Love Guides Our Life – Family Devotion – September 25, 2020

Read: Romans 13:1-10

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

Love Guides Our Life


Family Devotion – September 25, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 13:8-10

See series: Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closing Prayer:

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

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

Questions for Younger Children

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

Questions for Elementary Age Children

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

Questions for Middle School and Above

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

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

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

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

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Call Others to Repent in Love – Family Devotion – September 23, 2020

Read: Ezekiel 33:7-11

As I live, declares the LORD God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from their way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why should you die, O house of Israel?
Ezekiel 33:11 (EHV)

Call Others to Repent in Love


Family Devotion – September 23, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 33:11

See series: Devotions

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

If you see someone in terrible danger what do you do? You try to warn them. You call out their name. You try to get their attention. You try to move them away from the danger. You tell them to run away. You call 911. You do everything you can to help them avoid that terrible danger.

Did you know there is a danger that threatens everyone: Grown-ups. Teens. Kids. Even babies? That danger lurks in the darkness, yet appears in broad daylight. It threatens from morning to night. It can be found in your home, your school, your neighborhood, even your church. What is that danger? Sin.

Sin is a danger that threatens every one of us from the moment life begins to the moment when life ends. Sin lurks inside our hearts and minds, but also threatens us in a variety of ways in the world around us. Sin takes on all kinds of forms and is such a danger that God himself warns us to turn away from sin. Why? Sin leads to death.

The Lord knows how dangerous sin can be. Sin ruined his creation long ago. Sin has threatened every person since. Yet rather than sit back and let harm come our way, Jesus did something about it. Jesus faced the danger of sin for us and suffered all the punishment that sin deserves. With divine power and jaw-dropping love, Jesus rescued us from the dangers of sins by taking all of our sins on himself on the cross to forgive us. By his death, we have life.

Yet sin still threatens. We still sin. People we know and love still sin. The danger is still real, so what does the Lord call us to do? “Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!” today’s Word of God warns. That’s another way of saying, “Repent!” The Lord does not want any of us to return to the dangers of our sins, but to live in his forgiveness and love. He also urges us to call out to our loved ones to turn back from the dangers of sin. Calling someone to repent is not being mean, but showing that we care about them. We want them to enjoy God’s forgiveness. We want them to join us in heaven someday. So in love, let’s do everything we can help them avoid sin’s danger.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, rescue me from the danger of sin. Lead me to repent when I fall into sin’s traps. Help me to call other people in my life to repent of their sin that they may live with you. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What would you do if someone was in danger?
  • How did Jesus rescue you from the danger of sin?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain what sin is and what it means to repent.
  • Why is sin so dangerous?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • The Lord sent the prophet Ezekiel to call God’s people to repent. Why would that be difficult for any believer to do?
  • The Lord urges us to call others to repent in love. How would you do that if you knew that your best friend had broken the law—not just the local law, but God’s Law?

Hymn: CW 304:5,6 – Jesus Sinners Does Receive

I, a sinner, come to you with a penitent confession.
Savior, show me mercy, too; grant for all my sins remission.
Let these words my soul relieve—Jesus sinners does receive.

Oh, how blest is it to know, were as scarlet my transgression,
It shall be as white as snow by your blood and bitter passion,
For these words I do believe—Jesus sinners does receive.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Talk to Each Other in Love – Family Devotion – September 21, 2020

Read: Matthew 18:15-20

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his sin, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother.
Matthew 18:15 (EHV)

Talk to Each Other in Love


Family Devotion – September 21, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 18:15

See series: Devotions

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

“Mah-ahm!!!” Mom knew that voice. Something had happened down the hall. Ruth’s brother said something mean. Ruth’s sister responded with something unkind. There was no way Ruth was going to let that mean word or unkind act go unnoticed. So she cried out, “Mah-ahm!!!”

Soon the kids would be standing in front of mom. Each child would present their side. Each child would try to avoid getting in trouble for what they actually did or said. Each child would argue louder and louder over the top of the other . . . until finally, Mom hands out consequences. Now, both children go away angry at each other and Mom.

What mom would want to be in that situation? Yet how often do we shout for “Mah-ahm!!!” when someone sins against us? We do not react calmly. We do not try to talk to the person who has wronged us. Instead, we get angry. We yell. We respond strongly and try to find someone who will hand out consequences on the sinner, all while conveniently forgetting that we are sinners too. If someone is not available to hand out consequences, we go and tell everyone how bad, rude, or unkind that person is without talking to them about how they have sinned against us.

Is that how God wants you to treat someone who has wronged you? No! Jesus encourages you, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his sin, just between the two of you.” Jesus says nothing about going off, yelling, or telling on everyone else. Instead, he wants you to show love by calmly helping someone to see their sin.

Why does Jesus want you to do that? He wants you to regain them—to bring them back by helping them turn back from their sin back and follow Jesus. You see, Jesus loves them and cares for their soul as much as he loves and cares for yours. In love, Jesus came to forgive the sins of even the worst person you can think of, which means he came to forgive your sins, my sins, and the sins of those who wrong you.

The next time someone sins against you, what will you do? You could yell, “Mah-ahm!!!” Or you can remember how Jesus loves you and has forgiven you. Then, talk to that person out of love for their soul that they might enjoy Christ’s forgiveness too.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, in love you have forgiven my sins though I do not deserve it. Help me to forgive the person who sins against me. Help me to love them as you love me that I may bring them back 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

  • How do you sometimes react when someone is mean to you?
  • Who should you talk to first if someone is mean to you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain what it means to repent.
  • What does it mean to regain your brother or sister?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is it important to first talk to the person who sinned against you rather than talking to your friends or family members?
  • Demonstrate how Jesus’s love and forgiveness for you can motivate you to speak with love and forgiveness to someone who has wronged you.

Hymn: CW 304:1,2 – Jesus Sinners Does Receive

Jesus sinners does receive; oh, may all this saying ponder
Who in sin’s delusions live and from God and heaven wander.
Here is hope for all who grieve—Jesus sinners does receive.

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

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Living for the Lord – Family Devotion – September 18, 2020

Read: Romans 12:1-8

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:1-2

Living for the Lord


Family Devotion – September 18, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 12:1-2

See series: Devotions

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

“Do five jumping jacks!” the leader shouted. Only two people of the entire group did them though. Everyone else stood still as could be. The group laughed. It was actually the two who did jumping jacks that had made the mistake. The leader never said, “Simon says do five jumping jacks!”

“Simon Says” is one of the easiest games to play. All you have to do is what the leader says when he speaks those magic words. And yet, it’s easy to get carried away, isn’t it? Once you play for a while, it can be easy to lose your focus. And just when you’re not paying attention, you get in trouble—you’re out because you do what others are doing and not what “Simon Says.”

Being a Christian is also one of the easiest things you could do. You simply believe in the true God and then do what he says. Pretty simple, right? Yet you and I know how difficult this can be!

Everything might be going fine, until we lose our focus and concentration. Suddenly we start to see what other people do—how they lie, cheat, steal, say bad words, tell bad jokes, or other sins—and we start following their lead instead of what God says. There is danger in following the world instead of Jesus. You won’t just be out of the game, you’ll be out of heaven! That’s bad! And that’s why we hear the warning today, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world.” In other words, don’t follow the lead of sinful people and do what they do!

Thanks be to God for Jesus! He washed us clean of all the times we’ve followed the world instead of following him. His mercy and undeserved love bring us forgiveness. They guarantee that we can and will be with him in heaven.

Because of his great love then, let’s follow Jesus’ lead instead and show him how thankful we are. That’s also what the apostle Paul says to us today. He said, “In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.” What he means is that when we think about God’s love and forgiveness, we can use our lives to serve and follow Jesus. We can thank Jesus by listening to him, loving him, and obeying him. “Simon Says” may be a fun game, but doing what Jesus says is even better. What a cool thing! We get to live for the one who lived and died for us!

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

  • What sins do you think are easy to fall into?
  • How do you know that Jesus forgives those sins?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do some people say that the ways of this world are “fun,” but the ways of God are “boring?”
  • What are ways that you can offer yourselves as a living sacrifice of thanks to God?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain in your own words why peer pressure is such a difficult thing to deal with.
  • When you are older and have your own family, what things in this world do you think will distract you from staying connected to Jesus?

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.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Will Give You Strength – Family Devotion – September 16, 2020

Read: Jeremiah 15:15-21

“I will make you a wall to this people,
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you
but will not overcome you,
for I am with you
to rescue and save you,”
declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 15:20

God Will Give You Strength


Family Devotion – September 16, 2020

Devotion based on Jeremiah 15:20

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever been to a castle before? There aren’t too many around the United States, but there are lots of castles in other parts of the world. If you ever have the chance, make sure you visit one. They are amazing! There are huge rooms, fancy furniture, beautiful artwork, and so much more. But maybe one of the coolest parts of a castle is the simplest part—the walls.

Castle walls are huge. They are big, solid, and very strong. They had to be though. The walls needed to protect everyone on the inside and keep all the enemies out. The stronger the walls were, the safer everyone would be. Some castles even had an extra wall around the entire property for extra strength and safety.

The prophet Jeremiah was a person who felt very unsafe. Sadly, his own people that he preached to also became his enemies. They didn’t like Jeremiah, and they definitely didn’t like his message from the Lord. This made Jeremiah feel sad, lonely, unsafe, and completely defeated.

God had another message to give though. This time it was for Jeremiah himself. God told Jeremiah to trust in him. God said, “I will make you a wall to this people.” God was going to give strength to Jeremiah to be like a castle wall. He would be strong and courageous and keep on preaching to them. The people would attack against him but wouldn’t defeat him. How could this be with so many enemies? “For I am with you to rescue and save you,” God said.

There are so many things that make us feel unsafe in life. There are many mean, wicked, and evil people in the world. Some people commit awful crimes. Some don’t like Christians and want to stop us from telling others about Jesus. Then, there are all the temptations and sins that we battle as we fight off the devil.

