
This foe with hidden snares
May seize me unawares
If e’er I fail to watch and pray;
I walk in danger all the way.

I pass through trials all the way,
With sin and ills contending;
In patience I must bear each day
The cross of God’s own sending.
Oft in adversity
I know not where to flee
When storms of woe my soul dismay;
I pass through trials all the way.

 

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 Take Away our Sin – Family Devotion – October 16, 2020

Read: Philippians 2:1-11

Being in very nature God, [Christ Jesus] did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:6-8

Jesus Came to Take Away our Sin


Family Devotion – October 16, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 2:6-8

See series: Devotions

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

Doing something to help someone else instead of yourself is being selfless. Firefighters are selfless when they fight the extreme danger of a burning building. They race to a fire when everyone else is running away. Soldiers go to battle for their country and for their fellow soldiers. Doctors and nurses risk catching disease because they want to help others. When a child is sick or afraid, parents will give up a restful night of sleep to comfort their child. A thoughtful young person might invite someone to a school event who others might never consider inviting. All of these are acting with others in mind first. These are examples of selflessness.

As wonderful as these examples are, they are nothing compared with Jesus’ selflessness. Jesus is true God. It means he possesses all power and all glory. He is able to heal every disease. He creates all life whether human life or life in nature, he can control the weather, he can control the universe and everything in it. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he still had all that power, but he set it aside. He humbled himself by becoming a human. He experienced everything we do: being cold, hungry, tired, criticized, humiliated, and even tempted by Satan. He could have used his power to avoid all these things, but he didn’t. He came for one reason, and that reason was the most selfless act ever. He came because he loves you. He came because he loves all people. He came because the only way that you and I could receive God’s forgiveness is for Jesus to take our punishment. That doesn’t make sense to our heads, but it was God’s plan for us. Jesus came so that he could take away our sins, every one of them.

What do we do with that amazing gift of love? We can share it selflessly with others. We can go to God in repentance knowing that his forgiveness is ours. We don’t have to worry about whether we’ve done enough good things in God’s eyes. We can focus on showing love to each other simply out of love for God. We can live with peace and joy in our hearts and reflect that to others all to God’s glory. We can be selfless because everything we truly need, has already been done for us by Jesus. Thank you, dear Savior!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you love me more than I can even imagine. Your willingness to come to earth, to become a man so that you could live and die for me, is a gift that is beyond words. Thank you for being my dearest friend and Savior. In 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

  • Selfless means to do something for someone else and expect nothing back, not even a thank you. What are some of the many things your parents do for you without you asking and sometimes without you saying thank you?
  • Jesus did a lot of selfless things for people while he was on earth. Name as many as you can.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Jesus healed the sick, comforted people, raised people from the dead, and taught people. Of all the things he did, what was the most selfless?
  • God expects us to be perfect to get into heaven. But we aren’t perfect. We sin every day. How does Jesus dying on the cross give us life in heaven?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Name as many situations as you can where things were difficult for Jesus and he could have used his power as God to fix them but didn’t. (Example: When they captured him in Gethsemane.) Why didn’t Jesus use his power more often?
  • Jesus’ death on the cross paid for our sins and fulfilled God’s expectation of living a perfect life. When he did all this, he was thinking of you. How does knowing this help you when you are worried, or feel alone, or when you feel guilty? How can this help you to help others?

Hymn: CW 593:1,2,4,5 – Now the Light Has Gone Away

Now the light has gone away;
Father, listen while I pray,
Asking you to watch and keep
And to send me quiet sleep.

Jesus, Savior, wash away
All that I’ve done wrong today.
Make me ever more like you,
Good and gentle, kind and true.

Now my evening praise I give;
You once died that I might live.
All your precious gifts are free—
Oh, how good you are to me!

Ah, my best and kindest Friend,
You will love me to the end.
Let me love you more and more,
Always better than before.

 

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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Sinners Need to Repent – Family Devotion – October 14, 2020

Read: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32

Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
Ezekiel 18:30b-32

Sinners Need to Repent


Family Devotion – October 14, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 18:30b-32

See series: Devotions

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

The vase lies broken in pieces on the floor. Olivia and Michael stared at the mess with eyes that reflect how upset they are. Mom approached them to get the details of the story. Olivia was unhappy that her brother was in her way. Michael knew he was in the way but refused to move. Instead of politely asking him to move, Olivia pushed him. He fell onto the table where the vase had been, and down it came. As Mom slowly uncovered the details of the incident, she considered what should be done. Both Michael and Olivia would need to find a way to replace the vase. “That’s not fair,” Olivia cried. “It’s not my fault! It’s Michael’s fault!”

