The “Wow!” of God – June 24, 2024

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?
Job 38:1-11

The “Wow!” of God

Family Devotion – June 24, 2024

Devotion based on Job 38:1-11

See series: Devotions

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

On April 8, 2024, an eclipse happened in much of the United States. Did someone in your family see it? An eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun and blocks its light. In some places, it got totally dark in the middle of the afternoon! Can you imagine that? When people saw it, they were amazed. They said, “Wow! We are so small. God is so big!”

We need to remember that because we all have a problem, we like to think we’re bigger than we really are. We like to think that even God himself should listen to us. We think, “God, why don’t you do this? God, why don’t you do things my way?” In the Bible, a man named Job started to ask questions like that. “Why, God, why? Wouldn’t it be better if you listened to me?”

Can you guess God’s reply? God appeared to Job and told him to think of how big and awesome the universe is because God is even bigger and more awesome. God asked Job things like, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4). Well, where was Job when God created the world? Nowhere, and he was not even born.

Did Job have a right to question God? No. Kind of like with that eclipse, Job simply needed to look up to God and say, “Wow!” Who measured out the earth’s dimensions and built it like a carpenter building a house? God did. Wow! Who set limits for the oceans and said to their waves, “You can’t go any further!”? God did. Wow! Who invented eclipses and placed the earth and the moon on their perfect paths around the sun? God did. Wow!

And here is the best part: That God loves you! The God who made the sun made you. The God who planned out the universe planned your salvation through faith in Jesus. Like Job learned, God is with us even in all the storms of life. What do we have to say? “Wow! Wow! God, wow!”

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, you are awesome! Forgive us when we think we’re bigger than we really are. Forgive us for the times we try to tell you what to do. Use your creation around us to amaze us and lead us to say, “Wow!” when we think of your power and grace. 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

  • Which is bigger: God or the sun?
  • When we know how big God is, why don’t we have to be scared of anything?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do we sometimes think we can tell God what to do?
  • Besides the examples used in this devotion, list three amazing things God has created.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Job was especially tempted to question God when troubles came into his life. Why do you think we’re tempted to question God when life is hard?
  • Explain how scientists and their research can help us appreciate how amazing God is.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Just a Seed – June 21, 2024

[Jesus] also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
Mark 4:26-32

Just a Seed

Family Devotion – June 21, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-32

See series: Devotions

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

Can you describe the miracle of how a seed works? No matter which way you place it in the ground, the roots will grow down, and the plant will grow up. All of the life, fruit, and flowers you find on any plant, no matter how big or small, all started from one little seed. Cut open an apple and examine the seed that is so tiny. Then, imagine all the goodness that will come from that one little seed when it becomes a tree. The most experienced farmer cannot completely explain how this can be. It is a miraculous cycle—the seed to the plant. It began in the Garden of Eden when God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it” (Genesis 1:11).

So it makes sense in Mark chapter 4 when God uses this miraculous cycle to explain the power of the gospel and the kingdom of heaven. Just as we cannot explain how all that goodness can come from one little seed, it’s amazing how the gates of heaven are opened to young and old, wise and simple, strong and weak, simply through the preaching of the gospel!

A three-year-old and a wise hero of faith understand this gospel truth the same—Jesus died for their sins, and heaven is theirs. This gospel, whether spoken by a gifted preacher, a stuttering teen, or from the mouth of a tiny child—its power remains the same. The power to crack open cold hearts of stone and give them life in Jesus. All of the gifts this life in Jesus has to offer—like peace that surpasses understanding, purpose in this life, a Savior-brother who gave his life for ours, and finally, a home with him in heaven—it all lies in the power of the gospel—the good news of Jesus, our Savior.

Each spring, the farmer plants the seeds, believing that, in the fall, there will be a harvest. Just as the farmer plants the seed, God tells us to ‘plant’ the gospel. And just as the farmer believes there will be a harvest, we believe the Word will do its work. Just as tiny seeds grow into amazing, beautiful, life-giving plants—when the gospel is preached, the kingdom of heaven grows. You can count on it!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, we thank you for the powerful message of the gospel. Help us spread this gospel to everyone with faith that the Word will do its work. 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

  • In ten seconds, name as many fruits as you can. Ready, set, go!
  • In ten seconds, name as many good things that come from knowing Jesus. Ready, set, go!

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What gives a little seed the power to grow into a plant?
  • What do you need to grow faith?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • True or False: A newly baptized baby and the pastor of your church have exactly the same faith.
  • In Matthew 28:19, God tells us to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. How do we ‘make disciples’?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Story of Miss Katie – June 19, 2024

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.
Colossians 1:3-6

The Story of Miss Katie

Family Devotion – June 19, 2024

Devotion based on Colossians 1:3-6

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Do you know what a “goal” is? It’s not the one with a crossbar and a net attached to it that you kick a ball into. A goal is something maybe you want in your future. For example:

1. If your goal in life was to make a lot of money, what job would you have?
2. If your goal in life was to be powerful, who would you want to be?
3. If your goal in life was to be on vacation, where would you go?

Was the answer to any of these questions: “I would be a Kindergarten teacher”? Ahhh, I don’t think so!

Well, maybe you should meet Miss Katie. The story of Miss Katie is not about how much money she had, how tall or small she was, or even if she liked to go on vacations.

The true story is about a daddy who was dying. His five-year-old son squeezed his hand and, through his tears, said, “You can go to heaven, Daddy. It doesn’t matter that you did not go to church. My teacher, Miss Katie, says Jesus died for your sins, and you only have to believe in him. And you can go to heaven.”

It might be neat to be a rich and powerful person who takes lots of vacations. But they are not the most important goals in life. Jesus is. That’s why the story of Miss Katie is so important. She knew what was most important. So she shared it with the students of her kindergarten class—including the little boy whose dad was dying.

That little boy was one of over 500 students to sit in Miss Katie’s classroom. How many others shared the gospel because Miss Katie shared it with them? That’s a good question to think about. Someday, we’ll find out in heaven.

In today’s Bible reading, Paul thanks God for the faith of people like Miss Katie—a kindergarten teacher who shares the gospel with her students. Because of her—they knew Jesus as their Savior.

Maybe you are a student, a sister, or a friend. May your goal be this: Who might be in heaven someday because YOU shared Jesus with them? Let’s find out someday in heaven!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help us spread the good news of your gospel. 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

  • God gives grown-ups to take care of us. How do your grown-ups take care of you?
  • One of the most important ways grown-ups take care of us is by telling us about Jesus. Name three grown-ups who share the good news of Jesus with you. Then, thank God for them!

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The gospel is the good news that Jesus saved us. Name as many places as you can where you hear the gospel.
  • Like Miss Katie, with whom can you share the good news of Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • God says in Matthew 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” He is talking to us. How can we spread the gospel while we are still children?
  • Make a plan on how to share the gospel with someone this week.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Shelter From the Storm – June 17, 2024

On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.
Ezekiel 17:23

Shelter From the Storm

Family Devotion – June 17, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 17:23

See series: Devotions

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

After a long and harsh winter in Green Bay, WI, Lucas was tired of the gray sky and snow. He searched for signs that spring was coming. Sure enough, the snow finally began to melt. He felt the warmth of the sun on his neck. He started to see robins hopping along the greening grass of his lawn.

Then, it happened.

Late one March night, the temperature plummeted. Lucas woke up, looked out his window, and saw the sight of a couple inches of white snow. He saw something begin to move in a tree close to his window. There were the robins huddled between the branches of the evergreen, sheltering them from winter’s final cold blast.

Can you picture yourself as that little shivering robin in a great big world? Some days feel like spring sunshine—days when your family is getting along, days at the beach or in the forest, days of rest and wonder. But because of sin—your sin and the sin of the people around you—too often, this world feels like a wintry blast, and you feel small and feeble. Shivering. Cold. On your own. Unable to protect yourself from the blasts of the world, the devil, or from yourself and the bad you know you do.

That’s why today’s Bible passage is so comforting. God shows us that we do not have to weather the storm of this world on our own. Yes, we are weak like the little bird. But we have a solid and sure tree of shelter. The tree of shelter was promised to us in the Garden of Eden when God promised to rescue Adam and Eve and us from our sins. He sent that rescue when Jesus came to earth to live and die for us. The door to our shelter was opened when the tomb of a living Jesus was opened. When we find our shelter in Jesus, the storms of this world cannot harm us.

One day, the cold blast of this broken world will end. Until then, God provides us the perfect shelter in Jesus. Rest in him, and you are safe. The winter of this world will end, and we will awaken to the glorious spring that awaits us in heaven!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being the perfect shelter for us. May we rest in 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 makes you feel safe in a storm?
  • Who is with us in every storm, no matter where we are?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Name the top three things that frighten you.
  • How can Jesus help you with these things?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What is one thing happening in your life that you would like shelter from?
  • God gives us shelter in this world. What are ways and/or people God has given you that make you feel safe?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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On the Winning Team – June 14, 2024

[Jesus said] If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself it cannot stand.
Mark 3:24,25

On the Winning Team

Family Devotion – June 14, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 3:24,25

See series: Devotions

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

They were brothers, but they did not have much in common. Landon was studious and loved music. Logan loved sports and being with his friends. When it came to neighborhood games, Logan was always the captain. Everyone wanted to be on his team. But as he chose his team, he did not pick the fastest or strongest. First, he chose his brother, for he did not want to see Landon left behind.