But don’t worry, Christian friends! Jesus has already defeated all of our enemies. The God who created this world also came to save this world. At the cross, Christ crushed Satan and saved us from sin and death. We are safe with him! Just as God told Jeremiah, so he tells you, “I am with you to rescue you and save you!” That’s right, with God on your side, you are a strong and mighty wall that will stand up against every enemy until you are safe forever in heaven!

Closing Prayer:

God, give me strength to stand firm in my faith and to be bold in sharing the good news of Jesus. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • How did Jesus show to us that he is stronger than any of our enemies?
  • How does God protect us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How does God make us stronger as Christians?
  • When are times today that people might feel defeated and lonely as Christians, kind of like the prophet Jeremiah felt?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain why remembering your baptism can be a source of strength every day.
  • Explain why the Lord’s Supper can be a regular source of strength for those who commune.

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.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Take Up Your Cross – Family Devotion – September 14, 2020

Read: Matthew 16:21-26

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “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 will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Matthew 16:24-26

Take Up Your Cross


Family Devotion – September 14, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 16:24-26

See series: Devotions

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

“Candace! How could you? What did I tell you?” Candace had a very sad and sorry look on her face. She clearly had disappointed her mother. They were just about to eat dinner, but Candace wasn’t hungry at all. She had crumbs all over her shirt, chocolate all over her face, and a belly all full of…chocolate chip cookies.

They looked so delicious, so warm and fresh and ooey-gooey, sitting there on the countertop. But her mom had told Candace three separate times, “Candace, no cookies before supper. No treats yet. You have to control yourself.”

But she didn’t, and because Candace couldn’t control herself, she had now missed out on the important part of the meal before the treat at the end. Now Candace had a sick feeling in her stomach for two reasons—too much sugar, and even worse, she had disobeyed her mother.

It’s really easy for us to think about life the way Candace did about dinner. Wouldn’t it be nice to do whatever you want? Wouldn’t be nice to have all the fun you want, no matter the consequences? And wouldn’t it be nice if we could just skip all the problems of this life and have the glory of heaven right now, kind of like skipping dinner and only eating cookies?

Peter thought that way in the Bible once, too. Jesus told him how he was going to suffer and die for all people, but Peter tried to stop him. He only wanted the good times with Jesus. He only wanted the glory of Jesus. He didn’t want to think about suffering. Peter was kind of like Candace, who only wanted to think about chocolate chip cookies.

That’s when Jesus spoke the words we heard for today’s devotion: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” What Jesus means is that his followers need to learn to spiritually control themselves. We need to learn to put Jesus first, before our sinful desires, before our friends, and before anything else. That’s so hard to do! Good thing Jesus came to this world and put us first when he died for us on the cross to bring us forgiveness! Now with a new life in Jesus, his love for us and his strength can help us learn to control ourselves and make good and God-pleasing choices. Be patient, friends! After a short time of taking up our cross in this life, the sweetest dessert is yet to come—better than cookies—eternal life in heaven!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, sometimes it is very hard to control ourselves and keep away from sin. Give us strength to deny our own desires and put you first. 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 sin is hard for you to stop doing?
  • Why did Jesus have to go and suffer and die?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain what Jesus means when he says we should “deny ourselves.” Can you give an example?
  • What are ways that we can work on becoming stronger to resist temptations and sins?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Which do you think is more difficult about following Jesus—facing persecution and enemies, or denying yourself and facing personal temptations and sins? Why?
  • Explain what Jesus meant when he said this: What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

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.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Mercy is for All People – Family Devotion – September 11, 2020

Read: Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11:33-36

God’s Mercy is for All People


Family Devotion – September 11, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 11:33-36

See series: Devotions

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

“I don’t get it!” Have you ever said that before? “I don’t get it, dad! I don’t know how to tie my shoes!” “I don’t get it! I don’t know how to play the game.” “I don’t get this math problem.”

There are so many things that we don’t get in life. Even as we grow older and learn from our parents or at school, we still struggle to understand different things.

You want to know what’s even harder to understand? God! But you probably already knew that. I bet you have had lots of tough “God questions” before. Why did God create the world in the first place? Why did he make Adam out of dust? Why did God make the sky blue and the grass green? Why did God make koala bears so cute? And why can’t God make my parents give me a new phone?

Maybe this one is the toughest: Why does God love us? Why would God love us when we sin and disobey him so much? How could he be so loving that he would send his Son Jesus to die for sinners? Why would God forgive me and welcome me to heaven one day? I don’t get it!

God’s Word for today reminds us that God’s love and wisdom are so great that we could never ever understand him. God is so great and so awesome that we humans won’t “get it” all the time. But do you know what we can do? We can praise and thank him every day! We may not understand how wonderful God is, but we definitely can say every day, “To God be the glory forever! Amen.”

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, I don’t always understand you. You are so big, great, powerful, and loving that I don’t get how amazing and awesome you are. But I do know that you love me. For that I will thank and praise you always. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is one big question you have always wondered about God?
  • Name at least one awesome thing God has done that we can praise him for.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think there are so many things that we don’t know about God?
  • Even though we don’t understand much about God, identify some things that God has made very clear to us.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: If God fit the thinking in your brain so you could understand him, he wouldn’t be much of a God.
  • Explain how God showed his greatest wisdom in something so “foolish” as a person on a cross.

Hymn: CW 538:1,5 – The Church’s One Foundation

The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is his new creation By water and the Word.
From heav’n he came and sought her To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her, And for her life he died.

Mid toil and tribulation And tumult of her war
She waits the consummation Of peace forevermore
Till with the vision glorious Her longing eyes are blest
And the great Church victorious Shall be the Church at rest.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Never Changes – Family Devotion – September 9, 2020

Read: Exodus 6:2-8

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord.”
Exodus 6:6

God Never Changes


Family Devotion – September 9, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 6:6-8

See series: Devotions

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

“McDonald’s again? Really? Well . . . thanks . . . I guess.” Ty had a very disappointed look on his face, and his mom could tell. “What’s the matter, Ty? I thought you loved McDonald’s,” she said. “I used to, but not anymore. Now I love Chick-Fil-A. I don’t like burgers either. I like chicken,” Ty told her. “When did this happen?” she asked. “Yesterday,” he said. “The Chick-Fil-A commercial was really funny, so I like that more McDonald’s!” His mom couldn’t believe it. In a single day, Ty changed his favorite food because of one commercial!

Have you ever noticed how often we do this? One day we like one food, then the next day we change our mind. One day a kid loves to play with Legos or Barbies and the next day they are hidden under the bed because they “aren’t cool” anymore. One day we cheer for our favorite athlete, but then he gets traded to a different team. We change our minds and our feelings a lot in our lives!

Can you imagine if God did the same thing? What if God changed his mind about you? What if God said one day, “I love you so much,” but on the next day said, “Well, you just sinned really badly so I don’t love you so much anymore.” What if God made a promise to you in the Bible, but then changed his mind as fast as Ty did about McDonald’s? That would be awful! How would you ever know how God felt about you? How could you ever be certain of what he would do for you?

Thankfully, that will never ever happen with our God! In today’s devotion we hear God’s promise to the Israelites to bring them out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Three times in these verses God said, “I am the Lord.” Those very special words are a very special name. When God uses the name, “I am . . .,” he is telling us who he is. He will never change, and he will always be the same. When God uses that name, LORD, he is telling us that his love and promises will never change either. And sure enough, God kept his promise to lead his people out of Egypt.

God reminds us today, “I am the Lord.” He is not going to change. He will always be our loving and forgiving God. His promises aren’t going to change either. He will always be with you. He will always forgive you. And best of all, he will never break his promise to take you to the Promised Land of heaven. God will never change his mind about that. You are loved today, tomorrow, and always!

Closing Prayer:

God, I know that when you say you love me and forgive me, you will never change your mind. I also know that you will keep your promise to bring me to heaven, too. Thank you! Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does it mean that God made a promise to us?
  • When God makes a promise, what do you know he will always do?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What makes it so hard for us to keep our promises? Explain your answer.
  • Give examples from the Bible of promises that God made and kept for his people.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • A Bible verse with a similar thought to today’s devotion is this one: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Explain in your own words what that verse means to you.
  • Explain this statement: Because God never changes, I don’t need to be afraid of changes in my life.

Hymn: CW 538:1,3 – The Church’s One Foundation

The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is his new creation By water and the Word.
From heav’n he came and sought her To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her, And for her life he died.

The Church shall never perish. Her dear Lord, to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish, Is with her to the end.
Though there be those that hate her And strive to see her fail,
Against both foe and traitor She ever shall prevail.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Built on the Rock – Family Devotion – September 7, 2020

Read: Matthew 16:13-20

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Matthew 16:16-18

Built on the Rock


Family Devotion – September 7, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 16:16-18

See series: Devotions

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

Brady couldn’t believe it! It was still there! A whole year later, and it was still standing!

Last summer, Brady and his sister had a little friendly competition. Their family was on vacation and stayed in a cabin near a lake. One afternoon the two decided to have their own lake cabin building competition. Over by the edge of the woods along the shore of the water, the two went to work with their creations. Brady’s sister grabbed everything she could for her mini-cabin—branches, leaves, mud. She wanted to use the branches and mud to shape the best-looking cabin ever. Brady, however, grabbed a bunch of stones. He found a big, huge, flat, and solid stone that was the foundation. Then he carefully chose and stacked up other stones on top of it as he made his “toughest” cabin ever.

A day later, the mud cabin was gone. It rained and the lake water rose up onto the shore, completely washing the cabin away. But Brady’s stone cabin still stood there. In fact, one year later when they returned, there it was! The cabin of stones was still standing, strong as ever! Brady wisely chose to build his cabin on a solid foundation.

We have a solid foundation, too! Jesus makes that very clear to us today. Jesus asked his disciples who other people thought he was. There were all kinds of interesting but wrong answers. Peter had the right one: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Peter believed in Jesus as the promised Savior who came to take away all our sins.

