Dancing Together – Family Devotion – October 15, 2021

Read: Ephesians 5:21-6:4

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:22-25

Dancing Together

 

Family Devotion – October 15, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:22-25

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever seen professional dancers? Maybe you’ve seen some on TV shows like America’s Got Talent or Dancing with the Stars. Wow, are they good! Some of the couples do amazing things! Can you picture them dancing together? Their feet move so quickly as they twirl and spin around. The very strong man lifts up the woman who is so graceful and elegant. She trusts him completely to hold her up in the air. At the same time, while the man is showing off his strength, the woman gets the spotlight for her dancing skills, too. Together, they make an incredible team.

What would happen though if they didn’t work as a team? What if the man wanted to lead in one direction, but the woman wanted to dance in a different direction? They would bump into each other or step on each other’s toes! Ouch! Or what if the man wanted to steal the spotlight and only show off his skills? That would be pretty mean to the woman who is also so good at dancing! Or, what if the man just stood in the corner and decided not to dance at all? That would be lazy, and the team would be a total failure.

In many ways, God designed marriage to be like one of these beautiful dancing teams. One partner is facing forward while the other has their back to the direction of travel. The forward partner takes the lead for the benefit of the dance. The apostle Paul says in the Scripture for today that the husband is the head, or leader, of the marriage. But that doesn’t mean he is the boss or the king of the wife. Paul says he is a leader like Jesus. That means husbands should be loving, humble, and gentle for the benefit of the marriage. They should be so loving that they want to serve and help their wives in every way—even to the point of being willing to die for their wives like Jesus did for us.

Paul then says that wives “submit” to their husbands. But this doesn’t mean that they are less important or just cook and clean all the time. Definitely not! This means that wives should love and honor their husbands just like we Christians love and honor our leader, Jesus. Wives are equally important partners and team members in the marriage.

When husbands and wives follow God’s plans, it looks like a beautiful dancing couple. They work together. Both get the spotlight as sometimes the husband has his gifts and abilities on display, and sometimes the wife does. Neither selfishly does whatever they want. Neither is lazy, doing nothing. Instead, like a dancing couple, they work hard and work together to have a beautiful relationship just like God planned.

Just like doing a special dance is difficult, so is marriage. It takes a lot of work and practice. Thanks to Jesus, there is forgiveness for the times the dance of marriage doesn’t look so pretty. And thanks to Jesus, he offers strength to help husbands and wives continue their beautiful dance together.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, you bless husbands and wives with a beautiful partnership in marriage. Help all husbands and wives to honor and respect each other as they work together in love. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why is a marriage like working together on a team?
  • Name two or three ways that husbands and wives can work together in a marriage?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How is marriage like two people dancing together? How is it different?
  • God says that husbands are to lead in a marriage like Christ. What are ways husbands do that?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Many people wrongfully think that wives are less important in marriage. Explain how God designed wives to be different yet equal in a marriage.
  • Explain how our relationship with Jesus is similar to the relationship of a husband and wife. Explain how it is different.

Hymn: CW 506:1,5 – Oh, Blest the House Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Then here will I and mine today
A solemn promise make and say:
Though all the world forsake his Word,
I and my house will serve the Lord!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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 Special Gift and Design – Family Devotion – October 13, 2021

Read: Genesis 2:18-24

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Genesis 2:18-24

God’s Special Gift and Design

 

Family Devotion – October 13, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 2:18-24

See series: Devotions

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

“Just leave me alone!” Bryson was so angry and upset. He missed a shot that could have won the game for his team. When he got home, he didn’t want to see or talk to anybody. All he kept saying was, “Leave me alone! Leave me alooone!” as he stormed off to his bedroom.

But even though Bryson was upset and frustrated, his room was so boring! After about 45 minutes, he came out again. Bryson realized that he needed that hug his mom offered him and the encouraging words his dad always spoke to him. It wasn’t good to be alone.

Adam realized the same thing in the Garden of Eden. God gave him the special task of naming all the animals. But when Adam saw Mr. and Mrs. Cheetah and Mrs. and Mrs. Kangaroo, he realized that he didn’t have anyone. Adam then understood what God said in verse 18, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

So God caused Adam to fall asleep. He took one of his ribs and used his mighty power to make a woman—Eve. God then blessed Adam and Eve as he created marriage. Ever since, a man and a woman can leave their own families and come together in marriage to start a new family. Since that time in the Garden of Eden, billions of people have been married throughout time and throughout the world.

God’s brilliant design was that husbands and wives would enjoy all kinds of amazing blessings. They love and support each other. They encourage and help each other. They have families with children together. In this amazing plan, whether you are young or old or married or single, you would always have somebody to love you and be with you so that you are not alone. May God bless all marriages and families so that they can enjoy the blessings he first designed!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, thank you for your gift of marriage. It is a blessing for husbands, wives, and children. Help us to cherish this gift and to honor your designs for marriage. 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 help Adam to recognize that he was alone?
  • Why is it not good for us to be alone in life?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Describe in your own words how God made Eve.
  • Names as many blessings as you can that God planned for husbands and wives to have in marriage.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • God could have made Eve in any way he wanted—by snapping his fingers, or from the petals of flowers, or even from Adam’s pinky toe. Why do you think God specifically chose to make Eve from the rib of Adam? What message might God be communicating? (Hint: What’s the closest thing to your heart?)
  • Marriages are not very successful in our world these days. Describe a way that Christians can grow in their understanding and appreciation of God’s special gift of marriage.

Hymn: CW 506:1,3-4 – Oh, Blest the House Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Oh, blest the parents who give heed
Unto their children’s foremost need
And weary not of care or cost.
May none to them and heav’n be lost!

Blest such a house; it prospers well.
In peace and joy the parents dwell,
And in their children’s lives is shown
How richly God can bless his own.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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 Original Plan – Family Devotion – October 11, 2021

Read: Mark 10:2-16

“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Mark 10:5-9

The Original Plan

 

Family Devotion – October 11, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 10:5-9

See series: Devotions

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

All the adults were playing cards, laughing, and having a great time. What a fun party! Suddenly, they paused their fun game and asked an important question. “Where are the kids?” The adults had been having fun, but the kids were quiet—too quiet. The experienced parents knew that this often meant trouble with their four and five-year-olds.

The parents left the dining room and went to the playroom. What they saw made them burst out loud in laughter. One of the little girls had a sparkly white summer dress on and she was holding two dandelions they picked from outside. One of the little boys was wearing his dad’s suit coat. It was so big it touched all the way down to the floor. Another boy was standing in front of those two with a white sheet wrapped around him like a pastor’s robe. The kids explained to their parents what they were doing. They were playing “wedding.”

Getting married is something that many young people dream of. What will the wedding day be like? What will your husband or wife be like? To be married is a wonderful blessing that God gives to a man and woman. But sadly, the devil always likes to try and ruin God’s beautiful blessings. This is certainly true with marriage.

Some leaders once came and tried to trick Jesus about this. They asked Jesus if it was okay for a marriage to end, and then they asked him why so many marriages ended. Jesus knew just how to answer them—with God’s Word. Jesus spoke to them the words for the devotion today as he told them that since the very beginning with Adam and Eve, God had planned for a man and a woman to be married and enjoy their love until death.

God planned that the special love that husbands and wives have for each other could be just a little picture of the love that he has for us. You see, as a husband and wife love and honor each other, so God loves us even more. He loved us so much that he was willing to die on a cross for us. In response, we love and honor God.

Thank God for marriage! It is a wonderful gift and a beautiful picture of how God loves us. And when marriage doesn’t go as God planned, thank God for his forgiveness! Jesus forgives every sin and gives us opportunity to live in his love once again. God help us then to honor and treasure the beautiful gift he has given in marriage!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, you have blessed this world with a wonderful gift called marriage. Help husbands and wives to love and honor each other in a way that is pleasing 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

  • Who first started the idea of marriage? When?
  • Who were the first married people?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why does Satan always want to ruin the blessings that God gives to us (like marriage and many other things)?
  • Do you ever think about being married some day? What do you think that will be like?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Name two things in the world today that go against what God planned and designed for marriage?
  • Sadly, not all marriages last and not every family has a married husband and wife in it. Explain why Jesus’ grace and love are so important and so comforting for these situations.

Hymn: CW 506:1-2 – Oh, Blest the House Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Oh, blest that house where faith you find
And all within have set their mind
To trust their God and serve him still
And do in all his holy will.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Rejoicing Always – Family Devotion – October 8, 2021

Read: Philippians 1:12-18

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.
Philippians 1:18

Rejoicing Always

 

Family Devotion – October 8, 2021

Devotion based on Philippians 1:18

See series: Devotions

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

The apostle Paul had a lot of bad things happen to him. People had lied about him, said bad things about him, and put him in jail—all because he wanted to preach about Jesus to other people. Now that he was in jail in the city of Rome he couldn’t go out and share Jesus with others! As if that wasn’t hard enough, there were also some people who were preaching about Jesus for the wrong reasons. Instead of sharing Jesus out of love, they wanted to get rich or famous by preaching.

After all those bad things what would Paul say? Would he be really angry? Would he be mad at all those people and say mean things about them? Would he be angry at God for letting all those things happen? No! Not all! Actually, after writing about those bad things, the very next thing Paul says is the verse for consideration today, “Yes and I will continue to rejoice.”

Why would Paul rejoice and be happy after all that? First of all, he humbly trusted in God’s plans. Even though he was in jail, Paul talked to some of the guards about Jesus—and they became believers, too! Also, Paul noticed that when he went to jail, other Christians became bold and preached about Jesus more. And what about those selfish preachers? Paul was happy that even though they were selfish, at least Jesus was being shared with other people—and that was a good thing. You see, Paul trusted that God was working all things in his life for good. That gave him reason to rejoice … all the time.

This is what our gracious God does. He worked all things in history so that at just the right time he sent his Son Jesus. He worked through all the evil people who hated Jesus and crucified him so that Jesus would pay for our sins on the cross. He worked through Jesus’ death so that he would rise again and give us the gift of life in heaven. Even when things don’t seem to be going well, God is able to work amazing blessings because of his power, wisdom, and love.