Like the brothers, you and your brother—Jesus, are very different. In the game of life, we mess up often. Our sins are many. It’s easier to love ourselves than others. We even betray each other when it is convenient.

Jesus was the complete opposite. In the game of life, he played the perfect game. He lived perfectly—never a selfish cry, never a lazy day, never an unkind word to a friend. Never a bad thought, word, or action—He chose you to be on his team. He did not choose you because you can help him win. He did not choose you because you can add value to his team. He chose you because he loves you. He didn’t want you left behind. So he put his name, Christian, on your jersey. To this day, Jesus still is our best big brother. On our best days and worst days, he loves us the same. His loyalty to us never wavers.

Most important is this: Jesus’ love to keep our team united and strong. Logan and Landon were on the same team—sometimes they won games, but sometimes they lost. When Jesus chose you for his team, he put you on the team that always wins. Sometimes, it may look like a nail-biter. With all the evil in the world, it may sometimes even look like Jesus’s team is way behind. Satan, the captain of the other team, looks powerful. But he is not winning. His evil team is not winning. Here’s why: today’s Bible passage tells us that Satan and his house cannot stand. Jesus was stronger than Satan! When Jesus lived and died perfectly, when he rose again, he defeated Satan’s team—all by himself!

Congratulations, because of Jesus, you’re on the winning team! Stand with Jesus and play on his team, the devil cannot beat us.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for choosing us to be on your team. Forgive us for our many mistakes. Give us strength to bring honor to your name. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What makes for a good teammate?
  • Jesus is our perfect teammate—how can we be good teammates to each other?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Our Bible reading tells us that a house divided cannot stand. What are the things that divide your house?
  • What unites us because of Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Even the best athlete makes mistakes. Even the best Christian sins. What exactly qualifies you to be on the Jesus’ team?
  • Give at least two reasons why being on Jesus’ team brings you comfort in this life.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Evil Is on a Chain – June 12, 2024

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
Revelation 20:1,2

Evil Is on a Chain

Family Devotion – June 12, 2024

Devotion based on Revelation 20:1,2

See series: Devotions

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

Mia loved her uncle’s farm. She loved almost everything about it—the barns, animals, tractors, and fields. It was a land of adventure. She loved ALMOST everything about it…except the big dog chained to the porch. As she tried to reach the farmhouse door, the dog bared his teeth and barked ferociously. As Mia circled wide outside the leash’s reach, he lunged and snapped at her. He was terrifying.

The next time Mia approached the house, she was with her grandfather. As the dog growled and lunged at them, her grandfather grabbed the dog by the nose and said in a commanding voice, “No! No bark!” The dog immediately fell back with his tail between his legs. The girl and her grandfather entered the house safely. After that, the dog never seemed quite as scary to Mia because of her grandpa.

Like the farm was for Mia, there is much about this world we love. Jumping in waves, walking forest trails, roasting marshmallows over a campfire, hearing a good story, spending time as a family, there is so much to love. Yet, just like the farm had a scary dog , the devil is part of living in this world . He is powerful and evil and wants to destroy us—so much scarier than a ferocious dog.

But today, our Bible reading tells us why we don’t have to be afraid. The devil is on a chain, and holding the other end of this chain is Jesus! And just like the grandfather muzzled the scary dog with a strong hand, Jesus’ resurrection delivered a crushing blow on the devil’s nose. Now the devil knows that God is stronger than he is.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t stop barking and growling. Even though Jesus soundly defeated the devil at the cross, the devil still tries to scare us. He’s angry. He wants to hurt us. We would do well to stay out of the reach of his chain. When you find yourself afraid of him, remember this: Jesus has the devil on a leash. Every day, Jesus walks alongside of you to keep you safe. Every night, we can rest our heads in peace. Jesus promises a day is coming when we will never have to hear or see the snarling of Satan. God will make all things new. Then, because of Jesus, we will safely enter our heavenly home.

Closing Prayer:

Until then we pray: Come, Lord Jesus. Take us home to be 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

  • True or False. The devil is stronger than you or your mom or dad. Who do you know that is stronger than the devil?
  • A mean dog can be scary. A mean dog on a leash is less scary. The devil is like a mean dog on a leash. Who is holding the leash?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What can you do when you are afraid of the bad things and people in this world?
  • As we live in this world with the devil prowling about, having a strong faith is important. What does God give us to make our faith strong?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or Disagree: The devil focuses his attention more on adults than he does on children. Be prepared to explain your answer.
  • Jesus once said that we live in the world but are not of this world (John 17:16). What did he mean by that and how does that connect with today’s devotion?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Hide and Seek – June 10, 2024

Read: Genesis 3:8-15

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Genesis 3:8,9

Hide and Seek

Family Devotion – June 10, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:8,9

See series: Devotions

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

Emma did not finish her assignment on time. She saw a finished paper from a classmate sitting on the edge of the teacher’s desk. She quickly erased her classmate’s name and wrote her own on the paper. That afternoon, as the teacher corrected the papers, she knew. The handwriting and schoolwork did not match the name on the top. The teacher came to the young, guilty student, knelt by her side with the stolen paper, and gently asked, “Is this yours?”

Emma felt her heart beating like a drum. She did not want her teacher to know what she had done. She did not want her classmate to know she had stolen her work. All she wanted to do was run. Where could she hide?

A long time ago, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve struggled with this same question. They had broken God’s commandment. They felt shame over their sin. Then they heard their loving, heavenly Father calling out to them in the garden. Where could they hide?

You and I have also struggled. We have sinned. What do we do? Should we run and hide in the dark? Or do we step out into the light and face the truth? In his Word, the Bible, God calls us out of the darkness of our sin and reminds us that there is nowhere we can go where he will not find us. (Psalm 139) And yet, we often struggle to bring our sin to the light, to confess what we have done.

The devil loves the dark. He loves it when we try to hide our sins from ourselves, each other, and God. Lie, hide, live in fear of being found out…the devil loves this plan.

But our Jesus loves the light. He fought the battle over darkness for Adam and Eve, for Emma, and for you. And with his light, love, and life, he calls us to stop hiding and tell the truth. And for all the times we do, he points to his cross where he crushed the devil and his darkness once and for all.

No more hide and seek! Because of Jesus, we can bring our sin to God and stand in the light as his forgiven child.

Closing Prayer:

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your loving plan to save us from our sins. Help us remember we never need to hide our sins from you. We are forgiven because of Jesus. Help us to walk in the light of that forgiveness. 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 been scared to tell the truth? Why is it so scary?
  • Let’s practice telling the truth: Take this time to tell Jesus something that you’ve been hiding. Afterwards, listen to these words: “You are forgiven.”

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What would you tell a friend who is afraid to tell the truth?
  • Even though it can be scary to confess our sin, why does it feel so much better after we tell the truth?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • King David tried to hide his sin, and wrote how it made him feel, “When I kept silent my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalm 32). What do you think he meant by ‘my bones wasted away’?
  • Psalm 139:8 tells us we cannot hide from God. “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” How can knowing we cannot hide from God be scary and comforting at the same time?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Right Tool Used for the Wrong Job – June 7, 2024

Read: Mark 2:23–3:6

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” . . . Then [Jesus] said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.

Mark 2:23–3:6 (selected verses)

The Right Tool Used for the Wrong Job

Family Devotion – June 7, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 2:23–3:6 (selected verses)

See series: Devotions

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

A hammer doesn’t inflate a balloon very well. A hammer can’t blow up a balloon at all! If you want the balloon inflated, you must use the right tool for the job, which would be your lips or an air compressor.

God gave his people the right tool, but they used it for the wrong job. The people of Israel had the beautiful command to do no work on Saturdays. This was to be a day of rest for their bodies, and their souls could enjoy rest in God’s Word.

Here’s another way to understand it. Have you ever worked super hard on a project? Maybe the school science project was due, and you stayed up all night to get it done. Maybe you spent hours cleaning up the living room or mowing the yard. What do you do after the project is done? You enjoy displaying your project. You enjoy the clean living room by playing a game with your family. You might sit down in the yard for a picnic or just enjoy the view of the green grass.

In the same way, God wanted the Sabbath to be a day for his people to just enjoy what he had done and what he would do for them. The Lord wanted to chase away believers’ fears and worries with the promise he would never leave them. He wanted hearts to be filled with joy and peace with the promise that he forgives every sin and loves them. God gave them the right tool, a day to focus on what he did, and many used the Sabbath day to focus on what they had to do for God. But that was the wrong job!