Jesus was happy with Peter’s answer because it was built on the rock-solid foundation that Jesus is the Messiah, the promised Savior. That is the solid foundation of his Church.

But watch out for mud and sand! Some people want to build faith on something besides Jesus. Some people believe if they are a good person, they can get into heaven. Some think Jesus was just a nice guy and a good teacher. Watch out! Those foundations will wash away! Build your trust on the rock-solid truth that Jesus is God’s own Son and your own Savior. That is a foundation that will never ever wash away!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me to build my life on the rock-solid truth that you are my Savior from sin. Keep me firm in this faith. 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 you want to build something on rock instead of sand?
  • What makes Jesus strong like a rock?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is it dangerous to think that Jesus is just a good person, a good example, or a good teacher?
  • Jesus said today that the gates of Hades (hell) are not strong enough to overpower his Church (us believers). Why is that so encouraging for your life?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What are some of the other sandy, shaky foundations that people try to build their lives on in this world instead of Jesus?
  • Explain this statement: The empty tomb proves to us that Jesus is a rock-solid foundation to trust in and build on.

Hymn: CW 538:1 – The Church’s One Foundation

The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is his new creation By water and the Word.
From heav’n he came and sought her To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her, And for her life he died.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Mercy is for All People – Family Devotion – September 4, 2020

Read: Romans 11:13-15, 28-32

For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
Romans 11:32

God’s Mercy is for All People


Family Devotion – September 4, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 11:32

See series: Devotions

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

“That’s not fair!” Gabby shouted. “Papi, why am I getting punished when Manny started it? He was the one who broke the rules! That’s not fair!” Gabby thought she was so right. Why should she get in trouble when Manny was the one who started throwing the ball in the house?

What Gabby seemed to forget was that she also threw the ball in the house. In fact, they were playing catch for 15 minutes together before the ball hit the lamp and shattered the light. They both were guilty. They both broke the rules. They both sinned.

Thankfully, Gabby and Manny’s papi was a patient and loving father. While there was a consequence for breaking the rules, he still loved them both and forgave them both. Did they deserve to be forgiven? Not really. They broke the rules. But their father was an example of the word grace, which is undeserved love. He showed them grace by forgiving both children with the same undeserved love.

This is the way that our heavenly Father deals with us. Satan wants us to point our fingers at other people and say things like, “That’s not fair! That person sins more than I do! That other person is really bad! They should get punished!” We don’t want to be like Gabby though. We can’t forget that we are just as guilty as everyone else. We all sin and break God’s rules. We all deserve to be punished equally.

But here’s the good news, our heavenly Father is even more patient and loving than Gabby and Manny’s father. The apostle Paul reminds us in the verse for today that even though everyone has disobeyed God the same, our heavenly Father also has mercy on everyone the same. He sent Jesus to be the Savior of every last sinner in the world, including you. Do we deserve to be forgiven? Not at all! But that is the true definition of grace—God’s undeserved love seen at the cross in Jesus who died for the whole world.

This is an important truth to remember, because this reminds us that we are not “better” than other people in the world, in our neighborhood, or even in our school classrooms. The devil wants us to act like we are better than other people. But the love of Jesus teaches us to know that we are all equal—we are equally sinners and equally forgiven. So look for ways you can show Jesus’ love equally to others, especially those who may look, talk, or act differently than you do. What a joy it would be for them to join you and all believers in our heavenly Father’s house forever!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, remind me that I am a sinner, just like other people. Then comfort me that your grace and forgiveness are for me and all other people. Help me to share that good news with the world. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Have you ever said, “That’s not fair”? Why? What happened?
  • Explain what the word grace means. How did God show us grace?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain why Jesus dying for us was actually not “fair.”
  • Why would Jesus die for sinners if we don’t deserve it?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is your sin a reason for you to be humble around other people?
  • Why is God’s grace a reason for you to be humble around other people?

Hymn: CW 391:1,5-6 – God Loved the World So that He Gave

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

When you are sick, when death draws near, This truth your troubled heart can cheer:
Christ Jesus saves my soul from death—This is the anchor of my faith!

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

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Grace is for All – Family Devotion – September 2, 2020

Read: Joshua 2:8-21

For the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
Joshua 2:11

God’s Grace is for All


Family Devotion – September 2, 2020

Devotion based on Joshua 2:11

See series: Devotions

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

“Why did you pick her?” No one in the class could believe that Zach had picked the new girl, Maddie, for his kickball team. Maddie had moved from a different state, and this was her first day of fifth grade in her new school. Everyone knew that Dillon and Audrey were great at kickball, but Maddie? Who would want her on the team?

Zach did. Zach had some secret information. He knew that Maddie was a soccer star at her previous school, and she was going to be a great addition to the team. And sure enough, Maddie helped Zach win the big game that first day of school. Everyone was surprised by the new girl, and quickly they were glad to have her as a part of their school family.

The words we heard for the devotion today were spoken by another surprising pick, a woman named Rahab. Joshua and the Israelites had sent two spies to secretly check out the Promised Land that God was going to give them. They ended up hiding at Rahab’s house, and she protected them.

Why was this surprising? First of all, Rahab was a foreigner and not one of the Israelites. She would have been their enemy. Secondly, Rahab had been living a sinful life. Who would want to be around her?

However, there was some secret information about this woman that the spies didn’t know, but God did. Rahab had faith in the one true God. She was the one who spoke the words we heard today: “For the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” Rahab had faith in the Savior God of Israel and trusted that she had forgiveness and life in him.

(Here’s one more “secret” cool fact about Rahab: Not only was she an unexpected believer that God used to help the spies that day, but Rahab actually became a mother in the family line of Jesus! The promised Savior she trusted became one of her descendants. Cool!)

What an amazing story! Through Rahab, God helps us to understand something that he doesn’t want to be a secret. Jesus is the Savior of all sinners of all places of all time! So when you see other people around your city, around the country, or around the world, rejoice in the best news of all. Jesus died for them just like Jesus died for you, and one day you will be together with all believers in the Promised Land of heaven. Now that’s a secret worth telling!

Closing Prayer:

God of all nations, thank you for sending your Son to die for the sins of all people. Just as you used Rahab in a special way, use me to be your special servant. 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 use Rahab to help his people?
  • What lesson about God did the spies learn when they met the believer Rahab?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • If you were one of the spies, what would have been some sinful reasons for pre-judging Rahab before you got to know her?
  • What are some sinful reasons we pre-judge other people in this world before we get to know them?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Matthew 1:5 is the verse that tells us Rahab was in the family line of King David and of Jesus. What reasons would God have for including her in the list of the Jesus’ family?
  • Explain this statement: Sometimes the biggest problem that keeps me from sharing Jesus with other people is my own pride.

Hymn: CW 391:1,3-4 – God Loved the World So that He Gave

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

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

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

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Faith of a Foreign Woman – Family Devotion – August 31, 2020

Read: Matthew 15:21-28

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Matthew 15:28

The Faith of a Foreign Woman


Family Devotion – August 31, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 15:28

See series: Devotions

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

A few years ago, I had the most wonderful experience. It was in a hut. That’s right, a hut. It was a small building with tree branches for walls with grass and leaves for a roof. This hut was so small I could barely stand up inside of it, and only about 10 people could fit inside. It was located in the middle of nowhere in Zambia, a country in Africa. What was I doing in a hut in Africa? I was going to church!

As I visited this small village, I found out that their normal church building had burned down. So for the time, this small hut served as their church. We sat on little benches and logs as we worshiped. I didn’t understand a lot though—the service was in a different language. However, that day I saw clearly with my own eyes something very wonderful—Jesus is the Savior of all people of all nations and all languages.

Today we hear Jesus talk about the faith of a woman. But she was not an ordinary Israelite woman. She was a Canaanite, a foreigner from a different place. She came to see Jesus and asked him to help her daughter who was suffering. At first, Jesus tested her. He said that he came just for his own people, the Israelites. But the woman responded in true faith. She said that even the leftovers, even a little bit of grace, would be more than enough for her.

Jesus was so pleased. The woman understood that he came to be the Savior not just for the Israelites, but for the whole world. She understood that Jesus was her Savior. To prove this to her, Jesus showed his mighty power and healed her daughter right away.

Sometimes we get so busy in our lives that we forget there are other people out there in the world—people outside of our neighborhood, people who don’t look like us or talk like us, people outside of our country in very different places around the world. This story today is a wonderful reminder that Jesus is Savior of all. Jesus came for his people in Israel, for people in America, in Africa, in Asia, and all over.

Won’t it be so wonderful? Someday soon we will be in heaven, and we will meet this Canaanite woman and the disciples and believers from all over the world. There we will be gathered together with our one Savior, Jesus Christ. Oh what a worship service that will be!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for coming to be the Savior of the whole world. Help me find ways to share you with others so that they can join all believers in heaven one day. 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 lesson did Jesus teach to the foreign woman and the others watching in the story today?
  • Of all the people in the Bible, whom will you be most excited to meet in heaven? Why?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why did Jesus test the woman before helping her? Wasn’t that mean of him to do?
  • The disciples were there when Jesus spoke with this woman. What lesson did they learn that day?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why do you think Satan tempts people to think that Jesus is only for people “just like me” instead of for all people?
  • Identify ways that you can share Jesus with other people around the world, even if you aren’t a missionary.

Hymn: CW 391:1,2 – God Loved the World So that He Gave

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

Christ is the solid rock of faith, Who was made flesh and suffered death.
All who confide in him alone Are built on this chief cornerstone.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Trust Jesus to Lead Us to Heaven – Family Devotion – August 28, 2020

Read: James 1:2-8, 12

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James 1:2-3, 12

We Trust Jesus to Lead Us to Heaven


Family Devotion – August 28, 2020

Devotion based on James 1:2-3, 12

See series: Devotions

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

“You can do it! Push! Push!” The coach kept encouraging his football team as the players ran up and down the field. They were exhausted! They had been running sprints for five minutes, and that was after a full practice! Some of them felt like they were going to fall over and wouldn’t make it. Somehow, they all finished their hard work.

