That’s Not Who I Am Any More! – March 13, 2024

Read: Ephesians 2:1-10

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:1,2,4,5

That’s Not Who I Am Any More!

Family Devotion – March 13, 2024

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:1,2,4,5

See series: Devotions

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

You see an old friend. You used to go to school together or lived near each other.

“Hey! How are you? Do you remember that time when…”

Sometimes they recall something fun, a fond memory, a happy time.

And sometimes it’s a little different: “Do you remember when you played a prank on Mr. Schultz?” “Remember when you got caught cheating on that huge test?” “Didn’t you… push someone into the mud?”

That can be embarrassing. Sometimes it’s nice to see an old friend… and sometimes that friend remembers things that are better left forgotten.

The conversation continues: “Well, that was me… but that’s not who I am any more. I did those things, but I’ve changed.”

That’s the way Paul writes. Six different times he basically says, “That’s who you were—but that’s not who you are, anymore.” Consider what he says:

  • You were dead in your trespasses and sins.
  • You formerly walked in those evil deeds.
  • You [used to] follow the ways of this present evil world.
  • You were following the ruler of the domain of the air.
  • Formerly, we all lived among them, and you carried out the desires of the flesh.
  • You were, by nature, objects of God’s wrath.

But that’s not who you are, anymore. Because—God.

“But God, because he is rich in mercy… made us alive with Christ.”

We know who we used to be—but that’s not who we are, anymore. We are different, not because of our own actions—but because of God.

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, I thank you for the remarkable change you have worked in my life. Instead of embarrassing me with all I’ve done wrong, you remind me of your forgiveness and promise that I belong to you through my baptism. Keep me as your very own, and help me live as a child of God. In Jesus’ name I pray 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

  • What does sin result in? (vv. 1-2)
  • When did God make you alive?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why did God make you alive in Christ?
  • “That’s not who I am, anymore.” Why is the Christian life different from life without Christ?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • If we are new people in Christ—then why do we continue to sin?
  • Looking at verses 2-3, identify two things that you can know about this world and the people in it.

 

 

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 Promise of Life in Death – March 11, 2024

Read: Numbers 21:4-9

They spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
Numbers 21:5-9

A Promise of Life in Death

Family Devotion – March 11, 2024

Devotion based on Numbers 21:5-9

See series: Devotions

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

“Are we really having this for supper?”

And just like that. BOOM. Snakes. Cobras, rattle snakes, the dreaded Black Mamba—crawling under the tables, slithering up the chair legs… what a nightmare!

And all because… they didn’t like the food?!

Well, there’s a bit more going on in today’s Bible story. The Israelites weren’t just complaining about the food—they were openly saying that God messed up, God made a mistake, and God was being unfair.

That was their attitude. That’s what they were saying: “God, you aren’t fair. You are wrong. You are not worth our worship.”

But that’s where everything changed. God didn’t destroy them. God didn’t send more and more snakes, until everyone died.

God said, “Make a snake, and put it on a pole.” Whoever looked at it in faith was healed.

Do you see the connection?

God rescued his people from death—by attaching his promise of life to death.

God brought life to his people by giving an image of death. When God promised life, he gave life through an image of death—the snake.

When God promised life to you, he gave life through the image of death—Christ on the cross, lifted up for you.

Closing Prayer:

My faith looks up to thee, thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine!
Now hear me while I pray; take all my guilt away;
O let me from this day be wholly thine! Amen.
(Christian Worship 811:1)

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What did God send when the Israelites complained?
  • How did God rescue his people?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why did God send the snakes?
  • At some point, the snakes had served their purpose. In today’s Bible verses, when did the snakes finish their task?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What’s the main lesson we should learn from this account?
  • Was God fair in sending the snakes? Why or why not?

 

 

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 Play on Words – March 8, 2024

Read: John 2:13-22

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
John 2:13-16, 18-19

A Play on Words

Family Devotion – March 8, 2024

Devotion based on John 2:13-16, 18-19

See series: Devotions

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

“If you need help building an ark, I Noah guy!”

“Did you know that airplanes were in the Bible? Yeah, Pontius was a Pilate!”

Okay, okay, one more…

“Did you know that baseball is in the Bible? It’s right there in Genesis 1 – in the big-inning!”

Each of these statements is a “play on words.” The entire statement, taken together, makes us think about the words in a new way. Whether it’s Noah, or Pontius Pilate, or “In the beginning God created…,” a play on words makes us think about things in a new way. Jesus does the same thing in today’s reading. He makes us think about things in a new way.

The Jewish leaders didn’t want to believe that Jesus is God. When Jesus started flipping tables and driving out the animals, they asked: What sign will you give us to prove that you can do this? They didn’t believe that Jesus was God, so they demanded proof. Show us, right now! What gives you the right to do this? Show us! Prove it!

And instead of giving proof, Jesus answers with a prophecy—a play on words: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.” The Jewish leaders didn’t want to believe that Jesus is God, so they scoffed: “No one can do that!”

Except… Jesus did. His body was destroyed, and he died on Good Friday. On the third day, Jesus raised himself from the dead. He proved that he had the authority to cleanse the temple, because he had even greater authority: The power to lay down his life and take it up again.

Closing Prayer:

Christ, the life of all the living, Christ, the death of death, our foe,
who, thyself for me once giving to the darkest depths of woe:
through thy suff’rings, death, and merit I eternal life inherit.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, dearest Jesus, unto thee. Amen.
(Christian Worship 396:1)

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 in the temple area that made Jesus mad?
  • What did Jesus say when he flipped the tables?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why did Jesus respond with anger toward the money changers and Jewish leaders?
  • What was the “play on words” prophecy that Jesus gave?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What was the sign that Jesus gave, and how did this “sign” answer their question?
  • What does this account tell us about the purpose and focus of 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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Smart Isn’t Always Wise – March 6, 2024

Read: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18

Smart Isn’t Always Wise

Family Devotion – March 6, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:18

See series: Devotions

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

It’s a normal question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Grown-ups ask this question when they want to hear what a child is interested in. Is the child interested in airplanes or big trucks? Perhaps she wants to write a book. Maybe he’s interested in everything, and it’s difficult to narrow down.

The world around us looks up to people who are smart, successful, wealthy. We listen to people who are on TV, who have their own shows, or who have made a living playing sports.

These two ideas are very similar. The question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is answered by thinking of people we admire—people who lead countries, make millions, and go to the moon.

That’s the way our world thinks. We look for success. We look for fame.

But how does God think? Paul tells us: “The message of the cross is foolishness.”

When God walked the earth visibly, he didn’t choose success. He didn’t choose fame, fortune, or a career of playing a game.

He chose crucifixion. Rejection. Betrayal. Death.

Why?

God was showing that he does all the work. Your forgiveness doesn’t depend on your skill, your accomplishment, or your money; your forgiveness depends entirely on this Jesus, who gave up his life for you.

Closing Prayer:

Holy Father, you are the true Father of the whole family in heaven and on earth. Open the hearts of all children to your Word and make them wise to your salvation. 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 do on earth that shows his power?
  • What did Jesus do on earth that shows his love?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • If Good Friday was the only thing that someone knew about Jesus, what would they think?
  • What do you have to do in order to be forgiven?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why did God use crucifixion as the tool of our salvation?
  • Respond: “I don’t want to be a Christian. It sounds foolish that Almighty God would die like 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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Rules, Rules, Rules! – March 4, 2024

Read: Exodus 20:1-17

“I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt. … You shall have no other gods. … You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy. Honor your father and mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet.”
Exodus 20:2-3,7a,8,12a,13-17a

Rules, Rules, Rules!

Family Devotion – March 4, 2024

Devotion based on Exodus 20:2-3,7a,8,12a,13-17a

See series: Devotions

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

So many rules!

You wake up. Eat your breakfast, make your bed, brush your teeth, dress for school, go to work… rules, rules, rules!

You’re sitting at your desk. Stay quiet, raise your hand, no phones, it’s not break time yet… rules, rules, rules!

Everywhere we go, we find rules: What to do, what to say, what to wear. We get so used to rules—we actually, feel kind of comfortable with more rules.

And at first glance, it looks like God just gives us a list of rules: do this, don’t do that. We even call them commandments—not “rules” from God, but “commands”!

The really cool thing is what God says at the beginning. “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt.” God doesn’t focus on our doing—God focuses on his giving.

Our “doing” isn’t nearly as important as God’s “giving.” God reminds us that he is a rescuing God, not just a rule-giving God. This rescuing God has rescued you from death; he rescued you in Holy Baptism. He rescued us! Now, how should we live? We ought to fear and love God—so that we serve him.