We can all be tempted to try to blame someone else when we sin. In the reading for today, you heard how some other people said the same thing. They felt that God was unfairly punishing them and that they were not as guilty as their fathers had been. God responded quite clearly. He was the one who created each one of them. He was the one with authority over them. He would decide what was best for them. He expected each of them to obey him perfectly. Each person was responsible for the way they lived and were answerable to God.

Why would he speak so strongly to them? Well, why do your parents sometimes speak strongly to you? Why do they expect you to behave in a way that is kind and loving to each other? Why do they warn that there are consequences for our actions?

It’s really quite simple. God loved those people dearly. God loves you dearly. He loves all people dearly. God doesn’t want anyone separated from him. He wants everyone to believe in him and be in heaven with him forever and ever. God said to the people in Jerusalem and to you and me, “Repent and live!” The word “repent” means “to turn away from sin.” God wants us to repent. He wants us to turn to him in faith. He wants us to turn to each other in love.

After a fight, it’s hard to admit when we’ve made a mistake. But denying our mistakes, our sins, doesn’t fix anything. Admitting our sin and repenting does. God’s forgiveness heals our relationship with him and leads to a healed relationship with each other.

The vase Olivia and Michael broke eventually was replaced. A lesson was learned about patience, repentance, and forgiveness. Above all, it taught them about God’s love for each of us.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Father, it’s sometimes hard to understand how you can forgive us over and over and yet, because of what Jesus did on the cross, you do. Help us to always treasure the peace we have with you because of your forgiveness and grace. Help us to show that to others. In your name we pray. 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 is it so hard to say, “I’m wrong”?
  • When you and I do something wrong, we can feel badly about it inside. But when we admit that we’ve done something wrong, what do God promise to do?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • In the story today, Olivia blames Michael and Michael blames Olivia. If Mom or Dad were to believe one of them and not the other, will the situation be fixed? Why or why not?
  • Even if we don’t get caught when we’ve done something wrong, we can worry about it, and the guilty feeling doesn’t go away. What is the only way to make it better?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What did God say in the final two sentences of the key verse that can be an encouragement when you are feeling guilty?
  • Your mom and dad, your teachers, and especially God, want you to be at peace with them. How can daily prayer to God help you?

Hymn: CW 593:1,2,4 – Now the Light Has Gone Away

Now the light has gone away;
Father, listen while I pray,
Asking you to watch and keep
And to send me quiet sleep.

Jesus, Savior, wash away
All that I’ve done wrong today.
Make me ever more like you,
Good and gentle, kind and true.

Now my evening praise I give;
You once died that I might live.
All your precious gifts are free—
Oh, how good you are to 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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God Wants Us to Repent of Sin – Family Devotion – October 12, 2020

Read: Matthew 21:28-32

“Which of the two did what his father wanted?” The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”
Matthew 21:31-32

God Wants Us to Repent of Sin


Family Devotion – October 12, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 21:31-32

See series: Devotions

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

Does this ever happen in your house? Mom or Dad come to you and ask you to do something. One of you whines, “I don’t want to!” After Mom or Dad walks away, you think about what you said and change your mind. You get to it and complete the task. Another one of you immediately says “yes” when asked, but then you go off and never do the job.

It’s good to say “yes” when parents ask. It’s good to obey when parents ask. It’s disrespectful to say no and to disobey. Which one ends up doing what Mom or Dad wanted? Which of the two sons in today’s story did what his father wanted?”

In today’s account, Jesus was talking to a group of chief priests and elders. They were people who knew a lot about God. They had been challenging Jesus with questions about who he was and by what authority he had to preach. Jesus took this opportunity to teach them. Jesus often used stories to teach. The story he shared is one that they could relate to. In the story, the one who first said “no” and then changed his mind and obeyed was like the tax collectors. They were known to cheat the people by overcharging them. In a different story, Zacchaeus changed his mind after meeting Jesus. He left his sinful occupation and repented of his sin. The original word for “repent” literally means “to change your mind.” Through the Holy Spirit’s work in his heart, Zacchaeus came to faith and looked to do God’s will because he believed in Jesus.

