We Have Hope Through the Word – Family Devotion – May 27, 2020

Read: John 17:1-11

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
John 17:3-5

We Have Hope Through the Word


Family Devotion – May 27, 2020

Devotion based on John 17:3-5

See series: Devotions

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

We all like attention from important people in our lives:

  • “Mom, watch this!” the little girl yelled as she jumped into the water.
  • “James is our 6th grade class president,” his teacher announced. When James heard that, he sat up taller, grinning from ear-to-ear.

The point is, we appreciate when someone notices us or pays attention to what we are doing or saying.

Did you know Jesus wants YOUR attention? He loves to be noticed, watched, and listened to. Why? It’s not because Jesus feels ignored by his Father or because he doesn’t have any friends. No, Jesus wants your attention because he has a very important gift to give you: eternal life.

The night Jesus was betrayed and arrested; he said a special prayer. It’s called his High Priestly Prayer. In that prayer, he prayed for himself, his disciples and for you. But even when praying for himself, it really was a prayer for you! Everything Jesus had been doing was everything his Father asked of him to win an important gift— the salvation for the world. Now, that work was almost complete. Just one thing remained. He needed to give up his life on the cross.

Jesus prayed the Father would allow him to continue this plan all the way to the cross so he would have everyone’s attention. That’s what he means by the word glory. Jesus wants your attention because he gives the eternal life you and I need.

We weren’t born with the built-in right to eternal life We were born separate from God and under his condemnation. God did not want that to happen, so he sent his Son to die and rise from the dead to win eternal life for you. Jesus did exactly that! Does he have your attention now?

He most certainly does. Give Jesus and his Word all your attention. They give eternal life! You don’t want to miss out on that!

Closing Prayer:

Ascended Lord and Savior Jesus, may I never lose my focus on you. Draw my attention to your Word where I can see your glorious promises and comfort that I am your child and will be with you in heaven 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

  • Why does Jesus want our attention?
  • How could we say thank you to Jesus for giving us eternal life?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What things in life distract you from paying attention to Jesus?
  • Why is it so important that to pay attention to Jesus and our faith?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • It is not always bad to get people’s attention. How could you use your faith in Jesus in a good way to gain people’s attention for him?
  • Read John chapter 17 on your own. We learn a lot about prayer from Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. How does hearing Jesus prayed for you motivate how you pray and for what you pray?

Hymn: CW 173:2 – On Christ’s Ascension I Now Build

Since Christ returned to claim his throne, great gifts for me obtaining,
My heart shall rest in him alone, no other rest remaining,
For where my treasure went before, there all my thoughts shall ever soar
To still their deepest yearning.

 

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

We Hope for Jesus’ Return – Family Devotion – May 25, 2020

Read: Acts 1:1-11

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:9-11

We Hope for Jesus’ Return


Family Devotion – May 25, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 1:9-11

See series: Devotions

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

Kendall and Ryan watched in sadness as their mother brought her suitcase to the front door. It was a business trip. Kendall had experienced these before, but Ryan, who was only 4, didn’t like them at all. He worried his mom wouldn’t come home.

“Mom don’t leave! How do I know you will come home?” Ryan sobbed.

Ryan’s mom gave him a big hug and said, “I promise I will be back.” Then she handed him a box. Inside were five presents. “I want you to open one of these presents each day I’m gone, because each one will remind you how much I love you. The day you open the last one is the day I will be back.”

So Ryan opened a present each day to find a picture or reminder of his mom. After he had opened the last present on Friday, he sat at the living room window all day, waiting for his mom to come home.

Are you looking forward to Jesus’ coming back like Ryan waiting for his mom? Or, are you worried he is not going to come back? Or, maybe you haven’t even thought about it. We can get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that Jesus’ return is not even on our radar.

Jesus will come back because he has one piece of unfinished business: He needs you in heaven! That is why he came to earth the first time, to live, die, and rise from the dead so you could be in heaven. The only thing left is for Jesus to come back and bring you to heaven. When Jesus makes a promise, he keeps it.

He left you his Word, filled with all sorts of reminders of his love for you. He will be back, soon. You can count on it.

Closing Prayer:

Ascended Lord and Savior Jesus, you promised to return and take us to heaven. Fill us with greater trust in your promise to return so that we eagerly wait for you to return. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What do you think will be the best part about heaven?
  • Why do you know that you will be in heaven with Jesus someday?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What special tasks did Jesus give us to do on earth while we wait for his return? (Hint: Read Acts 1:8)
  • How can you make sure you are ready for Jesus’ return?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Jesus is coming back soon! Does that excite you? Or, haven’t you really thought about it? Why or why not?
  • What gets in the way of staying focused on being in heaven someday? Consider ways to better stay alert.

Hymn: CW 173:1 – On Christ’s Ascension I Now Build

On Christ’s ascension I now build the hope of my ascension.
This hope alone has always stilled all doubt and apprehension;
For where the head is, there as well I know his members are to dwell
When Christ shall come and call them.

 

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

Love Avoids Temptation – Family Devotion – May 22, 2020

Read: Genesis 4:1-16

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Genesis 4:6-7

Love Avoids Temptation


Family Devotion – May 22, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 4:6-7

See series: Devotions

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

Remember Cain and Abel? Their parents were Adam and Eve. Cain was the older of the two brothers. Cain, a farmer, gave some of his crops to God in a sacrifice. Abel, a shepherd, gave an animal from his flock. God was pleased with Abel’s gift, but not the gift from Cain. So Cain was jealous of Abel and killed his brother in anger. Cain lied about his actions to God and was punished by wandering for the rest of his life. What a sad ending.