It’s not another list of rules, but a remembering of rescue.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me never forget how you rescued me. Because you are mine and I am yours, help me serve you day by day. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name a person who gives you rules to follow in your life.
  • What is one rule that helps to keep you safe?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do parents give us rules to follow?
  • What is one reason why God gives us rules to follow?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Think of the commandments as you are learning them from catechism. What words follow the question, “What does this mean?” Why are they so important?
  • Should these commandments (and Luther’s explanations) be taught in all the schools and homes of our nation? Why or why not?

 

 

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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Crossroads – March 1, 2024

Read: Mark 8:31-38

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Mark 8:34

Crossroads

Family Devotion – March 1, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 8:34

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever gone hiking in the woods? If you follow marked paths, sometimes you will come to a crossroads. That’s where two paths cross each other. At a crossroads, you have a choice. You can continue on the same path or change directions and go on another path.

From the time he was born, Jesus was walking on the path to the cross. A few months before he died, he told his disciples exactly what was going to happen when he went to Jerusalem. But Peter didn’t want to hear it. He couldn’t imagine why Jesus would want to suffer and die. He tried to talk Jesus out of it.

Jesus was at a crossroads.

He could continue the path to the cross or he could choose the easier route of not suffering. At that moment, Jesus could have changed course.

Jesus was at a crossroads, and he chose the road to the cross. Peter tried to change his mind. The devil tried to discourage him. But Jesus wasn’t going to change paths.

Why? Because he loved you so much. Jesus knew that you were going to mess up. He knew all the bad things you would say and do in your life. He knew that your sins had to be punished.

But Jesus loved you before you were even born. He didn’t want you to have to go to hell. So, he chose to walk the road to the cross in your place to suffer God’s punishment for all the bad things you would say and do.

We should be the ones who have to suffer what Jesus suffered, but he loved you so much that he walked that road to the cross for you. In fact, he wasn’t about to let anyone or anything stop him.

In your life, you will come to many crossroads. You will have many choices—the choice to follow Jesus and do what is right or to listen to the devil’s lies and do what is wrong. The path to follow Jesus is sometimes harder and more painful. The other paths look easier and more fun.

The next time you come to a crossroad and wonder which one is the right one, look for Jesus. Remember the path Jesus chose for you. Then follow him! He loved you so much, he walked all the way to the cross for you. Trust how much he loves you and follow him, even when it’s hard.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for choosing to walk the road to the cross for me. Help me to now follow you, even when it’s hard. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Who tried to talk Jesus out of going to the cross?
  • Why did Jesus keep going to the cross even though it was going to hurt so badly?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When Peter tried to stop him, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!” Why do you think he said that?
  • Jesus talked about the crosses we have to carry when we follow him. Since it’s not an actual wood cross, what are those crosses?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Give an example of when kids your age are at a crossroads and have to make the difficult choice between following Jesus or following another path.
  • A friend tells you, “Going to church is boring. Being a Christian is no fun. God doesn’t want us to have any fun.” What would you say?

 

 

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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Rejoice – February 28, 2024

Read: Romans 5:1-11

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings.
Romans 5:3

Rejoice

Family Devotion – February 28, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 5:3

See series: Devotions

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

“Yippee! I get to go to the doctor today and get a shot!”

“Yes! I’m so excited. I get to go to the dentist and have a tooth pulled out.”

“Woohoo! Our teacher is going to give us a surprise test!”

All of those things sound silly, don’t they? Who would ever be happy about getting a painful shot? Who would celebrate going to the dentist? Who wants to take a surprise test?

In our reading for today, the apostle Paul said something that sounds just about as silly. “We… rejoice in our sufferings.” That doesn’t make sense. Why would we be happy about the things we suffer?

Paul explains. God promises to use the painful things in our lives for our good. Sometimes things that hurt are actually good for us. When the doctor gives you a shot, it’s to help you be healthy. When the dentist pulls a tooth, it’s so that your teeth will be straight. When your teacher gives you a test, it’s to help you learn.

At the time, it’s hard. It’s not fun. It can be painful, but in the end, it’s good for us.

God promises that if he allows something painful in our lives, he will make sure that it is for our good in one way or another. Like Paul says here, the painful things in our lives often teach us lessons. They teach us patience. They build character. They teach us to trust in God.

Because we know that they are good for us, Paul says that we can rejoice in our sufferings. That doesn’t mean you have to jump up and down shouting, “Yippee! Woohoo!” when you are sick or hurting. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to cry because it hurts.

Rejoicing in your sufferings means that you can be happy even in the hard times because you know that it will all work out for your good. It means you can have peace, even in the middle of the storm. It means you can thank God even for the hard times because you know they are hidden blessings.

But that’s hard to do. Pray that God helps you to trust that all the painful and hard things in your life will work out for your good. Ask him to help you rejoice, even in your sufferings.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, please help me to trust that you are working everything in my life for my good. Help me to have joy, even when I’m hurting. 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

  • To rejoice means to be happy and celebrate. What are some of the good things God gives you that you can rejoice about?
  • What painful thing did Jesus have to go through, but God worked it out for the good of all people?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The word justify is used a lot in these verses. Discuss with your family what that means. How does that impact you?
  • What does it mean in verse 10 that we have been reconciled to God? How does that word impact you?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or disagree. Because Jesus won for us a place in heaven and God promises to make everything in our lives work out for our good, we have nothing to be sad about.
  • Apply today’s devotion. The next time you find yourself struggling, why should you remember to rejoice in your sufferings?

 

 

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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When It Rains It Pours – February 26, 2024

Read: Job 1:13-22

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.
Job 1:21

When It Rains It Pours

Family Devotion – February 26, 2024

Devotion based on Job 1:21

See series: Devotions

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

There’s an old saying, “When it rains, it pours.” In other words, problems often seem to pile up one on top of the other. We all have times in our lives when everything seems to be going wrong.

When it rains, it pours.

But that’s not always true. When we get frustrated, we tend to see only the bad. We start looking for the next thing to go wrong. When it does, we get annoyed, throw up our arms and ask, “What else can go wrong?”

What we fail to see are all the things that are going right in our lives. We forget that we have air to breathe and food to eat. We look right past our homes and toys and iPhones. We forget about the family, friends, and forgiveness God gives us. We focus only on the negative and feel like everything in our lives is bad.

At other times, though, when it rains, it really does pour. In our reading for today, Job found himself in a hurricane of hurt and problems. All of his earthly possessions were either destroyed or stolen. His ten children were killed in a tragic accident. Later, he would be struck with painful sores all over his body.

Sometimes when it rains, it really does pour.

But God allows storms in our lives for our good. In the book of Job, we eventually find out that God was teaching Job an important lesson. God often has lessons for us to learn when we are going through hard times. He promises that even the worst pains and problems in our lives will end up working out for our good.

When it rains, it pours. Every day, in good times and bad, God floods our lives with countless blessings. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes to see. Stop focusing on what’s wrong in your life and recognize all that’s right.

See all the good things God rains down on you and then, like Job, you’ll be able to say with a smile, “When it rains, it pours.”

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, when pains and problems pour down in my life, help me to trust that you will always make it all work out for my good. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is something hard that has happened in your life?
  • Make a list of as many good things as you can that God has given you and does for you. What do you have more of, hard things or good things?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • When bad things happen to you, what can you do to help keep you from becoming negative and frustrated?
  • One of your friends from school is having a lot of problems. She asks you, “Why is this happening to me?” What would you say?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • One of the lessons Job learned from his struggles is that we shouldn’t expect that God is always going to tell us why bad things happen. Is it wrong to ask God why? (Explain your answer.)
  • Agree or disagree. We shouldn’t be sad when problems come into our lives.

 

 

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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Why Was Jesus Tempted? – February 23, 2024

Read: Mark 1:12-15

[Jesus] was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan.
Mark 1:13

Why Was Jesus Tempted?

Family Devotion – February 23, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:13

See series: Devotions

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

Years ago, when the Union Pacific Railroad was being built, an elaborate bridge was built over a large canyon. Wanting to test the bridge, the builder loaded a train with enough extra cars and cargo to double the normal weight of a train. The train was then driven to the middle of the bridge where it was parked an entire day.

One of the workers asked the builder, “What are you doing? Are you trying to break the bridge?”

“No,” the builder replied, “I’m trying to prove that the bridge won’t break.”

God allowed Jesus to be tempted to prove that he could and would resist all the devil’s temptations. Jesus didn’t break. And that’s important.

It’s important because we definitely do break. Every day the devil tempts us to do bad things—to lie to our parents and teachers, to cheat on tests, to pick on other kids, to whine and complain and worry. And every day, we fall into temptation. We disobey our parents and teachers. We try to get away with the naughty things we know we are not supposed to do.

That’s why it is so important that we see Jesus resisting the devil’s temptations. Jesus did that for us, in our place. Like a substitute teacher takes the place of the regular teacher, Jesus took our place. He always obeyed God perfectly in our place. He never fell into temptation even once in our place. He did not break.