The religious leaders taught that people could make God love them by obeying the Lord’s commands. They were looking for rest in what they could do instead of enjoying the rest God freely gave. They were mad at Jesus for letting his disciples pick grain on the Sabbath, which wasn’t wrong to do according to God but wrong according to them. They got so mad at Jesus for loving a man by healing his shriveled hand that they made plans to kill Jesus! But Jesus used the Sabbath for what it was meant to be—an opportunity to love. It was the right tool for the right job.

Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, or to put it another way, Jesus gives us the rest and peace that we could never earn.

Closing Prayer:

(CW 564:1 – My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare to make no other claim,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Do you sometimes try to do things to make God love you?
  • How does Jesus show that he loves you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Stubborn hearts upset Jesus. What kind of heart was he looking for?
  • Jesus wants to give rest and joy to our hearts. What are your favorite promises from God’s Word that give you rest and joy?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Today’s devotion was about using the right tool for the right job. What’s the job of God’s law?
  • TRUE or FALSE. God wants us to obey his laws to show that we love him.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Tag! Jesus is it! – June 5, 2024

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Colossians 2:13-17

Tag! Jesus is it!

Family Devotion – June 5, 2024

Devotion based on Colossians 2:13-17

See series: Devotions

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

It was the day of the biggest tag game in the neighborhood. Kids came from every home in the area for a chance to be crowned the king or queen of tag! After 45 minutes of non-stop running around, a smiling third grader named Tina was the champion. When asked, “What is your secret to being crowned the queen of tag?” Tina replied, “Oh, that’s easy! I just hide around corners, and when I see a person’s shadow, I get ready to jump out because I know someone is coming. Then I yell, ‘Tag, you’re it!’”

In today’s Bible reading, God wasn’t interested in crowning his people as tag champions of the world. God was focused on crowning his people with salvation. Just as a shadow can show you that someone is coming, God commanded his people to worship on special days to teach and remind them that his Savior was right around the corner.

Every Sabbath day or every Saturday, Old Testament believers were to rest their bodies by doing no work. They also rested their hearts and minds in God’s promises. The Sabbath day was like a shadow—it was a way that God pointed to a special someone who was right around the corner.

It would have been silly if Tina, the tag champion, jumped out and tagged a shadow because a shadow isn’t a real person! The Sabbath day couldn’t give real and lasting rest, but the special worship day did point to Jesus, who could and did bring real rest from a problem no one was able to solve. Here’s the problem: Spiritually, all of us are born dead! That means we are born without believing in Jesus and with no love for God. Just like a dead frog can’t hop or ribbit, a spiritually dead person can’t hop into action and start believing in or loving God by himself.

God, however, is living and active! He decided Jesus would do all the work and obey all the rules and regulations for us. Not only did Jesus obey them perfectly for us, but he took all sins to the cross when he died for the world. You are not saved because of what you can do but because of what Jesus has done for you!

Do you want true peace and rest? Tag! Jesus is it!

Closing Prayer:

(CW 560:1 – Your Works, Not Mine, O Christ)
Your works, not mine, O Christ,
speak gladness to this heart;
they tell me all is done,
they bid my fear depart. 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 will you go to heaven someday?
  • Why will you go to heaven someday?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What must you do to be saved?
  • What does it mean that God gives you spiritual rest?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Go back to today’s Bible reading. What else did Jesus nail to the cross besides sins?
  • Consider something that is casting a shadow over your heart. What did you hear from todays’ devotion that puts you at peace?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Do Nothing – June 3, 2024

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male or female servants may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”
Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Do Nothing

Family Devotion – June 3, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 5:12-15

See series: Devotions

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

Brush your teeth. Do your homework and practice piano. Make your lunch. Pack your backpack and gym bag. Clean your room. Pick up your toys.

Ugh! There is so much work that needs to be done! Families are busy with sports, school, music, going to work, and doing chores. It never ends!

If your life is busy, it might be strange to hear God tell his Old Testament believers not to be busy at least one day a week. God commanded his people to keep the Sabbath, which means they were not to forget to take a day off to rest. But sometimes we forget to do things because we get busy doing other things.

God didn’t want his people to forget that the most important gift in their lives was having a relationship with him. Four times, he reminds them that he was the Lord their God. He didn’t want the busyness of life to get in the way of the relationship that he had with his people and his people had with him. The Lord commanded them not to do any work for one day of the week. That way, they could focus on him, his love for them, and his promises that give true rest for souls.

God knows that resting is good for our bodies and minds. In a world that can be so busy, it is good to hear and take to heart that God is pleased when we take time not to do much but to be quiet and rest. So put down your phone! Get away from that screen! Take time to smell a flower or look at the brilliant colors of a fly’s wing (especially on the backdrop of black paper!) Stop and marvel at the Creator’s creation and praise him for the gifts surrounding you. Take time to listen to the sounds that can be heard in your little corner of the world. Take time to listen to God’s Word that promises Jesus has forgiven you and loves you. Take time to do nothing but rest with God and others who believe.

Closing Prayer:

Lord, teach us to be quiet so our thoughts can focus on you and the love you have for us. Help us to slow down so we can see the beauty of your creation and hear the message of forgiveness in your word. We praise you for being the God who gives us 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 was the name for the day God wanted Old Testament believers to take as a day of rest?
  • What do you like about worshiping with your family at church or at home?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Try to picture Jesus giving you rest. What comes to mind?
  • What promise(s) does Jesus give to you that brings rest to your mind and heart?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why can it be unhealthy for individuals and families to be overly busy?
  • As New Testament believers, we can worship any and every day. Why is Sunday usually the day on which most people worship?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Got Love? – May 31, 2024

Read: John 3:1-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16,17

Got Love?

Family Devotion – May 31, 2024

Devotion based on John 3:16,17

See series: Devotions

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

There are many ways that others can love you. “I love you a billion!” can be blurted out loudly. A kind smile can share the warmth of friendly love. When a parent gives you a hug, they are loving you without saying words.

How do you know that God loves you? Has God ever given you a hug when you felt sad? What does Jesus’ smile even look like? It probably would be frightening to hear a loud voice blurt out, “I love you a billion!” when you are alone in your room.

Then there are the other things. You know. The S.I.N.S. that you have done. It wasn’t loving when you talked back to your parents. It wasn’t loving to sneak away after supper so you didn’t have to help clean up. Being unkind isn’t loving, but being loveless is a sin.

Why would God love anyone? Are you ready for the answer? God is LOVE. God loves the unlovable. God loved a man named Nicodemus, who feared what his friends might say if he talked to Jesus. Jesus loved Nicodemus even though the religious teacher didn’t know all the answers to Jesus’ questions. Nicodemus didn’t even know he was talking to God’s one and only Son! Yet, Jesus loved him. Jesus was patient with Nicodemus by taking the time to teach him about God’s love.

How does God love you? In this way— “God loved the world, he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” When Jesus was crucified, God the Father stopped loving his Son because the Father never wanted to stop loving you. Jesus came to forgive the world so that everyone who believes in him, so you who trust in him, could be loved by him forever!

God’s booming voice might not echo in your bedroom every night, but that doesn’t mean he fails to tell you he loves you. Through the waters of your baptism, the Holy Spirit promises he does! Every day, you can wake up knowing you are forgiven and saved and will live forever in heaven. How can you be so sure? In the way God loved you, he gave you his one and only Son who forgives you.

Closing Prayer:

(CW 575:1 – By Grace I’m Saved)
By grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless;
my soul, believe and doubt it not.
Why waver at this word of promise?
Has Scripture ever falsehood taught?
So then this word must true remain:
by grace you, too, shall heav’n obtain. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name two ways your mom/dad or grandpa/grandma show love to you.
  • How does Jesus show how much he loves you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is it comforting to know that God loved the world?
  • How does God love you through other people in your life?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How does each person of the Triune God show they love you?
  • What promises can you hold God to because you have been baptized?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Doesn’t Live in Tree Houses – May 29, 2024

Read: Romans 8:12-17

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:14-16

God Doesn’t Live in Tree Houses

Family Devotion – May 29, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 8:14-16

See series: Devotions

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

The Lego tree house fell from the shelf. Pieces flew everywhere! Tears rolled down cheeks, past frowning lips, and splashed onto the floor. “It’s ruined! I will never be able to fix this mess!” cried the boy.

There is a mess that sinners can’t fix, either. No, it isn’t repairing a Lego creation. It’s much worse. Sinners can’t fix themselves! Most likely, you have never fallen from a shelf and had your pieces fly everywhere, but you have fallen into sin by disobeying God. No one ever had to teach you to be naughty because as soon as you began to live, you had a sinful nature, which promised death. Every unkind word, every selfish thought, and every mean action shows that sin lives inside. Every sinner can say, “I’m ruined! I will never be able to fix this mess!” And they would be telling the truth.