A few weeks later, the team finally realized that their “mean coach” who tested their strength was actually a loving and wise coach. They were playing their toughest opponent of the year. At the end of the game when the other team was getting tired, their team had the strength to finish the game and win. You see, by testing them, their coach was actually strengthening them. Because they were stronger, they were able to win the big game.

Most people don’t like to be tested. Whether you are seven or seventeen, kids don’t like tests in school. Parents don’t like testing times at work that push them to stress out and work harder. And no one likes it when life is really tough and tests the strength of your faith.

However, James tells us something very strange today. He reminds us that we can celebrate when we face tough times and our faith is tested. Now why would we do that? Why would some enjoy being sick or be happy when school gets really tough or when there are all kinds of problems because of the Coronavirus?

James gives us two answers today. First, like an athlete that gets stronger by working out, Christians grow stronger in their faith when they are tested. You learn to rely on God more when life is tough. You learn to turn to the Bible more, pray more, and trust God and his promises. This is how your faith muscles grow big and strong during difficult times.

Secondly, James reminds us that we have a championship to win. As we pass the tests of faith that strengthen us, we will finally receive the ultimate trophy—the crown of life, which is eternal life in heaven. But good news! Jesus already won the trophy for us at the cross! He defeated our opponent the devil, and he gladly passes on the victory to you and to me. The trophy of heaven is already won and is waiting for you right now!

He knows how to use those difficult times to draw us closer to him. Soon enough, with his help we will pass those tests and receive that crown of life in heaven. No matter how big the test, rejoice that a loving and wise God is working for your good!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, when life is difficult and challenging, give me strength to pass the tests of faith as you lead me on to life in heaven with you. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is something that is really tough for you in your life right now?
  • How do you know that Jesus is strong enough to help you when your life is hard?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why can God be considered loving even when he allows us to suffer in life?
  • Explain in your own words what “the crown of life” is.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • One of the main reasons people visit a church for the first time is because something sad or bad happened in their lives. Why do you think that is the case?
  • When something bad happens in someone else’s life how can you encourage and help them?

Hymn: CW 379:1,4 – Amazing Grace

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

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Encourages Us with His Word – Family Devotion – August 26, 2020

Read: 1 Kings 19:9-18

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

1 Kings 19:11-13

Jesus Encourages Us with His Word


Family Devotion – August 26, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:11-13

See series: Devotions

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

“Come here, you little butterball!” Aunt Sharon reached out her hands and took pudgy little baby Tyler from his father. Tyler wasn’t about to have it, though. He didn’t recognize Aunt Sharon’s face, and he didn’t like it one bit. He couldn’t say any words, but he knew what to do when he was scared. He paused, took a deep breath, and with a red face burst into tears and a loud cry.

Tyler’s dad took his son back and did what he always does. He gently held him and whispered in his ear, “Shh! Tyler, it’ll be OK. Shh!” Instantly the tears stopped. Baby Tyler recognized his father’s voice and felt calm and safe. Everything was going to be alright.

It’s interesting how quickly children learn to recognize the voices and presence of their parents. Anytime they are lost or scared or in trouble, they learn to call out, “Dad? . . . Mom?” And as soon as they hear their parent’s voice and run into their arms, they feel better and safe.

The prophet Elijah was very afraid. A wicked queen was threatening to hurt him. It made him feel as if he was the only believer left in Israel. He was in danger, lonely, and afraid. So Elijah went to hide in a cave. That’s when God came to him. Now Elijah might have expected God to show his powerful presence in a mighty wind, an earthquake, or a fire. But surprisingly, God came to Elijah with a gentle whisper. The soothing and comforting words of God reminded Elijah that the Lord was with him and would help him.

Sometimes life makes us very afraid. We might be in danger or feel lonely or very afraid, just like Elijah. We might wonder, “Where is God’s presence? Why won’t God help me? Why won’t he show me his power?” But don’t be confused or look for him in the wrong places! Instead, listen for the gentle whisper of God’s voice. No, it’s not coming from your cell phone or speaking to you in a dream. God’s gentle voice can be heard loud and clear through his Word. In the Bible, God makes his power so clear to us. He created us! He cares for us! He saved us! In the Bible, God also makes his comforting promises clear to us. He always forgives us! He’s always with us! He will take us to be with him in heaven!

Listen to the gentle whisper of your heavenly Father. The Bible is where you will find comfort and safety in his encouraging words.

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help me to listen to your voice as you comfort and encourage me 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

  • Whose voice do you hear in the Bible?
  • How does God want us to feel when we hear his voice?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Even though God always shows himself to be trustworthy, why do we become afraid so often?
  • What Bible story or Bible verse is most comforting and encouraging to you? Why?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why doesn’t God show his power in amazing miracles today like he did in Bible times?
  • How is a believer reading the Bible similar to a child being soothed by a parent’s voice? How is it different?

Hymn: CW 379:1,3 – Amazing Grace

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

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

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Shows His Almighty Power – Family Devotion – August 24, 2020

Read: Matthew 14:22-33

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:29-31

Jesus Shows His Almighty Power


Family Devotion – August 24, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 14:29-31

See series: Devotions

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

“Uh-uh!” Maggie shook her head stubbornly and said it again, “Uh-uh!” Her eyes were wide open, her hands were shaking, and she was frozen in place. “Come on, Maggie. It’s OK. I’ll catch you,” her father said. “Go ahead and jump into the pool. I’m right here, and you’ll be fine.”

This went on for almost five minutes. Maggie’s dad kept assuring her that everything was going to be alright, but little three-year-old Maggie was terrified. The water seemed so deep, and she wasn’t sure she could swim. It didn’t matter that she had puffy unicorn floaties around her arms or that her father said he would catch her. She was so afraid!

Finally, Maggie somehow managed enough courage. She closed her eyes, plugged her nose, and jumped into the water. Sure enough, Maggie’s dad caught her, held her up, and she was floating in the water. “See that wasn’t so bad! Why didn’t you trust me, honey?”

Fear can make people do a lot of crazy things! But fear also keeps people from doing a lot of things. Fear might keep you away from snakes, the edges of really high buildings, or from going to the dentist. Worst of all, fear might keep you from trusting in God.

That happened to Peter in today’s story. Even though Jesus was walking on water in front of him and invited him to do the same, and even though he actually started to walk out onto the water, the wind and the waves terrified Peter, so he began to sink. When Jesus pulled him out of the water, he asked Peter why he didn’t trust him.

There are many things in life that are very scary—sickness and cancer, hurricanes and tornadoes, evil people doing bad things, and so much more. When you are afraid of something, do what Peter forgot to do. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Look at his power to help you. He can walk on water and save you like he saved Peter. Even better, look at his power at his cross and empty tomb. Jesus doesn’t just save us from worldly problems, Jesus saved us from our sins and from Satan! That almighty power makes Jesus someone that we can trust every single day!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, when I am afraid, help me to trust in you. Remind me of your mighty power that saved me from my sin and comfort me with your strength. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is something that you are afraid of?
  • How does Jesus help with something you are afraid of?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does the word doubt mean?
  • Why does Jesus’ empty tomb prove that we should never doubt him?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: If you have doubts about God, that proves you still have faith in God.
  • Explain this statement: What matters is not how strong your faith is, but whom you put your faith in.

Hymn: CW 379:1,2 – Amazing Grace

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

The Lord has promised good to me; His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be As long as life endures.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Providing Love – Family Devotion – August 21, 2020

Read: Romans 8:35-39

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Providing Love


Family Devotion – August 21, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 8:37-39

See series: Devotions

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

This has been a very difficult year! Many sad and challenging things have happened in the world this year, but maybe the most difficult of them all has been the Coronavirus. This worldwide sickness has prevented people from going to school or church. Many have had to work from home. Some of have lost their jobs. And of course, many people have gotten sick, and some have even died.

Almost every part of regular life has been affected or changed by the Coronavirus. Well, except one thing. The one thing that has not changed over the last few months has been this—God still loves you. That has not changed and that will never change.

The apostle Paul is someone who also experienced a lot of challenges in his life. Sometimes he went without food or shelter. Sometimes people hurt him or put him in prison because he preached about Jesus. Yet no matter what happened to him, God still provided for him in love.

Today the apostle Paul reminds us with some very comforting words that nothing will stop God from loving us either. No trouble, no disease or virus, no angel or demon, not even death or life—no, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God. Nothing. Ever. What a comfort!

You see, God loves you so much that your sins couldn’t even separate you from his love. He sent Jesus to take away your sin so that you could experience his forgiveness and love every day as his dear child. God guaranteed you that love personally when you were baptized.

Since God loved you so much that he would provide for your spiritual needs, he will also love you enough to provide for your physical needs. In other words, if God loves you enough to provide you with life in heaven, he will also love you enough to provide you with the things you need for life here on earth.

Whether it’s the Coronavirus, cancer, or another sickness, whether it’s problems with friends or in your home, or whether there is danger or disaster, you can still rejoice that one thing will never change—God will be with you with his love!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that nothing will keep you from caring and providing for me. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What are some ways that your life has changed because of the Coronavirus?
  • What are some ways God has shown your family love during these last few months?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain how God might work through bad things in life to show us love.
  • Why is Jesus’ death on the cross the greatest proof of God’s love for us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What are the hardest times or situations to trust that God still loves you? Why?
  • If God’s love is given and revealed to us in Jesus, how can we stay more connected to him and his love?

Hymn: CW 349:1,5 – Jesus, Priceless Treasure

Jesus, priceless treasure, Fount of purest pleasure, Truest friend to me.
Ah, how long in anguish Shall my spirit languish, Yearning, Lord, for thee?
Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide thee, Naught I ask beside thee.

Hence, all fear and sadness! For the Lord of gladness, Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father, Though the storms may gather, Still have peace within.
Yea, whate’er I here must bear, Thou art still my purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Provides for Me through Other People – Family Devotion – August 19, 2020

Read: Genesis 41:41-49

Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.
Genesis 41:48-49

God Provides for Me through Other People


Family Devotion – August 19, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 41:48-49

See series: Devotions

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

Where does your food come from? There are many ways to answer that question. Some might say, “the refrigerator,” or others might say, “Dad or Mom.” Some might say that their food comes from the grocery store. None of those is wrong, but there is much more to the answer!