The story of Cain and Abel is an important warning if you get angry easily. Long before anger lashes out, you can find it crouching at the door to our hearts. Cain made his sacrifice only because “I had to.” You know that dark feeling too. Someone (a parent or teacher) tells you to stop what you’re playing and help them. You do it because you were made to, not because you wanted to. Cain’s jealousy turned into anger. He couldn’t control it. He didn’t want to. Cain’s anger turned him into a murderer, a liar, and an excuse-maker who only worried about himself.

Cain’s anger separated him from God’s love—not because he felt angry (we all do)—but because he hung on to his anger even after God confronted him about it. He wanted Cain to repent of his sin and see his promised Savior. He even protected Cain when he worried that he might be murdered!

Where do we find the kind of love to help us when we are angry? It is found in another son God promised Adam and Eve who would be our perfect brother. Jesus let all our angry thoughts, words, and actions crush him on the cross. God’s love is so powerful, nothing can separate us from it! It can even crush any anger that tries hiding in your heart!

The next time you feel angry, remember the story of Cain and Abel. Ask God to help you to stop being so angry. Jesus’ power is ready to free your heart from it. Jesus promises to replace it with something far better—love. May his love put a smile back your face today!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, you taught us to pray “lead us not into temptation.” Help us to avoid temptation, flee when it comes our way, and turn to you as our Savior when it overcomes us. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did Cain do because he was so angry?
  • Why is it important to remember Jesus when we get angry?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Agree or Disagree. God liked Abel’s offering more because he sacrificed an animal when Cain only gave fruits and vegetables.
  • Make a list of things that make you angry. Evaluate how aligning yourself with Jesus’ love changes your view of them.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Give several reasons why God would protect the life of a murderer like Cain.
  • Which is more important—that we avoid being angry or that we trust that Jesus has forgiven our sin of anger? Why do you answer the way that you do?

Hymn: CW 497:1,4 – This is My Will

“This is my will, my one command,
That love should dwell among you all.
This is my will, that you should love
As I have shown that I love you.

“You chose not me, but I chose you,
That you should go and bear much fruit.
I chose you out that you in me
Should bear much fruit that will abide.”

 

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

Love in Action – Family Devotion – May 20, 2020

Read: 1 John 3:14-18

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:16-18

Love in Action


Family Devotion – May 20, 2020

Devotion based on 1 John 3:16-18

See series: Devotions

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

Meet Bill. He’s a teacher. Bill has the amazing ability to see creative opportunities in his classroom no one else sees. He sees problems long before they even happen. He notices when a struggling student needs encouragement or extra attention.

But what good is Bill’s ability to see opportunities if he doesn’t do something? Or, if he sees the problems, but offers no solutions? Or if he notices when his students are up or down, but does nothing about it?

Today’s devotion is a lesson on love from someone who loved the most people, the most often, with the most passion. If you really want to know what love is, don’t look at Bill. Don’t even look at yourself. We know what love is. But it’s not always easy to show love, is it? What’s harder: to say, “I love you,” or, to live up to those words? What’s easier: to say, “That’s mine,” or, to let others be first before you? Loving the way God wants us to love is so hard—not because we can’t, but because too often we won’t.

God’s Word today urges, “Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” The only way we truly know that kind of love is to see it in action. But don’t look at Bill. Don’t look at yourself. Look at Jesus. He laid down his life for all of our failures to love. Then he picked his life back up to keep showing his love for you every day. Jesus inspires us to keep loving others every day!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, give us your heart of love for others so that we always see their needs and use our gifts to help them. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Can you find someone you love and say, “I love you”?
  • What could you do for the person you just said, “I love you” to that would show that you love them?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Can you recall a time you felt unloved because of what someone said or did to you?
  • Think of some common needs people have. What are some ways we can love our brothers and sisters in those needs?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Give several examples of Christians “loving” with “words or speech” but not “with actions and in truth.”
  • Talk through specifics: how did Jesus practice what John preaches in verse 15, 17, and 18?

Hymn: CW 497:1,5 – This is My Will

“This is my will, my one command,
That love should dwell among you all.
This is my will, that you should love
As I have shown that I love you.

All that you ask my Father dear
For my name’s sake you shall receive.
This is my will, my one command,
That love should dwell in each, in all.”

 

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

Love for God – Family Devotion – May 18, 2020

Read: John 14:15-21

If you love me, keep my commands … I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
John 14:15,18-19

Love for God


Family Devotion – May 18, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:15,18-19

See series: Devotions

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

It did not sound good. My dad turned the key, and the car only groaned. He turned the key again, and it only whimpered. He turned the key once more, and . . . nothing. “You gotta be kidding me,” Dad muttered in frustration. I grabbed the battery tester off the workbench, walked over to the car, and touched the red to the positive and the black to the negative. Nothing. “Battery’s dead, Dad.” A car without juice will not work.

Did you know that you also were born with a dead battery? When a mom gives birth to a baby, that baby can breathe, cry, and move right away. She is alive—physically! But that same baby is also born with a spiritual defect. She cannot love God or do what God wants. She is dead—spiritually. As a matter fact, she would not want to love God or do what God says. Like a car with a dead battery, a human being without faith in Jesus will not obey God’s commandments or love him. A dead battery is worthless. It’s not worth keeping. God already knows this to be true.

Yet, listen to Jesus. He does not look at us in frustration and mutter, “You gotta be kidding me.” He says, “I will not leave you. I will come to you. I live so that you also will live.” God understands the problem in us. He gave Jesus as the answer. At Easter, Jesus came out of his grave and announced, “I live!” Then he immediately looked at you and declared, “You also will live!” He did it by removing our dead batteries. Then he replaced them with one filled with the power of his love and life. Now, we have power for life now and forever in heaven!