God doesn’t want you to die but live!

God could have told us to build him a beautiful log cabin in the Rocky Mountains for him to live in, but he didn’t. He could have commanded us to build a temple of gold near the beach, but that isn’t what God wanted either. God didn’t even tell us to put together a monster Lego tree house for him! Why? Because the Spirit who gives life through the good news of Jesus’ forgiveness is pleased to live in you.

Every time you say no to being mean, it is the power of God in you. When you speak with polite words and share with others, that is the Holy Spirit at work in and through you!

God doesn’t want a lifeless plastic tree house; he wants living and breathing children. Through faith, you have become God’s child, and God has become your “Abba, Father!”

If you go over to a friend’s house, you probably don’t say, “Hey, Dad!” when you see your friend’s father, do you? Abba is a special name that only the children of the family would use.

If God is your Abba, then Jesus is your dear brother. Everything that Jesus has is yours! You are not ruined but saved! You don’t have to spend forever in an uncomfortable Lego tree house, but you will spend forever praising and serving the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit perfectly.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Father, thank you for watching over all your children and giving us the promise that you will always love us. Dear Jesus, we praise you for your forgiveness—now we will live with you in your heaven. Dear Holy Spirit, continue to rule our hearts through your Word. Teach us to say no to our sinful nature and yes to what you teach is good. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Describe what you think heaven is like.
  • What are some things that we should say no to? What are things that we do that please God?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • As an heir of God (which means “next-in-line to inherit”), what are you looking forward to most in heaven?
  • How can you show others that the Spirit of God lives in you?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What does the word “Abba” mean? How does “Abba” indicate your relationship with God?
  • What comfort do you have in knowing the Spirit of God lives in you?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Oh, no! Oh, yes! – May 27, 2024

I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah 6:1-8

Oh, no! Oh, yes!

Family Devotion – May 27, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 6:1-8

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever been afraid because something was bigger than you? Isaiah saw something bigger than a big brother, more powerful than a rodeo bull, and more unstoppable than a freight train. He saw the Almighty Lord sitting on a high throne.

Angels, called seraphs, were flying around God’s throne and let Isaiah know who he was seeing. They were calling to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Isaiah didn’t join in—he was terrified! The temple began to shake and filled with smoke. God was not only bigger than he was, but Isaiah experienced how holy God was and how not holy he was. In that moment he yelled out, “Oh, no!”

Have your lips proved that you aren’t holy? Talking back to an adult is a sin. Saying unkind words shows that you don’t love perfectly. The sassy tone in your voice reveals the disobedience in your heart. “Oh, no! I am ruined” is what we must say before our holy God, too!

Isaiah’s eyes must have opened wide when one of the seraphs flew toward him with a hot coal. Was God going to punish him by burning his lips? No! The coal that touched Isaiah’s lips came from the altar where sacrifices took place. The Holy Lord is also the loving Lord who delights in forgiving sinners.

Most likely, your church has an altar too. There is a good chance that your church has a cross above it as a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice. The Holy Son of God was punished for your unholiness so that you never will be punished. Through faith, Jesus’ holiness is now your holiness.

Not only did God forgive Isaiah, but the Lord had some special work for Isaiah. He heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah didn’t shout in fear, “Oh, no!” instead, in joyful confidence, he responded with, “Oh, yes!” “Here am I send me!”

Now, it’s your turn. You have been given Jesus’ love and know his forgiveness. “Who will go for God?” May you respond, “Oh, yes! Send me!”

Closing Prayer:

Holy Lord, we deserve nothing from you, but in Jesus, you have given us everything. Thank you for forgiving our sins and washing away our guilt. Use us as your voices in this world to share the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit with others. Here we are, Lord. Send us. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What do you think an angel looks like? How does today’s devotion describe them?
  • What does it mean to be holy?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think the angels said “holy” three times?
  • How did the angel help Isaiah understand that his sins were taken away?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • The angels shouted, “The whole earth is full of God’s glory.” How is the whole earth full of God’s glory?
  • What does it mean that our sins are atoned for?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Holy Spirit: Your Healer and Helper – May 24, 2024

Read: John 15:26,27; 6:4-11

[Jesus said] “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
John 16:7

The Holy Spirit: Your Healer and Helper

Family Devotion – May 24, 2024

Devotion based on John 16:7

See series: Devotions

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

You fell on the driveway and cut your knee pretty badly on a sharp edge. You limp into the house, and your mom grabs the first aid kit. As she gets ready to wash the cut and apply ointment, she says, “This might hurt a bit. But we have to do it for the healing to start.” She prepares you for the sting and encourages you to be strong.

In today’s Bible reading, Jesus was preparing his disciples for the sting of his arrest and death on the cross. He wanted them to understand that something painful was about to happen. The disciples would feel hurt as they watched this happen. But Jesus going to the cross was the bad thing that had to happen for all people to be healed from sin. Jesus’ time on earth was almost over. Soon, he would return victoriously to his Father in heaven. And the disciples would continue the ministry for him.

Jesus’ words weren’t easy to hear for the disciples but were meant to prepare them. For three years, they had been together in ministry. They had experienced difficulties and opposition together. How could the disciples face future difficulties and opposition without Jesus?

Jesus said, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you.” The Advocate is another word for the Holy Spirit. It means a person who comes to help you in time of difficulty. After Jesus returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit would be the one to talk the disciples through difficulty. The Holy Spirit would strengthen the disciples to live for Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is our powerful helper, too. Sometimes, we have to go through painful things. It can be difficult to live for Jesus when everything in the world seems against us. We may feel like Jesus is far away in heaven, and we are alone. But he is with us, and the Holy Spirit reminds us of this truth. Every time we hear God’s Word, the Spirit is working in our hearts, taking us through whatever situation we are in. We are so blessed to be healed from sin because of Jesus! And we are so helped every day by our Advocate, the Holy Spirit!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to heal us from sin. Please send the Holy Spirit into our hearts to help us live for 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

  • Tell about the last time you fell and scraped your arm or leg. Who helped clean you up and put on a band aid? Did it make you feel better?
  • What does the Holy Spirit help you remember about Jesus when you hurt?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • If Jesus never promised the help of the Holy Spirit, how would that impact you and your faith?
  • TRUE or FALSE: The Holy Spirit is the underrated person of the Triune God.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In moments when Jesus may feel far away from you, why is the special work of the Holy Spirit so important?
  • What “tool” does the Holy Spirit use to “talk you through” life in this world?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Pentecost Language App – May 22, 2024

Read: Acts 2:1-21

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:3,4

The Pentecost Language App

Family Devotion – May 22, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 2:3,4

See series: Devotions

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

There are phone apps that allow you to translate a phrase from your language into another language. It’s pretty amazing technology. Maybe your parent can let you try it sometime!

The Holy Spirit knows something about translating languages, too. Jesus promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and help them spread the word about Jesus to all nations. They didn’t know how or when it would happen. Today’s Bible reading describes a festival called Pentecost. “Pentecost” was a festival that was being celebrated in Jerusalem that weekend. People from all over the world were in the city for this festival. That’s when something incredible happened. Imagine what looks like little tongues of fire landing on the heads of Jesus’ disciples! “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak” in different languages. It was an amazing miracle!

Why did God choose that miracle on that day and in that way? It has something to do with God’s end goal for all people—to hear the message about Jesus, come to faith, and be saved. People from all over the world heard the disciples share the message about Jesus. They were all in the right place at the right time.

How could people speaking different languages from all over the world understand each other? The Holy Spirit made sure they would hear and could understand the message about Jesus as their Savior. Those people, in turn, would carry that message back home to even more people, and the Gospel would spread.

What is the end goal of a phone app that takes words from one language and changes them into another? It’s to create understanding. That is why God gives the Holy Spirit. He wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). The Holy Spirit continues to create understanding for us whenever we speak with people about Jesus. He will bless any words we speak and work in the hearts of those who listen. God began building his family of believers at Pentecost, and he continues to do so today.

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace that wants all people in the world to hear and understand your saving message. Send your Holy Spirit to us so we can speak words that help people understand your saving grace. 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 God’s goal for all people?
  • What do people need to believe in Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How did God make it possible for so many people from all over the world to hear the message about Jesus at Pentecost?
  • When you feel confused about something in God’s Word, what can you ask the Holy Spirit to do?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What comfort is it for you to know that the Holy Spirit can help you understand God’s Word?
  • What comfort is it for you to know that the Holy Spirit is at work whenever you speak God’s Word to someone else?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You Can Breathe, Even When It Isn’t Easy – May 20, 2024

Read: Ezekiel 37:1-14

The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
Ezekiel 37:1-3

You Can Breathe, Even When It Isn’t Easy

Family Devotion – May 20, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 37:1-3

See series: Devotions

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

One of the first things a paramedic does when arriving at an emergency is to check and see whether a person is breathing. Breathing is a sign of life.