You can probably think of some things that aren’t going very well in your life. Maybe you are having trouble at school or with some friends. Maybe someone has been sick in your family. Perhaps someone you know has recently died. Even when these bad things in happen in our lives, we can be like Paul and put our trust in God. If God loved us enough to keep his promise and send his Son to save us, surely God loves us enough to keep his promise to work all things for our good. That means that no matter what happens, we can also be like Paul and continue to rejoice … all the time! Thanks be to God!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for working all things for our good. In your power and wisdom you are able to work even bad things for our good. Help us to trust your loving plans and to rejoice in every situation. 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 rejoice?
  • What are times in life when people find it difficult to rejoice?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain why Christians can rejoice in every situation, no matter what happens.
  • Why should we believe God when he says he will work all things for our good? What proof do we have that he will keep this promise?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Can you give an example from the Bible of people who experienced very bad things, but God was able to work it out for blessing and for good?
  • Discuss with your family times when God may have used difficult times and troubles and worked them for good and for blessings.

Hymn: CW 462:1,4 – Oh, that the Lord Would Guide My Ways

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep his statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do his will!

Make me to walk in your commands—
’Tis a delightful road—
Nor let my head or heart or hands
Offend against my God.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Are You Jealous? – Family Devotion – October 6, 2021

Read: Numbers 11:16,24-29

However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”

But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
Numbers 11:26-29

Are You Jealous?

 

Family Devotion – October 6, 2021

Devotion based on Numbers 11:26-29

See series: Devotions

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

Nora loved attention. During classes when teachers would ask questions, she would be the one to raise her hand and do the, “Ooh ooh ooh! Look at me, me, me!” thing. At lunch she talked and told jokes non-stop. In gymnastics, she loved to pose on the podium when she won medals (and she loved to tell her classmates later how many she won). Nora loved attention so much that it started to become a problem.

That year the school was going to do Frozen for their annual school musical. Of course, Nora wanted to be Anna in the musical. The problem is, she didn’t get the part. She didn’t get the part of Elsa, either. Carly and Heidi were going to be Anna and Elsa. Nora was going to be Olaf. Nora thought, “What? Olaf? A dumb snowman? How come Carly and Heidi got to be Anna and Elsa? They aren’t even that good at singing! I’m waaaay better! This isn’t fair!” Nora was so angry because she was jealous. In fact, she was so jealous that she didn’t even think to be happy for her friends (who were actually very good singers and actresses)!

In today’s reading, we hear about another story of jealousy. Certain people had been blessed by God to be leaders and to prophesy—to speak God’s words. Two men named Eldad and Medad didn’t follow all of God’s directions—and yet they were still leaders and still prophesying (speaking God’s words). Joshua, who was Moses’ helper, was so jealous that he told Moses to stop them at once!

But Moses teaches Joshua and us an important lesson. Moses was happy for Eldad and Medad. He was glad that God had blessed them to be leaders and to speak his words, too. By doing this, Moses showed that he was humble. He thought of others and cared for others before he cared for himself. That’s something that Nora struggled with, and something we do, too.

Moses was a very humble and caring person, but Jesus is the most humble and loving of all. Jesus lovingly thought of others so much that he humbled himself to take our place and die on a cross. By doing that he won forgiveness for us, even though we don’t deserve it. We will get to be in heaven with him even though we haven’t earned it. But this doesn’t make Jesus jealous, it makes him so happy!

Knowing how Jesus humbly put us first and loved us, let’s live like Jesus and show that same kind of love to others!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help me to be humble and to love others like Jesus did. Help me also to be happy for others when they receive blessings from you. Protect my heart from being jealous, and fill it instead with love. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does it mean to be jealous?
  • Have you ever been jealous of someone else?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think it is so difficult to be happy for other people when they are successful or receive blessings from God?
  • The Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Explain how that verse can help us to be more humble.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Think of one good example of people in the Bible who were humble and loving (besides Jesus) and one bad example of people who were not.
  • Agree or Disagree: People who are jealous aren’t upset with the other person, they are actually upset with God. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 462:1,3 – Oh, that the Lord Would Guide My Ways

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep his statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do his will!

Assist my soul, too apt to stray,
A stricter watch to keep;
And should I e’er forget your way,
Restore your wand’ring sheep.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Whatever It Takes – Family Devotion – October 4, 2021

Read: Mark 9:38-48

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”
Mark 9:42-50

Whatever It Takes

 

Family Devotion – October 4, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:42-50

See series: Devotions

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

Some athletes would do almost anything to win and get better. One all-star baseball player used to practice batting all day when he was younger. He would hit baseballs until his hands started to bleed! Hall of fame basketball player Magic Johnson used to shovel his driveway of snow in winter just so he could shoot a few more shots. NFL quarterback Russell Wilson spends over a million dollars per year on his body. He has personal trainers, a personal chef, and all the best equipment to help him get better.

Wow! You can say that for many athletes, they are willing to do whatever it takes to get better and try to win championships. It doesn’t matter how much hard work and pain they have to go through—they are willing to do it because they know how much they want to achieve their goals.

Today we hear some very strong words from the Lord. Jesus said that if your hand or foot causes you to sin, you should cut if off, or if your eye causes you to sin you should poke it out. Ouch! Does Jesus really mean that? Well . . . yes, and no.

Jesus wants us to understand how serious and dangerous sin is. That’s why Jesus said it would be better to lose your hand or foot if it means you stop sinning and then don’t go to hell. But please, please don’t try this at home! If your one hand or eye was gone, obviously your other hand or eye would sin too. Jesus’ words aren’t really about body parts. Jesus is talking about our hearts. Our hearts lead us into sin. So why does Jesus speak such sharp words? Jesus wants us to have the attitude that we do whatever it takes to avoid sin and hell and protect your eternity.

Thanks be to God that Jesus himself is the eternal answer to our problem! First, Jesus is our Savior who has erased all our sins so that we don’t need to worry about them or about hell. Jesus has set us free from hell and given us heaven! But secondly, Jesus, who conquered sin and death, is the one who will give us the strength to fight against temptations and to stay strong in our faith. Are you concerned about sin? Then listen to your Savior and stay close to him! His forgiveness and strength will help you to battle against Satan and win!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, sin is so dangerous! It leads us away from you! Help us to resist temptation and do what is right in your sight. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does God want us to try so hard to avoid?
  • Why is sin so dangerous?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What exactly is hell?
  • How and when did Jesus suffer hell in our place?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Think of at least one way that Christians do “whatever it takes” to avoid sin in their lives.
  • Agree/Disagree: Pastors should talk less about sin and hell in church. If they did, more people would come to church. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 462:1-2 – Oh, that the Lord Would Guide My Ways

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep his statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do his will!

Order my footsteps by your Word,
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Living for the Lord – Family Devotion – October 1, 2021

Read: James 3:13-18

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
James 3:17

Living for the Lord

 

Family Devotion – October 1, 2021

Devotion based on James 3:17

See series: Devotions

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

There was something very different about Kyle. He didn’t act like the other kids at his school. Whenever there was an argument at recess during kickball, Kyle was the one who helped figure out a solution. After lunch, Kyle was the one who stayed longer and helped clean up the lunchroom. When a classmate was struggling with math, Kyle would spend his free time helping with the problems instead of playing on the classroom computer.

Kyle was different because he was a Christian. His parents, his pastor, his Sunday School teacher—they all taught him about Jesus and how much he has loved us. They also taught Kyle about how to show that kind of love to other people. Kyle was not trying to win any special awards or treats at school by being nice. He simply loved other people because he loved Jesus.

In the Bible verses for today, James tells us that this is the way all Christians can act when they have “wisdom that comes from heaven.” This means Christians can make good choices that are God-pleasing when God is guiding them. When we make these God-pleasing choices, James says that we will have pure thoughts and words (not sinful or dirty). We will love peace (instead of arguing or fighting). We will be considerate and submissive as we put others before ourselves. We will be full of mercy and good fruit as we do good things in love, and we will be sincere (which means to be fair and genuinely kind).

That’s a lot of things to think about and a lot of things to do! But not to worry! Jesus did all these things perfectly and forgives all your sins. He is the one who gives you the strength to live such a godly life. His love and his power are just what we need to help us do good things for others.

When we show this kind of love for other people—whether at school or on sports teams or at the store or anywhere—we will look different. We will stand out as people who live in love. And this is very important! Why? Well, when Christians stand out as different because we love other people, that points them to Jesus who loves other people. One Bible verse says this, “We love because he first loved us.” Our great motivation is to love other people because God has shown us love first in Jesus. Now go out into the world and show love to others so that they can see the love of Jesus too!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, thank you for so loving the world that you sent your one and only Son. Fill me with your love so that I can show that same kind of love to other people. 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 would Christians want to do nice and loving things for other people?
  • Name two good things that you can do for other people that would make God happy.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What makes it challenging for us to show love to other people in the ways we heard described today?
  • Identify a way that you can become a more loving person toward others.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How would you show love to someone who tells you they don’t believe in Jesus and thinks the Bible is dumb?
  • Some people say that they are Christians, but they don’t live like it or show it. Why is that dangerous both for them and their relationships with other people?

Hymn: CW 484:1,3 – Brothers, Sisters, Let Us Gladly

Brothers, sisters, let us gladly
Give to God our all, our best—
Service hearty, thorough, honest,
With a living love impressed.
All our duty, all our striving,
All our time to him belong;
Praise him, then, with true devotion;
Come before him with a song.

Gracious Lord, accept our service
For the sake of Christ, your Son;
Lo, our hope abides now only
In the righteousness he won.
Bless and save us; help and guide us;
Watch to comfort and restore
Till in heav’n we rest rejoicing,
Praising you forevermore.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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I Forgive You – Family Devotion – September 29, 2021

Read: Numbers 12:1-15

When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease, and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed.”

So Moses cried out to the Lord, “Please, God, heal her!”
Numbers 12:10,11,13

I Forgive You

 

Family Devotion – September 29, 2021

Devotion based on Numbers 12:10,11,13

See series: Devotions

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

Isabel had tears running down her cheeks as she sank into the arms of her grandmother. “Abuela (Grandma), he ruined my quinceañera party! All my friends came to celebrate my fifteenth birthday! I had a beautiful dress! Everything was perfect! But Jose told everyone bad things about me. They were all laughing at me. It ruined my party! How could he? Él es mi hermano! He’s my brother!”

Even though Isabel was hurt so much by what her brother had done, the next time she saw him, she said the most incredible thing. “Jose, te perdono . . . I forgive you.”