Do you remember when God gave your new battery? Think again of a baby. What a blessing when God comes through his promises in the waters of baptism whether young or old! There he made you a child of God, gave you life, and gave you the “juice”—a heart that so loves and trusts God, it inspires us to keeps his commandments!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, you know our struggle with sin. Thank you for your forgiveness. Give us your Spirit and faith in you so that we can live lives of thanksgiving and obedience that show our love for God. 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 didn’t the car start?
  • Why is it hard for us to do the good things God wants?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The Bible describes us as spiritually dead. What are some other Biblical pictures of our spiritual problem that comes from our sin? Try to connect the beautiful ways the gospel answers those spiritual problems.
  • When Jesus says, “Because I live, you also will live,” is he talking about our spiritual life now that follows God or eternal life in heaven? (Hint: The answer is found in second to last paragraph.)

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • A friend asks you, “Why does God give us commandments that he knows we can’t keep on our own?” What would you say to him?
  • How does the hope of the resurrection inspire us to love God and keep his commandments?

Hymn: CW 497:1,2 – This is My Will

“This is my will, my one command,
That love should dwell among you all.
This is my will, that you should love
As I have shown that I love you.

No greater love can any have
Than that one die to save his friends.
You are my friends if you obey
What I command that you should do.”

 

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

God’s People Share the Way – Family Devotion – May 15, 2020

Read: Acts 17:1-12

As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. But other Jews were jealous.
Acts 17:2-5a

God’s People Share the Way


Family Devotion – May 15, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 17:2-5a

See series: Devotions

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

It was the day after Easter. Derek was already a bummed-out zombie when he heard, “Jesus is still dead and in the grave.” His jaw hit the ground, especially when he realized the voice behind those words was his Nana’s. Nana was the most Christian person Derek knew. She was always sending him Bible passages. Her walls were decorated with crosses. She was “really old” and still teaching Sunday School. She sang in the choir. Her brother was a Lutheran pastor. “What gives, Nana?”

“Well, with the way you are walking around all mopey, all day long, I figured something horrible must have happened. The only thing I could think of that could be that bad to make such a long face is that Jesus must still be dead.”

“I’m just bummed because we are all cooped up in the house and so many people are losing their jobs.”

“True. That is sad. But, let’s never forget—Christ is risen!”

It’s natural to experience moments of sadness. That’s why Jesus’ resurrection is so important to remember in those moments. When you feel everything is going wrong, the joy of knowing, “Christ is risen!” reminds us what is going right and will never change! It puts a smile on our hearts that no sadness can overcome. It puts an encouraging message on our lips that cannot be silenced.

Jesus’ resurrection was a message the early Christians were excited to share. The apostle Paul went from town to town and synagogue to synagogue with one message: Jesus, the promised Messiah, has risen from the dead! It proves that our guilt is paid for, that our death is dead, and that our accuser, Satan, has no more claim on us.

This good news puts us on the way to heaven. This good news gives us reason to thank Jesus. Finally, this good news is our hope to share. Like Paul and the early Christians, we can tell our friends, family, and neighbors about Jesus Christ—the Way, the Truth and the Life—with the same joy he has given us!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, fill our hearts with the joy of the gospel so that our lips overflow with your praise as we share the way with others in our life. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What was making Derek sad?
  • How did Derek’s Nana cheer him up?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What would you say are the main teachings of the Bible?
  • Why could a Christian argue that the resurrection of Jesus is the most important message of the Bible?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What are some things Paul might have said from Scripture to “prove” that the Messiah (Jesus) had to suffer and die?
  • Sadly, not everyone believed the good news Paul shared. It says that some were “jealous” and others even worked to have Paul arrested or booted out of town. Give several, loving ways you can respond to a person who reacts to the good news of the gospel with rejection or skepticism.

Hymn: CW 422:1,4 – Jesus, Lead Us On

Jesus, lead us on
Till our rest is won;
And although the way be cheerless,
We will follow, calm and fearless.
Guide us by your hand
To our fatherland.

Jesus, still lead on
Till our rest is won.
Heav’nly Leader, still direct us;
Still support, console, protect us
Till we safely stand
In our fatherland.

 

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

God’s People Rejoice in the Way – Family Devotion – May 13, 2020

Read: 1 Peter 2:4-10

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10

God’s People Rejoice in the Way


Family Devotion – May 13, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 2:9-10

See series: Devotions

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

The young man was trapped. Heat and smoke filled the air. Flames engulfed every door and window. Total darkness blanketed his eyes. Escape was not an option. All seemed hopeless. All seemed lost until, bursting through the wall, encircled by an angelic glow, an axe-wielding firefighter cried out, “I’m here to rescue you!”

Clearly confused, the young man politely responded, “Thanks, but I was hoping for a different way out of this deadly fire than you!”

How ridiculous! When it is life or death and there is only one way out, we do not look for other options. We do not complain about that way. We do not drop our shoulders and sigh, “I guess. If I have to.” We rejoice! We grab hold of that firefighter as if our lives depended on it—because they do! We cannot stop thanking this hero for risking his life for us.

Jesus is our hero. He is the way, the only way to heaven. The Bible is clear: there is no other hero. We cannot save ourselves, we are the problem. It is our sin that got us into this hellish danger in the first place! Jesus, however, is the hero and his rescue mission on the cross is complete. Heaven is your home.