Think about a loaf of bread. Where does that bread come from? Well, there are farmers who grow the grain, factories filled with workers who bake the bread and package it. There are drivers who deliver it to the stores, workers who put it on the shelves, and workers in the checkout line when you pay. Of course, in order to pay you also need money. That’s why people have jobs—to earn money so they can buy things like food and clothes and more.

What an amazing puzzle that God pieces together! All of those people and many more are all doing their individual jobs, yet God uses all of them just so that you can have some toast or a sandwich!

This is the way that God works to provide all things in this world. God provides through people who are just like you! He uses farmers, factory workers, construction workers, city leaders, and countless other people so that you can have your home, clothing, food, safety, and so much more.

Today we heard about the special way that God used Joseph to provide for others. Joseph had an incredible story. His brothers were angry with him and tried to get rid of him. He ended up far away from home in Egypt and later was put in jail. Finally, after many hard times, Joseph became second in command in all of Egypt! But God was working behind the scenes in all of this. God worked to put Joseph in that place of leadership so that he could provide for many people.

Joseph had a dream from God that helped him to know that after seven years of extra blessings of food, there would be seven years of famine with almost no food. So Joseph created a plan to save up extra food during the seven good years so that there would be plenty of extra food for the seven bad years. In this way, God used Joseph to store up food and provide for many, many people.

When we understand that God uses us in these amazing ways to provide for and love our neighbors, it helps us to understand that each and every person is important. God uses the police officer, the garbage truck driver, the mailman, the doctor, the nurse, the grocery store clerk, the business owner, and so many more—all are a part of God’s loving plans to provide for you and everyone else! Thank God for the way he provides for people through others, and even through you and me!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we thank you for using so many people in this world to provide for us. Please find ways to use us to provide for others, too. 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 going to work and earning money a blessing for grown-ups?
  • Discuss as a family all the people and things that God uses to provide you with a glass of milk.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How did God use bad things in Joseph’s life to bring blessings to him and to others?
  • God had even bigger plans in mind with Joseph! He also used Joseph to provide for and preserve his own family, the Israelites. Why was that so important?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain why God makes it so that every person’s calling—father, mother, husband, wife, employee, boss—is an important and valuable role?
  • What job or career do you want to have some day? How might God use you in that specific job or career to provide for many other people?

Hymn: CW 349:1,4 – Jesus, Priceless Treasure

Jesus, priceless treasure, Fount of purest pleasure, Truest friend to me.
Ah, how long in anguish Shall my spirit languish, Yearning, Lord, for thee?
Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide thee, Naught I ask beside thee.

Hence, all earthly treasure! Jesus is my pleasure; Jesus is my choice.
Hence, all empty glory! Naught to me thy story Told with tempting voice.
Pain or loss Or shame or cross
Shall not from my Savior move me Since he deigns to love me.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Provides in Amazing Ways – Family Devotion – August 17, 2020

Read: Matthew 14:13-21

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Matthew 14:19-21

God Provides in Amazing Ways


Family Devotion – August 17, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 14:19-21

See series: Devotions

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

“You’ve done it again, honey!” Dave said to his wife. “You’ve made enough food to feed an army!” It wasn’t a normal family get-together unless Dave spoke those words at some point. Aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents—the whole family would gather for fun weekends to enjoy family, fun, and lots of food! Usually it was about halfway through the meal that Dave, patting his full belly, would announce his famous line, “This is enough food to feed an army!”

That’s a funny phrase people use. Families often have big meals with way too much food, especially at Thanksgiving or Christmas. But could their food really feed an entire army of hungry people? No way! Who could actually provide that much food? Today we are reminded of one simple, yet amazing answer—Jesus. Jesus is so powerful that he can provide for all people.

Can you picture the hungry crowd we heard about today? Thousands and thousands of people were gathered to see and hear Jesus. However, it was well past snack time and now close to dinner time, so the disciples wanted to send the people away to eat. After all, hungry, grumpy people are no fun to be around! Besides, they had hardly any food—only five loaves of bread and two fish. That wasn’t enough to feed an army, this big crowd, or even the 12 disciples.

But Jesus was about to teach them something amazing on that day. After he gave thanks for the food they had, Jesus told the disciples to start handing it out to the people. Incredibly, not only did everyone eat, and not only were they all full and satisfied, but there were even 12 basketfuls left over! Incredible!

Who else could do something so amazing besides God himself? And that’s the point! Jesus shows us with this miracle that he is true God. As God, Jesus is able to provide for every need we have. Whether your family is very large or very small, God will provide. Whether your family has a lot of money or a little money, God will provide. Whether your fridge is full or almost empty, God will provide.

And here’s the best part, the loving Savior who can feed thousands of people is also the same Savior who is so powerful that he can provide what you really need—forgiveness of sins and life in heaven. Thanks be to God for all his physical and spiritual blessings!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for using your mighty power to provide for the needs of our bodies and our souls. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What are your favorite foods that God provides for you?
  • How does God use your family to provide for you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How does God bless people who work on farms or in fields so that they can provide food for us?
  • What do we mean when we ask in the Lord’s Prayer for God to give us “daily bread”?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: God shows he is loving by providing even for the unbelievers.
  • Jesus provides us bread to eat, but what does he mean when he calls himself the Bread of Life?

Hymn: CW 349:1 – Jesus, Priceless Treasure

Jesus, priceless treasure, Fount of purest pleasure, Truest friend to me.
Ah, how long in anguish Shall my spirit languish, Yearning, Lord, for thee?
Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide thee, Naught I ask beside thee.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Nothing is More Valuable than God’s Work in Our Lives – Family Devotion – August 14, 2020

Read: Romans 8:28-30

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Nothing is More Valuable than God’s Work in Our Lives


Family Devotion – August 14, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 8:28

See series: Devotions

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

Maya was confused. She scratched her head. She squinted her eyes. She tilted her head sideways to the right, then slowly to the left. “I don’t get it, Momma,” she said. “This painting is ugly.”

It was Maya’s first time at an art gallery, and the very first painting she saw was so big that it stretched from floor to ceiling. Maya was staring at it for a while but couldn’t quite figure out what the painting was about. “Step back here, honey,” Maya’s mom said to her. She led Maya to the back of the room and then turned her around to face the painting again. “Oh! I see! I get it now!” Maya suddenly saw the most beautiful painting of two little children running through the fields in front of a mountain with a colorful sunset in the background.

You see, Maya was standing too close. All she saw were splashes of red here and blue there, and strokes of the paint brush all over. None of it made much sense until she stepped back and saw the whole picture. Then she realized that the artist had created a beautiful masterpiece.

This is the way our lives can be. You might get a bad homework grade. You might lose the big game. Maybe mom or dad loses their job. Maybe someone even gets sick with cancer. When these things happen to us, at the time it can be very easy for us to think, “Eww! That’s ugly! What a horrible thing!”

But the apostle Paul reminds us of something wonderful today. In all things—both good things and bad things—God is working for our good. It might not feel good at the time, but God knows how it will work out. That bad homework grade might motivate you to work harder as a student. The game you lost might encourage you to practice more. Someone losing a job or getting a sick can be a reminder how much we need God and how much we look forward to heaven.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at our lives and say, “Oh! I see! I get it now! How beautiful!” The whole time, God has been working by the power of his Word in our lives—bringing us to faith in Jesus, strengthening our faith, and leading us on toward heaven. Everything that happens in life is something that God can use to keep us close to him and on the path toward heaven. Then, one day, when we finally get to heaven, we will be able to look at the whole “painting” of our lives and say, “How beautiful!” God created another masterpiece!”

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, sometimes there are things that seem very bad in life. Help me to trust that you work all things, even bad things, for our good as you lead us toward our heavenly homes. 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

  • Can you think of something bad that has happened to you or your family?
  • Ask your parent(s) how God did or might in the future work that for good.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do bad things happen to us in this life?
  • What is the best thing that God has done for you?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • When you are suffering through really hard times, what makes it so difficult to trust that God will work it out for good?
  • How do we know we can trust God’s promise to work all things for our good?

Hymn: CW 757:1,4 – Where Your Treasure Is

Refrain
Where your treasure is, there your heart shall be.
All that you possess will never set you free.
Seek the things that last; come and learn from me.
Where your treasure is, your heart shall be.

What do you gain from all your worry,
What you should eat or what to wear?
There is no peace in stress or hurry.
Do you not know that you are held within God’s care?
Refrain

O little flock, do not be frightened;
Yours is the kingdom of the Lord.
Give your possessions to the needy;
Obtain a treasure in God’s heaven safely stored.
Refrain

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Choose Spiritual over Worldly Wealth – Family Devotion – August 12, 2020

Read: 1 Kings 3:5-12

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.”
1 Kings 3:10-12

Choose Spiritual over Worldly Wealth


Family Devotion – August 12, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Kings 3:10-12

See series: Devotions

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

If you could have anything in the world, absolutely anything you asked for, what would you want?

There might be all kinds of things running through your mind right now! The newest iPhone! All the video games ever! A new bike, no wait, three new bikes! A mansion on the beach! A pony! A rainbow-sparkled unicorn! A rocket ship to take me to the moon!

Meanwhile parents may be thinking, “I’d like all my bills paid, a bigger house, and a car with no dents in it, please!”

The question is hard for us even to imagine. We know it would never happen to us. No one ever gets everything they ask for.

Except, it did happen one time. It happened to King Solomon. God came to Solomon as he became king in place of his father David and told Solomon he could have anything he wanted.

Here’s the amazing thing though—Solomon didn’t ask to be famous, for money, or for anything even close to that. Solomon asked for wisdom. Solomon asked God to give him a heart and mind that would help him make good choices as king and in his life. Simply put, Solomon was asking for a heart that was guided by God’s Word. That’s true wisdom.