And then he did something amazing. He went to the cross and suffered the punishment we deserve in our place, as our substitute. Because Jesus lived and died as our substitute, we can be sure we are forgiven. Because he lived and died as our substitute, we can be sure we are going to heaven.

When Jesus was tempted in the desert by the devil, he proved that he was a bridge that wouldn’t break. Because he did, you can be sure he has defeated the devil and won for you a place in heaven.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for living and dying as my Savior. 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 the devil tempts you to do bad things?
  • When you mess up and do those bad things, why is it so important to think of Jesus as our substitute?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Agree or disagree. A temptation is something that makes you sin.
  • Why is it important for us to know that Jesus did not break under the weight of temptation?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or disagree. It was easier for Jesus to resist the devil’s temptations because he is God.
  • Agree or disagree. Because Jesus lived and died as our substitute, it doesn’t matter if we fall into temptation.

 

 

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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Fill in the Blank – February 21, 2024

Read: Romans 8:31-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38,39

Fill in the Blank

Family Devotion – February 21, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 8:38,39

See series: Devotions

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

Teachers love to use different kinds of questions on tests. Some questions are multiple-choice. Those are the easiest. You get to pick from one of three possible answers. Some questions are short-answer or essay questions in which you have to write out your answer to the questions. Some questions are fill-in-the-blank. The teacher gives you a statement with a line in it. You have to figure out what goes on the line. For example:

God _______ you.

What do you think fills in the blank? God loves you.

The last two verses of our reading for today could really be fill in the blank. God promises us that he will never stop loving us. He promises us that he will always be with us. He promises that he will make everything in our lives work out for our good.

And that means that nothing can separate us from his love.

The apostle Paul lists all kinds of examples of things that won’t separate you from God’s love—angels, demons, the present, the future, powerful people, scary heights, or dangerous depths. Not even death can separate us from God’s love because when we die, he is going to take us to be with him forever in heaven.

You can be sure of that because not even your sins can separate you from God. The punishment for our sins is that we would be separated from God forever in hell, but Jesus suffered that punishment for us on the cross. You can’t commit a sin that God won’t forgive.

You can put anything in those blanks: “For I am convinced that neither mean kids at school nor unfair teachers, neither getting sick nor getting in trouble with my parents, neither the lies I told nor naughty things I did, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Nothing can separate you from God’s love, not even ____________. How would you fill in the blank? What makes you feel distant from God? Whatever it is, here’s God’s promise: It can’t separate you from his love!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for your amazing love. Help me to trust that nothing in the world could make you stop loving 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

  • Name one scary thing and one hard thing that you have trouble getting over.
  • Why don’t you ever need to be scared?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Verse 31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” What do you think that means?
  • How is Jesus’ death on the cross the greatest proof of God’s love for us?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What are the hardest times or situations to trust that God still loves you? Why?
  • You have a friend who is depressed, maybe even to the point that he or she doesn’t want to live anymore. How could today’s devotion help them to find hope?

 

 

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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Tests – February 19, 2024

Read: Genesis 22:1-18

Some time later God tested Abraham.
Genesis 22:1

Tests

Family Devotion – February 19, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 22:1

See series: Devotions

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

Tests come in all shapes and sizes. Some are short, little pop quizzes; others take hours to finish. Some tests are easy; others make your palms sweat.

Most people don’t enjoy taking tests. When a teacher at school announces a test is coming, the kids in the class usually groan. Tests aren’t fun.

Abraham’s test wasn’t fun. Abraham had waited his whole life to have a child. For years, God had been promising him that he would have a son, but Abraham didn’t have his son Isaac until he was 100 years old.

Time passed and Isaac grew. But then one night God appeared to Abraham in a dream. He told him to go to a mountain and sacrifice his son—his only son Isaac—to God. In other words, God told Abraham to kill Isaac.

We know that God wasn’t going to make Abraham kill Isaac, but Abraham didn’t. Abraham didn’t understand. Why would God ask him to kill his son?

God was testing Abraham to see if he loved God even more than his precious son Isaac. Abraham passed God’s test. Even though it was the hardest thing he would ever do, Abraham was willing to give up his son if God asked him to. He trusted God. He loved God even more than his own son.

God tests us every day. He lets the devil tempt us to do things we know are wrong. He allows problems to come into our lives that we don’t fully understand. He lets us get sick or hurt.

When he does, he’s testing us to see if we will trust him. He’s testing us to see if we will love him more than anything or anybody else.

Sometimes we pass the tests God sends, but sometimes we fail. Sometimes we do the bad things we aren’t supposed to. Sometimes we doubt God and worry. Sometimes we complain about the hard things in our lives.

Thankfully, we have a God who sacrificed his own Son for us. God the Father let his Son, Jesus, die on the cross to show us how much he loves us. Because Jesus passed the test, God forgives us for every test we have ever failed.

Are you having a test of faith? Don’t worry! He gives them to bring us closer to him. He provides the answers for them in his Word. Like Abraham, let’s pass God’s tests.

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, I am sorry for the times I have failed the tests you have given me. Thank you for sacrificing your Son so I can be forgiven. Help me to do better. 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 give an example of a test God gives you? (Hint: obedience, trust)
  • When God tests you, what can you do to help you pass the test?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • God’s test for Abraham was hard because he loved his son Isaac so much. Name things in your life that you are tempted to love more than God.
  • Why does God deserve to be loved more than anything or anyone else?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Abraham was really old at this time, and his son Isaac was a young man. Isaac could have probably fought back when his dad tied him up. What would you have done? Why do you think Isaac didn’t fight his father? (Hint: Isaac trusted God and his promises just like his dad.)
  • As we get older, the tests in our lives change (and often get harder). Discuss a couple of tests you know you will face as a young adult. How can you begin to prepare now to face them?

 

 

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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Money Doesn’t Make You Rich—Jesus Does! – February 16, 2024

Read: Luke 12:13-32

[Jesus] told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’”
Luke 12:16-20

Money Doesn’t Make You Rich—Jesus Does!

Family Devotion – February 16, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 12:16-20

See series: Devotions

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

When a parent dies, they sometimes give whatever money they have left to their children. That’s called an inheritance. Parents do this because they know that their children and grandchildren will be alive for many years after they die, and they want to help their children with whatever they need, even after they have died. If they have a lot of money, they might also give money to help other family members, their church, or their community. Here’s a really good question for you to think about: What exactly makes someone rich?

Jesus tells a story about a hardworking man who probably worked long hours and had lots of grain (which means he had a lot of money). When he saw that a bumper crop was about to come in, he undertook a massive barn expansion project. From the outside, there’s nothing wrong with working hard and building barns and saving up for the future. His problem was on the inside. His grain was his gold—not God. Instead of thanking God or thinking about how he could help others, he thought only about himself. Notice how many times he used the words “I” or “my” or “myself”! He thought he was going to live for a long time. But he was wrong. God decided that that man would die that night, and all the things that he had were given to someone else.

Do you understand what Jesus is teaching us in this story? If you are living for the things of this life, then every day you live is one day closer to the day when you will lose everything. He’s teaching us that one way or another, we are going to give away everything we have. Either we will give it away on purpose, or God will force us to give it away when we die. The rich farmer thought he was wise. God called him a fool! So, which are you?

Well, someone might think that Jesus is saying that we have to give away everything we have. But that’s not what he’s teaching. He’s teaching that when you think about the things that you have, you think of him because he’s behind everything we have in life… and so much more! Remember how we started this devotion? It was about a parent who dies and leaves behind an inheritance for their children. When Jesus died, he gave us heaven. He gave us the love of God the Father. He gave us eternal life and happiness. He promised us perfect bodies when we rise from death on the Last Day.

We have something so much better than big barns and lots of money. We have Jesus! And when you possess Jesus, you have real treasure!

Closing Prayer:

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of your love. Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold. Take my love; my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee. Amen. (from Christian Worship 695)

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 if you lost it, you’d be really sad?
  • What is more important: Having that or being with Jesus forever?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Does money make people happy?
  • How can you be happy, even if you don’t have a lot of money?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Some people say, “More money means more problems.” Is it wrong to be rich?
  • Check your heart: How important are things like name brands and what you own and wear? Discuss the name brand of Jesus. How best can you wear him 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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Repentance is Our First Priority – February 14, 2024

Read: Joel 2:12-19

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Joel 2:12-13

Repentance is Our First Priority

Family Devotion – February 14, 2024

Devotion based on Joel 2:12-13

See series: Devotions

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

Did you hear the first two words we read from Joel? “Even now.” God just told his people that an army was coming to destroy them because they refused to repent of their sins to him. (Repent means to be sorry.) Can you imagine how the people felt after hearing that? “An army is coming to destroy us? We need to fight… or run… or panic!”