Thank him! Praise him! Rejoice! You are not alone. On the safe side of your rescue is a whole company of angels praising God that you have repented and trusted in this hero, Jesus. On the safe side of your rescue is a whole crowd of fellow believers who have also been rescued by Jesus. He has come save us all! That guarantees this: he has come to save you! Just as he burst out of that tomb on the third day, he has burst into your life through the gospel and rescued you from your sin, death, and Satan. Rejoice in Jesus your hero—the way, the truth, and the life!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, help us to understand that our sins are serious and to appreciate the joy of salvation in the way you rescued 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 some frightening situations you have been in?
  • How does this devotion about our hero Jesus help you when you are afraid?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Look at the specific names Peter calls us in verses 9 and 10. Explain two or three of them.
  • Describe different ways we can declare the praises of Jesus who rescued us from the darkness. Why would we do it?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Imagine a friend is struggling to believe that Jesus came to rescue her/him. How would you try to reassure your friend it’s true?
  • Use some of the word pictures of verses 9-10 to encourage a Christian who says, “I don’t find any joy in my faith anymore.”

Hymn: CW 422:1,3 – Jesus, Lead Us On

Jesus, lead us on
Till our rest is won;
And although the way be cheerless,
We will follow, calm and fearless.
Guide us by your hand
To our fatherland.

When we seek relief
From a long-felt grief,
When temptations come alluring,
Make us patient and enduring;
Show us that bright shore
Where we weep no more.

 

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

God’s People Know the Way – Family Devotion – May 11, 2020

Read: John 14:1-10

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6

God’s People Know the Way


Family Devotion – May 11, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:6

See series: Devotions

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

“Detour,” the sign says. “Ugh,” says the driver. Dad has toothpicks in his eyes to keep them open after eight hours of driving. “This detour takes us way past our hotel,” groans the co-pilot. Mom’s mood will not tolerate any last-second adjustments. It was already a long road trip, but the destination is worth it: Disney World!

Any map app on a phone can instantly calculate a completely new route to your final destination whenever a detour rears its ugly head. It may be longer, but you will still get there.

When it comes to heaven, there are no detours or other ways. Jesus tell us, “I am the way.” Jesus is the way. No one comes to the Father in heaven except through him.

At first, this might seem a little bit nitpicky on Jesus’ part. After all, dad’s phone map app can find another route to Disney World! The truth is, without Jesus, we sinners would have no way out of this sinful world to heaven. The truth is that Jesus is the gracious way of God that freely gives us life eternal! The truth is that Satan, temptation, sin, and our own guilt try to lead us on every sort of detour—only these detours never end at heaven. They lead us away from heaven to a dead end called hell. Beware of detours!

Listen to the clear voice of Jesus: “I am the way.” Faith watches Jesus walk the path we could never walk to the cross, through death, and out the door of his now-empty tomb—all for us. When we face deadly threats along the way, faith hears the voice of Jesus promise, “Because I live, you also will live,” and our hearts are encouraged. When we feel lost along the way, faith hears the voice of Jesus promise, “I am going to prepare a place for you in my Father’s house,” and our course is corrected. When the way grows dim, faith hears the voice of Jesus promise, “I will come back to bring you there to be with me,” and our hope is renewed.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Savior, thank you for opening wide the doorway of heaven to us through your perfect life, innocent suffering, and glorious resurrection. Give us faith to always stay on the way. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What are some promises God makes to you when you go on a trip?
  • What does God promise is waiting for you at the end of your journey in this life?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What are some specific “detours” Satan tries to throw in front of us to lead us off the way?
  • List some reasons why the destination of heaven will be far greater than the destination of any earthly vacation.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain some ways the world tries to argue that there are many different paths to heaven.
  • Jesus is the only way to heaven. How could a Christian also show that Jesus’ way, the way the Bible teaches, is unique and far better than the ways offered by other religions?

Hymn: CW 422:1-2 – Jesus, Lead Us On

Jesus, lead us on
Till our rest is won;
And although the way be cheerless,
We will follow, calm and fearless.
Guide us by your hand
To our fatherland.

If the way be drear,
If the foe be near,
Let not faithless fears o’ertake us;
Let not faith and hope forsake us,
For through many a woe
To our home we go.

 

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

Safe with Our Good Shepherd – Family Devotion – May 8, 2020

Read: 1 Peter 2:19-25

For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
1 Peter 2:25

Safe with Our Good Shepherd


Family Devotion – May 8, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 2:25

See series: Devotions

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

The little baby was just learning to crawl and climb. He was at that stage when Mom and Dad (and sometimes brother and sister) always had to keep their eyes on him. He was an adventurous little child. They did their best to baby proof the house, but he always seemed to find that one place where there was danger. It was an interesting time to see him grow, learn, and explore. But it was also a nerve-racking time, because it always seemed like they were on the verge of a trip to the emergency room.

Mom and Dad let him explore and learn, but they were never far away. They were always ready to protect him from injury if needed. They didn’t always succeed. When he fell and cried, the only thing that would calm him was the safety and comfort found in the arms of Mom or Dad.

Our Good Shepherd has us safe in his arms as well. Sometimes we like to wander and explore. And sometimes, our Good Shepherd will allow dangers and challenges to come our way to remind us that we need him each and every day. It’s those challenging times that can lead us to run back to our Good Shepherd for the lasting peace and security that is ours in him.

That’s what happened to the people that Peter wrote to. They were facing some pretty big challenges. Like Stephen, their lives were being threatened, and some of them thought of running away from Jesus and abandoning their faith. But Peter reminds them, and us, that when we experience trials and challenges, Jesus remains our Good Shepherd who watches over us for our eternal good.