In our reading today, one of God’s prophets, named Ezekiel, was given a vision (a spiritual dream) from God. The vision was of a community of God’s people who had stopped breathing. More than that—all signs of life were gone. Lifeless. All that was left was a pile of dry bones: No muscles, skin, or breath of life.

Then Ezekiel saw something amazing. At God’s spoken word, the dry bones rattled and connected. Where once there was only a pile of bones, complete human beings appeared! But there was still something missing. They had no breath of life in them. Then, God provided that, too. What an amazing sight! What is God trying to tell us? Just this: he has the power to bring human bodies to life. We are his creation.

The startling image of lifeless bodies helps us understand how God brings human souls to life. Spiritually, we are like dry bones. Sin takes over us and leaves us lifeless. The apostle Paul describes us as spiritually dead in sin (Ephesians 2). But God doesn’t leave us that way. Paul goes on to say, “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead.” God breathed life into us with the Holy Spirit. We live and breathe because God put the breath of life into us.

Have you ever felt short of breath? Like an elephant was sitting on your chest, making it hard for you to breathe? Maybe something is weighing on you inside, making you feel guilty, ashamed, or troubled. Don’t worry your breath is still there. Whenever we read the Bible, the Holy Spirit reminds us of God’s love for us and that we are saved by his grace. You are alive in Christ. Pray that God would lift the weight from you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you breathe easier. God has power over all things—your bones, breath, body, and soul. He will take care of your life—physically and spiritually.

Closing Prayer:

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for making me alive in Jesus. Keep your Holy Spirit working in my heart, so I always remember how much you love me. I ask this in your holy name. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Take a big deep breath. How does it feel?
  • How is forgiveness from Jesus like taking a big deep breath?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When we were dead because of sin, how did God make us alive again?
  • What does the Holy Spirit use to breathe spiritual life into us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How does the vision of the dry bones illustrate the important work of the Holy Spirit?
  • What would life as a Christian be like if the Holy Spirit wasn’t working inside you?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Enough Already! – May 17, 2024

Read: John 17:11-19

[Jesus said] “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. . . Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”
John 17:15,17,18

Enough Already!

Family Devotion – May 17, 2024

Devotion based on John 17:15,17,18

See series: Devotions

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

Wouldn’t it be easier if we were in heaven already? We wouldn’t have sicknesses or hurt feelings. We wouldn’t have to go to school. No one would tell us when to go to bed. In heaven, we will be free of all the “do’s and don’ts” we have in life now.

Jesus knows this world is tough. He lived here. He spent a lot of time with his disciples, pointing out the dangers of sin, showing them how to stand strong, and warning them that bigger challenges were coming. And he prayed for their protection and faith.

Why didn’t Jesus just take his disciples with him to heaven? Why did he leave them in the world to face all these battles? We find the answer right in Jesus’ prayer: “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” Jesus came to this world to show sinful people the way to heaven. The disciples learned that the way to heaven is through faith in Jesus (John 14:6). Now Jesus was sending his disciples out into the world to share that news with others who needed to hear it. If Jesus had taken the disciples to heaven with him, many people would not have heard the message of salvation. Jesus gave them important, people-saving work to do.

Instead of taking them to heaven, Jesus prayed for his disciples. He asked the Father to protect them. Then he asked that his Father would help sanctify them for their important work. The word “sanctify” means to be dedicated. If you are dedicated to something, you believe in it so strongly that you give it your all. Jesus pointed to the one thing that would keep the disciples dedicated in the face of difficulty—the truth about himself and his saving work. We find that truth—the source of strength for all disciples of Jesus—in God’s Word.

Jesus’ disciples carried his message of salvation everywhere they went. That’s how God grew his family of believers. It was a big job for the disciples then, and it’s a big job for us now. It would absolutely be more fun to be in heaven with Jesus right now! We can look forward to it. Until then, he trusts us with the important work of speaking his truth to someone who really needs to hear it. And he gives us everything we need for the task.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, we can’t wait to be with you in heaven. Until then, give us the opportunities and courage to speak the truth about you so more people can join us in heaven. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name as many people as you can that you like to see in heaven with you someday.
  • Pretend there’s a person who doesn’t know Jesus. Share at least two things you would want to share with them about Jesus.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What important work did Jesus give his followers to do?
  • Do you feel you are ready and able to do this work? Why (or why not)?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What is the one thing we must always focus on if we are going to be “dedicated” to the work of making more disciples for Jesus?
  • Think of the people who shared Jesus in your life. Name one thing they did that you would want to imitate.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Born With It – May 15, 2024

Read: 1 John 5:1-6

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. . . This is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.
1 John 5:1,3,4

Born With It

Family Devotion – May 15, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 5:1,3,4

See series: Devotions

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

God has blessed our family members with many gifts and abilities. For some of us, math might be easy. For others, spelling. Some are good at sports, others music. We are all born with different abilities to use to God’s glory in this world.

What about the natural ability to obey everything God commands? Is that a thing? Actually, it’s not. In fact, we’re born into this world with just the opposite—with no ability to obey God. Of all the wonderful gifts and abilities you were born with, the ability to obey God is not one of them! God’s Word teaches us that we are born with sinful hearts (Psalm 51:5), spiritually dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1), and powerless to do what is right (Romans 5:6).

So, is it even possible for us—who are all born sinful—to obey God’s commands? Why would God ask us to do something we cannot do?

We can obey because we believe in Jesus. We learn from our reading that “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” When our faith is in Jesus, we are born all over again—in a spiritual way. We are born as children of God, gifted with forgiveness for all of our sins. In this way, God’s children are born with the ability to overcome sin and the desire to behave the way God wants his children to behave.

Yes, each one of us was born into this world with different abilities, and we celebrate those differences. Let’s also celebrate that we have something very important in common: Faith in Jesus. Because of that faith, we can live differently from the rest of the world. “Everyone born of God overcomes the world.” We have the ability to love God, love one another, and choose God-pleasing behaviors. We won’t get everything right all the time because we still live in this sinful world. Sin still creeps into our hearts and causes us to do things we shouldn’t do. But as children of God, we enjoy full forgiveness. And we can overcome bad choices with the strength Jesus provides.

Let’s celebrate that as family members, we share this precious gift of faith, and let’s encourage one another to live as children of God.

Closing Prayer:

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the precious gift of faith we share as family members. Help us grow in our faith so we keep your commands and live as you want us to live. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What makes it hard for you to obey (parents, teachers, God)?
  • Why is the gift of forgiveness so important when we do things we shouldn’t?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When were you “born again” as a child of God?
  • What does your baptism give you the power to do every day?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain how a sweet little baby can be sinful.
  • How do we have the ability to overcome sin and obey God’s commands?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Battle Arms – May 13, 2024

Read: Acts 6:1-9; 7:2,51-60

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!”
Acts 7:51

Battle Arms

Family Devotion – May 13, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 7:51

See series: Devotions

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

Ask two family members to set up an arm wrestling match. Face each other, clasp hands, and get ready to battle.

What do you notice about the arms of the two wrestlers as they prepare for battle? Are they limp like noodles? Or stiff and ready to press against the opponent?

The battle-ready arms of these wrestlers are like our human hearts before the Holy Spirit does his work. The Bible tells us that the human heart is naturally hostile to God (Romans 8:7). That means our hearts are hardened, stiff, and always resisting what God says to us.

In today’s Bible reading, a godly man named Stephen, led by the Holy Spirit, addresses the people around him who were resisting God’s message. He calls them “stiff-necked” because that’s what an animal does when refusing a command. They were arguing with Stephen—so determined to fight that they completely missed God’s message that Stephen was trying to deliver.

Does this kind of stubbornness ever happen in your heart? Think about these examples:

• Your parents are trying to point out your wrong behavior, to guide you to admit your wrong, and you turn away in a huff.
• You know you should apologize for something you did to your sister, but instead, you point out all the reasons why she deserved what you did.
• You know you should willingly do the chores assigned to you, but you’d rather list all the reasons why your brother should do them instead.

In these situations, and perhaps others, you are battling against God’s will. You would rather be right than listen to what God is trying to tell you through your parents. You are stiff against the grace he gives you when you mess up. Just like the stiff-necked people in Stephen’s day.

We all—parents and kids alike—are stiff-necked when it comes to God. It’s the natural result of sin living in us. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit. Every time we hear God’s Word, the Holy Spirit works to soften our hard hearts. He reminds us who the enemy is. It’s not God—he is on our side! He gives us forgiveness for our sins and arms us with the power to fight against sin.

Let’s pray for soft hearts.