Then come those two words, “Even now.” Even while you’re worried about so many things; even as these things are about to happen… even now there is still something else that is important. First, repent. Return.

The way he says it in the Bible is to “fast and weep and mourn” and to “rend (that means to rip) your heart”—all of them are ways to show that a person is sorry for what they did and trust in God to forgive them. When something is really troubling you, do you feel like eating or smiling?

God doesn’t just give a threat: “Repent… or else! Or “You better repent because destruction is coming!” He also gives a promise: “Repent because the LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

See, we repent for two reasons. First, we know that what we do is so rude and nasty to God, it gives him a bad reputation when people see us behaving like that. Sin is never okay and never good. Our sin is bad. So bad, we repent. But second, we also repent because God is gracious and promises to forgive.

When you get in trouble with your parents, if you know that they are going to punish you, you often try your best to hide what you did. If God was only a God who punished us, we would do the same. We would hide from God like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. We would never confess our sins to God. But if you have parents who always forgive you even though there will likely be some consequences, you continue to know they will love you no matter what. That’s why it’s important to tell them the truth no matter what happened because the same is true with God. Our God loves us no matter what, God will never hold our sins against us. Ash Wednesday reminds us why Jesus is so important to us because he suffered our consequences on the cross. Never be afraid to confess your sins because God is gracious, slow to anger, and filled with love for you.

Closing Prayer:

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can serve you. Amen. (Psalm 130:1-4)

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

  • Are you sometimes scared to tell the truth? Tell of the last time that happened.
  • What makes you brave to tell the truth?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think people lie or try to cover up what they did?
  • Instead of covering up, what does today’s devotion encourage us to do?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Too often, emotions like anger or fear get in the way of how we talk to each other. What might help everyone in your family discuss better what is sometimes difficult to say out loud?
  • Discuss why it is so important to hear the words “I forgive you” after someone says “I’m sorry.”

 

 

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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Keep Listening to Jesus! – February 12, 2024

Read: Mark 9:2-9

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. Peter said to Jesus, “It is good for us to be here. (He did not know what to say.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Mark 9:2,3,5-7

Keep Listening to Jesus!

Family Devotion – February 12, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 9:2,3,5-7

See series: Devotions

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

Has someone tried to tell you something and you just did not understand them? Maybe Mom says, “Hey, would you grab that water glass for me from over there?” That’s confusing! Where is “there”? Is it on the counter? Is it in another room? Then she points directly to where the glass is. Oh good, now you know!

In a way, the same thing happened with Jesus and his disciples. For about three years, Jesus had been showing the disciples that he was the one who had come to die for everyone’s sins, but they still didn’t really get it.

Just a few verses before the section of God’s Word you read from Mark 9, Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah (Mark 8:29), but in our text for today, he shows that he didn’t really understand what that meant. When Peter saw Jesus in his glory on the mountain, he wanted to stay there, but that was not what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah. No, the Messiah had to come down the mountain and go to the cross to die. That’s what it meant to be the Messiah.

All of us are like Peter in some ways. We believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but sometimes we don’t understand (or sometimes forget) what that really means for our lives. We don’t understand that he really will be there for us, that he really wants what is best for us, that he really loves us no matter what, that he will really always forgive us. We might have to suffer now for being a Christian, but a forever time with Jesus is our future.

Meanwhile, look at what God does for Peter and us. He doesn’t scold Peter and say, “Peter, you don’t get it!” God simply points to Jesus and says, “This is my Son, listen to him.”

Let’s do that! Let’s keep listening because this is a very special week. This Wednesday is called Ash Wednesday. Let’s follow Jesus to find out where “here” is. It’s wherever the cross is. Whenever you find yourself at the cross, say, “It’s good, Lord, to be here!”

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, give me wisdom to know you better and to trust you more strongly. Help me follow your lead and listen to what you say so that I may understand how much you love me and what you have planned 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

  • Do you ever have trouble listening? What do your parents/teachers do to help you listen?
  • Name one thing that would help you better listen to Jesus.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Give an example of why clear instructions are so important.
  • What are the consequences if someone doesn’t listen careful to Jesus’ instructions?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • This week is Ash Wednesday. Why is the season of Lent a good time to double-down on listening?
  • Discuss with your family a commitment to following and listening to Jesus in the coming weeks of Lent.

 

 

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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Jesus Heals and Helps Us – February 9, 2024

Read: Mark 1:29-39

Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
Mark 1:30-32, 35-38

Jesus Heals and Helps Us

Family Devotion – February 9, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:30-32, 35-38

See series: Devotions

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

Sometimes when you’re sick, all you need is a good night’s rest; but sometimes when you’re sick, you’re stuck in bed, and it feels like you’ll never get better. Have you ever been sick like that?

The Bible tells us that Simon’s mother-in-law had a fever, and that was a big deal, because back in Jesus’ time, they didn’t have the same types of medicines we do today to help people who are sick. This wasn’t just about getting some rest in bed… she was so sick, she might die!

Jesus went to her and took her by the hand, and immediately the fever was gone! Can you imagine everyone’s reaction? But Jesus was not done. He stayed at the house, and when people heard what Jesus had done, they brought more and more people that were sick or that Satan was attacking with his demons, and Jesus saved them as well.

But then something really interesting happened. When Jesus’ disciples said, “Everyone is looking for you,” Jesus said, “Let’s go somewhere else so I can preach. That’s why I have come.” What? Don’t you think that with all those people looking for Jesus, he would want to stay? But he doesn’t. He could have stayed and healed people who were sick, but there was something more important for him to do. Jesus wanted to help people who were sick with sin and suffering from it.

When you’re hurt, even if it’s just a little sickness or a little pain, you might think that all you need is some medicine. And while medicine is a gift from God, there is something else you need even more: God’s promises. That’s because someday, no matter how much medicine we have, one of the horrible effects of sin is that people die. That’s why Jesus came to live with us on earth. He is the medicine for all of us who are sick with sin or scared at the thought of dying. He tells us, “Don’t be afraid! Believe in me! Even if you die, you will not stay dead but will come back to life and be with me forever.”

So the next time you’re sick, something is wrong with your life, or the thought of death makes you afraid, go to Jesus and remember, “He has the power to help and heal me! I will only be this way for a little while, but I will be with Jesus forever.”

Closing Prayer:

While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyelids close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee. Amen. (Christian Worship 839:4)

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

  • Talk about the time you were really, really sick. Who took care of you?
  • How did Jesus take care of sick people in today’s devotion?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How does God’s Word keep you healthy?
  • A lot of people are afraid to talk about dying. Why is it so important to start talking about Jesus in that moment?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Simon’s mother-in-law was so sick that she could have died. Why doesn’t Jesus always heal people who are sick today?
  • True or false: Jesus never promised that you would live to be ninety years old.

 

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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I’m in God’s Hands – February 7, 2024

Read: 1 Peter 5:6-11

Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6

I’m in God’s Hands

Family Devotion – February 7, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Peter 5:6

See series: Devotions

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

Take a moment and look at your hands. You can tell a lot about someone just by looking at their hands. Are they rough from work or sports? Is there a Band-Aid on a finger? Do your hands look small when held up next to an adult?

The Bible pictures God as having hands. It describes what his hands are like and what his hands do. What do his hands look like? They kind of look like the hands of a parent who tosses a ball a little higher to train a child to catch better. They are the hands that show a child how to share a toy with someone else or hold back a child from stepping off a curb onto a busy street. They are hands that cook your food and tuck you in to bed. They are hands that are there through the tears and the temper tantrums. Even when it hurts, the hands of parents know what is best for the good of the child.

God’s hands carefully formed you before you were even born. Every day ever since, his hands provide for all of your needs in life. Jesus stretched out his hands on the cross to pay for everything wrong in you—whether you thought it, did it, or said it. Jesus even prayed, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit.”

So what does God want us to do with our hands? Just this: “Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand.” To humble yourself means to simply place yourself into God’s caring hands because he knows what is best for you. Fold your hands and pray to him in good times or bad times. When something happens that makes you wrinkle up your forehead with worry lines, “Cast all your anxiety on him.” Like a hand holding a ball, throw what troubles you in the direction of God. He’ll catch it and work it out because he cares so much for you.

You can tell a lot about someone by looking at their hands. How cool to know we are safe in God’s hands! Ask God to give you humble hands. Thank God for his mighty hands!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I place into your hands all the things that worry me. I humbly ask that you work them out for me, and I know you will, because you care for me so much! Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Who has the biggest hands in your family? Is there someone in your life who always makes you feel safe? Why?
  • In today’s devotion, whose hands are the best ones to handle our problems?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • 1 Peter 5:7 says “(Jesus) cares for you.” Name some ways Jesus shows us he cares.
  • Identify two practical ways we as a family can regularly give our worries to Jesus.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is it so easy for us to hold onto our worries and not give them to Jesus?
  • In what ways could we as your parent(s) better learn your worries and help you bring them to Jesus?