At times, we might be tempted to run away from Jesus or abandon our faith in him because it seems easier to not be a Christian. It’s in those times that we can remember our Good Shepherd. Rather than running away from him during the tough times, run to him. Bring all your cares and concerns to him. And trust that he will lead you safely to your eternal home.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Good Shepherd, sometimes days are hard and we face tough challenges. When we do, lead us to run to you as our great Good Shepherd and our source of eternal comfort and peace. 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

  • Ask your parents about stories from when you were learning to walk and crawl. Did you parents get scared when you started to explore? What are some ways they tried to keep you safe?
  • Even if your parents aren’t right next to you all the time, who can you be sure is always with you? What can you do when you are scared, worried, or tempted?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Do you ever wish you had more freedom? Why do you think your parents set up guidelines and rules for you?
  • Jesus sends people like parents to guard and protect you. How do your parents or other authorities do that for you?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How can challenges be a blessing for you?
  • Why might some people think that it’s easier not to be a Christian? What makes being a Christian such a great blessing?

Hymn: CW 432:3 – I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb

Who so happy as I am,
Even now the shepherd’s lamb?
And when my short life is ended,
By his angel hosts attended,
He shall fold me to his breast,
There within his arms to rest.

 

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

Things Aren’t Always as They Seem – Family Devotion – May 6, 2020

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

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Acts 7:55-56

Things Aren’t Always as They Seem


Family Devotion – May 6, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 7:55-56

See series: Devotions

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

The runner was taking her sweet time. She wasn’t winning the race. She was right in the middle of the pack. But the rest of the runners didn’t know that she was saving her energy for the end of the race. With one lap to go, she used that energy to blast past all the other runners and win easily. To those who didn’t know her style of running, it appeared that she was losing for most of the race. It seemed like she didn’t stand a chance of winning. But she knew what she was doing. The whole time, she really was winning. Things are not always as they seem.

Stephen wasn’t afraid to share the gospel. That made some people so mad that they wanted him dead. Angry people dragged Stephen out into the streets where they picked up stones to throw at him and kill him. It looked like Stephen was losing. But things are not always as they seem.

Even while Stephen was facing his final minutes on earth, he knew that he had already won. Why? Because “the Son of Man [is] standing at the right hand of God.” Jesus, the Good Shepherd, had given his life for Stephen and Stephen, trusting in Jesus as his Savior, had the victory of heaven waiting for him. No matter what people did to him, he was victorious. He had life in heaven because Jesus already won for him!

Sometimes we may not feel very victorious. Maybe it seems like we are losing one race after another. Maybe we give into temptation and take our eyes off our Savior. Maybe the challenges of life make us feel like we’re losing and we’ll never catch up. But things are not always as they seem. No matter what happens on this side of heaven, no matter what challenges we face, no matter how much guilt we carry, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, has still won the victory for us. Through faith in him, heaven is still our home. Let us hold onto our Good Shepherd to the very end, until the day that we are standing side by side with him in the mansions of heaven.

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, keep us faithful to you no matter what. Give us the faith to cling to you in the good times and the bad, confident that we will be in heaven with you forever. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why did the people want Stephen to die?
  • How could Stephen be sure that he would be in heaven? How can you be sure that you’ll be in heaven?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What are you looking forward to most about heaven?
  • How is Stephen a wonderful example of faith for us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Name one challenge and one blessing of staying faithful to God.
  • Stephen was the first Christian martyr. The word martyr means “witness” but usually refers to someone who was killed for their faith. How was Stephen a faithful martyr or witness even when he died?

Hymn: CW 432:2 – I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb

Day by day, at home, away,
Jesus is my staff and stay.
When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,
Into pleasant pastures leads me;
When I thirst, he bids me go
Where the quiet waters flow.

 

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

Safe within Jesus’ Gate – Family Devotion – May 4, 2020

Read: John 10:1-10

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:9-10

Safe within Jesus’ Gate


Family Devotion – May 4, 2020

Devotion based on John 10:9-10

See series: Devotions

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

“I am Jesus little lamb, Ever glad at heart I am; For my Shepherd gently guides me, Knows my need, and well provides me, Loves me every day the same, Even calls me by my name” (Christian Worship: 423). Some parents fondly remember holding their little infant in the middle of the night, tired and exhausted, but cherishing every second of quietly singing “I am Jesus little lamb” to the precious little lamb in their arms.

There’s something we love about the picture of Jesus, our Good Shepherd, and us as his sheep. It’s calming to imagine the sheep peacefully grazing in the pasture without a care in the world because the shepherd is caring for them. It’s such a peaceful picture because so often we don’t feel that peaceful. Sometimes life seems chaotic, as if every second of every day is a battle for peace. And that peace seems so distant. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the peace and serenity of sitting in the rocking chair singing, “I am Jesus little lamb”?

In God’s Word today, Jesus tells us that he is not just our Good Shepherd, he is our gate to peace. There is no way to the peace we long for apart from Jesus Christ. And here’s the best part, the peace that Jesus promises isn’t just some temporary peace that is here today and gone tomorrow, Jesus gives us a peace that lasts for all eternity!

There are so many people and things that try to steal that peace away from us: the temptations of the world, those who don’t speak the truth about Jesus, things that you think will bring peace but only make you feel better for a moment. The devil himself wants to steal the lasting peace that is yours in Jesus Christ. But through Jesus, our gate and our Good Shepherd, we not only have life, we have a full life! We have a life of peace and security. That doesn’t mean we won’t have struggles and challenges in this life, but we can face them knowing that our Good Shepherd has eternal peace waiting for us in the green pastures of heaven.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, our Good Shepherd, always keep us safe in your arms through the trials and temptations of this world until the day that we stand with you forever in the green pastures of heaven. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What are two things that you know about sheep? Why do sheep need a shepherd?
  • What are some ways that Jesus takes care of you, just as he promised?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain how Jesus is a gate for us, his sheep?
  • List two ways that Jesus as your Good Shepherd brings you comfort.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Jesus talks about “thieves” that try to steal the sheep. What kind of “thieves” might try to steal you away from Jesus?
  • How can you stay safe from the “thieves” that might try to steal you away?