Closing Prayer:

Holy Spirit, forgive us when we fight against you. Please soften our hearts so we can hear your Word and understand what you are trying to tell us. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does it mean to be stubborn?
  • What does your heart feel like when you know you are forgiven by Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Recount the last time your heart was hardened against your parents or another person in authority.
  • What tool does the Holy Spirit use to soften our hearts?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Have you ever found yourself resisting God or his Word? What were you going through in your life when that happened?
  • How does the Holy Spirit arm us for battle against the real enemy?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The POWER of Jesus’ Ascension – May 10, 2024

When [Jesus] had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Luke 24:50-53

The POWER of Jesus’ Ascension

Family Devotion – May 10, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 24:50-53

See series: Devotions

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

Has a best friend ever moved away from you? Or maybe you had to move away from your best friend? If so, you know what a sad thing it can be. You can talk to them online, but that’s not the same thing as actually being able to spend time with them.

Jesus’ first disciples got to spend lots of time with Jesus, their best friend, for three years. They traveled with him and ate meals with him. They listened to him teach. They got to ask him all their questions.

But then the time came, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, for Jesus to return to his heavenly home. He took his disciples to a hill outside of Jerusalem, blessed them, and ascended into the sky until they couldn’t see him anymore.

Jesus was their best friend. More than that, he was their Savior. How do you think they felt when he moved away? They must have felt some sadness. But our Bible reading tells us they returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

Great joy?! Why were the disciples filled with joy and happiness after Jesus ascended into heaven?

It’s because the disciples understood, at least a little bit, the great power of Jesus’ ascension.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, it showed that his mission was complete. There wasn’t anything else that Jesus had to do to save us from our sins. We can be absolutely sure that our salvation is a done deal.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, it showed that he had conquered all our enemies. Jesus’ ascension into heaven was his victory parade. We don’t have to be afraid of sin or death or the devil because Jesus has defeated them all. He showed that he had authority over the universe. Jesus went to heaven to rule over everything, everywhere, forever. And he promises to use his authority to work all things for our good.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, it showed that one day, we will ascend too. He promised that he was going to prepare a place for us. Once everything is ready for us, Jesus will come back to take us to be with him forever.

No wonder the disciples were filled with great joy! Now it is your turn. May Jesus’ ascension into heaven give you great joy!

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, our ascended King, we praise you for accomplishing our salvation, defeating our enemies, ruling over all things for our good, and promising to return to be with us forever. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • After Jesus died and rose again, he returned home. Where was home?
  • What is Jesus doing right now in heaven?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Even though Jesus ascended into heaven, how is he still with us all the time?
  • When you feel scared or lonely, how can it be helpful to remember that Jesus has ascended into heaven?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or disagree: Jesus is “trapped” up in heaven and can’t come to be with us or bless us in this world.
  • Jesus told his disciples that it was a good thing for them that he was going away (John 16:7). Can you think of more reasons why Jesus’ ascension was a good thing?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The POWER of Jesus’ Love – May 8, 2024

[Jesus said] “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
John 15:9-17

The POWER of Jesus’ Love

Family Devotion – May 8, 2024

Devotion based on John 15:9-17

See series: Devotions

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

In 2006, a man named Ross McGinnis was serving as a soldier in the Army. He was sent to participate in a war in the country of Iraq, even though he was the youngest and smallest soldier in the group of soldiers he went on missions with.

One day, Ross was riding on a mission with four other soldiers in a big, armored truck. His job was to stick his head out of an opening at the top of the truck, watching for enemies. Suddenly, an enemy soldier threw a grenade through the opening and into the truck.

Ross McGinnis saw it happen and could have quickly jumped out of the truck, but if he had done that, everyone else in the truck would have died. Instead, he jumped into the truck and covered the grenade with his own body. He was killed, but everyone else survived.

That true story helps us to understand what Jesus is talking about here in our Bible reading when he says there’s no greater love than when a man lays down his life to save his friends.

There are two very amazing things about what Jesus says here. The first amazing thing is that Jesus calls us his friends.

The Bible tells us that all people start as enemies of God. That means there was a time when we didn’t want anything to do with Jesus. We ignored and disobeyed him and rebelled against him. We definitely didn’t want to be friends with him.

And yet, Jesus wanted to be friends with us. That’s the whole reason he came to this world. Jesus came to forgive us for all we did to hurt him. He came to make peace between us and God so we could be friends instead of enemies.

How did Jesus make peace? That leads us to the second amazing thing here. Jesus made peace between us and God; he forgave all our sins by laying down his life for us. Jesus loved us so much that he was willing to die for us. He didn’t jump on a grenade; he hung from a cross.

Whenever we think of Jesus dying on the cross, we can remember the power of Jesus’ love for us. What a friend we have in Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, you showed amazing love when you died on the cross to save us. Every day, remind us that you are our very best friend. In your name, we ask this. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • How did Jesus show that he is your friend?
  • Why did Jesus lay down his life and die on the cross?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • In what ways is Jesus an even better friend than any of our earthly friends?
  • How can we thank Jesus for showing us such amazing love?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Would it be easier to sacrifice your life for a friend or an enemy? Why? What does that teach us about Jesus’ sacrifice?
  • God wants us, in view of Jesus’ mercy, to lay down our lives as a living sacrifice. What does that mean? What does that look like in your life?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The POWER of Jesus’ Word – May 6, 2024

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.
Acts 9:36-41

The POWER of Jesus’ Word

Family Devotion – May 6, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 9:36-41

See series: Devotions

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

Tabitha was a wonderful lady. She was always doing good things for people and did her best to care for people in need. She even made clothes to give away to people. What a wonderful lady!

But then, sadly, Tabitha got sick and died. Her friends gathered around and wept. They heard the apostle Peter was in a nearby town, so they sent two messengers to him, asking him to come.

What was Peter supposed to do? He could weep with those who were weeping. He could share the good news of eternal life with Tabitha’s friends and family. But it seems like that was all Peter could do. Doesn’t it? After all, Peter was just a human being like you and me. He didn’t have the power to raise the dead.

But wait! Look at what he did. He went into the room with Tabitha’s body and got down on his knees and prayed, and then he said, “Tabitha, get up!” And she did. Tabitha came back to life. She was raised from the dead.

How is that possible? Did Peter have the power to raise the dead? No, but Jesus did. Even though Jesus had ascended into heaven, he could still hear Peter’s prayer and had the power to raise Tabitha from the dead.

And, he did! How? Through the words that Peter spoke. Peter is the one who said, “Tabitha, get up,” but it was Jesus who gave those words the power to raise the dead.

Jesus still gives his Word the power to raise the dead. All of us were dead—not our bodies, but our souls. When we were born, we were spiritually dead, but Jesus raised us from the dead. At our baptism, he said to us, “Get up! I give you spiritual life!”

But just like in the Bible reading, Jesus didn’t come and say those words himself. He sent his messengers to speak his powerful Word to us. Parents are messengers of God when they tell us God’s Word. Pastors are messengers from God when they preach and teach about Jesus.

If Jesus came and spoke directly to you, would you listen? Of course! Well, Jesus speaks to us through his messengers, so let’s be sure to listen to them as they share Jesus’ powerful Word with us.

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, thank you for raising me from spiritual death to spiritual life through your powerful Word. Teach me to listen to your messengers when they tell me about 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 was the name of the woman in today’s devotion?
  • What did Peter use to raise Tabitha from the dead?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How did God make you alive to believe in him?
  • Think of as many examples as you can of Jesus (or one of Jesus’ messengers) raising people from the dead.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • TRUE or FALSE: All people are spiritually dead by nature. How does that fact prove that we are saved by God’s grace alone?
  • Discuss why God allows bad things (like sickness and death) to happen to good people like Tabitha.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Wow, What Life! – May 3, 2024

Read: John 15:1-8

[Jesus said] “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

Wow, What Life!

Family Devotion – May 3, 2024

Devotion based on John 15:5

See series: Devotions

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

Imagine eating a huge meal and then saying, “I’m so stuffed, I don’t need to eat ever again.” You probably wouldn’t feel too bad the next day, but how would you feel after three or four days without any food? Do you think you could make it a whole week without any food? Probably not. It’s important to stay connected to food in life.

Or imagine drinking a big glass of water and then saying, “I’m not thirsty at all anymore; I don’t think I’m going to drink anything ever again.” Even by the next day, you would probably start feeling pretty awful. It would be silly for someone to think they could stop drinking. It’s important to stay connected to water in life.

Do you know what a grapevine looks like? Imagine one thick vine with lots of little branches sticking out from it. Those branches get food and water through the vine they’re connected to. If a branch is connected to the vine, it gets lots of food and water, and it has the energy it needs to make lots of grapes.

But what happens if a branch falls off the vine? It doesn’t get the food and water it needs. It stops making grapes. It dries up and shrivels and isn’t good for anything.

It would be pretty silly for that sort of branch to say, “I used to be connected to the vine. I used to get food and water so I could still make good grapes!”

In our Bible reading today, Jesus tells us that he is like a grapevine, and we’re like the branches connected to the vine. When we remain connected to him, we get everything our faith needs to keep living, growing, and making good fruits.