There were also people called Pharisees. They often bragged about keeping God’s law. They seem like the son in Jesus’ story who said, “yes.” On the outside, they appeared to follow God’s will. Jesus showed them that God wants both repentance and faith. Repentance is a turning away from sin. Faith is a turning toward God. Jesus taught them that God wants us to repent because we believe and have faith in him.

Often you do what your parents ask because you love them. There are times though, that you and I disobey our parents or others. When you disobey your parents, it can make your relationship with them hard. It’s tough when they are disappointed in you because you disobeyed. But when you apologize, that relationship feels so much better. God wants the same from you and from me. We sin every day. We disobey his will by the things we say, the things we do, and sometimes by the things we don’t do. God wants us to repent, to turn away from our sin, to change our minds about sinning. And God wants us to turn to him, to believe in him, to have faith in him. He wants this because of his love for you and for me.

It’s not easy to apologize, to say you’re sorry, to repent. But the blessings of forgiveness from those around us and even more, from God, are overwhelming!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Father, it can be hard to repent, and it’s hard to live with the guilty feeling after we’ve sinned. Thank you that we can come to you and repent. Thank you for your free forgiveness. In your name we pray. 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

  • Tell about a time when you said “yes” to a parent but then didn’t do what they asked. Or, remember a time when you said “no” but changed your mind and did what they asked.
  • What was wrong with each of these? Explain how Mom and Dad likely felt.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Describe what you might do when you feel uncomfortable after hurting a friend or classmate or disobeying a parent.
  • After you say you’re sorry, explain what you are hoping for from your mom or dad or your friend.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • When you’ve done something wrong, do you ever wish you could go back in time and “undo” it? What makes it difficult so difficult to repent or to apologize?
  • Your parents love you and want you to come to them and repent. Even more, God wants you to repent. Think of two blessings that come from repenting.

Hymn: CW 593:1,2 – Now the Light Has Gone Away

Now the light has gone away;
Father, listen while I pray,
Asking you to watch and keep
And to send me quiet sleep.

Jesus, Savior, wash away
All that I’ve done wrong today.
Make me ever more like you,
Good and gentle, kind and true.

 

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 is Gracious to Us in Life or Death – Family Devotion – October 9, 2020

Read: Philippians 1:18b-27

Because of this I rejoice. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:18b,21

God is Gracious to Us in Life or Death


Family Devotion – October 9, 2020

Devotion based on Philippians 1:18b,21

See series: Devotions

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

It’s Saturday morning. Your family is trying to decide if they will spend the day at the park or playing your favorite games together. Both are great choices. You’d love to do either. That’s what they call a win-win situation!

Paul was one of the greatest missionaries of all time. He spent all his time going from place to place starting churches and then encouraging people in those churches. He started churches in places named Corinth and Philippi. He would visit them, and when he couldn’t be with them, he’d write letters to them.

God’s Word for today comes from one of Paul’s letters. He wrote it from a prison cell. You see, Paul was in jail for telling people about Jesus. He didn’t know if he would go free or be put to death. How frightening!

However, when you read Paul’s letter, you can hear in his words that he was not afraid. Just the opposite, Paul used words like rejoice and joy, hope and courage! Whether he lived or died, Paul saw this as a win-win situation. If he was set free, he was excited to continue his work of sharing the gospel with the people of Philippi and many others. He was especially eager to reflect his joy in Jesus so that others could see it. His courage came from knowing that Christ would always be with him and that Paul’s work would bring Christ praise and glory.

But what if he was not set free? What if they put him to death? Paul still expressed joy. While he was eager to continue his work for Jesus, he knew that when he died, he would be with Jesus—the one he served and told others about. When he went to heaven, there would be no more pain or suffering, only the joy of being with Jesus forever!

The choice of living or dying was not up to Paul, and it’s not up to us either. But, like Paul, we can live each day rejoicing because of what Jesus has done for us in forgiving our sins and preparing a place with him in heaven. Some days are hard. Some days are really hard. Even on the hard days, we can have hope and joy knowing that Jesus can bless all that we do. It’s all for his glory!

Life is a win-win. We get to live each day knowing Jesus is with us, forgives us, and loves us dearly. Someday, when it is God’s will, he will take us to be with him in heaven. For now, do what Paul did and share this amazing message of God’s grace with everyone around us. “I will continue to rejoice!”