Sometimes the people we are the closest with can hurt us the most. Brothers and sisters argue and fight. Children are sassy with their parents. Parents are too hard on their children. Husbands and wives say mean things to each other. The devil loves this. Satan wants to get in between people who should love each other and cause them to hurt each other. And not only does he want us to hurt each other, Satan wants us to hate each other and refuse to offer forgiveness.

One time Satan caused problems in a famous family of the Bible. Aaron and Miriam were the brother and sister of Moses. Once, Aaron and Miriam started to get jealous of Moses because he was the leader of the Israelites and the one that God spoke to so often. Aaron and Miriam started to say bad things about Moses. God was not happy about this, so he allowed Miriam to have a serious (and gross) skin disease.

Moses could have fallen into the temptation to be happy about this. He could have been so angry with his brother and sister and let them suffer because they deserved it. But Moses didn’t do that. Instead, he reacted with love and forgiveness. Moses immediately prayed for his sister Miriam, “Please God, heal her!”

It’s not easy to forgive other people when they are mean or hurt us, especially when it’s someone close to us like a family member. But then we remember how much God has forgiven us. We have hurt him so often with our many sins, but Jesus died on the cross for every single one of them. God forgives us every time for every sin because of Jesus! Now we pray that God will fill us with that love of Jesus that we can forgive others when they sin against us, too!

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, in your love and kindness you have forgiven all of my sins. Help me now to forgive others when they sin against 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

  • Recall a mean thing that someone did to you at home or at school.
  • How do we know for sure that God has forgiven us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What makes it so difficult to forgive others who sin against us?
  • When do you find it the most difficult time to forgive other people? Why?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Describe in your own words how Jesus teaches us about forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Agree/Disagree: There is never a time when you would not forgive someone.

Hymn: CW 484:1-2 – Brothers, Sisters, Let Us Gladly

Brothers, sisters, let us gladly
Give to God our all, our best—
Service hearty, thorough, honest,
With a living love impressed.
All our duty, all our striving,
All our time to him belong;
Praise him, then, with true devotion;
Come before him with a song.

By his mercy, by his bounty,
By the gift of Christ, his Son,
What great goodness he has shown us,
What high marvels he has done!
Let us to him promptly, freely,
Yield our bodies and our souls,
Thankful that his love protects us,
That his wisdom all controls.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Me First!? – Family Devotion – September 27, 2021

Read: Mark 9:30-37

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Mark 9:30-34

Me First!?

 

Family Devotion – September 27, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 9:30-34

See series: Devotions

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

“It’s my turn.” “No, it’s not. It’s my turn to pick.” “That’s not fair, you just had a turn.” “Fine, you can pick this time, but then I get the next three times.” “What? That’s crazy!”

Gabe and Owen argued like this nearly every day. The brothers got so upset, they even started pushing each other before their father finally stepped in. What were they arguing about, you ask? Emptying the dishwasher. That’s right, they fought about the dishwasher because each boy wanted to pick the top part to empty since it had less dishes. In other words, they were arguing about who would do less work.

That’s not all though. Gabe and Owen often argued about who did more chores on Saturday, who got the last glass of chocolate milk, whose turn it was to sit in the front seat of the car, and so much more.

Does any of this happen at your house? Sometimes we get love totally backwards! Instead of loving other people like our siblings or our parents or our friends, we act selfishly and put ourselves first. When we should be loving others or loving God first, we are so quick to think of ourselves first!

The disciples did the same thing in the story today. Jesus was trying to teach them about his great love—how he would suffer and die for them and for all people. But they didn’t understand what he was saying. Why not? Because they were too busy arguing about who was the greatest! Their selfishness kept them from seeing who really is the greatest of all—Jesus, who loves us so much.

May God forgive us for all the times we selfishly love ourselves more than we love other people or more than we love God. Thank God that Jesus suffered and died to take away those sins! May that humble love of Jesus help us to love each other just like he loved us!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to love you and to love others with the same kind of selfless love that you have shown to 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 does it mean to be selfish?
  • Can you think of the most recent time that you have been selfish?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Identify a way that people show a “me first” attitude at home, at school, or at their jobs.
  • Identify as many ways as you can that Jesus showed a “you first” attitude during his life and ministry.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Explain what that means in your own words.
  • Explain this statement: Being humble is not thinking less of yourself, but rather thinking of yourself less.

Hymn: CW 484:1 – Brothers, Sisters, Let Us Gladly

Brothers, sisters, let us gladly
Give to God our all, our best—
Service hearty, thorough, honest,
With a living love impressed.
All our duty, all our striving,
All our time to him belong;
Praise him, then, with true devotion;
Come before him with a song.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Endure the Test(s) – Family Devotion – September 24, 2021

Read: 1 Peter 4:12-19

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12-13

Endure the Test(s)

 

Family Devotion – September 24, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Peter 4:12-13

See series: Devotions

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

“Guess what, class!” The students looked at Mr. Daniels with big, wide eyes. They learned that when Mr. Daniels said those words, it could be either really good news or really bad news. They were all hoping for extra recess time on this day. “Guess what, class! We are going to have a test today—right now!” Ugh! So much for recess!

The students were not very ready for this test, but they were used to it. Mr. Daniels challenged them all the time in school. They played games to review facts about the presidents. They always did one minute math fact sheets. And yes, they unfortunately had quizzes and tests all the time.

Many years later when those students were in high school, they thought about their classes with Mr. Daniels. And you know what? They were thankful! They were thankful for all the times Mr. Daniels pushed them to learn more. Yes, they were even thankful for the tests. The students all realized that they were better students and high school was easier because of the way that Mr. Daniels tested them.

Students shouldn’t be surprised when they get tested, and neither should Christians. The tests for Christians have nothing to do with math or reading. Sometimes Christians are tested by our friends. When everyone else is doing something wrong and sinful, will we join them, or will we do what is right? Sometimes Christians are tested when life is tough. When bad things happen in the world, will we trust that God will help us? When someone is sick or dying, will we put trust in Jesus our Savior and his promise of heaven?

Peter reminds us today that we shouldn’t be surprised by tests in our lives, as if something strange is happening to us. Difficult things will happen in a sinful world! If Jesus suffered in a sinful world, we certainly will too.

However, we can also rejoice when we are tested in this life because we know what will happen after all these tests—we will be in heaven! Some day soon we will be with Jesus in the place where there are no sicknesses or diseases, no tears or sadness, no suffering or dying. Just as Jesus suffered, died, and rose in glory, so will we suffer in this life, die, and then rise to glory in heaven. It may not be easy to do at first, but rejoice when life is difficult because soon you will rejoice in the peace and glory of heaven!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, sometimes this life is very difficult. Remind me that just as you suffered, so will I suffer. But even more, remind me always that you have given me the gift of heaven where there will never be any suffering or pain. Thank you for this! 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

  • Think of two bad things that make people suffer in this world.
  • Why do we look forward to heaven so much?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When you pray about your suffering and struggles, explain why Jesus is able to understand you so well.
  • How does Jesus help us with our suffering and struggles?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Describe what you think life is like for a person who suffers without the hope of heaven.
  • When life is difficult, it can be easy to lose focus on what Jesus promises to us in heaven. Think of one way you can stay more focused on the hope of eternal life.

Hymn: CW 465:1,4 – Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow you.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, You on earth once suffered, too.
Perish ev’ry fond ambition, All I’ve ever hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heav’n are still my own.

Haste, my soul, from grace to glory, Armed by faith and winged by prayer.
All but heav’n is transitory; God’s own hand shall guide you there.
Soon shall end this earthly story; Swift shall pass the pilgrim days,
Hope soon change to heav’nly glory, Faith to sight and prayer to praise.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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His Victory, My Victory – Family Devotion – September 22, 2021

Read: Isaiah 50:4-10

The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.
Isaiah 50:5-7

His Victory, My Victory

 

Family Devotion – September 22, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 50:5-7

See series: Devotions

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

Could anything be more awful? Could anyone be more angry, mean, or full of hatred? Jesus, our loving Savior, was beaten and bruised and bloodied by his enemies. They made fun of him. They spit on him. They nailed him to a cross! How terrible! How sad! How awful!

The words that we hear from Isaiah today are a prophecy. That means these words predict the future. They are very special words about the future. These are words of Jesus himself describing how he would suffer and die about 700 years before it actually happened.

Yet even worse than the pain of being beaten and hated, Jesus also suffered the pain of the sin and guilt of all people. He took all of your sins and all of my sins onto his own shoulders at the cross. He died to pay for what you have done and what I have done.

But the wonderful news of God’s love and grace is that there is a happy ending to the story. Jesus crushed Satan at the cross and forgave us all those sins. Jesus then rose from the dead in victory, and because he lives, we will live with him in heaven. Isaiah foretold this too when he said, “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.”

In the first devotion this week, Jesus reminded us that sometimes we still struggle in our lives. We have many temptations and sins to fight against. Sometimes there will be people who don’t like us, just like they didn’t like Jesus. It may feel like we are alone as we suffer in this world.

But not to worry, Christian friends! Jesus is on our side. The one who suffered, died, and rose in victory is now with us. Jesus is with us in everything that we do in life. When we struggle, he gives us strength. When we suffer, he gives us peace. When we sin, he gives us forgiveness. And when we die, he will give us heaven.

The beautiful truth of today is that the words of Jesus that Isaiah spoke are now our words. We can say that “The Sovereign Lord helps me.” We can say that “his victory is my victory.”

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you know my pain and my hurt because you suffered too. Give me strength to get through this life until I enjoy the victory you have prepared for me in the next life. 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 something painful that Jesus suffered.
  • What was the worst suffering and pain that Jesus experienced? Why?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How was it possible that Isaiah was able to predict the future about Jesus?
  • How do we know for sure that Jesus won the victory of sin, death, and hell?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: Jesus rising from the dead is the greatest miracle of all time. Explain your answer.
  • “His victory is my victory.” Explain why that little phrase about Jesus is something that can change your life.

Hymn: CW 465:1-2 – Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow you.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, You on earth once suffered, too.
Perish ev’ry fond ambition, All I’ve ever hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heav’n are still my own.