 

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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I Can’t Do This Anymore! – February 5, 2024

Read: Isaiah 40:27-31

The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
Isaiah 40:28,29,31a

I Can’t Do This Anymore!

Family Devotion – February 5, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 40:28,29,31a

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever tried again and again to get something right, but you couldn’t seem to succeed? Maybe you are struggling with a math problem at school or a basketball shot that never goes in the hoop, maybe you said something to a parent but could tell they weren’t really listening. You get frustrated. Maybe you’ve even said, “I can’t do this anymore” or even worse, “If this is happening, does God really care about me?”

Does it help to know you’re not the only one? In today’s reading, God’s people were feeling the same. Here was their concern, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause disregarded.” That’s Old Testament language for, “Does God even care about me anymore?”

Here is God’s answer: “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” That means that God knows better. He knows know you feel. And he knows what’s better for you at home, at school, or wherever you are.

It’s okay to admit that you are weaker than God. You might be strong, but God loves showing his power when you’re feeling weakest. Think about it like a game off tug-of-war. If God is pulling in one direction, and you’re pulling against him, you will lose every time! But God loves to be on your side and pull for you especially in the times you feel most frustrated. It doesn’t mean you won’t still face problems, but they will not be torture. In fact, it might even be as easy as gliding like an eagle in the sky!

The next time you’re frustrated and want to give up saying, “I can’t do it!” remember to “hope in the Lord” (verse 31). Hope isn’t just wishing things were good (like “hoping the weather is good tomorrow”). God never gets tired of helping you. You can trust him to pull you in the right direction.

Closing Prayer:

God, humble me to see your ways as better than my ways. Remove all the things that are not pleasing to you from my life and renew my strength from my hope in you alone. 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

  • Talk about the last time you walked or ran so far that you got tired and needed someone to carry you.
  • It’s okay to get tired or frustrated. How can God “carry” you during those times?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The Bible talks about soaring like an eagle when we trust in God. Describe the difference between how an eagle soars and other birds who flap their wings.
  • Why would God say that we will soar like eagles when we trust in him?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In verse 28 the author asked, “Do you not know? Have you not heard?” This assumes that we should already know and have already heard what he’s going to say next. But he still says it again. Why do you think we need to hear these promises of God again and again?
  • What’s a place in your life where you sometimes think God doesn’t care about you? How does today’s Word of God answer your worry?

 

 

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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There’s Power When Jesus Speaks – February 2, 2024

Read: Mark 1:21-28

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
Mark 1:21-28

There’s Power When Jesus Speaks

Family Devotion – February 2, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:21-28

See series: Devotions

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

Seven-year-old Lucas took his dog Skipper for a walk. Skipper was a big dog. In fact, Skipper was twice as big as Lucas! As they were walking on the sidewalk in front of his house, a rabbit suddenly ran out from underneath a shrub. “Uh-oh,” Lucas thought, “This is trouble.” He immediately took a deep breath and said as loudly as he could, “STAY BOY!” Amazingly, Skipper stayed. Skipper stood still, looked up at Lucas, and began to wag his tail. Lucas knelt down next to him, wrapped his arms around him, and praised Skipper. “Good boy,” he said over and over. Then Skipper gave Lucas a great big sloppy kiss on the cheek.

If Skipper hadn’t listened and took off after the rabbit, what do you think would have happened to Lucas? You’re right, he would have been dragged behind him. Skipper was much stronger than the boy. But he had also been trained to listen to that one command, “STAY!”

There is no way you can take the devil for a walk on a leash. He is so much more powerful than we are. Too often, we can’t even control ourselves. We think that if we just try hard enough we will never sin again. But the devil loves to tug us toward temptation. Sin has a powerful pull on us. It is so hard to control.

But when Jesus speaks, the devil and his evil spirit must listen. Today’s Bible reading proves it! And when Jesus speaks about you, he says that you are a child of God. That means something coming from Jesus. It is a promise that has power behind it. Even the devil himself has to listen and submit. He cannot do anything to take you away from Jesus.

Oh yes, the devil will try to tug you away from Jesus. He will shriek and holler and tell lies. He will try to get you to believe that you don’t need Jesus or his Word in your life. Don’t listen to him! Listen to Jesus and his Word. He can command, “Be quiet!” or “Come out!” or “Go away!” and evil has no choice but to obey him.

When Jesus speaks to us today, all the authority of God has been given to him. When Jesus speaks, the devil and his armies fall in terror. When Jesus speaks, his sheep listen to his voice and know they are safe.

Don’t ever stop listening to Jesus!

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, Jesus, for speaking powerfully to us in your Word. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Where can we still hear Jesus speak to us today?
  • God is omnipotent, which means he is all-powerful. Make a list of at least three things that God has power over. How do you feel knowing that God is in charge of all things?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Jesus demonstrated power over an evil spirit by simply speaking. What does that tell us about the power of God’s Word we have in the Bible?
  • Think of a problem you are facing in your life right now. How does this Bible reading help remind you of God’s ability to help you in any situation?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Jesus came to earth to defeat sin, death, and the devil. In this reading, Jesus demonstrated his authority over an impure spirit from the devil. Where did Jesus also show his power over sin and death during his ministry on earth?
  • Apply today’s Bible story to your life. Think of something bad or evil that you feel powerless to change. With it in mind, pray the Lord’s Prayer and especially keep in mind the petition, “Deliver us from evil.”

 

 

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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Jesus Builds Your House – January 31, 2024

Read: Hebrews 3:1-6

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
Hebrews 3:1-6

Jesus Builds Your House

Family Devotion – January 31, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrews 3:1-6

See series: Devotions

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

When builders build a house, there are many questions they ask. How many bedrooms and bathrooms will the house have? Will it have a garage? Will it have a big kitchen? Will it have a basement, a fireplace, a pool, or a front porch? Then they then have to plan how all of those pieces will fit together. Where will the rooms be? How will electricity and water run safely through the house? Will the walls be able to support the weight of the roof? The details are almost countless.

Today, God pictures his Church as a house. God’s people throughout the history of the world have all been built together to form one unit. Even though there are many pieces and many different ways history could have gone, God made sure it went one way.

What is the way God made sure everything went? It all points to Jesus. Everything in the Old Testament, even though it was written long before Jesus lived, points to Jesus. Everything in the New Testament, even the things that happened after Jesus died and rose again, all points to Jesus.

The same is true for you and me. Everything that we do points to Jesus. After all, God says we are part of his house. And Jesus is over his house. This is why the church preaches Jesus every time you attend worship. This is why God has placed you where you are right now. You can say to yourself, “I was put here by God to point to Jesus.” Then live in such a way that gives honor to Jesus as the one who built the church.

There are lots of ways you do this. You start by going to a church which faithfully preaches Jesus. You also try at all times to avoid sin. And when you fail, you turn to Jesus. He doesn’t kick you out of his house. Instead, he forgives you so you can always remain in his house. When people ask you why you live the way you do, tell them that you are not any more special than they are. But you are part of a very special house—Jesus’ house!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me to live a life that always points to you as my hope. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • List some of the people who live in your house. The Bible tells us that we are part of another family of believers in Christ. Who are some of the other people in this family?
  • In today’s devotion, who is in charge of the house? How do you know?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • List some of the tools and materials that a builder needs to build a house. How does God build his “house” of believers?
  • How does Jesus give us confidence and hope that we are part of his house?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Moses was a faithful believer who led God’s people, the Israelites, out of Egypt and to the land promised them by God. Moses was a prophet who spoke from God to the people. How was Jesus like Moses? How is Jesus greater than Moses?
  • “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.” Describe in your own words what that’s saying. Then give one way you can do 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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Nothing but the Truth – January 29, 2024

Read: Deuteronomy 18:15-20

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”

The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Nothing but the Truth

Family Devotion – January 29, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 18:15-20

See series: Devotions

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

The movie Raiders of the Lost Ark ends with the bad guys opening the lost Ark of the Covenant and seeing the glory of God. At least, that’s what the movie wants you to imagine. Of course, a movie could never capture the glory of God. Yet, this movie did demonstrate this truth: Seeing God’s glory is terrifying.

In today’s devotion, the people of Israel experienced the presence of God in the wilderness. They listened to the prophet, Moses, as he shared with them the very words God gave him. The Israelites didn’t have to guess what God wanted them to do. He told them. When they heard his commands and saw him display his awesome power, they were scared.

God is still powerful and awesome. And he still has given us commands to follow. In the Bible, he tells us exactly what to do. And if we don’t obey him, he says we will die. Make no mistake, God will treat us that way if we reject him and if we don’t listen to his word. That’s scary, isn’t it?