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, because of your love, we can face the challenges and hard times of this world. Calm our fears and give us joy in knowing that you are with us in all things. It’s in your name we pray. 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 the two things that Paul knew might happen to him. How did Paul feel about both possibilities?
  • What promise did Jesus make to Paul that he has also made to you to help when you are facing a hard thing?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Paul was in prison and yet he said, “I will continue to rejoice!” How could he be so happy in that very difficult situation?
  • Paul did not say that we will never have hard days. When you are having a bad day, how can Paul’s words be a reminder to you and help calm any your fears?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Paul said, “For me to live is Christ.” What does this mean for you? What might that look like in your life?
  • Describe a difficult situation you faced recently or are now facing. How can knowing that Christ is with you in all things help you to face a challenge with courage and with joy?

Hymn: CW 391:1,6 – 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 ever lasting life receive.

Glory to God the Father, Son,
And Holy Spirit, Three in One!
To you, O blessed Trinity,
Be praise now and eternally!

 

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 Freely Forgives – Family Devotion – October 7, 2020

Read: Isaiah 55:6-9

Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
Isaiah 55:7b

God Freely Forgives


Family Devotion – October 7, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:7b

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever gotten anything for free? Maybe you got a free t-shirt for signing up for a team. You might have gotten a coupon for a free scoop of ice cream. Or a free hamburger from McDonald’s for every A on your report card. Sometimes when things are free, it can be very exciting. Most often, they aren’t really free. You got a free t-shirt because you paid a fee to be on the team. You got a free cup of ice cream because you bought lunch. A hamburger may have been free, but first you had to work hard to get those grades.

Today our reading is talking about something that is free—absolutely free. See if you can hear what it is: “Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Pardon means that whatever bad thing you did, the punishment is taken away. You don’t have to pay a fine or endure a consequence. That’s pretty amazing, right?! Usually, when a car is caught speeding, the speeding ticket involves a fine that you have to pay. When someone commits a serious crime, they often have to serve time in jail.

But God doesn’t think like we do. When we sin, God will freely pardon. That doesn’t make sense to us. In this world, that’s not how it works. The Lord declares, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…” God promises that when we turn to him in faith, he forgives our sins for free. Free! You and I don’t have to do anything to get this pardon except to believe it. Believe in him. To help us believe all this is true, he gives us the Holy Spirit. That’s amazing!

Is this easy to understand? No, but that’s okay. God’s thoughts are way beyond our thoughts. His thoughts are always perfect and always full of love for us. God’s way of doing things is so much better than anything we could imagine. While we may not understand how he can forgive and pardon us for free, it’s still true. It’s true because of what Jesus has done for us by going to the cross. Paid in full! Thank you, Lord!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, it can be hard to understand how you could take all the punishment for every sin I have ever made or will ever make. But I believe it! Help me to never forget how much you love and freely forgive me. Help me to share that love and forgiveness with others. In your name I pray. 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 when someone says, “I forgive you”?
  • Why does Jesus forgive you when you sin, when you disobey, or when you hurt someone else?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Think of a time where you did something wrong and you were expecting a parent to give you a significant consequence. Instead they simply said, “I forgive you.” How did that make you feel?
  • You and I sin many times every day. Why would God forgive us each time?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Sometimes when we get something for free, we may not see much value in it or we might take it for granted. How is God’s free forgiveness for us different?
  • Knowing you are forgiven because Jesus paid for your sins in full, discuss two new ways you might respond when a sibling or a friend does something hurtful to you because you are grateful for God’s forgiveness.

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 ever lasting 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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God Doesn’t Give as We Deserve – Family Devotion – October 5, 2020

Read: Matthew 20:1-16

“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Matthew 20:13-16

God Doesn’t Give as We Deserve


Family Devotion – October 5, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 20:13-16

See series: Devotions

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

“That’s not fair!” Have you ever said those words? Maybe you were on a team and the referee made a call that you didn’t agree with. Maybe Mom or Dad asked you to help with a task while your brother or sister got to go out and play.

We might think fair means that everyone gets the same. If someone in the family gets ice cream for dessert, you will likely get ice cream as well. If the rules in a game apply to one team, they should apply to both teams. That’s fair.