Let the world despise and leave me; They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me; You are not, like them, untrue.
And since you have smiled upon me, God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends may shun me—Show your face, and all is bright.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Take Up Your Cross – Family Devotion – September 20, 2021

Read: Mark 8:27-35

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Mark 8:34-35

Take Up Your Cross

 

Family Devotion – September 20, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:34-35

See series: Devotions

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

Do you have a favorite sports team? Is it a professional team near where you live? Maybe a college team? Is it a team that has your favorite player? Or maybe you like individual athletes like the famous Olympic gymnast Simone Biles?

All of these athletes have something in common. They all want to be great, and they want to win. Whether that’s a gold medal or a tournament or a championship—they all want to achieve their greatest goals.

Could you imagine if your favorite team never practiced? What if they showed up at the game and didn’t prepare or learn any plays? Could you imagine if your favorite athlete sat on the couch eating Doritos and watching Netflix all day? That would be crazy! Everyone knows that it takes hard work and effort to reach your goals. The hard work may be difficult, but the end result is totally worth it.

Following Jesus is very much the same. It takes hard work and effort! Not in the being saved and going to heaven part. That’s easy. Jesus took care of that by paying for our sins and giving us heaven by his loving grace. However, on the journey of life to heaven, it can be very difficult!

Peter was very confused about this once. He had just spoken some amazing words of faith, confessing that Jesus is the Savior and the Son of God. But as soon as Jesus talked about suffering and dying, Peter tried to stop Jesus because he only wanted easy and nice things. So Jesus told Peter he was wrong because he had in mind earthly things and not heavenly things.

Then Jesus spoke the words you just heard. Jesus said that whoever follows him must, “deny themselves and take up their cross.” What Jesus means is that just as he suffered, so will we. Part of living in a sinful world is the hard work of putting God first in our hearts and putting sin behind us. It also means that sometimes people won’t like us because we are Christians, just like they didn’t like Jesus.

But not to worry! Jesus will give us strength to do these difficult things, or to carry these crosses as he said. And even better, the end goal is totally worth it! As Jesus helps us walk through this difficult life, one day soon we will win the ultimate championship because of him—life in heaven! What a victory is ours in Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, when life is difficult and challenging, give us strength to endure it and patience to wait for your gift of eternal life. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name two things that are really hard in life.
  • Explain why going to heaven is easy and not difficult.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does Jesus mean when he says that we should “deny ourselves”?
  • Name a temptation in the world that is especially difficult to deny and resist these days.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: If God loved us more, he wouldn’t allow us to suffer so much. Explain your answer.
  • Agree/Disagree: Suffering in this life is something to be thankful for. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 465:1 – Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow you.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, You on earth once suffered, too.
Perish ev’ry fond ambition, All I’ve ever hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heav’n are still my own.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Powerful Words for You – Family Devotion – September 17, 2021

Read: Acts 3:1-10

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
Acts 3:6-8

Powerful Words for You

 

Family Devotion – September 17, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 3:6-8

See series: Devotions

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

“Touch your nose and jump on one foot,” Lauren said. No one moved . . . except Zach. Zach did just what Lauren said—he touched his nose and jumped on one foot. Everyone started laughing. Zach joined them in laughing because he realized what he did wrong. Lauren didn’t say the magic words, “Simon says.”

Do you like playing “Simon says”? Are you good at playing that game? It’s very easy to play. When the leader speaks those special words, “Simon says,” then you do whatever they say. If the leader doesn’t say, “Simon says,” then you’re not supposed to do what they say. It can be very funny to watch a group of kids do all sorts of crazy and silly things when the leader speaks those special words.

Peter spoke some special words in the story today. Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Then amazingly, a man who was not able to walk his entire life suddenly got up and walked around. He was so filled with joy that he went near God’s house, the temple, and was walking, jumping, and praising God!

What Peter did wasn’t magic or part of a game. It wasn’t done by his own power either. Peter healed the man with the power of Jesus. The same Jesus who healed people himself and who healed us from our sins gave Peter the power to speak these words and heal this man. This miracle helped to prove to other people how powerful Jesus is.

Jesus gives us powerful words to speak, too. We have his Word to share with other people. So when you tell someone that Jesus is our Savior and they believe it, God used the message that you spoke to work faith in their heart. When someone is mean to you and you say “I forgive you,” that person is forgiven just as much as if Jesus himself would say it. That’s powerful! When a pastor baptizes someone and says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” then God washes that person clean and welcomes them into his family. That’s powerful!

The words of Jesus are always powerful. That means the Bible is something for us to love and treasure. It also means that we can boldly share his words with others. When we do these things, we can trust that God will always be at work powerfully within us!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to treasure your Word and to trust its mighty power. Help me also to be boldly share the good news of Jesus with others. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What was wrong with the man that Peter healed one day?
  • How was Peter able to do this miracle?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How does God’s Word still work powerfully today?
  • Why is knowing that God’s Word is powerful comforting to us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • If God’s Word is so powerful, why are some people still unbelievers?
  • Describe what a Christian who is a bold witness for Jesus might do.

Hymn: CW 353:1,3 – Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness

Praise the one who breaks the darkness With a liberating light;
Praise the one who frees the pris’ners, Turning blindness into sight.
Praise the one who preached the gospel, Healing ev’ry dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands With the Father’s word of peace.

Let us praise the Word incarnate, Christ, who suffered in our place;
Jesus died and rose victorious That we may know God by grace.
Let us sing for joy and gladness, Seeing what our God has done;
Let us praise the true Redeemer, Praise the one who makes us one.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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He’s Coming! He Came! – Family Devotion – September 15, 2021

Read: Isaiah 35:4-7

Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come,
he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Isaiah 35:4-6

He’s Coming! He Came!

 

Family Devotion – September 15, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 35:4-6

See series: Devotions

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

“He’s coming! He’s coming!” Little Quincy and Nyah ran down the steps in their pj’s. They woke up extra early because they were so excited that their oldest cousin Jayden was coming to visit. Jayden was so much fun! Quincy and Nyah knew that the day would be filled with games and play-wrestling matches and lots of laughs.

For an hour the brother and sister sat by the window, waiting and watching. Any time a red car turned the corner they shouted, “He’s here! He’s here!” (They knew to look for a red car, but they didn’t know what kind.) After so much waiting, Quincy and Nyah gave up looking for a while and started playing video games. When Jayden finally arrived in his cool red car, their mom said, “He’s here!” The two dropped their controllers and ran out the door to jump into Jayden’s arms. After a long wait, he was finally there!

The Israelites had been waiting too—for a really long time. God had promised to send a Messiah who would save them. Over and over again he sent prophets, like Isaiah and others, who said, “He’s coming! He’s coming!” Isaiah even told the people about some things to watch for when the Messiah came. No, he wasn’t coming in a red car. Isaiah said that when he came, he would come with power and would heal people. Best of all, when God finally came, he would save his people.

In the first devotion this week, we heard about how Jesus fulfilled these words of Isaiah. Jesus did in fact heal a man who couldn’t hear or speak. We know that Jesus healed many other people, too. Most importantly, we also know that Jesus came to save us. God kept his many promises by sending Jesus to be the Messiah, our Savior from sin. Jesus lived for us and died for us to rescue us from sin. He also rose from the dead to prove that we will rise to life in heaven.

Sadly, just like Quincy and Nyah who got distracted waiting for their cousin, so did many of the Jewish people. They were so focused on worldly or sinful things that even when Jesus was standing right in front of them and doing the very things that God had promised (like healing people or dying on a cross) they still didn’t believe he was the Savior.

May God give to us eyes that clearly see and hearts that firmly believe that Jesus is the Savior we need. May we always keep our focus on him. Finally, may God give us patience as we wait for Jesus to arrive one last time on judgment day to take us home.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, thank you for keeping your promises and sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior from sin. Help us to keep our focus on him all our days. 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 were the special people God sent to tell others that the Savior was going to be coming?
  • What is the greatest promise that God has made to us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What did the prophet Isaiah say the promised Messiah would do?
  • Can you think of other prophecies (or promises) that Jesus fulfilled?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Evaluate this statement: Because Jesus fulfilled the words of prophets (like Isaiah), the Bible is more special than any other book.
  • How did the miracles of Jesus help to prove that he is the promised Messiah?

Hymn: CW 353:1-2 – Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness

Praise the one who breaks the darkness With a liberating light;
Praise the one who frees the pris’ners, Turning blindness into sight.
Praise the one who preached the gospel, Healing ev’ry dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands With the Father’s word of peace.

Praise the one who blessed the children With a strong, yet gentle, word;
Praise the one who drove out demons With the piercing, two-edged sword.
Praise the one who brings cool water To the desert’s burning sand;
From this well comes living water, Quenching thirst in ev’ry land.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Words of Power – Family Devotion – September 13, 2021

Read: Mark 7:31-37

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Mark 7:31-37

Words of Power

 

Family Devotion – September 13, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 7:31-37

See series: Devotions

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

“Quiet, please!” the teacher said. Suddenly all the talking in the classroom stopped. “Attention!” barked the army sergeant, and all the troops stopped what they were doing and stood perfectly still like statues. “Stop!” said the police officer who was directing traffic. All the people waited at the corner for cars to pass by and for the command to walk across the street.

There are a lot of people who have power and authority in their words. When they speak, people listen. When they say something, things happen. The coach tells her team what play to run. The teacher tells his students what they should do next. We respect and listen to people who are leaders because we know that their words are important.

This is even more true with Jesus! Did you hear his power today? Jesus said one word in his language—Ephphatha—and a man who couldn’t hear or speak suddenly was healed. Incredible!

But we shouldn’t be too surprised! This is what our God has always done. God simply spoke in the beginning, and he created the heavens and the earth. He spoke his promises, and they were always fulfilled. Then God came here in human flesh, and Jesus did the same. He spoke, and he calmed a storm. He spoke, and he healed people. He spoke, and he raised people from the dead. And best of all, Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross, and all our sins were paid for and the gates of heaven were opened for us. When God speaks, amazing things happen!

Since God’s words are powerful, true, and trustworthy, it is our joy as Christians to simply listen to God speak in his Word. We may have troubles and difficult things happen in our lives, but just like the man in the story, God comes to us and speaks words of power, love, and forgiveness. Trust God and his words. They are always powerful and always true!