Now before you kids (or adults!) say, “Boring!” think again. The Lord was very pleased with Solomon. He could have asked for anything in the world, but all those things like money and possessions eventually go away. That’s why Solomon asked for something that was more valuable. And incredibly, God blessed Solomon with worldly riches too.

Learn from Solomon today. All of us may dream of various toys or tools or technology that we would love to have. But know what treasure is the most valuable! There is no treasure more valuable than knowing Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin. When you focus on your relationship with him and on his Word, that is true wisdom. And just like Solomon, God will bless it!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to love and treasure your holy Word. When I read, study, and learn from your Word, I know you will bless me and give me true wisdom. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What are special things that you want to have some day?
  • Why is God’s Word so valuable and important?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain why having lots of money could lead you away from God.
  • How can families show that they treasure God’s Word?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain how wisdom is different from intelligence. Then explain why wisdom is often more important than intelligence.
  • If someone has godly wisdom, identify the kinds of choices they will make in life.

Hymn: CW 757:1,2 – Where Your Treasure Is

Refrain
Where your treasure is, there your heart shall be.
All that you possess will never set you free.
Seek the things that last; come and learn from me.
Where your treasure is, your heart shall be.

What do you gain from all your worry,
What you should eat or what to wear?
There is no peace in stress or hurry.
Do you not know that you are held within God’s care?
Refrain

Look at the ravens high above you.
They do not work their whole life through,
And yet God feeds them and protects them.
So how much more will God protect and care for you?
Refrain

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Only Jesus Gives Us True Treasures – Family Devotion – August 10, 2020

Read: Matthew 13:44-52

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:44-46

Only Jesus Gives Us True Treasures


Family Devotion – August 10, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 13:44-46

See series: Devotions

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

Tyrone was very proud of himself. He finally had his first job! He was proud to be flipping burgers and serving French fries because the big day was coming—pay day. Two weeks later Tyrone got his first paycheck. He biked to the bank as fast as he could—not to put the money in savings though. Nope. Tyrone cashed it immediately, biked to the store, and bought himself a new pair of Jordan shoes. Maybe one nice purchase would be OK, right? After all, it was his first paycheck ever!

Unfortunately, Tyrone developed a bad habit. Every time he got paid, he immediately went and bought stuff—clothes, Xbox games, new headphones, and more. Tyrone ran out of money quickly. So every time he did, he tried to find more time to work. However, the only other hours available for work were on the weekend. That didn’t matter to Tyrone. He wanted more money and more things. Before he realized it though, a whole year had passed, and he hadn’t been at church even once!

There are so many amazingly cool things in the world—cool things for people of every age. There are awesome toys and video games for kids. New clothes, fancy phones, and tablets for teens. Big homes and fast cars for adults. These things can be nice blessings to enjoy. However, Satan wants to tempt you to turn blessings into idols. This means that the devil wants you to make money and possessions the most important in your life—even more important than God himself. That’s the trap Tyrone fell into.

Listen carefully to Jesus today. He talks about two men who found big treasures. One found a hidden treasure in a field and then bought the whole field so he could enjoy the treasure. Another man found a priceless pearl, so he sold everything else just to have that special pearl. Both men made sure the greatest treasures were the most important to them, and they were so happy!

Jesus says that his kingdom is just like this. Jesus died for you and forgives you—for free! Jesus promises you eternal life in heaven—for free! God has welcomed you into his family—for free and forever! What else could ever be more valuable than this?

Enjoy all the blessings that God has given to you, but look for ways to treasure what Jesus gives the most. Nothing could be more valuable!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for all the blessings that you give to us. But most of all, thank you for the gifts of forgiveness and eternal life in heaven. Help us to treasure these gifts every day. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is the most special and precious thing that you own?
  • Why is heaven more valuable than anything else you own?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • As you get older, what worldly things do you think you will be tempted to love more than Jesus?
  • What are ways that you can show in your life that you treasure Jesus the most?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Evaluate this statement: There is nothing more important for parents to do than to make sure their children get a good education so that they are successful in life.
  • Some people have no choice but to work when there is church. They can’t switch schedules. Police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and others might be examples. Discuss ways that such people can both work and still make God and his Word a priority in their lives.

Hymn: CW 757:1 – Where Your Treasure Is

Refrain
Where your treasure is, there your heart shall be.
All that you possess will never set you free.
Seek the things that last; come and learn from me.
Where your treasure is, your heart shall be.

What do you gain from all your worry,
What you should eat or what to wear?
There is no peace in stress or hurry.
Do you not know that you are held within God’s care?
Refrain

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Holy Spirit Gives Strength to Live Differently – Family Devotion – August 7, 2020

Read: Romans 8:26-27

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Romans 8:26-27

The Holy Spirit Gives Strength to Live Differently


Family Devotion – August 7, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 8:26-27

See series: Devotions

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

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I . . . pray . . . the . . . Lo– . . .” Gabriel was so exhausted that he fell asleep before he could even finish the prayer. His dad gave him a kiss on the forehead and went back to work. He had been working on a big project all week.

A few hours later, Gabriel’s dad crashed into his own bed. His pillow felt softer than ever before! “Dear Lord,” he prayed, “Thank you so much for my wife and for Gabriel and for our many blessings. Please . . . help . . . me . . . to . . .” Suddenly Gabriel’s dad went from mid-prayer to mid-snore. He was out like a light!

Has this happened to you before? Sometimes we get so tired! However, sometimes we have other prayer problems. Besides being so tired, we often can be very forgetful. We are so busy with everything that we forget to pray before meals, before bed, or before any other event of the day. However, maybe the hardest thing for us is even knowing what to pray. Adults especially can feel so overwhelmed and frustrated at times that they hardly even know what words to say in their prayers.

Good news though! You have a prayer teammate! Listen to this wonderful encouragement again today: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

Did you know this is one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit? Sometimes we call him our Comforter or our Guide. How does he help to comfort and guide us? Well, when we feel weak or scared or frustrated, or when we are so tired that we fall asleep before we pray, the Holy Spirit will actually intercede for us. That’s a fancy word that means he will speak on our behalf. The Holy Spirit will go to our Heavenly Father with all the things we didn’t say or forgot to say. After all, the Holy Spirit is also true God and he knows everything on our hearts and minds.

So, don’t worry about your prayer life! Every person can continue to improve in prayer. Keep working on it! Keep reminding yourself to pray and bring everything you can remember to God. Then be confident. Trust that God knows what you want and need, and God the Holy Spirit will guide you every step of the way. Be bold and pray on!

Closing Prayer:

Holy Spirit, thank you for knowing what’s on my heart and mind. Thank you for helping me with my prayers. Continue to guide me in all I think, say, and do. 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 prayer?
  • When are times that we should be praying?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What things should we include in our prayers?
  • Agree or Disagree: We should not bring little things to God in prayer. Explain your answer.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or Disagree: There are bad things to pray about. Explain your answer.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray continually.” What do you think that verse looks like in real life? How does someone realistically do that?

Hymn: CW 221:1,4 – Blessed Jesus, at Your Word

Blessed Jesus, at your Word We are gathered all to hear you.
Let our hearts and souls be stirred Now to seek and love and fear you,
By your teachings, sweet and holy, Drawn from earth to love you solely.

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Praise to you and adoration!
Grant that we your Word may trust, Confident of our salvation,
While we here below must wander, Till we sing your praises yonder.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Lord Gives Us Strength to Live Differently Until Judgment Day – Family Devotion – August 5, 2020

Read: Joel 3:12-16

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.
Joel 3:14-16

The Lord Gives Us Strength to Live Differently Until Judgment Day


Family Devotion – August 5, 2020

Devotion based on Joel 3:14-16

See series: Devotions

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

Have you been to a big sports game in a big stadium before? If you haven’t been to one yet, you have probably seen some on TV. Can you picture what it’s like?

Thousands and thousands of people are gathered together—almost more people than you could ever count on your own. But all the people are divided. Some are cheering for one team; the rest are cheering for the other team. Everyone is so excited to see who will win the big game!

Could you imagine an event like that with not thousands of people, not even millions of people, but billions and billions of people? Could you imagine an event where every single person ever in the world is all gathered together at the same time?

In the Bible reading for today, the prophet Joel is describing this kind of event. But it’s not the Super Bowl. Even bigger than that! It’s judgment day, the Last Day, when Jesus our victorious King will return. What Joel sees is a picture of all the people in the world gathered before him. Joel sees the sun and moon turning dark and the earth shaking because Jesus the mighty King is about to be Jesus the mighty Judge. Jesus will be sending people either to hell or heaven forever.

But don’t be afraid of this picture and don’t be afraid of that great Last Day! Listen to God’s promise today again: “The Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.”

Imagine being at a big basketball game at a big stadium and God was playing for one team. The other team wouldn’t even have a chance! The team with God always wins—there is nothing to worry about!

This is actually true for us. You know who is on our team—Jesus! Jesus is the one who gives us strength every day. And think about how strong he is! Just look at the cross where every sin of every person—where your sin—was washed away forever and Satan was crushed in defeat. Look at the empty tomb of Jesus where death was swallowed up in the victory of Jesus who rose to life.

For now, while we are still playing the game—while we are still in this world—we are totally safe and secure with our Savior who is like a mighty castle or fortress for us. Don’t be afraid! And one day soon Jesus will come back. But again, don’t be afraid! Jesus is on our team and we’ve already won! On that day we will join him in the biggest victory celebration of all time!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Savior, thank you for your victory on Easter morning. Keep me safe in your strength until judgment day, when we can celebrate the victory together. 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 Jesus so strong and mighty?
  • How did Jesus win a victory over Satan?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What is Jesus going to do on judgment day?
  • Why don’t you have to be afraid of where you are going to go on judgment day?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: Judgment day will be a day of both great mourning and great joy.
  • Identify times in life when God’s strength is most important and necessary to believers.