When we think about fair in that way, it can make Jesus’ story of the workers in the vineyard seem a bit confusing. A landowner hired a number of people to work for him. As he hired each one, he agreed to pay them a denarius (a Roman coin) for a full day’s work. Did you see what happened at the end of the day? Whether someone worked all day, a half-day, or just the last hour or so, they all got paid the same—one denarius. If you were one of the workers hired first that worked the entire day, your first reaction would likely be the same—“That’s not fair!” But is that really true? When the landowner hired the first workers, he agreed to pay them a denarius, and he kept his promise. That’s fair. It was up to the landowner what he would pay each person hired later. He was generous to every person who worked for him, no matter when they started.

Jesus is teaching us something about God’s grace and love for all people. His grace is not decided by how much we’ve done to earn it. To earn his grace, we would need to be perfect! If God was being fair by those standards, we wouldn’t deserve any of his grace, his forgiveness, his love. God gives us his grace and forgiveness as a gift. Why? He does it because he loves us so much. He is an amazingly generous God. He sent Jesus to take all the consequences we deserved. While it doesn’t seem fair that Jesus would take our punishment, it was God’s loving plan for you and for all people.

Rules in a game should be fair. God punishing us for all that we do wrong would be fair. Thank God he treats us according to his grace! God generously loves you and me so dearly that Jesus took care of all of our sins. Live each day knowing we are loved and forgiven by him.

Closing Prayer:

Merciful Father, thank you for not treating us in a way that we deserve but always treating us with your love and forgiveness. Help us to show that same love and forgiveness to our friends and family. In Jesus name we pray. 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 to be fair?
  • It seems fair that if you did something wrong, you should take the consequence. Why would Jesus pay for all your sins and for the sins of the whole world when he never did anything wrong?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain how the owner of the vineyard paid each worker fairly even though they worked different amounts of time.
  • How does this explain what God does for each of us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Today’s message is about fairness. If you reflect on all the things you do and know God expects us to be perfect, what would be fair?
  • How does knowing that God doesn’t treat us in a way that’s fair, but rather in a way that’s grounded in his love, change how you think about how you treat others?

Hymn: CW 391:1,3 – 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 ever lasting life receive.

God would not have the sinner die—
His Son with saving grace is nigh.
His Spirit in the Word does teach
How we the blessed goal may reach.

 

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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Forgive as Jesus Forgave You – Family Devotion – October 2, 2020

Read: Ephesians 4:29-5:2

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 4:32-5:2

Forgive as Jesus Forgave You


Family Devotion – October 2, 2020

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:32-5:2

See series: Devotions

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

Little kids imitate their moms and dads. Like the little girl who put her hands on her hips and shook her finger at her older brother, “You are in big trouble!” Mom chuckled because she knew her little girl was imitating her. A little boy folded his hands and bowed his head to pray before dinner without anyone telling him. His Dad noticed that the little guy was praying just like him.

When children act, speak, or even stand the same way as a grownup or an older sibling, they are imitating what they see and learn because they respect them and want to be like them. Yet you do not have to be a little kid to imitate someone. In fact, we all imitate other people no matter who we are or how old we are.

Sometimes imitating a person is good. Sometimes it’s not so good.

If you imitate someone who speaks in a sarcastic or hurtful way, such as tearing someone down rather than building them up, your words can harm the very people you love. If you imitate someone who is quick to argue or fight with someone who offends them, people may not want to spend time with you. If you imitate someone who lies about others, gossips about them, or says unkind things about them behind their back, people will not trust you.

God’s Word gives us another option. Imitate Jesus. Jesus had every right to be bitter and angry against the many people who refused to listen to him or wanted him to suffer and die. Yet Jesus set all of that aside. Instead of imitating their sarcasm, Jesus spoke with kind words that built up others. Instead of being harsh, Jesus was compassionate. He cared deeply for every person that crossed his path. Instead of anger, Jesus forgave the sins of others. Instead of hatred, Jesus loved others, even giving himself up for their sins.

How will you imitate Jesus? Let go of your angry or bitter feelings. Build others up with kind words. Care for others and forgive them, even if they do not deserve it, with compassion and love. You can do this. In his Word, he builds you up. In compassion and love, he forgives your sins. He cares deeply for you. You can imitate Jesus, because he has forgiven you.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, lead me to imitate you as your dearly loved son or daughter. I am forgiven and made holy by you. Cause me to live a life of love, showing kindness and compassion for every soul. 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 someone that you would like to be like. Why do you want to be like them?
  • Name one way you can imitate Jesus.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What is the difference between bitterness and kindness? Between anger and compassion?
  • Read Ephesians 5:2. Jesus is described as a “fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Why is that so important for us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: It is easier to imitate sinful activity than the love of God.
  • Name two ways you can imitate “a life of love…as Christ loved us” this week.