Closing Prayer:

God, you have the power to heal both body and soul. Help me to trust what you say in your mighty Word. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did Jesus use his words to do in the story today?
  • Think of at least two amazing things has God done simply by speaking?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How do we know for sure that God’s Word is powerful?
  • If God’s Word is so powerful, what does that mean for our time in devotions, Bible studies, or church?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why doesn’t God need to perform miracles today like he did in this story?
  • God’s Word is more powerful than your words. Explain why that is comforting for Christians when we share our faith with other people.

Hymn: CW 353:1 – Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness

Praise the one who breaks the darkness With a liberating light;
Praise the one who frees the pris’ners, Turning blindness into sight.
Praise the one who preached the gospel, Healing ev’ry dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands With the Father’s word of peace.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Living for the Lord – Family Devotion – September 10, 2021

Read: Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:10,13-17

Living for the Lord

 

Family Devotion – September 10, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 6:10,13-17

See series: Devotions

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

What would Batman be without all of his cool tools and vehicles? What would Thor be without his hammer or Captain America without his shield? What would the Hulk be without his super size and super strength? What would Superman be without his powers? What would Iron Man be without his special suit? I think the answer to each question is pretty easy. What would they be? In trouble!

If superheroes or Avengers didn’t have their special powers, weapons, or protective armor, how could they fight against the bad guys? They wouldn’t have anything to fight with, and they wouldn’t have anything to protect themselves with. That would be dangerous and big trouble!

Christians are in danger when they don’t use their powers, weapons, or armor, too. No, you haven’t been secretly added to the Avengers or the Justice League. You are part of a bigger army—the army of God’s people. But watch out! Our enemy is more dangerous than any bad guy on TV or in the movies. The devil is our enemy, and he wants to steal you away from God and send you to hell forever.

But not to worry! The power, weapons, and armor we have can beat Satan any day! Did you hear what the verses for today said? We have the full armor of God! That means that we have all of God’s strength and power on our side! Remember that our God crushed Satan when he died for our sins on the cross. Remember that our God conquered death and hell when he rose from the dead. Jesus is the ultimate champion and superhero!

So what kinds of weapons and protection do we have from our awesome Savior God? The verses today told us. We have the truth of God’s Word close to us, like a belt around our waist. We have God’s righteousness and perfection like armor protecting our chest. We have our feet fitted and ready with the peace of Jesus that we can run and share with others. We have the shield of faith in Jesus to protect us from Satan’s attacks. We have the protective helmet of salvation, which is the knowledge that God has saved us from death. And, we have the powerful sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God to protect us and fight against Satan every day.

It may be a dangerous battle with the devil, but you are more ready than any superhero. You have God on your side! He will help you to stand firm and to be strong. He already won the battle at the cross and now he gives you his armor to protect you. Have no fear! God is on your side!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, you have already defeated sin, death, and the devil. Now protect me and keep me safe by your mighty power. 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 Jesus defeat the devil?
  • How does God keep us safe?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • If someone asked you to prove that sin, death, and the devil were defeated by Jesus, what would you say?
  • Name two ways you can use the armor of God in your life.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: Christians are not afraid of anything in this world. Explain your answer.
  • Describe times in your life when these verses might be comforting to you.

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.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Listen! – Family Devotion – September 8, 2021

Read: Deuteronomy 4:1,2,6-9

Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you. Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Deuteronomy 4:1,2,9

Listen!

 

Family Devotion – September 8, 2021

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 4:1,2,9

See series: Devotions

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

Henry was not happy. He lowered his head at his desk and was holding back the tears. He couldn’t believe what he saw on his history test—a big, red F. Meanwhile, Harriet next to him was nearly bouncing out of her chair. She couldn’t believe it either! Her test had a big, red A+ and a smiley face on it. They both sat through all the same classes together, but their grades were so different. What happened?

Well, Henry did not take history very seriously. Every day he drew silly pictures while the teacher talked instead of taking good notes. He heard what the teacher said, but he didn’t really listen to the teacher. Because he didn’t listen carefully, Henry remembered nothing on the test. He ended up leaving out some important information, and he even added some wrong things to the questions about Abraham Lincoln.

But Harriet did just the opposite. She knew that history class was very important. She listened very carefully and took notes so she would remember everything. She even reviewed and studied a little bit every day so that she would be ready for the test. Sure enough, Harriet passed the test easily because she listened, she was careful, and she remembered.

When it comes to God’s Word, are you more like Henry or more like Harriet?

Just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses gave them one final speech. He wanted to teach them to be like Harriet—to listen to God’s Word, to be careful, and to remember. Sadly, most of the Israelites were more like Henry. They heard what Moses said, but they didn’t really listen to him. They forgot many of God’s commands. They left out things in his Word and they added some of their own things. When it came to temptations and tests, they failed miserably and sinned. Many failed so badly they even fell away from God.

We can learn from the Israelites. It’s so important for us to hear God’s Word and listen carefully. That means that we listen to God’s commands, we talk about them, and we work on remembering to keep them. That means that we listen to the good news of God’s forgiveness for all of our sins, we talk about it regularly, and we encourage each other with that good news. Moses was right! It’s important to treasure God’s Word every day, and it’s important for parents to teach it to their children. When God’s Word is the center of your life, many blessings will follow! May God help us to hear his Word and to listen to it carefully.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, always open my ears to hear your Word and then open my heart and mind to listen to what you have to say. 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 are times that you can hear God’s Word?
  • Why do we want to listen carefully to God’s Word?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Describe the attitudes and behaviors of people who don’t listen to God’s Word.
  • Describe two ways that you can be a better listener to what God says.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: It’s not a big deal to miss going to church for a week or two here or there. Explain your answer.
  • When you grow older in life, how will you make God’s Word a regular part of your life?

Hymn: CW 376:3-4 – Jesus, Your Blood and Righteousness

Lord, I believe your precious blood, Which at the very throne of God
Forever will for sinners plead, For me—e’en for my soul—was shed.

Lord, I believe were sinners more Than sands upon the ocean shore,
You have for all a ransom paid, For all a full atonement made.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Clean in Christ – Family Devotion – September 6, 2021

Read: Mark 7:1-8,14,15,21-23

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”

He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Mark 7:14,15,20-23

Clean in Christ

 

Family Devotion – September 6, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 7:14,15,20-23

See series: Devotions

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

You know what’s gross? When people don’t wash their hands! Eww! Sometimes you might use chalk or paint or glitter and your fingers start to turn different colors. Other times hands get really dirty, like when you’re playing outside and you get mud everywhere, even under your fingernails. Could you imagine someone coming to dinner with hands like this—dirty, slimy, muddy hands—and then digging into a big bowl of watermelon without washing their hands? Eww!

It’s not just mud or paint that makes your hands dirty. Sometimes you can’t see what makes your hands dirty because they’re filled with germs. Imagine someone sneezing right into their hand and then wanting to shake your hand. Gross! Or how about a sick student coughing all over their hands and then touching everything at school—the desks, the books, the doors. Yuck! Bleh! Gross!

Some of the Jews in Jesus’ time were very serious about washing hands and other things. They weren’t really concerned about germs though. They did these things because they thought it made them more holy. They thought God would love them more because they did these special washings.

One day, when they asked Jesus why his disciples didn’t do this kind of special hand washing, Jesus told them how wrong they were. Jesus told them it is not dirt and mud that defiles a person (that means to make them dirty or unclean). Instead, it is what comes from the inside that makes a person unclean. It’s sin in us that makes us dirty in God’s sight. Our anger, our greed, our hatred, our mean words, our pride, and so much more—all of these make us so dirty that no water or soap could ever clean us.

Thankfully, Jesus could—and did! Jesus washed us clean himself. But he didn’t use soap or hand sanitizer. Jesus washed us clean with his own blood that he shed on the cross. He washed away every stain of sin and made us clean and pure in God’s sight. Even better, one day we will be with Jesus in heaven where we will be clean and holy forever! What a joy that will be!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for washing us clean in your own blood. Help me now to live a life that is pure and God-pleasing in your sight. 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 us dirty in God’s sight?
  • How do we become clean in God’s sight?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain what Jesus meant when he said that what is inside of us makes us dirty.
  • Explain the difference between having a dirty body and a dirty soul. Which is worse? Why?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why was it so dangerous for the Jews to be obsessed with the laws about hand washing? What were they missing?
  • When someone founds out that they are clean in Jesus, how might their life change and be different?

Hymn: CW 376:1-2 – Jesus, Your Blood and Righteousness

Jesus, your blood and righteousness My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Mid flaming worlds, in these arrayed, With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in that great day—Who can a word against me say?
Fully through you absolved I am From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Worth More than Anything – Family Devotion – September 3, 2021

Read: Hebrews 11:24-28

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
Hebrews 11:24-26

Worth More than Anything

 

Family Devotion – September 3, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:24-26

See series: Devotions

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

If you could have anything and everything you ever wanted, would you take it? What if you had so much money you could buy anything you want—like big screen TVs and every game system, or a new bike every day, or even your own personal llama! What if you could do anything you want at any time, and no one could ever stop you? Would that be amazingly awesome? Or maybe, possibly, do you think that could be amazingly awful?

If you could have anything you want or do anything you want, do you think you might become greedy? Is it possible that your heart would love money and possessions too much? Do you think you might do some sinful things? Is it possible that you might be led away from God?

This might seem like an impossible situation for us, but this was a real-life situation for Moses. Moses had been adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Moses could have bought anything he ever wanted. He could have done anything he ever wanted. No one could stop him because he was in the king’s palace. He could have been rich and powerful. And yet, Moses chose not to take all of that. Instead, he chose to be treated badly along with his fellow Israelite people.

Why would Moses do that? The Bible writer to the Hebrews gives us two reasons. First, he says that Moses chose to be with God’s people instead of all the pleasures of sin. All that money and power would have led him away from God, not closer to God. Then the writer says this, “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” This means that Moses understood that God had something better to offer. The treasures that God offers are much better than king’s clothing or a king’s palace or riches and power. God offers the riches of his love as our heavenly Father. God offers all of his power as he protects us and provides for us. God offers us the riches of eternal life in heaven. What could ever be better than all that?