Hymn: CW 432:1 – I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb

I am Jesus’ little lamb;
Ever glad at heart I am,
For my shepherd gently guides me,
Knows my needs and well provides me,
Loves me ev’ry day the same,
Even calls me by my name.

 

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

Bought Back With More Than Gold – Family Devotion – May 1, 2020

Read: 1 Peter 1:17-21

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
1 Peter 1:18-19

Bought Back With More Than Gold


Family Devotion – May 1, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:18-19

See series: Devotions

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

She saw the ad for the American Girl doll, and she got so excited. She could create her own American Girl to look just like her. She could pick the hair color, the eyes, the name. She could even pick the things that this American Girl doll liked. She could make this American Girl doll exactly the way she wanted it. The idea of this doll was the most valuable thing to her. But it cost $200. She didn’t have enough.

Human beings are valuable to God. He made human beings just the way he wanted them to be, down to the very last detail. Adam and Eve were holy and perfect, just like he wanted them. They were so valuable to him! But Adam and Eve decided that they wanted to be something else. They fell into sin, and from that moment forward, all of us are born with that same sin.

But here’s the good news. We are still valuable to God! He wants to redeem us or buy us back from the sin that we live in. But does he have enough money to buy us back? Well, if we want to be with God forever in heaven, it’s going to take a bit more than $200. It’s going to take nothing less than the payment of a perfect life to buy us back. Think about that for a minute. You would have to wake up in the morning being perfect all day, every day, your whole life! You can try, but you can’t. No one can. God sent payment for us. He sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, who was perfect in every way. Jesus gave his own life to buy us back. It wasn’t anything like gold or silver that bought us back, it was the holy precious blood of Jesus.

How much are you worth? Sometimes you may feel like you’re not worth much. Maybe it seems that no one likes you and everyone is against you. Maybe you feel alone at home sometimes, like there’s just no time for you or there are so many things to take care of that you become the forgotten one. Maybe at times you face so much trouble that you even think you aren’t worth much to God.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Take comfort in this: you are worth more than money to God! You are worth the life of his own Son. Now, because of Jesus, you have a heaven waiting for you that cannot even begin to compare to the struggles of this day. Hold onto Christ who bought you back with his own blood.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for buying us back with your own blood and making us your children. Help us to live each day out of thanksgiving for all that you have done for us. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did Jesus pay to make you his child?
  • Name one thing that you can be sure of since Jesus made you his child?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does redeem mean? How did Jesus redeem us?
  • Can you think of times when you have felt worthless? How does Jesus show us that we have worth?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Peter calls Jesus a “lamb without blemish or defect.” Why do you think Jesus was compared to a perfect lamb? What other Bible stories does that remind you of?
  • Peter calls the sinful life an “empty way of life.” Jesus says “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). What do you think “life to the full” means?

Hymn: CW 160:3 – This Joyful Eastertide

My flesh in hope shall rest
And for a season slumber
Till trump from east to west
Shall wake the dead in number.

Refrain:
Had Christ, who once was slain,
Not burst His three-day prison,
Our faith had been in vain;
But now has Christ arisen, arisen, arisen;
But now has Christ arisen!

 

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

The Fire That Comes Through Water – Family Devotion – April 29, 2020

Read: Acts 2:14a, 36-47

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Acts 2:38-39

The Fire That Comes Through Water


Family Devotion – April 29, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:38-39

See series: Devotions

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

When there’s a fire, how do you put it out? Depending on the kind of fire, you probably pour some water on it. Fire and water don’t usually get along. Once you pour water on fire, the flame goes out. Water is used in baptism. But in baptism, the waters of baptism ignite the fire of faith! In baptism, God puts his name on us and gives us the best blessings that he has to give: the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. God gives us a new identity as his children—children of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Perhaps you noticed that we started our devotion with these words, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Maybe your church service starts with the same these words. Do you know why? It’s a regular reminder of our own baptisms, that we are children of God.

Peter spoke of baptism in our Bible reading. It was almost two months after Easter on the day of Pentecost when Peter spoke the words of our lesson today. He shared some pretty tough words with the large crowd gathered there. He told them that it was because of their sins that Jesus died. He even went so far as to say, “You crucified Jesus, the Messiah.” Ouch. The truth hurt. They realized that they were guilty of sinning against God. So they asked, “What should we do?”

Peter pointed them to baptism. Why? Because in baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. You see, when we are baptized, we personally receive the forgiveness that Jesus won for us on the cross. It is in baptism that the Holy Spirit creates faith in our hearts, and faith holds on to the gift of forgiveness like you hold onto a new present you are given Christmas morning. It’s like the Holy Spirit is lighting a fire with water!

If you have one of those days when you are feeling guilty, remember your baptism. If you aren’t sure whether or not God loves you because it seems like everything is going wrong, remember your baptism. If you’re worried, scared, or overwhelmed, remember your baptism. God made you his child in the waters of baptism and has opened heaven’s doors for you. Baptism is God’s gift to you! And this gift is yours—in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Triune God, we thank you for the blessing of baptism. Help us to always remember our baptism knowing that in you we are forgiven and we are your children now and forever. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What do the words “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” remind us of?
  • What day were you baptized? Do you or your parents have any pictures of your baptism day? Ask your parents about that day.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What is the gift of the Holy Spirit?
  • Think of a time when you were feeling guilty about something. What comfort do you have from your baptism?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Can infants have faith? (See Acts 2:39 for help.) Why is it helpful for you to know that?
  • In this devotion, we were encouraged to “remember our baptism.” What are some ways that you can remember your baptism if you don’t actually remember being baptized?

Hymn: CW 160:2 – This Joyful Eastertide

Death’s flood has lost its chill
Since Jesus crossed the river;
Lover of souls, from ill
My passing soul deliver.