Did you know that you make fruit? You don’t make grapes; you make good works. Obeying your parents, listening to your teachers, being kind to your siblings and friends—these are all good works, good fruits that we make when we’re connected to Jesus.

Wow, right! When we stay connected to Jesus by hearing his Word, Jesus gives us everything we need. He gives us the life, strength, and energy we need to serve him every day.

It would be silly for us to think that we can hear Jesus’ Word just once and then try to live without him. Let’s stay connected to Jesus and his Word for our entire lives!

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, you are the vine, and we are the branches. Help us stay connected to you so we can live lives full of good fruits 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 does it mean that Jesus is like a vine, and we are like his branches?
  • What does Jesus promise will happen when we stay connected to him?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What might cause someone to become disconnected from Jesus and his Word? Why is that so scary?
  • List two ways that we can make sure to stay connected to Jesus.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In what ways are the good works done by believers different than the good things done by unbelievers?
  • Evaluate: there are certain times in a person’s life when it is easy for them to become disconnected from God and his Word.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Wow, What Confidence! – May 1, 2024

Read: 1 John 3:18-24

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.
1 John 3:19-22

Wow, What Confidence!

Family Devotion – May 1, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 3:19-22

See series: Devotions

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

Here’s a task for you: knock on the door of the White House and ask the President for one million dollars. If given the chance, would you do it? Do you think you could do it?

Most people would probably be too nervous to do something like that. Even if you were brave enough to start walking up to the door of the White House, your mind would start filling up with all sorts of doubts and questions: Am I wearing clothes that are fancy enough? What if a guard tackles me to the ground? If I get to the door, is there a doorbell, or should I knock? What if I forget what I was going to say? Why would someone so important ever listen to what I had to say? How did I get into this crazy situation in the first place?

There’s someone who is way, way, way more important and powerful than the President—God Almighty, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the great King of kings and Lord of lords.

How would you feel about standing before and asking him for something? Would you be nervous? Would you have all sorts of doubts and questions: Why would God ever listen to me? What if he says no because he remembers the things I’ve done wrong?

Our Bible reading says that sometimes our own hearts condemn us. Sometimes, we feel guilty for our sins. We don’t feel worthy of being God’s children or going to him in prayer.

But do you know what God says when our hearts condemn us? He says, “What you feel isn’t always right. Besides, I’m greater than your heart! Truth is, my own Son, Jesus Christ, already was condemned and punished for all of your sins.”

Wow, right! Our guilt is gone. Our hearts can rest. We can knock on God’s door in prayer with confidence. We can ask for whatever we need or want. We can be sure that God will give us what we need the most, things that are worth way, way, way more than one million dollars—like forgiveness for all our sins. Like the mansion, he promises that he’s preparing for us to live forever with him. And he fills us with the confidence to pray to him anytime, for anything.

Closing Prayer:

God, my heavenly Father, thank you for giving me the peace of knowing you’re not angry with me. Teach me to pray with confidence because you promise to hear and answer my prayers. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does it mean to have confidence?
  • What did God do for us to give us confidence when we pray?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When is it a good thing to feel guilty? When is it a bad thing to feel guilty?
  • What’s the difference between confidence and overconfidence in God’s presence?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • TRUE or FALSE: Your heart might be wrong about things. Discuss why that’s important to remember when today’s culture says, “Follow your heart.”
  • Evaluate what the Bible means when it says that “we receive whatever we ask.” Does that mean I can expect God to say “yes” to all my prayers?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Wow, What Generosity! – April 29, 2024

Read: Read: Acts 4:32-37

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. . . And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Acts 4:32-35

Wow, What Generosity!

Family Devotion – April 29, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 4:32-35

See series: Devotions

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

Did you know that most children say their first words right around their first birthday? Do you have any guesses about what words they learn to say first?

Sometimes, it’s Mama or Papa. Sometimes, it’s doggy or kitty. Sometimes, it’s yeah or no or even cookie. Your parents can probably tell you what your first word was.

Another word that kids learn to say very early is mine. If someone tries to grab their favorite toy or stuffed animal, they grab on tight to it with both arms and shout, “Mine!” just like those annoying seagulls in Finding Nemo.

Why do we learn to say mine way before we learn to say, here, yours, or share? Why do we care so much about getting more stuff for ourselves? Why is it so hard to share our stuff with other people?

It’s because we’re sinful. Sin is natural to us and makes us selfish. Sin makes us care about ourselves more than anyone else. Sin makes us grab onto whatever we can and shout, “Mine!”

Thankfully, Jesus cared more about us than himself. He came to our world and said, “Here, yours, and share.” He gave his own life to forgive our sins and set us free from selfishness. He rose from the dead to give us new lives—lives filled with generosity.

Generosity is a big word, but if you want to know what it means, read today’s Bible passage. The very first Christians shared everything they had. They even sold what they had so that they would have even more money to give to other people. They made sure that everyone had enough food to eat and clothes to wear.

Wow, right! Where did those first Christians learn to be so generous? Why were they so happy to share everything they had with others? It’s because they saw how much Jesus shared with them. They knew how generously Jesus gave everything he had, even his own life, for them.

The same thing is true for us. When we experience the amazing love of Jesus Christ—especially seen through our family and church family, it excites and models for us what sharing is. We’ll be happy to help the people around us. We’ll be glad to show generosity.

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, thank you for giving me the amazing gift of forgiveness and salvation. Help me be generous with everyone around me. In your name, we pray. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • From today’s Bible reading, describe what the Christians were doing for each other.
  • What does the word “generosity” mean?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why did the Christians in our Bible reading share so generously?
  • What’s the difference between a selfish attitude and a generous attitude?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Give the top two things in your life you are least willing to share. Why is that?
  • Now, create a list of the most important things (think of at least three) you would be able to share with someone else. Why is that?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Few of My Favorite Things – April 26, 2024

Read: John 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I know my sheep and my sheep know me . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
John 10:11-18 (selected verses)

A Few of My Favorite Things

Family Devotion – April 26, 2024

Devotion based on John 10:11-18 (selected verses)

See series: Devotions

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

In the musical, The Sound of Music, A nanny named Maria sings a soothing song to the frightened children of Captain Von Trapp. The children ran to her room and huddled in her bed, shaking with anxiety. She takes their minds off the terrifying thunder and lightning storm by asking them to list some of their favorite things.

Before long, the children named everything from bunnies to crisp apple strudel and brown paper packages wrapped up with string! Maria has them dancing and jumping on the bed while singing, “When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad!”

In today’s devotion, we have something far better than a song to sing if we’re feeling bad. We have a Good Shepherd. The words of John chapter 10 are kind of like Maria’s list of “Favorite Things” because they can combat any “dog bite” of depression or “bee sting” of sadness that life may throw at us.

So let’s try making our list of “Favorite Things!” How about when you find yourself saying: “I’m worthless. No one likes me.”
Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep because I love you.”

“I don’t have any friends, and I’m lonely.”
Jesus says, “I know you. I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”

“People walk all over me. I don’t get any respect from anyone.”
Jesus says, “I’ll let people walk all over me instead of you. I have the authority to lay down my life and take it up again.”

When the dog bites or the bee stings, turn to John chapter 10 and read some of these favorite things from Jesus, our Good Shepherd!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Good Shepherd, thank you for making us your little lambs and carrying us across your shoulder when the thunderstorms in life scare us! Help us to turn to you whenever life’s troubles rise to meet us. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What are your favorite things? What are you scared of?
  • Do you like singing? If you do, let’s sing, “I Am Jesus Little Lamb.”

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is Jesus called the Good Shepherd? How do you know he’s the Good Shepherd?
  • Describe how a shepherd carries his sheep. Describe how Jesus carries his people.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Discuss: It is an insult to call someone a “sheep.”
  • In a world where everyone wants to be a lion, and the lion with the loudest roar is the King of the Jungle, why can we boast of being a lamb?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Are you my mother? – April 24, 2024

Read: 1 John 4:1-6

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus, is not from God.
1 John 4:1-6 (selected verses)

Are you my mother?

Family Devotion – April 24, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 4:1-6 (selected verses)

See series: Devotions

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

Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight are identical twins. They are also YouTubers and social media personalities who go by the names “Mary & Martha.” The twin known as Martha has five young daughters ages 2–8. One time, Mary and Martha dressed the same—from their curly hair to their dangly earrings, belted dress, and black boots—they looked exactly alike! Then, starting with the youngest to the oldest, Martha’s husband separately brought each of the daughters into the room where the twins were and asked, “Which one is your mommy?” and “Which one is Auntie Mary?”

After closely examining the two ladies standing in front of them, each daughter would give her guess. The two and three-year-old daughters both guessed incorrectly—while the three older girls quickly surveyed the twins and then confidently and correctly picked their mom. When asked how they knew it was her, each gave a different answer. One said, “Auntie Mary has a beauty spot on her neck, and Mom doesn’t.” another said, “Mom is a little higher (taller) than Aunt Mary.” And the oldest daughter said, “Easy, Auntie Mary’s fingernails are manicured, and Mom’s are not.”