It might be very easy to look at all the things of the world around us and to wish that we had what other people have. “If only I had more money . . . If only I was famous,” we might think. But today we learn a valuable lesson from the Bible and from Moses. God gave us the greatest treasure of all—Jesus our Savior. Through Jesus we have endless spiritual riches here and in heaven. And that is worth more than anything!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to stay away from the sins of this world. Instead, lead me to follow you. Fill me with your love that I may live for you. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why could Moses have had anything or done anything if he wanted?
  • What did Moses consider to be more valuable than worldly things?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do money and possessions often lead people away from God?
  • Explain why Jesus is more valuable than anything here in this world.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What things in this world do you think Satan might use try and lead you away from Jesus? Explain your answers.
  • If God blesses you with children one day, how would you teach them that Jesus is more important than worldly things?

Hymn: CW 506:1,4-5 – Oh, Bless the House, Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Blest such a house; it prospers well.
In peace and joy the parents dwell,
And in their children’s lives is shown
How richly God can bless his own.

Then here will I and mine today
A solemn promise make and say:
Though all the world forsake his Word,
I and my house will serve the Lord!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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I Will, I Promise – Family Devotion – September 1, 2021

Read: Joshua 24:1,2,14-18

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods!
Joshua 24:15,16

I Will, I Promise

 

Family Devotion – September 1, 2021

Devotion based on Joshua 24:15,16

See series: Devotions

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

“I will, I promise.” Monique was very confident when she told her parents that she was going to follow all their rules. They were about to go out on a date together, and they were going to leave her alone for a few hours by herself for the first time. They reviewed some of the important rules they had, “Don’t answer the door for anyone. Please don’t cook anything by yourself. No YouTube videos, and please, do something besides watching TV. Will you follow these rules?”

“I will, I promise,” Monique said again. She really and truly wanted to show her parents that she was trustworthy and able to handle being alone and making good choices.

The night started off pretty well. She was going to watch just one show, and then she planned to do something else. But when Monique got bored after two hours of TV, she remembered that her friend at school had told her about a really cool video she saw on YouTube. Well, just one video, right? How would her parents even know? Monique ended up watching a pile of YouTube videos. Not all of them were very appropriate either. But some of them were about cooking, and that made her want to try. How would they know if she cooked something quickly and cleaned up? Unfortunately for Monique, her parents’ date night ended early and they walked in the door right as she was following the video instructions to put something in the oven! Monique meant to obey, but she failed to keep her promise.

The Israelites did the same thing. When they were about to enter the Promised Land of Canaan, Joshua encouraged the people to leave behind sinful ways and other gods and to follow the Lord instead. Joshua said he and his family would serve the Lord only. All the people agreed and said they would too. “We will, we promise!” But that didn’t last very long. The Israelites fell into sin and failed over and over again.

Thank God for his grace! Despite all the times the Israelites failed to keep their promise to serve the Lord, God still sent his Son Jesus to be the Savior of all people. That includes you and me. We fail to serve God with all our hearts when we sin, too. But Jesus took away those sins when he died on the cross. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, God now looks at us as his dearly beloved children.

May that love of Jesus fill us with thanks and give us the strength to say, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!”

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, give me the strength to serve you all my days with all my heart. 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 promise did Joshua and then Israelites make before they entered the Promised Land?
  • Did they keep their promises? How do you know?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What makes it so difficult to keep our promises?
  • How can we work on staying committed to serving the Lord?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • If we break promises often, how do we know that God will keep his promises to us?
  • Describe what it means and what it looks like when a family is committed to serving the Lord.

Hymn: CW 506:1,3 – Oh, Bless the House, Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Oh, blest the parents who give heed
Unto their children’s foremost need
And weary not of care or cost.
May none to them and heav’n be lost!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Where Else Would We Go? – Family Devotion – August 30, 2021

Read: John 6:60-69

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
John 6:68,69

Where Else Would We Go?

 

Family Devotion – August 30, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:68,69

See series: Devotions

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

Mr. Fluffers was a good dog. His family loved him and his fluffy fur so much! But what they loved the most was that Mr. Fluffers was a faithful dog that kept coming back to them. You see, in their neighborhood, dogs seemed to run all over the place. Some escaped from their fenced-in yards. Some ran too fast for their owners. And lots of passing cars and stray cats made every dog chase down the street—except Mr. Fluffers.

Mr. Fluffers would sometimes go to the edge of the yard. Sometimes he would run and bark at cats running by. Sometimes he even seemed to disappear for a bit of time. But he always came back. Mr. Fluffers seemed to know that at home he was safe and fed and loved so much. Why would Mr. Fluffers chase any silly cat or leave the yard when everything he could ever want or need was right there at his loving home?

When it comes to Jesus, do you act more like Mr. Fluffers or more like the rest of the dogs in the neighborhood? So many things can distract us in life. Other things might seem more fun than reading the Bible, having a devotion, or going to church. TV, movies, and video games might seem to be a better way to spend our time. As people get older, sometimes they even find that sinful things are more enjoyable, or they might think that working and making money is more important than time with Jesus in his Word or in church.

At one time during Jesus’ life, there were many people who got distracted and left him. Some didn’t believe in Jesus. Others couldn’t understand what he was teaching them about how he was the bread that gives life to people. So they simply left. That’s when Jesus turned to his disciples and asked if they were going to leave, too. Peter had a beautiful response! He said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Peter is so right! Why would we want to go anywhere else? Why would we leave Jesus when he spiritually feeds us, keeps us safe, and loves us so much? Why would we turn to anything else when Jesus gives us everything we could ever want or need spiritually? Jesus provides for us daily. He forgives our sins and welcomes us to his family. He even gives to us the sure hope of life with him in heaven. What a joy to know, like Peter, that Jesus is “the Holy One of God!”

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, please help us not to get distracted by the things of this life, but always to come to you for healing, help, and hope. 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 were many people leaving Jesus?
  • What did Jesus ask his disciples? How did they respond?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What might lead people who believe in Jesus to leave him and follow other things?
  • How can we keep ourselves from being distracted by the things of this life?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Identify what you think are the biggest distractions that lead people away from Jesus in the world right now. Explain your answers.
  • Agree/Disagree: It is easier for Christians in America to be distracted in their faith than Christians in other countries. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 506:1-2 – Oh, Bless the House, Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Oh, blest that house where faith you find
And all within have set their mind
To trust their God and serve him still
And do in all his holy will.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Be Careful! – Family Devotion – August 27, 2021

Read: Ephesians 5:15-20

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:15-16,18-20

Be Careful!

 

Family Devotion – August 27, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:15-16,18-20

See series: Devotions

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

“Be careful!” How many times have your parents said that to you before? “Be careful! Look both ways before crossing the street! . . . Be careful! Don’t touch the hot stove! . . . Be careful! Don’t run with those scissors! . . . Be careful! Tie your shoe so you don’t fall!”

How often have you listened to the warnings of your parents or teachers? Could it be that sometimes you do whatever you want instead? That can be very dangerous! Crossing the street without looking, touching a hot pan, or running with scissors or with your shoes untied can lead to you getting very hurt—or something even worse! Adults tell children to be careful because they care about them and want them to be safe. It is wise to listen to those warnings.

God gives us many warnings in the Bible, too. In his Word he tells us things that we should and should not do. Many times these commands are meant to protect us and other people. But not only does God want to protect us from getting hurt, God also wants to protect us from something even worse—dying and going to hell.

That’s why it is so important for us to listen to the warning today to be very careful how we live. The Bible writer says that days in this world are very evil. It can be dangerous for us if we get caught up in the sins that other people are doing.

So how can we be more careful and safe? The Bible writer tells us that too. He tells us to be filled with the Holy Spirit by making use of the Bible. We can read God’s Word and listen to God’s Word and sing God’s Word in hymns and songs. When we do these things, we know that God will strengthen us and keep us safe from all the evil sins out there in the world. His protection will guide us every day until we are finally safe once and for all in heaven. Because we know this, we can do exactly what the final verse of the day says—always give thanks to God. Yes, thank you, God, for your love, your care, and your protection!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, give me wisdom so that I can be careful with my choices. Help me to listen to and learn from your Word as you guide me to your heavenly kingdom. 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 important to listen to the warnings of parents, pastors, teachers, and others in authority?
  • Why is it important to listen to the warnings of God?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain why it is so difficult to listen to the warnings of God in the Bible.
  • Describe ways that you can be more “careful” with your faith.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Describe what a person’s life might look like if they are not careful with their faith.
  • What can you do to be careful about your faith as you grow older in life?

Hymn: CW 331:1,3 – Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death and hell’s Destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises I will ever give to thee.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Now I Get It! – Family Devotion – August 25, 2021

Read: Proverbs 9:1-6

Wisdom has built her house;
she has set up its seven pillars.
She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
she has also set her table.
She has sent out her servants, and she calls
from the highest point of the city,
“Let all who are simple come to my house!”
Proverbs 9:1-4

Now I Get It!

 

Family Devotion – August 25, 2021

Devotion based on Proverbs 9:1-4

See series: Devotions

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

Lucy was stuck. It felt like she had been working on her math problem for hours (it really had been only ten minutes). She knew how to add and subtract, to multiply and divide. In fact, Lucy was very good at math. But this problem made no sense to her. Finally, Lucy’s teacher came over. “Lucy, can I help you with that?”

“Yes, please!” she begged. The teacher spent a few minutes and walked her through the problem. She explained each part of the problem until Lucy had all the numbers ready to solve it. “Oh! Now I get it! Thank you so much!”

Lucy was very smart, but she needed some help with wisdom. Wisdom is a little bit different than how smart you are. When you are wise you can think carefully about something, understand it, and make good choices. Lucy’s teacher helped her gain wisdom in solving the math problem.

Today’s Bible verses may sound a bit confusing, but they are actually very simple. Wisdom is being pictured as a person inviting people over to the house for a big dinner. It’s like pretending Wisdom is saying, “Come on over for a party so you can become more wise.”

It may seem silly, but it’s a beautiful picture, especially when we understand who is the one that makes us so wise—Jesus. Jesus is the one who invites us to learn more about him. Jesus is the one who wants us to know how much he loves us. Jesus is the one who wants us to know that we are invited to the greatest dinner party of all time—the feast of eternal life in heaven.

Earlier this week we heard about people who were very confused when Jesus told them he is the Bread of Life. Our prayer today and every day is that Jesus can give us wisdom to solve this problem. We can pray that Jesus helps us to know that to eat the Bread of Life means to believe in Jesus and have life in his name. When we understand that, we too can say, “Oh! Now I get it! Thank you so much, Jesus, for giving me wisdom!”