Hymn: CW 221:1,3 – Blessed Jesus, at Your Word

Blessed Jesus, at your Word We are gathered all to hear you.
Let our hearts and souls be stirred Now to seek and love and fear you,
By your teachings, sweet and holy, Drawn from earth to love you solely.

Gracious Savior, good and kind, Light from Light, from God proceeding,
Open now our heart and mind; Help us by your Spirit’s pleading.
Hear the cry your people raises; Hear and bless our prayers and praises.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Christians Live Differently than Unbelievers – Family Devotion – August 3, 2020

Read: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn . . . Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Matthew 13:30,43

Christians Live Differently than Unbelievers


Family Devotion – August 3, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 13:30,43

See series: Devotions

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

“Now is it ready? Now is it ready?” Four-year-old Sydney was bouncing with excitement. “Sydney,” her mom said. “You just planted the seeds yesterday. Not yet.” Sydney couldn’t wait to see when the favorite vegetable she planted would sprout up. She didn’t understand that when she planted seeds, she wouldn’t be eating vegetables the next day!

Sydney kept asking and asking week after week until finally she saw something poke out of the ground. “Yes! Almost ready!” she exclaimed. But then one morning Sydney peeked out the window again and cried out, “Oh no! Mom! Look!” Sydney’s mom came to the window and saw that suddenly the garden of beans was also filled with weeds. This meant big problems for their growing plants.

This week Jesus tells another parable about seeds. Last week, God’s Word was the seed. This time, Christians are the seeds that grow into wheat. But there’s a big problem in this story—weeds. The weeds are all the many unbelievers who want to cause problems for believers. They want to tempt us to sin. They want us to turn away from God. They want our faith to wither out and die.

Jesus says something interesting in this story though. Sydney and her mom were about to go pull out all the weeds in their garden. But in this story, Jesus said that the wheat and the weeds were going to grow together until the very end. What does he mean?

Jesus is telling us that we believers are going to live together with unbelievers in this world until the very Last Day. We will live in communities together, go to school together, and work together. That will mean big problems for us at times. We have to be careful to stay connected to Jesus and his Word so that we as wheat can grow strong in our faith. That way the “weeds” won’t affect us.

Did you hear the wonderful promise at the end though? God in his grace will keep us strong in our faith until the Last Day, judgment day, when Jesus comes back. That’s when he will gather all the wheat (us believers) into his barn (heaven). Jesus says then we will shine like the sun in his kingdom. So dear Christians, keep growing strong as wheat and watch out for the weeds!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, there are many unbelievers who want us to turn away from you, just like Satan does. Help us to grow strong in faith and stay connected to you until you bring us safely to heaven. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why are weeds dangerous to plants?
  • Why is Satan dangerous to believers?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What sorts of things do unbelievers tempt believers to do?
  • When good can come from God allowing us to be tempted in our faith?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Evaluate this statement: In order to protect their faith, Christians should not be friends with any unbelievers.
  • Agree or Disagree: TV, movies, and music can be greater dangers to our faith than living by or working with unbelievers. Explain your answer.

Hymn: CW 221:1,2 – Blessed Jesus, at Your Word

Blessed Jesus, at your Word We are gathered all to hear you.
Let our hearts and souls be stirred Now to seek and love and fear you,
By your teachings, sweet and holy, Drawn from earth to love you solely.

All our knowledge, sense, and sight Lie in deepest darkness shrouded
Till your Spirit breaks our night With the beams of truth unclouded.
You alone to God can win us; You must work all good within us.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Word Strengthens Us with Hope – Family Devotion – July 31, 2020

Read: Romans 8:18-25

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Romans 8:18, 24-25

God’s Word Strengthens Us with Hope


Family Devotion – July 31, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 8:18, 24-25

See series: Devotions

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

“Don’t worry, it will be better before you get married.” My parents used to say that to me all the time—and it would make me so angry. I would come in crying from playing outside and Mom would say it, or I would be so upset about my really mean friend and Dad would say it too—“Don’t worry, it will be better before you get married.”

Mom and Dad wanted me to know two things. First, what I was going through now would go away over time. But even more importantly, I had better things to look forward to in the future. As a child, that can be hard to understand. You scrape a knee and it’s bleeding! Your friend said mean things that hurt!

Your family may have some problems right now. Maybe school has been very difficult for you, and you do not at all want to go back to school. Maybe Mom or Dad lost a job, and your family is struggling still because of the Coronavirus. Maybe someone you love is sick or even dying. Sometimes the pains we feel in life hurt very much!

But did you hear the words of the apostle Paul today? He said that our suffering right now isn’t even worth comparing to the glory of heaven. Our problems right now will seem so small when we are rejoicing with Jesus in heaven. Could you imagine if you had a scoop of ice cream fall out of your cone onto the ground (very sad!) but then the owner came out to you and said that you could have all the ice cream in the entire store! Your little cone problem was nothing compared to the joy of all the ice cream in the store!

This is what God’s Word does for us. It encourages us with hope. The Bible tells us that Jesus is our Savior from sin and that he won for us eternal life in heaven where there will never be any bumps or bruises, pains or problems, sickness or suffering. We aren’t there yet. Heaven is coming. That’s why we have hope.

So be patient friends! It will get better! Greater things are coming! You may have some pains now, but incredible joy and happiness with Jesus are coming soon! I can’t wait! How about you?

Closing Prayer:

Dear Savior, help me to remember that even though life may be tough right now, you have something better waiting for me—eternal life with you. Help me look forward to heaven and wait patiently for being with you. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is something difficult for you right now? What about for your parent(s)?
  • Why will heaven be so great?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain what it means to have hope.
  • Why can we know for sure that we will be in heaven?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What do you think are the most difficult things to suffer through in this life?
  • What do you think will be the best things to enjoy in heaven?

Hymn: CW 293 – God’s Word is Our Great Heritage

God’s Word is our great heritage
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way;
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teachings pure
Throughout all generations.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Word is Always Powerful in Our Lives – Family Devotion – July 29, 2020

Read: Isaiah 55:10-11

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

God’s Word is Always Powerful in Our Lives


Family Devotion – July 29, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:10-11

See series: Devotions

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

“What church do you go to?” Noah asked. “Huh?” Tyler was confused. Why was Noah asking him this, and why in the dugout during the 3rd inning? “I don’t really go to church,” Tyler said. Nine-year-old Noah was equally confused—and concerned. “Well you should go to church to learn about Jesus and heaven. It’s really important. My family goes all the time. Your family should come some time.” And that was that. Noah was about to bat, so the conversation was over.

It was four months later that Noah was getting a drink of water before church one Sunday when out of nowhere he saw Tyler’s family walk into church. He ran over to give Tyler a fist bump. Noah’s parents said they were so glad to see Tyler’s parents in church instead of at a baseball field. That’s when Tyler’s parents explained. Tyler’s dad had just lost his job. The family was afraid and looking for some answers. They remembered that a couple months ago Noah had invited Tyler to church, so they thought they would try it out.

As it turned out, the good news of the Savior Jesus was so comforting to Tyler’s family that they came back to church again . . . and again . . . and again, until they finally joined the church a few months later. Just think! A family joined a church and became believers in Jesus all because one year before that nine-year-old Noah said a few things about Jesus during a baseball game!

Wow! God’s Word is so powerful! The amazing thing is that we can count on God’s Word being powerful and working every single time!

God tells us today through the prophet Isaiah that just like the rain falls from the sky and always makes the ground wet and always causes things to grow, so we can always count on God’s Word to do what God wants it to.

Sometimes the Word may give a little wake up call, like an alarm clock in the morning, as it tells people to stop sinning and turn back to God. That’s called the law. Other times the Word is so comforting and soothing, like aloe on a sunburn, as it tells people that Jesus has washed away their sins. That’s called the gospel. But every single time, God’s Word will be powerful as it goes to work.

So, tell a teammate about Jesus! Invite a friend from school to church! You never know how God’s Word will work, but it will work! You might just see that friend sitting next to you in church one day. Even better, you might just see that person with you in heaven!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for your powerful Word. Help me find ways to share it with other people. I know you will bless it when I do. 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 use to “water” your faith and make it grow?
  • Do you know anyone that needs to know about Jesus? Do your parents?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Jesus used regular, everyday people like fishermen to be his disciples and to preach. What does that mean about you?
  • Is there someone you can invite to church? How will you invite them? When will you invite them?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Evaluate this statement: There are times that people are simply too stubborn for God’s Word to work in their hearts.
  • Evaluate this statement: We know God’s Word is powerful because we can see it working in people.

Hymn: CW 293 – God’s Word is Our Great Heritage

God’s Word is our great heritage
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way;
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teachings pure
Throughout all generations.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Be Rooted in the Word – Family Devotion – July 27, 2020

Read: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Matthew 13:23

Be Rooted in the Word


Family Devotion – July 27, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 13:23

See series: Devotions

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

Did you plant anything this summer? Did you try growing any fruits or vegetables, maybe even some grass on your lawn? If you did, by this time you probably figured out whether your family has some super skills for gardening . . . or maybe next time you should hire a professional.

It’s so easy, and yet also so difficult! The idea of growing things is simple. Even the smallest child knows—you need the seeds, some soil, and plenty of water and sun. Yet there’s much more too it! Some seeds land on bad, rocky soil. Some aren’t deep enough and never grow roots. Other seeds don’t get enough water, while others might die from all the weeds. The idea of growing things is simple, and yet it can be very complicated and difficult!

Faith is really the same way. It’s so easy yet can be very complicated and difficult! How we get faith is very simple. Someone plants the seed—someone preaches the powerful Word of God to us, God works in our hearts to believe the good news of Jesus as our Savior, and there is faith. Simple!

At the same time, Jesus tells us in the parable for this week that it is often much more complicated than that. Sometimes people hear God’s Word and want nothing to do with it—they don’t even care. Sometimes people listen to the Word for a little while, but soon enough turn away. Others listen to God’s Word, but over time the things of this world become more important to them.