Thankfully, that is not what he wants to do—scare you into obeying him. God wants us to know everything about him. He wants us to know that he was totally committed to the people of Israel. He protected them and led them to the land he promised them. That what it means to be faithful. God is faithful. And he promises to be faithful to us, too.

The best way he showed his faithfulness was giving us a prophet even greater than Moses. Jesus is a better prophet than Moses because he not only tells us what to do, he tells us what he has already done. He has kept God’s commands perfectly in our place. He listened to everything the Lord our God said. Jesus also says to us that we need only listen to him.

What a comforting message! When someone says that you have to work harder for God to love you more, listen to Jesus. He says he has done everything we need and promises to always tell the truth. And here’s the truth for today: Because of Jesus, God’s glory isn’t scary anymore. So go to Jesus. Listen to him! Pay attention to what he says and enjoy the best news you’ll ever hear. It’s God’s undeserved love is for you!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me fix my eyes always on you for my hope and my salvation. 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

  • Today’s devotion talked about God’s glory and how scared God’s people were of it. Explain why you don’t have to be scared of it.
  • The name of Jesus wasn’t in today’s Scripture reading, but it did talk about him with a special word, what was it? (Hint: “I will raise up for them a prophet ….”)

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Prophets were people who spoke from God to his people, the Israelites. How is Jesus a better prophet than any other one (like Moses)?
  • God warned about false prophets who don’t tell the truth about him. Why is God serious about the teaching of his Word?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Later in the Bible, Jesus warns that many false teachers will appear before end times and lead people away from the truth of God’s Word. According to the reading above, how can we separate truth from false teachings?
  • Describe how you would want to react if you heard someone teaching contrary to God’s Word. Why is important to watch our reactions?

 

 

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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Faithful Fishermen – January 26, 2024

Read: Mark 1:14-20

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Mark 1:14-20

Faithful Fishermen

Family Devotion – January 26, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:14-20

See series: Devotions

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

Do you like fishing? Would you like to do it for a living? Before you answer, know this: Being a fisherman is not easy. There are times that they don’t catch many fish even though they spend an entire day and night on the water. A professional fisherman can tell you how hard and dirty the work is. Their hands smell of worms and fish. It gets hot, and they sweat. It gets cold, and they shiver. They often get tired and angry. Many fishermen quit.

Here’s another question: Do you like being a Christian? Before you answer, know this: Being a Christian can be a lot like being a fisherman. Sometimes it is really hard because it doesn’t seem like anything you do works. God tells you to be honest. But when you are honest, you get in trouble with other people. God tells you to love people even when they are mean to you. But when you do, they are still mean to you. God tells you to share the good news about Jesus with people so that they can believe, too. But when you do, someone might ignore you or maybe even make fun of you. You become tired. You become frustrated. You may want to yell, “I quit!”

In the Bible reading today, Jesus calls fishermen to be his first disciples. In the years that followed, the work they did was hard and dirty. Many of them were beaten and killed. And yet these disciples did what Jesus told them to do.

Why would anyone live this life of a fisherman for Jesus? Listen to Jesus’ answer: “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” The good news is that Jesus has “caught” you and me. He has put people in your life who have shared God’s Word with you. They are the fishermen Jesus used to catch you. They are your parents, your pastors, and all your Christian friends.

Jesus has made you a fisherman, too. He has called you to a life that sometimes feels hard and dirty because of the sin that surrounds us and lives in us. Don’t give up! Instead, keep faithfully living your faith according to God’s Word. Keep faithfully sharing your faith with people. Who knows? God may already have a fish he wants you to catch!

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, thank you for the many people you have put in my life who share God’s Word with me. Please help me also to share your Word 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

  • Fishing requires bait to catch fish. What good news does God give us to “catch” people?
  • Simon, Andrew, James, and John left their jobs as fishermen to follow Jesus. Who does God want to be the most important person in our lives?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What tools does a fisherman or woman use to catch fish? What is the only “tool” that you need to fish for people?
  • Agree or disagree. The only way we can obey Jesus’ command, “Come, follow me!” is by becoming a pastor or teacher.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • “Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus said. How does that message prepare you for your calling to fish for people?
  • Make a list of the important things in your life (family, friends, activities this week, etc.). Then place “following Jesus” at the top of the list. What are ways to make sure that following Jesus remains your top priority?

 

 

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’re Hired! – January 24, 2024

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21

You’re Hired!

Family Devotion – January 24, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever heard of an ambassador? An ambassador is someone who is sent to speak for someone else. The words an ambassador uses are not his or her own words. The person who hires the ambassador chooses the words to say. When a company or a country hires an ambassador, they choose someone who likes the person he or she works for and is good at communicating what needs to be said.

God tells you in today’s reading that you are Christ’s ambassador. In other words, Jesus has “hired” you to speak his words. But the way God has done this is different from the way a company or country would hire an ambassador.

You see, Jesus doesn’t choose the people who are the best for the job. We are not always good at communicating what God wants people to know. We sometimes don’t even like the things God wants people to know.

We need to be reconciled. That is a big word! It means that our relationship with God was broken because of sin. We were enemies of God because of sin. But Jesus fixes our relationship with God. Our sins were counted against Jesus instead of against us. He reconciled us to God.

God now tells us that since we are reconciled, we are also ambassadors. We have to be! We get to be! We get to tell people that Jesus has fixed what was broken. He has hired you to tell people his words.

Are you the best person for the job? Are you good at communicating these words to others? God actually says that you are! Because you are reconciled to God by Jesus, he has made you the right person for the job. Even if you feel like someone else could do it better, God has chosen you.

Trust him. Just like you trust him to forgive your sins, trust that he has made you an ambassador who has to speak his words to others. He hired you to do this!

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, thank you for reconciling me to God. Help me to be your ambassador so that many more people can know and believe your words. 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

  • A word in today’s devotion was ambassador. What’s an ambassador?
  • God gives each of his children an important job of being an ambassador. What does God want you to do with the good news he shares with us in the Bible?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Reconciliation means to restore peace to a relationship that was broken. How did our relationship with God get broken? Then explain how God solved that problem for us.
  • A country chooses an ambassador to represent their home country’s interests in a foreign land. A company might hire an ambassador to promote its products. God calls you Christ’s ambassador. What do you envision yourself doing in your role?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • In your own words, define the message of reconciliation described in the reading. (It might help to read it again.) What comfort does that give you?
  • Today’s reading said, “From now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” Explain what it means to think of others from a “worldly point of view.” The reading goes on to talk of a better view. What is it? And how does that affect how we view others?

 

 

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 Is All About Forgiveness – January 22, 2024

Read: Jonah 3:1-5,10

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 3:1-5,10

God Is All About Forgiveness

Family Devotion – January 22, 2024

Devotion based on Jonah 3:1-5,10

See series: Devotions

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

When you think about the story of Jonah from the Bible, what is the first thing you think of? Probably a big fish, right? God miraculously saved Jonah from drowning by sending a fish to swallow him. Jonah was in the belly of that fish for three days and three nights. And then God saved Jonah again by making the fish spit Jonah onto dry ground.

God had a plan for Jonah. His plan was all about love. Love for Jonah. And love for an entire city. Neither Jonah nor the city of Nineveh deserved love. After all, Jonah ran away from God. Nineveh was filled with wicked people who didn’t love God.

But God is all about love and forgiveness. He loved Jonah so much that he gave him a second chance to do what God had commanded him to do: go preach to the city of Nineveh. He loved the people of Nineveh so much that he sent Jonah to them to call them to repent of their sin.

God has a plan for your life too. When you think about the story of your own life, what is the first thing you think of? Maybe you think about your friends, or your family, or sports that you play, or an instrument you are good at. Or maybe you think about how you fall short—you’re not the perfect child or student. You make mistakes as a teammate or musician. Maybe you think of how you fall short of what God commands you to do. God says this failure means you do not deserve his love and forgiveness.

But remember, God is all about love and forgiveness. He gives you his Word to remind you of how he forgives sin because of Jesus’ work of salvation. He gives you pastors to proclaim this forgiveness to you. And then he calls you to turn away from that sin and do what he commands.

One of the greatest things he commands you to do is share his love and forgiveness with others. Sometimes this means telling people first that they are sinners. As scary as that can be, you have a promise from God that he is with you. His words are powerful. Some words warn while other words forgive. Together, they change hearts and lives. You will get to see it, too. And when you do, you will get to share with people the God of second chances.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord, give me the courage to share your words with others. Fill me with joy because of your love and 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

  • Give an example of a time you said you were sorry to someone. What did they then say to you? When we tell God that we are sorry for our sins, what does he say to us?
  • God gave Jonah the job of preaching God’s Word to the people of Nineveh. Who are the people in your life that tell you about Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Share a time that you repented of a sin and received forgiveness. How does it make you feel when you are forgiven?
  • The Bible tells us that the people of Nineveh were very wicked. Would you have wanted to be in Jonah’s position to point out their sins? Why was it so important for the people of Nineveh that Jonah obeyed God’s command?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Jonah attempted to run away from God when he first charged Jonah with proclaiming repentance to the people in Nineveh, but God gave him another chance. Why does God give people like us such important work of sharing his Word when he knows we might run away from it?
  • Think of someone you know who does not know the saving message of God’s Word. How can you be like Jonah in their 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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Come and see! – January 19, 2024

Read: John 1:43-51

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
John 1:45-46

Come and see!