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, give me wisdom to put my faith and trust in you at all times, until you lead me safely home to heaven. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is the best meal or dinner you have ever had? Why?
  • What do you think it will be like to celebrate at what the Bible calls the feast of heaven?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain the difference between being smart and being wise.
  • Why is wisdom something important to have in your life?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Describe how someone would grow in spiritual knowledge and then how someone would grow in spiritual wisdom.
  • Identify stories in the Bible where someone (besides Jesus) acted with spiritual wisdom.

Hymn: CW 331:1-2 – Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fiery, cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliv’rer, Be thou still my strength and shield.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Wait, What? – Family Devotion – August 23, 2021

Read: John 6:51-58

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
John 6:51-58

Wait, What?

 

Family Devotion – August 23, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:51-58

See series: Devotions

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

“Wait, what?” Antonio was so confused. “If God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, how come the Bible says there is only one God and not three Gods?” That made Katie think of another question, “And how could it be that God could simply say words and create the whole world out of nothing?” That made Deon think of a question, too. “And if Jesus is true God how could he come into this world as a little baby?” Olivia didn’t even raise her hand. She just shouted out her question, “And how could Jesus die if he’s true God?”

So many questions! I bet you could think of more. How did God split the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites? How did Jesus turn water into wine? How do I get to heaven only by believing in Jesus and not by any work of my own?

If you’ve ever had questions about God or the Bible, you’re not alone! Today’s story tells us about some very confused people. Jesus had been teaching that he was the Bread of Life, meaning that he alone is the one who gives life to people—both life with God and life in heaven. But the people only thought about the bread part. “How can Jesus say he is bread? How are we supposed to eat another person?”

But that’s not what Jesus meant. When Jesus told them that people must eat his flesh and drink his blood, he simply meant that they should believe in him. Kind of like you take in food or drink and it keeps your life going and strengthens you, so when we take in Jesus by faith, he gives us eternal life. But even more, these words of Jesus remind us that later on he gave us a very special meal that we call the Lord’s Supper or Communion. In that meal Jesus does come with his body and blood in the bread and wine for people to eat and drink and receive his forgiveness and comfort.

Sometimes these teachings of Jesus and the Bible are very difficult for our human brains to understand. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t true. Instead, we can pray that Jesus opens our hearts and minds to do the very thing that he teaches—to eat the Bread of Life—to believe in him and receive the life that he gives.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, sometimes we struggle to understand you as our God and Savior. Give us faith to trust you and your Word, even when it is difficult to understand. 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 something about God that is difficult for you to understand.
  • What should we do if there is something about God that we don’t understand?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What did Jesus mean when he said people should “eat his flesh” and “drink his blood?”
  • Compare and contrast eating bread to “eating” Jesus, the Bread of Life.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: It is comforting to know that God is often beyond our understanding. Explain your answer.
  • Jesus is obviously not bread. He’s true God and true man. So why would Jesus teach people using picture language like saying he’s the Bread of Life?

Hymn: CW 331:1 – Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Kindness, Please! – Family Devotion – August 20, 2021

Read: Ephesians 4:30-5:2

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 4:31-5:2

Kindness, Please!

 

Family Devotion – August 20, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:31-5:2

See series: Devotions

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

“Kindness, please.” As a kindergarten teacher, Kayla felt like she said that phrase a hundred times a day at school. Kayla said it to her students when they wouldn’t share during play time. “Kindness, please.” Kayla said it when she saw first and second graders cutting in line in front of other people, “Kindness, please.” She said it over and over to the big kids at school too when they were mean in the hallways or yelled at each other during recess. “Kindness, please!”

Why is it so hard for us to be kind and loving to other people? There are probably many reasons, but maybe one reason is bigger than the rest. The devil wants you to love a certain someone more than you love other people. You know who that someone is? You! Satan wants you to love yourself more than other people.

So when children think of themselves first, they don’t want to share with friends at school. When children think of themselves first, they cut to the front of the line or say mean things to other students or cheat to win games at recess. Adults do similar things. When adults put themselves first, they aren’t so good at being nice to other people. We don’t realize it very often, but all of our anger or mean words and actions come from the fact that we are loving ourselves more than we are loving other people.

The apostle Paul helps us to rethink and repent. He wants us to turn away from that sin and to love God and other people before we love ourselves. That’s why Paul said, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other.”

But why would we do that? Why would we put others first? Paul tells us: “In Christ God forgave you.” God has shown us the ultimate kindness in his Son Jesus. Jesus came to this world and put us first. He lived for us. He died for us. He rose for us. All this he did so that we could be God’s children and live with him forever. And we hear this great encouragement today, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Since we are God’s dearly loved children, we can live just like Jesus did, putting others first.

Think about how you can show love to others first. Share with your friends. Let someone else go before you. Try complimenting and saying nice things about others. Listen to parents and teachers. God says in his Word, “Kindness, please,” and what a joy it is for us to show others the love and kindness that God has shown to us.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, fill my heart with your love that I may go and show love and kindness to other people. 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 has Jesus shown kindness to us?
  • How can you show kindness and love to someone at school?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain why being mean to other people comes from loving yourself more than other people.
  • Why does Jesus’ love for us help us to be more loving to other people?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain why loving yourself more than other people also breaks the First Commandment.
  • Discuss with your family two ways that each of you can show more kindness and love to others this week.

Hymn: CWS 750:1,5-6 – Christ, the Word of God Incarnate

Christ, the Word of God incarnate, Lord and Son of Abraham;
Christ, the radiance of the Father, Perfect God, the great I Am;
Christ, the Light, you shine unvanquished, Light and life you bring to all;
Light our path with your own presence, Grant us grace to heed your call.

Christ, the way that leads unfailing To the Father’s home on high;
Christ, the truth that frees the captive; Christ, the life that cannot die.
Mediator to the Father, Sacrifice and Great High Priest:
Lead us to your heav’nly mansions, There to share your wedding feast.

Christ, the Alpha and Omega; Christ, the firstborn from the dead;
Christ, the life and resurrection; Christ, the Church’s glorious head:
Praise and thanks and adoration And unending worship be
To the Father and the Spirit And to you eternally.

 

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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I’ve Had Enough! – Family Devotion – August 18, 2021

Read: 1 Kings 19:3-8

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
1 Kings 19:3-8

I’ve Had Enough!

 

Family Devotion – August 18, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:3-8

See series: Devotions

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

“That’s enough! I can’t take it anymore!” Tom yelled as he stormed into the house. Tom looked so frustrated—like he was going to scream and cry at the same time. He was so upset that his kids paused the video games to look at their dad while Tom’s wife came to give him a hug. “What’s wrong, dear?” she asked.

“It’s work—again! It was another terrible day. Everyone made mistakes, but I made it all better. But did anyone thank me? No! Was the boss nice to me? No! And to make it even worse, we were told that some of us might be losing our jobs soon. I can’t take it anymore! Doesn’t God know what I’m going through?”

The kids ran over to join Mom in giving their dad a hug. His wife led him by the hand to the kitchen table where the wonderful smells of lasagna and garlic bread greeted him. The family sat down together, prayed, ate dinner, and had their regular family devotion. By the end of the night, Tom felt much better. The love of his family, the delicious food, and a good devotion reminded Tom of all the other blessings that God had given to his family. Soon Tom was thinking more about how often God had helped him rather than thinking about this one problem.

This can happen easily to any of us. God richly blesses us with his love and care. He provides for us and protects us. But then one thing goes wrong, and we act like it’s the end of the world! Someone gets sick or there is trouble in the family or at school or with friends, and we may think that God isn’t helping us anymore.

Elijah did the same thing in the story today. Even though God had done some great miracles, Elijah was afraid of the wicked king and queen of Israel and said, “I have had enough.” But God provided food for him and reminded him with that blessing that he would give Elijah strength to carry on.

In a sinful world we may have difficult times. But remember that Jesus, who came to this world, knows your problems. He is ready to listen to your prayers. He is ready to strengthen you and guide you. And best of all, Jesus overcame this world so that we can soon have a perfect life with him in heaven. Rejoice! Jesus will give you strength to carry on toward heaven!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, many things are difficult in this life. Remind us of all your blessings and strengthen us to get through all difficult times. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why was Elijah frustrated and scared?
  • How did God remind Elijah of his love?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Name one difficult thing you have gone through recently.
  • What are ways that God reminds us of his love and blessings?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why do challenging times lead us to question God’s love?
  • Give an example how would you encourage someone who is going through difficult times and questions God’s love.

Hymn: CWS 750:1,4 – Christ, the Word of God Incarnate

Christ, the Word of God incarnate, Lord and Son of Abraham;
Christ, the radiance of the Father, Perfect God, the great I Am;
Christ, the Light, you shine unvanquished, Light and life you bring to all;
Light our path with your own presence, Grant us grace to heed your call.

Christ, our good and faithful Shepherd, Watching all your lambs and sheep;
Christ, the gate that guards the sheepfold, Never-failing vigil keep.
When we stray, Good Shepherd, seek us, Find us, lift us, bear us home;
Lamb of God, our Shepherd, keep us; Let us hear your voice alone.

 

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Eat the Right Bread – Family Devotion – August 16, 2021

Read: John 6:41-51

“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
John 6:43, 47-51

Eat the Right Bread

 

Family Devotion – August 16, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:43, 47-51

See series: Devotions

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

“How can it be?” they thought. “This doesn’t make any sense!”

The Jewish people were frustrated, confused, and upset. Jesus recently fed more than 5,000 people with an amazing miracle. Now many came to him because they wanted more—more food, more miracles, more amazing things. They wanted Jesus to be an earthly king to give them whatever they wanted.

That’s when Jesus told them they were looking for the wrong kind of bread. Jesus said that he was the “bread of life” who came from heaven. This is what confused them. How could Jesus say he came from heaven? Wasn’t he the carpenter’s son from Nazareth? How could he say he came from God if he looks like another ordinary person? How could Jesus be special if he wouldn’t give them the things they wanted?

Do you ever have this problem with Jesus? Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus immediately healed you every time you got hurt? What if Jesus made it so that you never got sick? Or what if Jesus made you rich with lots of money? Sometimes, like the Jews, we want Jesus to be more of an earthly king than a heavenly king.

Jesus reminds us today that we shouldn’t only look for earthly “bread.” Jesus will provide food and clothing and other daily needs. But Jesus reminds us that he gives us something better—himself.