Hymn: CW 384:5 – By Grace I’m Saved

By grace! On this I’ll rest when dying; in Jesus’ promise I rejoice.
For though I know my heart’s condition, I also know my Savior’s voice.
My heart is glad; all grief has flown since I am saved by grace 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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Joseph Forgave as God Does – Family Devotion – September 30, 2020

Read: Genesis 50:15-21

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and will pay us back in full for all of the evil that we did to him.” … Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring this to pass and to keep many people alive, as it is this day. Now therefore, do not be afraid. I will nourish you and your little ones.”
Genesis 50:15,19-21

Joseph Forgave as God Does


Family Devotion – September 30, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 50:15,19-21

See series: Devotions

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

“I forgive you.” Those three words are some of the most powerful words you can say to someone. Those three words can also be some of the most unexpected words, especially if someone expects you to be angry with them.

Centuries ago, there was a family with twelve brothers. One brother named Joseph was his father’s favorite. His father showered him with extra gifts and extra attention. The young man daily reminded his brothers that he was the favorite. Soon the brothers were jealous, so jealous that some even considered ending their brother’s life. Instead, they did something just as awful. They sold him into slavery. He would be taken far away, owned by someone else, and forced to do their will. The brothers thought they would never see Joseph again, but God had other plans.

Years later, a terrible famine struck the land where that family lived. They did not have enough food for their families or their animals. The only place where food was available was the kingdom of Egypt. While there to purchase food, the brothers met a harsh ruler. Little did they realize that ruler was their younger brother Joseph. He was testing them to see if their hearts had changed. They had. With hugs and tears, Joseph revealed his true identity to his brothers. He provided a new home for his family. Even his elderly father came to Egypt. After his father died, the brothers started to worry. “Now that Dad is dead, will Joseph punish us for how we wronged him years ago?”

The brothers came to Joseph and even offered to be his slaves, but Joseph did something unexpected. He told them, “I forgive you.” He reminded them that they had no need to fear because God had other plans. God had taken their harmful acts and turned them into good. Many lives were saved, including their own, because the Lord brought Joseph to Egypt.

Do we forgive others like Joseph forgave his brothers? When someone says something unkind or does something mean to you, you might want to see them suffer at that moment. They deserve it, right? But God does not punish you as you deserve for your sins. God punished Jesus instead. Jesus suffered the consequences in your place so God would tell you, “I forgive you.” So, do not hold a grudge against a person who has wronged you. Instead, forgive them as God has forgiven you.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, you are merciful and gracious. You forgive our sins though we do not deserve it. Help us to forgive those who sin against us as you have forgiven 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 Joseph’s brothers do to him that was so horrible?
  • Instead of being angry, how did Joseph show love for his brothers?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain what it means to hold a grudge.
  • How did God change the brothers’ sins against Joseph into a blessing?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How do you respond to someone who says, “Everyone should get what they deserve”?
  • Pray out loud with your parents the Lord’s Prayer. Which words remind us forgive someone?

Hymn: CW 384:3,4 – By Grace I’m Saved

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.

By grace to timid hearts that tremble, in tribulation’s furnace tried—
By grace, despite all fear and trouble, the Father’s heart is open wide.
Where could I help and strength secure if grace were not my anchor sure?

 

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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Forgive Like God – Family Devotion – September 28, 2020

Read: Matthew 18:21-35

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him. “Be patient with me,” he begged, “and I will pay back everything.” The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
Matthew 18:23-27

Forgive Like God


Family Devotion – September 28, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 18:23-27

See series: Devotions

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

“This is hard!” Have you ever said that? You might complain how hard an assignment is for class, how hard your chores are at home, or how hard practice was. You might complain how hard it is to clean up your room or do yard work. Even for adults, there are hard jobs, hard assignments, hard conversations, and hard decisions.

Did you know that forgiveness can be hard too? While it is easy to say the words “I forgive you” to someone who wrongs you, it may be hard to actually forgive them. They may have hurt or offended you. They may have been mean or unkind. You remember very easily what they did, said, or failed to do. That memory is crystal clear in your mind, and you may not want to let go of what they have done. Forgiveness can be very hard.