Today Jesus gives us both a warning and a promise. The warning is that if you don’t take care of your faith—if you don’t continue to feed your faith, there will not be any strong roots and your faith will be in danger. At the same time, Jesus us gives us a beautiful promise. When we listen carefully to God’s Word and feed our faith with God’s Word, it will grow and produce in us a big crop! So just like a little seed might grow into a tree that produces lots of fruit, so God’s Word can grow faith in our hearts that produces all kind of good work—fruits of love for God and for other people.

God gives to us all kinds of spiritual “farmers.” People like parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, family, and friends spread the seeds of God’s Word to us. Listen carefully to what God has to say and watch how the Master Farmer—God—will cause your faith to grow!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to listen carefully to your Word, and then bless me by causing my faith to grow. Help me also to spread the seeds of your Word 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

  • What things are necessary for seeds to grow?
  • Who first shared God’s Word with you? Ask your parent(s) if you don’t know.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How does God feed and nourish your faith?
  • What kinds of “fruits” do we produce when we feed our faith regularly with God’s Word?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or Disagree: Some people are “rocky soil,” so we shouldn’t even bother sharing God’s Word with them.
  • Evaluate this statement: Good spiritual farmers—good preachers of the Word—will bring many people to faith.

Hymn: CW 293 – God’s Word is Our Great Heritage

God’s Word is our great heritage
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way;
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teachings pure
Throughout all generations.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Gives Us Rest by Giving Us Victory Over Sin – Family Devotion – July 24, 2020

Read: Romans 7:15-25

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:19, 24-25

God Gives Us Rest by Giving Us Victory Over Sin


Family Devotion – July 24, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 7:19,24-25

See series: Devotions

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

“Why would you do that?” the frustrated parents asked Isaiah. “I don’t know,” he said. “Well what were you thinking?” they asked with a firm tone of voice. “I guess I wasn’t thinking,” he replied. “Haven’t we talked to you about this before?” With a shaky voice and tears in his eyes, Isaiah said, “I don’t know, OK? I didn’t mean to. I didn’t want to. But I just did. I don’t know why I did it, but I did. I guess I can’t help myself.”

How frustrating! Sometimes we try so hard to do what is right. We try to do what God wants. We try to show love to him and love to others. But then we fail again . . . and again . . . and again. And many times, we commit the same sins over and over and over! Why is that?

Even though we are God’s children who are forgiven and dearly loved, deep down inside we still have something rotten and bad called our “sinful nature.” This is the natural part of us that wants to fight against our faith. Our faith says, “Obey God!” but our sinful nature says, “Don’t do it!” And many times, we lose the fight and do what’s wrong. That’s called sin.

The apostle Paul understood this battle. Even though he was a great apostle who preached God’s Word to many people, he was still a sinner. Many times Paul felt like a worn out wrestler who was losing the wrestling match with his sinful nature. He wanted to do good things, but often he didn’t. And when he didn’t want to sin, he would sin anyways. This made Paul feel sometimes like he was the chief—the worst—of all sinners. So finally Paul cried out, “Who will rescue me from this?”

Thankfully Paul knew the answer and he shares it with us today. Who will rescue us from the sins we keep falling into? Jesus! Paul wrote, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

You see, Jesus knows what it is like to be tempted. He was tempted to do all the things that we are tempted to do. But Jesus never sinned. Not once! Yet not only did he defeat the devil with his perfect life, Jesus also crushed him at the cross when he washed all our sins away. Jesus even came out of the tomb alive on Easter to prove that he won the victory over death and the devil. Jesus won the fight once and for all!

Do you know what that means for you? You are still going to wrestle with sin. You are still going to be tempted. And yes, you will still fall into sin. But you can always rest in the victory of Jesus! Jesus is the mighty Savior who will give you the strength to fight against temptation, and Jesus is the loving Savior who will always forgive you when you fall into sin. His victory is your victory now and always. Thanks be to God!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me to fight against sin. I know I fall into the same sins often, but you forgive me because of your victory at the cross. Thank you for your love and your strength as I live my life 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

  • What are things that your parents or teachers remind you to do over and over again?
  • Whom do we make happy when we listen to and obey other adults?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What temptations do you think are the most difficult for kids to fight against?
  • How do we know that Jesus has more power than sin and Satan?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or Disagree: Since I can’t help myself from falling into sin, I shouldn’t even bother to try.
  • Recall the brief opening story of the devotion about Isaiah. What kinds of thoughts and feelings go through the minds of people who fall into the same sins over and over? How does Jesus give us comfort and rest when we have those kinds of thoughts or feelings?

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

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

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

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Have Rest When God is with Us – Family Devotion – July 22, 2020

Read: Exodus 33:12-23

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

We Have Rest When God is with Us


Family Devotion – July 22, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 33:14

See series: Devotions

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

Little Lilly stumbled out of the grocery store. Her little legs were tired from shopping, and she was eager to hop up into the van to rest for a bit. She burst out of the doors toward the parking lot when she suddenly and instantly stopped. She waited at the edge of the parking lot for dad to catch up. Without saying a word or turning her head, she stretched her arm up toward the sky. Instantly she felt the strong yet loving embrace from daddy’s hand, and the two marched on toward the van.

Are you familiar with this scene? It happens all over and all the time—at grocery stores, at stoplights, in the neighborhood. Often it happens automatically and without thinking. A child is trained so well that it becomes like a natural instinct. When you are by cars, you go with an adult and hold their hand. That’s when you’re safe. That’s when you’re protected. That’s when you’re OK to keep going.

Moses and the Israelites needed to do a little learning and training about this. Most of the Israelites thought that they could go through the desert and to the Promised Land without their heavenly Father. They often tried to go their own way alone, and every time, it turned out to be a bad choice.

But Moses prayed and pleaded with the Lord to be gracious and forgiving. He asked that God would go with them into the Promised Land. Sure enough, God forgave his people once again and promised to go with them. Moses and the people could be at rest—they could take comfort that they were safe, and it was OK to keep going forward because God would be with them.

We are often like the Israelites. We go astray and try to go our own way. Sometimes we get so busy that we forget about God. Sometimes we are very stubborn and think we don’t need God, that we can go through life on our own. How foolish! It’s like we are little kids who think we can run into the street without an adult! It’s never safe to go anywhere or do anything without our God!

Thank God that even though we stray from him, he came to be with us. Jesus himself came to be with us. He came to bring us forgiveness for going our own way by living for us and dying on the cross. Even today, Jesus still comes to be with us. Jesus comes to us in his Word and in Baptism and Communion so that we can be assured that we are dearly loved by our heavenly Father.

You may feel afraid about many things in life. But take rest and comfort in this promise—because of Jesus’ love and forgiveness, you have a Father in heaven who will be with you and hold your hand every step of the way!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, remind me that you are always with me. I know that when you are with me you will guide, guard, and protect me. Take my hand and lead me throughout 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

  • Why is it important to be with an adult when you face dangerous or scary things?
  • Why is it important to turn to God when you face dangerous or scary things?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Can you recall sinful things the Israelites did in the desert that made God very upset?
  • If they sinned so much, why did God continue to take the Israelites into the Promised Land?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Describe what someone may feel like who tries to go through life alone and without God.
  • Evaluate this statement: I know God is with me when I can feel that God is with me.

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

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

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

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Alone Gives Us Rest – Family Devotion – July 20, 2020

Read: Matthew 11:25-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus Alone Gives Us Rest


Family Devotion – July 20, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 11:28-30

See series: Devotions

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

“I don’t wanna! No! I’m not going to go to bed!” Little Gwendolyn insisted on staying awake as tears streamed down her face. “No bedtime! I’m a big girl!” she shouted to the front from her car seat in back.

What Gwendolyn didn’t realize was that she was exhausted. She had been at preschool all day. She had a quick mac ‘n’ cheese cup in the van, and she just completed a long gymnastics practice. It actually was already 30 minutes past her normal bedtime.

Sure enough, by the time mom pulled into the driveway, she looked in the mirror and saw Gwendolyn’s head drooped over fast asleep in her car seat and drooling on her lap. Nothing was going to feel as good as mom putting her into her cozy bed with her fuzzy pillows and stuffed animals!

Have you felt tired lately? If you are a student, you may be glad that it is summer break. School is tiring! But sometimes summer is, too. There can be lots of activities, practices, games, or busy family vacations. If you are an adult, maybe the frantic schedules of everyday life are wearing you down as well. After all, you are the one that has to drive to all those activities, practices, and games, and you are the one to plan those busy family vacations! On top of that, we are still trying to figure our way out of the many problems that have come to us all from the coronavirus. Maybe all of you have felt totally exhausted recently, so tired that you could just crash on your pillow and sleep like a cozy bear in happy hibernation!

Then again, sometimes it’s not just our bodies that are tired. Sometimes you may feel burdened by all the sins that you have committed. “Ah! I’ve done that again! I can’t believe I sinned again! When am I ever going to do things right?!”

Christian friends, do not worry! We all get tired physically and spiritually. But we have the perfect place to rest—in Jesus! No, Jesus will not offer you a soft pillow or a fuzzy blanket. Even better than that—Jesus allows you to rest in his loving arms. He invites you to come to him and find forgiveness for all your sin. He offers you the cozy peace of knowing God loves you dearly as his own child. And best of all, the comfort and rest of life in heaven is waiting for you as well. No matter how tired you may be, Jesus will always provide the rest that we need so much. So go to church, go to the Word, go to Jesus, and rest up!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I am often very tired from the things that I do in this life as well as tired from the sins that I have done. Help me always to go to you to find true rest. 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 things make you tired in life?
  • Why would we call heaven a place of rest?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does Jesus mean when he says we can find rest in him?
  • Sabbath is a word that means rest. How does remembering the Sabbath Day (the Third Commandment) connect to finding rest in Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Identify some of the other things that people look to for rest in this world. Explain why they will never offer us rest as good as the rest that Jesus offers.
  • Jesus says today, “Come to me.” Identify all the ways that we can go to Jesus (or that he comes to us). Then discuss how we can work on having this kind of rest more often.

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

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

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

 

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