Why is this so important? Well, the Jews of old ate lots of miracle bread called manna, but they still died. We too can have all the best food and possessions and money, but we too will die. That’s why we need a different bread. We need Jesus, the bread who gives life. We need Jesus who conquered sin and death at the cross. We need Jesus who rose from the dead. We need Jesus who gives us a place with him in heaven.

When we eat this bread called Jesus, we aren’t just feeding our bodies. We are feeding our souls. Fill up every day on Jesus, the Bread of Life, and know the life that he gives in his name.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help us to grow in faith by feeding on you in your Word. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is your favorite thing in your house?
  • Why is Jesus more important than that thing or anything else?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What were the Jewish people looking for from Jesus? Why?
  • Why do worldly things sometimes lead people away from Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Compare and contrast Jesus, the Bread of Life, to regular bread.
  • Discuss how your family can better feed on Jesus, the Bread of Life, together.

Hymn: CWS 750:1-2 – Christ, the Word of God Incarnate

Christ, the Word of God incarnate, Lord and Son of Abraham;
Christ, the radiance of the Father, Perfect God, the great I Am;
Christ, the Light, you shine unvanquished, Light and life you bring to all;
Light our path with your own presence, Grant us grace to heed your call.

Christ, the living bread from heaven, Food for body, food for soul;
Christ, the manna, daily given, Nourish, strengthen, make us whole.
Feed us with the food of heaven, Foretaste of the feast to be;
Quench our thirst with living water Springing up eternally.

 

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Dressed for the Best – Family Devotion – August 13, 2021

Read: Ephesians 4:17-24

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:20-24

Dressed for the Best

 

Family Devotion – August 13, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:20-24

See series: Devotions

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

Bria was horrified! She couldn’t believe it! She finally convinced her mom to go back-to-school shopping for new clothes. Most of her clothes didn’t fit because she had grown over the summer. A lot of her shirts were worn out, and some even had holes in them. Bria got a pile of new clothes, and she was excited to look her best at school.

But how could this be! Here she was in the car on the way to her first day of school in her best and favorite new outfit, and she dropped her chocolate donut! Noooo! She was covered in chocolate stains. With tears in her eyes Bria pleaded to go back home. “Mom, they can’t see me like this! I’m a mess!”

Not to worry! Super dad came to the rescue! Bria and her mom waited in the school parking lot as dad rushed from home with another brand-new outfit for Bria to wear. And suddenly, with a change of clothes came a change of attitude. Bria was happy again and excited for a great first day of school.

How dirty are you? How often do you walk around with stains for everyone to see? I’m not talking about spilling juice on your shirt or getting mud on your shoes. I’m talking about sin. How dirty are you from all the bad things you have done? How often do other people see you do what is wrong?

Today the apostle Paul reminds us that this not how we Christians are to live. This week’s devotions have reminded us that God gives us many blessings—like food and clothing—but the best blessings come to us through Jesus himself. Jesus has washed us clean of every stain from our sins. He has given us a new life and clothed us with his own perfection and holiness. That’s why Paul says we should “put off” our old sinful ways and “put on” the new self.

Just like Bria was happy and excited to wear the new outfit she changed into, so we can be happy and excited to live our new life in Jesus. Life with Jesus is filled with joy and peace and love. Life with Jesus is filled with the hope of life in heaven. Life with Jesus is different and better. So follow Paul’s advice. Get rid of your old sinful ways and put on your best outfit for everyone to see. Wear your faith in Jesus and let the light of Christ shine!

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, you have washed me clean with your own blood. You have dressed me in your own life and death. Now let me shine with the light of your love so that all can see. 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 us dirty in God’s sight? Why?
  • Who makes us clean in God’s sight? How?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain how Jesus’ forgiveness is like putting on new and clean clothing.
  • When Christians live with their “new clothing” from Christ, how will they look different from other unbelievers in the world?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • The Bible tells us that we are clothed with Christ at our baptism (Galatians 3:27). What are ways that you can better remember your baptism when you were clothed with Christ?
  • A friend comes to you and says, “I’ve really messed up and sinned badly. I feel so dirty.” What would you say to that person?

Hymn: CW 402:1,4 – My Faith Looks Up to Thee

My faith looks up to thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Savior divine.
Now hear me while I pray; Take all my guilt away;
Oh, let me from this day Be wholly thine!

When ends life’s transient dream, When death’s cold, sullen stream
Shall o’er me roll,
Blest Savior, then, in love, Fear and distrust remove;
Oh, bear me safe above, A ransomed soul!

 

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Stop Whining! – Family Devotion – August 11, 2021

Read: Exodus 16:2-20

The LORD said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’”
Exodus 16:11-12

Stop Whining!

 

Family Devotion – August 11, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 16:11-12

See series: Devotions

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

What is your favorite food? Take a moment and think about that favorite food . . . can you picture it? Can you smell it? What are you thinking about? Chocolate chip cookies? Crisp, fresh bacon? Warm apple pie? Something else?

What if God did a crazy miracle and provided that food for you right now? What if an entire room was filled with that food? Or what if that food dropped out of the sky for you to eat like in the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? What if God provided you with that delicious treat every single day? Wouldn’t that be amazing!

Or . . . do you think that over time you would get sick of that food? Do you think after a while you would start to complain? How long before you didn’t think about the amazing miracle of getting that food, but rather about how you just wanted something different to eat?

This is what happened to the Israelites. What a bunch of whiny complainers! God miraculously brought them out of Egypt. But they complained! They complained they didn’t have water. So God did another miracle to provide water for them. Then they complained some more because they were hungry! Yet rather than punish them, God blessed them. He did another miracle. This time he provided birds called quail and a special bread called manna for them to eat—every single day. They were in a wilderness where there wasn’t much to eat, yet God provided for around two million people every day with good food to eat. But you know what they did? They still complained!

Do you do this too? Ever get sick of your toys or technology, your shoes or your clothes, your car or your house? Ever wish you had something bigger or better? Ever wish you had what other people have? So often we forget about the endless blessings that God has given to us and complain that we want something different, something “better” in our minds.

Take a moment to think, this time not about your favorite food. Take a moment to think about all the things God has blessed you with. Listen to the reason God provided manna and quail for the Israelites. He said, “Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.” Think about your blessings and know that the LORD is your gracious God who has given you everything you have. But even better than cookies or bacon or shoes or phones or cars, God has given to you the best blessings. He has given you his own Son Jesus. He has given to you forgiveness of all your sins. He has given to you all the treasures of heaven that you can enjoy with him for all eternity. No need to complain and ask for something better! God has already given to you the best. Thank God for that!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for providing what I need for both my body and my soul. You have given me the very best, especially your own Son Jesus. Help me always to be thankful. 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 were the two kinds of food that God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness?
  • Why did they complain about these things?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When the Israelites complained so much and so often, why didn’t God destroy them and wipe them out forever?
  • Explain how we Christians today sometimes act like the Israelites in the wilderness.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How can Christians better learn to treasure Jesus more than all other things?
  • What does it look like when Christians act like Jesus is the best thing in their lives?

Hymn: CW 402:1,3 – My Faith Looks Up to Thee

My faith looks up to thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Savior divine.
Now hear me while I pray; Take all my guilt away;
Oh, let me from this day Be wholly thine!

While life’s dark maze I tread And griefs around me spread,
Be thou my guide.
Bid darkness turn to day, Wipe sorrow’s tears away,
Nor let me ever stray From thee aside.

 

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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I Want Something Better – Family Devotion – August 9, 2021

Read: John 6:24-35

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 6:35

I Want Something Better

 

Family Devotion – August 9, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:35

See series: Devotions

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

“More! . . . More!” Little Bryce didn’t know many words, but he definitely knew this one. “More! . . . More!” he kept saying every time his mother gave him another bite of that ooey-gooey, super cheesy mac ‘n cheese. Bryce’s older brother and sister couldn’t stop laughing at him.

Their mother reminded them that Bryce wasn’t the only one who always wants more. Last week Bryce’s brother cried at his birthday party because even though he got tons of presents, he didn’t get the one thing he really wanted. And Bryce’s teenage sister had a closet full of clothes, yet somehow she always complained about having nothing to wear.

But those three aren’t alone. Don’t we all do this? Kids get toys or gifts or money, and very quickly they want something bigger or better. They want more. Adults buy a new house or car or get a new phone or tablet. But soon there will be a cooler car or a fancier phone those people will want more. Despite our many blessings in this life, we seem so often to want more!

Something similar happened in the story today. Jesus had miraculously fed over 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two small fish. What a blessing! When Jesus left them, the people quickly went to find him. Not because they wanted to thank him. Not because they wanted to learn about their powerful Savior who provided for them. No, they wanted more.

Jesus pointed this out to them and taught them to look for something better. They wanted more bread or food for their stomachs. They wanted something that was for this life and that wouldn’t last. But Jesus told them to look for a “bread” that lasts. What was Jesus talking about? He told them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Jesus provided food for those people, and he provides for us today, because he loves us. He is gracious and blesses us with so many things! But each of these blessings reminds us that Jesus gives us something even better—himself. You can eat the best food ever, but you’ll still be hungry tomorrow. You can have the best phone ever, but soon it will be out of style or break or no longer work. But if you have Jesus, he will satisfy every desire. He gives forgiveness. He gives peace. He gives eternal life in heaven. Thank God for the blessings he gives you, yes even the wonderful food you eat. But always crave the food that is even better—Jesus, the Bread of Life.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for the food and many blessings you give us. Most of all, thank you for feeding us with yourself, the Bread of Life. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is your favorite food that God gives you to eat?
  • What is the best blessing that God gives to us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is it that we often want “more” things in life, even though we already have so much?
  • How do we feed ourselves with Jesus, the Bread of Life?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Describe how a person might act if they are “starving” for Jesus.
  • Explain why having Jesus, the great blessing, helps us to be more content with our other blessings.

Hymn: CW 402:1-2 – My Faith Looks Up to Thee

My faith looks up to thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Savior divine.
Now hear me while I pray; Take all my guilt away;
Oh, let me from this day Be wholly thine!

May thy rich grace impart Strength to my fainting heart;
My zeal inspire!
As thou hast died for me, Oh, may my love to thee
Pure, warm, and changeless be, A living fire!

 

 

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