Refrain:
Had Christ, who once was slain,
Not burst His three-day prison,
Our faith had been in vain;
But now has Christ arisen, arisen, arisen;
But now has Christ arisen!

 

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

The Scriptures Set Hearts on Fire – Family Devotion – April 27, 2020

Read: Luke 24:13-35

“They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’”
Luke 24:32

The Scriptures Set Hearts on Fire


Family Devotion – April 27, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 24:32

See series: Devotions

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

“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times,” cries out the exhausted mom to the kids who just don’t seem to get it. She had told them to get ready for bed, but when she saw what they were doing instead, she thought she might as well have been asking the dog to cook dinner. It’s not that her words weren’t clear. It’s not that she forgot to tell them. The truth of the matter is the kids were just too busy with other things for any of her words to really register.

Sometimes it’s hard to really hear what’s being said, especially when your mind is on other things. And it’s not just the kids! Consider these two men walking on the road to Emmaus on Easter afternoon. They just didn’t get it. Jesus had to suffer, die, and rise again. It’s not like they hadn’t heard this before. The entire Old Testament had been pointing to this, but they were so preoccupied with other thoughts that all the things that God had been telling them through his Word just didn’t register.

But then Jesus talked. He stayed patient with them. He taught them. He reminded them of all the things that they had likely been reading in God’s Word since childhood. They began to understand. Then he broke bread with them, and they saw . . . they saw Jesus! They saw Jesus for who he is, the fulfillment of all the Scriptures. They saw Jesus as their hope for eternal life. Their hearts were set on fire! Not a real fire, but the Holy Spirit planted faith in their hearts through the Word, and that made it all register!

Sometimes, it can be hard for things to really register when your mind is on other things. And for families, the mind can be filled with a lot of other things—the upcoming birthday, schoolwork, bills, jobs, parenting, dance class, piano lessons, baseball practice, housekeeping, and the list could go on. But for just a few minutes, set that off to the side. Open the Scriptures together and hear the marvelous news of Christ risen for us! And while you do, know that the Holy Spirit is at work setting a fire in your heart and the hearts of your whole family. It’s the fire of faith!

Closing Prayer:

Holy Spirit, we thank you for working faith in our hearts through the Word of God. Continue to open your Word to us that the fire of faith may continue to burn in our hearts. 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

  • Share one time that you struggled to listen to what Mom or Dad (or another adult) asked you to do.
  • Jesus forgives us for all the times that we have not listened to his Word or we haven’t listened to our moms or dads (or other adults who care for us). Why can we be sure that we are forgiven?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why did Jesus call the Emmaus disciples “foolish” and “slow of heart to believe”?
  • Instead of getting mad at them, what did Jesus do for these “foolish” disciples?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain what it means that the disciples’ “hearts were burning within them.” What (and/or who) caused this “heartburn”?
  • Does God’s Word work in our hearts even if we don’t feel it? Explain.

Hymn: CW 160:1 – This Joyful Eastertide

This joyful Eastertide,
Away with sin and sorrow!
My Love, the Crucified,
Has sprung to life this morrow.

Refrain:
Had Christ, who once was slain,
Not burst His three-day prison,
Our faith had been in vain;
But now has Christ arisen, arisen, arisen;
But now has Christ arisen!

 

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

Proof of our Peace – Family Devotion – April 24, 2020

Read: Acts 2:14a, 22-32

Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.
Acts 2:31-32

Proof of our Peace


Family Devotion – April 24, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:31-32

See series: Devotions

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

“No way! Not possible! I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Tom. Eric insisted that the story was true. “Really. The fish was over three feet long and over 100 pounds. Really!” But Tom refused to believe it. “I’ve never heard of a fish that big in that lake. Do you have any proof? A picture? A selfie? Did anyone else see this?” Eric was so frustrated! He had left his phone in the car that day, and he was fishing by himself. How would Tom ever believe his awesome story and share in his fishy-joy?

People today question the truth often. “No way! Where’s the proof? I’ll believe it when I see it.” Sadly, so many people lie, cheat, and deceive that it’s hard to believe any story these days unless there are witnesses or proof that can back up the story.

In the same way, many people today—and many people long ago—do not believe the story of Jesus rising from the dead. “No way! Not possible! Where’s the proof?” What are we to make of this story? Is it the truth? Or is it just another “fishing story” that has lots of entertainment but little truth?

Dear Christians, not to worry! Jesus’ resurrection is a true story and there is a lot of proof of this. Today we hear a little part of Peter’s famous sermon on the great day of Pentecost. Many people were questioning the disciples and the Easter story. But Peter gives us three great reasons why we can believe that Jesus really is alive.

First, God prophesied through King David that the Savior would rise from the dead, and Jesus fulfilled those promises. Second, we know that Jesus fulfilled those promises because his tomb is empty. Third, we know for sure that the tomb is empty (and it’s not just a trick) because many people—like Peter—were eyewitnesses who saw Jesus alive. In fact, the Bible tells us that more than 500 people saw Jesus after he rose from the dead!

What wonderful news! The most important story of all time is also a true story. Because that story is true, that also means that truly you are forgiven, you are a child of God, and you will go to heaven. Those facts are most certainly true because the Easter story is true. Jesus lives, and so will you—truly! Rejoice!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Risen Savior, your empty tomb is proof that I will also rise to life. Your eyewitnesses also give proof that you are alive. Now help me to be a witness who shares this truth with others. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • How do we know for sure that Jesus is alive?
  • What people do you want to tell the good news of Jesus to?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean if you “doubt” something? What does it mean if you “believe” something?
  • Why do you think many people back then or even now today doubt that Jesus rose from the dead?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why was it important for Jesus to appear alive to more than just a couple people?
  • Explain why Jesus’ resurrection proves he is who he claims to be and that Christianity is the one true religion.