The older daughters had the benefit of spending more years with and studying their mom more closely. They picked up on the little differences their younger siblings had not yet learned.

In our reading for tonight, John counsels us to do a similar thing. “Test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1). From outward appearances—false prophets in this world can look like the real deal. They smile and have a nice voice that says nice words, but they are “from the world and speak the viewpoint of the world.” We, on the other hand, are children of God. We want to be like those older daughters who were not fooled into believing their aunt was their mom. We want to study the Scriptures because when we do, we know more about Jesus and how to stay close to him.

Keep testing the spirits like someone who tests ice on a frozen lake! And take heart, because the “One who is in you, is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4: 4).

Closing Prayer:

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for making us your children. Thank you for giving us your Word to teach us about you! Please help us to gladly hear and learn the Scriptures to tell the difference between false voices and your loving voice. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Do you know any identical twins? What are some ways that you can tell them apart?
  • Does your mom or grandma ever let you ‘taste-test’ what they are baking? Why do they do that?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Arrange the following things from least to most important:
    a. Testing the buckle on an amusement ride,
    b. Testing the ice on a frozen pond,
    c. Testing the spirits to see whether they are from God.
  • Why is it the most important to test the spirits?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Verse 5 says, “[False prophets & spirit] are from the world and therefore speak from the view-point of the world and the world listens to them.” Name two or three view-points that the world has today that are different from our viewpoint.
  • “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world!” (verse 4) Describe a situation and explain why this verse could be of great comfort to a Christian.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Real Tears – April 22, 2024

Read: Acts 20:28-38

I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. . . So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. . . When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.
Acts 20:28-38 (selected verses)

Real Tears

Family Devotion – April 22, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 20:28-38 (selected verses)

See series: Devotions

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

David is a wonderful Christian husband, father, and pastor. He faithfully serves his Lord in each area of his life. When David is happy, he smiles broadly and genuinely. When something is funny, he has a great chuckle to share. When he is angry or sad, the emotion shows on his face. However, for as long as people can remember—David never cried.

One day, David and his family were out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. Somehow, a tortilla chip went down the wrong way and got caught in his throat. Don’t worry; he was fine, but the coughing that followed caused a single tear to appear in the corner of his eye. His teenage daughter pulled out her phone and said, “I need to get a picture of this! Dad never cries!”

In Acts chapter twenty, the apostle Paul cried or wept three times (vv. 19,31,36). What in the world could cause a man like the apostle Paul to cry so much?

Like a parent giving a child advice before driving off to college, Paul warned his dearly loved friends about the dangers they would face without him. The parent knows what temptations and pitfalls their child might experience during those first years away from them. They are so concerned for their child—not just in a casual, “BTW” kind of way—but with a tear in their eye, a firm shoulder pat, perhaps with a shaky voice filled with emotion. Paul is feeling the same when he says, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock…so be on your guard” (Acts 20:29)!

A parent isn’t trying to frighten their child with scary pictures of life away from home. It comes from a loving heart that but that wants to guard and protect. It’s the kind of love expressed through teardrops. Jesus loves you so much that he expressed it through drops of blood he shed on the cross.

Dear child, love leads every parent, guardian, and supporter of you to say, “I commit you, [name of child], to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (vs. 32)!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Father, thank you for my parents and everyone you use to warn me about the evils of life. Keep me connected to you so that someday, we will all be reunited in heaven, where there will be no more tears! 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 seen your mom or dad cry?
  • Why did the apostle Paul cry in our reading?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When was the last time you cried? What did you cry about?
  • What made you feel better after you cried?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Think of a time when you had to say, “Goodbye” to someone. How does Acts 20:32 give you something to say to someone who you won’t see in a long time?
  • What advice might a parent give to a child going away to school? How does Paul’s advice parallel that?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Making Sense of Salvation’s Math – April 19, 2024

Read: Luke 24:36-49

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Luke 24:36-49

Making Sense of Salvation’s Math

Family Devotion – April 19, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 24:36-49

See series: Devotions

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

The math teacher was nearing her wit’s end. She had done everything she could think of to explain the concept of subtracting with regrouping, but Joey was not getting it. She worked with Joey outside the classroom and at recess. She even showed him some videos on an educational website. Joey was still confused.

Then, she noticed his sci-fi shirt and had an idea. “Joey, how about you think of it like this—if you don’t have enough ones, you can go over to the tens column and then transport the tens to the ones.” “Transport?” said Joey slowly. “Oh! I see—I TRANSPORT the tens to the ones! I got it!” he ended enthusiastically.

The teacher opened Joey’s mind by using a word he could understand.

The disciples were confused, not by a tricky math problem but by the fact that the One whom they had followed for the last three years was killed, right before their eyes, on a cross. It just didn’t add up. What were they supposed to do? Confused and afraid, they hid together in a room.

Jesus appeared to his disciples and gazed at them with loving understanding. “Peace be with you,” he said as he watched their scared and bewildered faces. They wondered, “Is this really Jesus? What if it’s Jesus’ ghost?”

Then, like the teacher did for Joey, Jesus found ways to help them understand. “Here guys! Look! It’s me! See these scars on my hands and feet? Remember three days ago when you saw me nailed on the cross? Touch the nail marks, I’m real!” The teacher, Jesus, could see that his students were still not quite getting it, so he tried another approach. “Do you have anything to eat? Watch me eat this broiled fish. How many ghosts eat broiled fish?”

And then, “Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” Like Joey, they finally got it. With their newfound understanding of Christ’s death and resurrection—he urged them to tell others about what they had learned.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Teacher, sometimes things just don’t make sense. Thank you for opening our minds to the most important math lesson: 3 nails + 1 cross = 4 giveness because of Jesus, and heaven is ours! Please help us to tell others the same. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is something you have trouble understanding?
  • What were the two things that Jesus did to show his scared disciples that it really was him and not a ghost?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • It’s easy to get angry or frustrated when you don’t get something. When that happens, how can this story help you deal with times of confusion in your life?
  • Who is your favorite teacher? What makes that person a good teacher? Thank God for the good teachers in your life and the best teacher—Jesus!

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What are some math concepts that confuse you? How did you eventually figure them out?
  • What are some biblical truths that might confuse you? What can you do to clear up the confusion ? (Spoiler alert: thank God for the Holy Spirit who works faith in our hearts despite our confusion!)

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Walk Straight! – April 17, 2024

Read: 1 John 1:5–2:2

God is light; . . . if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:5–2:2 (selected verses)

Walk Straight!

Family Devotion – April 17, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 1:5–2:2

See series: Devotions

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

Before leaving their classroom, the first graders in Mrs. Robinson’s class would recite this poem: “When we’re lined up straight and tall, mouths shut—eyes forward, hands at our side; then we’re ready for the hall.” The students were well-trained by their teacher and tried to show their love for her by following those rules.

When Mrs. Robinson’s class waited patiently in the cafeteria line or quietly lined up after recess, a bystander would comment on their fine behavior. The students would smile, knowing that when they got back to their classroom, Mrs. Robinson would reward them with a tally mark—getting one tally closer to their goal of an “afternoon movie!”

From time to time, however, a student from Mrs. Robinson’s class would not be lined up straight or tall—their mouth would not be closed, and their hands not at their side. This was the opposite of their hallway motto. When that happened, the janitor or another bystander would remark, “Aren’t they in Mrs. Robinson’s class? They sure aren’t acting like it!”

Sometimes, it is easy and looks like fun to be like one of those students wiggling in line or talking when they’re not supposed to. How many times have we listened to the world’s classroom rules instead of our loving teacher, God’s rules?

For example, God’s rule: “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.” The world’s rule: “Remember your SELF today by sleeping in soundly.”

Here’s one more of God’s rules: “You should have no other gods.” The world’s rule: “You be you and have no other worries.”

When we break God’s classroom rules, what do we deserve? No afternoon movie! Instead a recess in hell that never ends. How horrible! But God is our loving teacher and wants us in his classroom. He sent someone who “walked straight and tall, mouth shut—eyes forward, hands at his side; ready for the hall.” Thanks to the perfect student, Jesus, who shed his blood that “purifies us from all sin,” we are getting closer and closer to the most beautiful place of heaven!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, sometimes it’s so hard to just sit still and listen when I want to wiggle around and say what I want. In that moment, help me follow 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

  • Explain how to play the game, “Follow the Leader.” What happens if you don’t do exactly what the leader does?
  • What makes a good leader? Who is the best leader?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Share at least two rules at your school or at home.
  • True or False? “Rules are a good thing.” Explain your answer.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Think of a time you got in trouble for breaking the rules in some way. What was the consequence for it? How did you feel about it?
  • Think of a time your friend got in trouble for breaking a rule. What was the consequence for them? Would you have been willing to take the punishment for your friend? Why was Jesus willing to take our punishment?

 

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