Family Devotion – January 19, 2024

Devotion based on John 1:45-46

See series: Devotions

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

Addie was so excited. She worked so hard on her art project. She spent hours painting a picture of a sunset. Bright reds and oranges flared out from a golden sun descending beneath a darkening blue sky. You could even see the first twinkly stars appearing faintly in the heavens. It was a beautiful picture… and Addie wanted everyone to see it! “Come and see!” Addie practically dragged her parents by the hand to see her masterpiece. “Come and see!”

Philip couldn’t believe his ears. Jesus of Nazareth had just invited Philip to follow him as one of his disciples, but it wasn’t that opportunity that got Philip excited. It was learning that Jesus was more than just a really cool teacher. Philip discovered that Jesus was the long-promised Messiah, the Savior promised to save Philip and everyone else from sin and death. That day changed Philip’s life forever… and he just had to tell somebody!

So Philip found his friend Nathanael. Philip was so excited to tell Nathanael about Jesus. “He’s the one long promised! He’s the one that Moses and all of God’s prophets wrote about way back in the Old Testament. Jesus of Nazareth!” Nathanael stood there. He wasn’t excited. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” he asked. The thought of Nazareth seemed boring. How can someone exciting come from such a boring place? Nathanael wasn’t so sure, but Philip was convinced. “Come and see!” he told Nathanael. Practically dragging him by the hand, Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus. For the first time, Nathanael met Jesus and believed in him as his Savior too.

“Come and see!” is a call that encourages you to be a friend to someone. True friends are more than someone you get along with and can giggle or play games with. A true friend is someone who wants to see you heaven with them someday. Can you be a true friend to someone and share good news that just might change their lives? Telling someone about Jesus might sound scary—what if they ask questions you’re not sure how to answer? Then tell them why Jesus is so important to you. If they are curious, invite them to come with you to church. Say, “Come and see!”

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, through your Word, you called us to faith in Jesus. Give us opportunities to invite our friends and family to “come and see” Jesus. Make us bold to share that invitation and bless it that they may come to know 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 did Philip do right after he met Jesus?
  • When Nathanael wasn’t so sure, what did Philip tell him?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why was Nathanael not so sure about Philip’s claim about Jesus?
  • Who is someone you could invite to “come and see” Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is an invitation to “come and see” Jesus sometimes the best approach to responding to someone who objects to the gospel?
  • How can bringing your loved one to “come and see” Jesus change their lives forever?

 

 

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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Called to Glory – January 17, 2024

Read: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:14

Called to Glory

Family Devotion – January 17, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:14

See series: Devotions

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

“Time for dinner!” Mom called her family to help with the final preparations. Dad helped Ruth pour the drinks. Grace put the plates out, and Andrew put the food on the table. This was going to be a tasty meal. Mom didn’t just call them for a nutritious meal that would benefit their bodies, but it would taste good too! This was one of the family’s favorite meals! They would love every morsel! Mom, Dad, and the kids gathered around the table to dig in.

It’s nice to be called to something that really gets you excited. Something like a meal that doesn’t just benefit your body, but your taste buds too. Something like a recess where you will have fun with your friends. Or like a movie you can’t wait to see!

In writing to a group of Christians, the apostle Paul tells them why he gives thanks to God day after day. He gives thanks for the saving faith in Jesus that God worked in their hearts through hearing the gospel—that is, the good news of how Jesus saved us. At one time Paul himself shared that gospel with them. The Lord used Paul to call them to faith through their preaching of the gospel, so Paul had even more reason to give thanks.

But do you know what caused Paul to give thanks most of all? It had something to do with the reason the Lord called them to faith through their gospel. Yes, they had saving faith in Jesus. Yes, they had become children of God, but God had even more blessing for them! “He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Through faith in Jesus, they would get to enjoy Christ’s glory. They would get to enjoy eternal life with him in the glories of heaven someday. The thought of it made the apostle Paul so happy! He was excited for them!

God does the same thing for us. Through hearing the gospel, we too are called to faith in Jesus. We too are called to be children of God. Yet we are also called to “share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Think of those two words that are yours: eternal life. A time when you will be with Jesus in the glories of heaven.

May the thought of it fill you with happiness and keep you excited!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you call us to faith in you through the gospel. Guide us to look forward to the day when we will enjoy eternal life with you in the glories 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 is the one favorite meal that gets you excited?
  • What exciting news did you hear in today’s devotion?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What does it mean that God has “called us to glory”?
  • List one of the reasons why the apostle Paul gave thanks for the Thessalonian Christians.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: No gospel, no faith. Know the gospel. Know faith.
  • Identify someone in your life who would benefit from hearing two words: eternal life. Pray that the Lord will bless your sharing and call them to share in his glory.

 

 

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 listening? – January 15, 2024

Read: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
1 Samuel 3:8-10

Are you listening?

Family Devotion – January 15, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 3:8-10

See series: Devotions

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

“Why don’t you listen?”

Parents wonder about it all the time. So do teachers. Sometimes friends wonder about it themselves. Parents tell their kids to clean their room or do the dishes. Teachers tell their kids to do their schoolwork or be kind to each other. Friends tell friends about something really important that just happened in their life, but what happens? The room goes unclean. The dishes are left dirty. The schoolwork goes unfinished. Arguments happen on the playground. Big, important events get ignored. Why? Someone wasn’t listening.

How well do you listen? Even if you think you’re a good listener, how would Mom or Dad or your teacher or a friend answer that question about you? It’s true. There are times when we all struggle to listen. Maybe we’re excited. Maybe we’re anxious. Maybe we’re so wrapped up in our own thoughts that someone has to ask, “Hey! Are you listening?”

When young Samuel was a boy living and serving in God’s house, the Lord wanted him to listen to what he had to say. The Lord had a message for him to share with others. The Lord wanted to make Samuel one of his prophets. One night, God came to Samuel in the most unexpected of ways. Samuel didn’t know what to do. Three times the Lord called him, “Samuel!” Each time Samuel went running to Eli the priest ready to do whatever job Eli had for him. Eventually, Eli realized that he needed to help Samuel listen. “If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” That’s exactly what Samuel did, and the Lord gave him that special message to share.

Do you listen when God speaks? God doesn’t come to us in dreams or visions or appear to us as he did with Samuel so long ago. Instead, God comes to us through his Word. There in his Word, we learn how God sent Jesus to be our Savior. There in his Word, God shares with us his promises. There in his Word, God speaks to us as his holy, forgiven child whom he loves so dearly.

So when you hear God speak, are you listening? He has a beautiful message to share with you—the message of his love through your Savior Jesus Christ. When you hear God speak through his Word, answer like Samuel. “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.

Closing Prayer:

O Lord, you speak to me through your Word. Open my ears to listen to your beautiful promises and your rock-solid truth. Then help me to share your message 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

  • Where was Samuel living when God came to speak with him?
  • Where does God speak to us today?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why was Samuel so confused when God was calling him?
  • Samuel listened to God speak. Which of the ten commandments encourages us to do the same?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Give at least two honest reasons you find it so hard to listen when God speaks in his Word? Pray that God would help you with that struggle this week.
  • Explain this statement: If you’re looking for God, look no further than 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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And So It Begins – January 12, 2024

Read: Mark 1:4-11

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Mark 1:9-11

And So It Begins

Family Devotion – January 12, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 1:9-11

See series: Devotions

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

Every great story, every great adventure, every great journey has to have a beginning. Whether you are Bilbo Baggins walking out your front gate in The Hobbit or you and your family are pulling out of the driveway for a vacation, you have to start somewhere. The same was true for Jesus when he began his public ministry.

John the Baptist was preparing for all of this. God sent him to prepare the way for the coming Lord. He was sent to call people to turn away from their sins and live as forgiven children of God. He baptized people, young and old, in the waters of the Jordan River. John knew that he was preparing the way for the coming Lord, but he didn’t realize how humbly Jesus would come to him.

One day, Jesus came to John and asked to be baptized, even though Jesus was holy and perfect. He had no need to receive forgiveness through the waters of Baptism. Yet Jesus was there to put himself in our place under the same waters of Baptism connected with God’s Word that change our lives and bring us God’s forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus’s baptism looked like anyone else’s with water poured over his head and the Word spoken by God’s servant, but what happened next was very different!

“Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” What a sight! The heavens torn open. The Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove. What a sound! The voice of God the Father speaking from heaven and pointing out Jesus as his chosen Servant sent to carry out the work of saving us and all people.

And so it began. Jesus’ great journey would take him through temptation and suffering, miracles performed, and the Word of God proclaimed. In time, that journey would take Jesus to the cross to die and a tomb for when he was dead. But the journey would end with us saved from sin and death. But today we remember where it began, with baptismal waters poured over Jesus’ head. And we remember the story of our salvation began exactly the same as Jesus’ ministry.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for putting yourself in our place, even under the waters of Baptism. Forgive our sins and guide us on this great journey that will eventually bring us to you 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

  • Ask your parent or grandparent to remember what happened at your baptism.
  • Recall one of the wonderful things that happened at Jesus’ baptism.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Reread Mark 1:9-11. How do we see God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at Jesus’ baptism?
  • Why did Jesus need to be baptized? Why do we need to be baptized?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Read Romans 6:3-4. What is the connection between our baptism and Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection?
  • Explain what God the Father meant when he said to Jesus: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

 

 

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 Has Bigger Plans – January 10, 2024

Read: Isaiah 49:1-6

The LORD said: It is too small a thing that you should just be my servant to raise up only the tribes of Jacob and to restore the ones I have preserved in Israel, so I will appoint you to be a light for the nations, so that my salvation will be known to the end of the earth.
Isaiah 49:6 (EHV)

God Has Bigger Plans

Family Devotion – January 10, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:6 (EHV)

See series: Devotions

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

Today’s Bible verse almost sounds like the happy ending of a movie. The Servant of the Lord arrived to deliver God’s people who turned away from the Lord. They needed his rescue and help. So God specially chose this Servant to carry out the important work of saving God’s people. But there was a problem. It was hard work, sad work, even painful work. The Lord’s Servant would suffer so much. He would be lonely. He would face rejection and attacks from his enemies. He would even face death for all those who rejected him. His work would seem empty and unsuccessful.

But God had bigger plans. Through that hard, sad, painful work, the Lord’s Servant would rescue the people of ancient Israel. He would save them from their sins and from death, but God had even bigger plans! The Lord’s Servant wouldn’t just restore God’s Old Testament people, but he would reveal God’s glory to people all around the world, even to you where you live! “I will appoint you to be a light for the nations, so that my salvation will be known to the end of the earth.” The good news of God’s salvation wouldn’t just be for one group, but for all people.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Who is this Servant of the Lord who is going to do these incredible things?” Isaiah is hinting, “It’s Jesus!” Jesus’ calling was to be a servant. A servant-baby. A servant-Savior. Saving an entire planet of human beings is the dirtiest, hardest, most back-breaking, thorn-crowning, nail-driving work. Jesus would suffer. His work would seem empty and unsuccessful, but the Servant would triumph! Now we can live in joy and triumph. Like a small boy at a football game who jumps up and down shouting, “We’ve won, we’ve won!”—even though all he did was watch—we too can shout, “We’ve won!” over the victory that Jesus won for us.

But God has even bigger plans! Jesus is “a light for the nations.” The big plan is for Jesus to be God’s light to everyone still in the dark about him. He wants to save everyone! And Jesus carried out that plan perfectly. Now that’s a happy ending!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, through your Son, our Savior Jesus, shine the light of your salvation in our lives, in the lives of the people we love, and in the lives of people around the world. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is your favorite happy ending in a book or movie?
  • What’s the happy ending if Jesus is a “light for the nations”?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • In your own words, describe God’s “bigger plans” (Read verse 6 again.)
  • Name at least one way God shines the light of his salvation into your life.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why was it “too small a thing” for God to just save the people of Israel?
  • It’s important for us to understand that God sent Jesus to be “a light for the nations.” How does that impact how you look at people who are different from you in some way?

 

 

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

Read: Matthew 2:1-12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, when Herod was king, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:1-2 (EHV)

Where’s the Baby?

Family Devotion – January 8, 2024

Devotion based on Matthew 2:1-2 (EHV)

See series: Devotions

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

Little Ellie rolled along in her stroller. Different family members took turns pushing her stroller as they walked down the street. It was a beautiful day. Shops had their doors open. People were out and about, but Ellie was tired of sitting in her stroller. She wanted to have fun with the big kids. She held their hand as they went from one shop after another.

In one shop, Ellie found a fuzzy stuffed horse that was just her size and very huggable. The family was ready to visit another store, but Ellie wanted that horse. As they left the store pushing her stroller, no one noticed Ellie slip back into the shop to hug that horse. About a block later, the grown-ups suddenly realized, “Where’s the baby?!?” With heart racing, Dad retraced their steps back to the shop. With a huge sigh of relief, he found Ellie by the toys still hugging that horse.

When Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem, they were looking for a baby, but he wasn’t lost. They were looking for a baby whose birth was promised long ago. How did those Wise Men find out about this special baby? A couple years before, they saw a unique star in the heavens. They discovered ancient promises recorded in the Bible that looked forward to the time when a King would come who would save his people—and nations—from sin and death. The Wise Men realized that the special star in the sky was announcing the arrival of this Savior, so they went looking for the baby—not in panic or fear, but in faith that God would keep his promise.

So where can you find that baby named Jesus? With Christmas now over and decorations put away, does Jesus get packed away too? Do we stop thinking about the Christ Child because the new year just started and it’s time to move on? Don’t lose sight of that baby who came into our world to be our King and save us from sin and death! Find that baby when you hear God’s Word in this devotion or when you go to church. See that he’s really been there in his Word all this time for us to find in love, mercy, and grace. With joy, like the Wise Men, we find him and worship our Savior-King!

Closing Prayer:

O Jesus Christ, you came as a little child to save us. Help us to find you, not in a manger, but in your Word today and every day. In your name, Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Who was the baby that the Wise Men hoped to find?
  • What was so special about him?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Where do we find Jesus today?
  • Why is it easy to “lose” the baby Jesus after Christmas?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Explain this statement: Only the wise can find Jesus.
  • When the Wise Men found Jesus, they presented him with rich gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. As we find Jesus in his Word, list two ways that we can respond to finding 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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Meet the newborn Jesus, your Savior – January 5, 2024

Read: Luke 2:22-40

When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God.

There was also a prophet, Anna… She was very old… Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Luke 2:22,25-28,36,38

Meet the newborn Jesus, your Savior

Family Devotion – January 5, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 2:22,25-28,36,38

See series: Devotions

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

When babies are born, we love to show them off. We’re so happy to be blessed with a child that we want everyone to see it. Maybe we post pictures online. We have friends and families over to visit. We take the child out to meet people.

When Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph took him out, too. They took him to the temple to show him to God. There was a law in the Old Testament that when a baby was born, his parents needed to offer a “sacrifice of purification.” It was a way of saying “thank you” to God for the baby, and a way of showing that God’s love washed away that baby’s sin and made him part of God’s family. Since we’re all born in sin, God commanded that every parent do this for their child. Maybe it seems like a “little detail” that Mary and Joseph did this for Jesus, but it’s not. Jesus came to save us from our sins by obeying God’s laws perfectly (since you and I haven’t!), and by suffering the punishment that sins earn by suffering hell in our place (so that you and I don’t need to). From the very beginning of his life as his parents brought him to the temple, Jesus obeyed God’s law perfectly. How God must have rejoiced to see that!

While Mary and Joseph were at the temple, God made sure to show Jesus to other people. This wasn’t just showing off a beautiful new baby. This was showing the world its savior. Two people at the temple—a believer named Simeon and an old prophet named Anna—were so happy to see Jesus, too. The Holy Spirit let them know that this was the Savior at the very beginning of his work. They praised God for the peace he brought to them, and they told other people about the wonderful gift God had given the world.

At Christmas, we got to “meet baby Jesus” and be amazed all over again. We are so happy to see our Savior who came to bring us peace. Now let’s take our happiness and share this Savior with others!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, from the time you were a little baby, you were keeping God’s law in my place. That brought joy to your Father in heaven and joy to people who saw you. Help me remember that no matter how I’ve broken God’s law, you’ve kept it in my place to forgive my sins. Give me peace like Simeon had and joy in sharing your good news like Anna. 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

  • Where did Mary and Joseph take Jesus when he was a baby?
  • How did Simeon and Anna respond when they saw him?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • The Bible doesn’t tell us anything about Simeon’s age, but people often assume he was a very old man. Why do you think they assume that?
  • After Anna saw Jesus and gave thanks to God, what did she do next?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Simeon said something strange to Mary, that “a sword” would “pierce” Mary’s soul, because of Jesus. When do you think that happened?
  • From the very beginning of his life, Jesus was following all of God’s law. Why was it so important he kept God’s law perfectly?

 

 

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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