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

O sons and daughters of the King,
Whom heav’nly hosts in glory sing,
Today the grave has lost its sting!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

On this most holy day of days
To God your hearts and voices raise
In laud and jubilee and praise.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

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

Peace Forever – Family Devotion – April 22, 2020

Read: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:3-4

Peace Forever


Family Devotion – April 22, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:3-4

See series: Devotions

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

What would you do if you had millions and millions of dollars? Ever have the fantasy of winning the lottery? Little kids likely dream of buying all the newest and coolest toys and technology. Big kids (adults) likely dream of buying all the “big kid toys” like cool cars, fast boats, and a big home.

Want to know a secret? The lottery is a huge waste of your time (and money!). Not only is it very rare for people to win, but apparently the vast majority of those who actually do win usually find two outcomes. Either they lose all the money because they spent it all, or they end up very sad and depressed. Sometimes, they even experience both of those things. Why is this?

Well, it turns out that money can buy you a lot of things, but it can’t buy you real happiness—especially not happiness that lasts. You can buy a new car or a new iPhone, but soon enough the next new model will come out. You might also have millions of dollars, but if you like to spend money, eventually it will run out. What a sad thing for someone to find out the hard way that worldly riches do not bring lasting happiness!

The apostle Peter tells us an amazing truth today. Money can’t buy happiness and eventually runs out, but there is somewhere that we can find a treasure that lasts—in the empty tomb of Jesus. You see, because Jesus now lives, we have what Peter calls a “living hope.” It’s a hope for every single day of our lives that we will be with Jesus one day in the peace of heaven. And here’s the best part—this treasure of eternal peace will not run out, fade away, or go away. It will last forever. It’s kept safe for us in heaven from now until the day that we get there.

Some might imagine how different their lives would be if they had millions of dollars. But you have a treasure even greater than that. Because Jesus lives, you will live in the peace of heaven. Oh, and one more thing! You don’t have to imagine, because the treasure is already yours right now. As Peter says, “Praise be to God!”

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me the treasure of eternal life with you in heaven through the death and resurrection of your dear Son, Jesus. Fill my heart with joy and thanks for the treasure you have waiting for me. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why is Jesus more important and more valuable than money?
  • What do you think will be the best part of heaven? Why?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think people spend and lose their money so quickly on so many worldly things?
  • When are times in life that it is especially comforting to hear that we have the treasure of heaven waiting for us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Identify all the ways you can compare what happens with earthly inheritances to what happened with our salvation through Jesus.
  • If you understand that you have the ultimate treasure waiting for you in heaven, how will that change the way you use your earthly treasures?

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

O sons and daughters of the King,
Whom heav’nly hosts in glory sing,
Today the grave has lost its sting!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

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

 

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

Resurrection Peace – Family Devotion – April 20, 2020

Read: John 20:19-31

Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:19

Resurrection Peace


Family Devotion – April 20, 2020

Devotion based on John 20:19

See series: Devotions

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

What are you afraid of? Do you run from creepy critters like spiders and snakes? Are you afraid of heights? Do you despise the dark because you fear what might be hiding in the closet or under the bed? Or the really big one—are you afraid of death?

Right now there are millions of people all over the world who are afraid of something called COVID-19, the Coronavirus. They are afraid of germs, afraid of getting sick, and afraid of what this pandemic will do to our schools, jobs, and so much more. And yes, there are even many who are afraid that if they get sick enough, they might die from this virus. With everything going on, is there something that causes you fear?

The times that we are experiencing right now are not much different from the time after Good Friday for Jesus’ disciples. They were worried about many things! Their friend and teacher had just been crucified. It seemed like everyone was out to get them. What if they were arrested next? What was going to happen to them? Were they going to die? With so many concerns, the disciples locked themselves together in a room because they were afraid.

But then suddenly, Jesus appeared! Out of nowhere! Alive and standing right in front of them! Could this be? So what would the newly risen and victorious Savior have to say to his fearful disciples? Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”

That’s right, the very first word that Jesus spoke to his disciples was “peace.” It’s not that the disciples were never going to have troubles again. There would be plenty. It’s not that their enemies were gone. There were sadly many who would oppose them and their preaching. No, Jesus was telling his disciples that they now had peace with God.

All their sins were paid for and their guilt wiped away. Their greatest enemy, Satan, had been defeated. And best of all, they had the sure and certain hope that because Jesus lives, they would live with him in the pain and problem free life to come in heaven. That incredible peace with God is what would give them the strength and the hope to get through all the scary times of life.

There are certainly some scary things going on in our world today. The Coronavirus is just one of them. But rejoice! Jesus is alive and he proclaims to you today, “Peace be with you!” Your sins are also forgiven! Satan is still defeated! And you will live in heaven forever, too. What good news! Jesus offers you peace now and forever!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, in all the moments of life that I am afraid, remind me that you died and rose to give me peace. Calm my heart with this good news of peace now and eternally. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is something that causes you to be afraid?
  • How did Jesus prove at Easter that he is more powerful than anything we are afraid of?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What emotions would you have been feeling if you were a disciple locked in that room after Jesus died? Why?
  • What emotions would you have been feeling after Jesus appeared and said, “Peace be with you.” Why?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain the following in your own words and what it means: No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace.
  • Explain why the apostle Paul says that the peace of God “transcends” or “surpasses” all understanding in Philippians 4:7.

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

O sons and daughters of the King,
Whom heav’nly hosts in glory sing,
Today the grave has lost its sting!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

That night th’ apostles met in fear;
Among them came their Lord most dear
And said, “Peace be unto you here.”
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

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