Jesus tells a story of a wealthy king who was settling debts with his servants. Each of them owed a certain amount of money to the king. One servant that came forward owed an impossibly huge amount of money. There was no possible way that he could pay off that debt to the king, but Jesus tells us, “The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.” Why would he do that? The king was merciful. He cared very much for that servant.

Sadly, after being forgiven, that servant forgot about the mercy he received. A fellow servant owed him money. Rather than forgive as he was forgiven, that unmerciful servant had his fellow servant thrown in jail for not paying back the debt. When the king heard about it, he punished the unmerciful servant for being so cruel.

Forgiveness is hard, but God wants me to remember his forgiveness and forgive like him. The fact is, God is all-knowing. He knows everything we think, say, or do. He knows how we disobey him and fail to do what he wants. Yet even then, God still forgives us through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, God forgives all our sins because Jesus suffered the consequences for all of them on the cross. Because God forgave me, I can forgive. Forgiven through Christ, I can do more than just say “I forgive you.” I can actually forgive the person who wrongs me!

Closing Prayer:

Lord, you are a God who forgives, even though I do not deserve it. Be merciful to me. Help me to forgive the person who has wronged me as you graciously forgive 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 does it mean to forgive someone?
  • How does Jesus make it easier for us to forgive?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is it easier to say “I forgive you” than to actually forgive someone?
  • How can Christ’s love help me to forgive someone who has wronged me?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or Disagree: God wants me to forgive and forget the sin someone commits against me.
  • How do you respond to a Christian friend who tells you, “What he did was so wrong! There is no way I can possibly forgive him for what he did”?

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 God’s Son, our only Savior, came down to earth to bear our sin.
Was it because of your own merit that Jesus died your soul to win?
No, it was grace, and grace alone, that brought him from his heav’nly throne.

 

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 Guides Our Life – Family Devotion – September 25, 2020

Read: Romans 13:1-10

Do not owe anyone anything except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments—do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet (and if there is any other commandment)—are summed up in this statement: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor, so love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 13:8-10

Love Guides Our Life


Family Devotion – September 25, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 13:8-10

See series: Devotions

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

Google the question “What is love?” and you will get 11,240,000,000 results! You will find countless explanations in poems and music, in long descriptions and single-word answers.

Some people will tell you that love is a romantic feeling—all hearts, flowers, and valentines. Others will tell you love is the close connection between husband and wife or parent and child. They all describe love in some way, but are any of those really what love is?

God’s Word is the only place that tells of a different kind of love—a love that cares more about someone else than about yourself; a love that will sacrifice everything for the sake of someone else even if they do not deserve it; a love that guides our lives. Only one person has ever shown that kind of love. His name is Jesus.

Jesus alone has shown us such undeserving love. Too often, we disobey him and the people he places over us to care for us. We are more interested in what we want than what God wants. Too often, we fail to show love towards our family, friends, or classmates. We run away from God and his will so we can do what we want to do, even if it might harm us or others.

Still, Jesus loves us! Jesus loves us with a love like no other. It’s why he became a human being like us and obeyed God’s holy will for us. It’s why he suffered and died on a cross to forgive all our sins and give us life. In powerful love, he rose from the dead! Why? Not because we deserve his love, but because we need his love.

Love is not what is owed to you by others, but a daily debt owed by you to everyone: like our neighbors, our families, our classmates and teachers at school, our fellow believers at church, and all the people in our communities. Guided by that love, we encourage. We serve. We support. We follow Jesus. We love.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you have loved me even though I never deserved it. Thank you for loving me first. Guide my life with your love so I reflect your love 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

  • How would you describe love?
  • Ask a parent if they love you only when you are loveable or even when you are not so lovable? How does that reflect Jesus’ love?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain this sentence: Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • How is the love of Jesus different from other kinds of love?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In verse 10, we read, “Love does no harm to a neighbor.” Explain that phrase and why it is so important for us to remember that phrase right now.
  • How does the self-sacrificing love of Jesus impact how you serve others at home? At school? At church? In our community?

Hymn: CW 304:3,7 – Jesus Sinners Does Receive

Sheep that from the fold did stray are not by the Lord forsaken;
Weary souls who lost their way are by Christ, the shepherd, taken
In his arms that they may live—Jesus sinners does receive.

Jesus sinners does receive. Even I have been forgiven.
And when I this earth must leave, I shall find an open heaven.
Dying, still to him I cleave—Jesus sinners does receive.

 

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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