Daily Devotions

When the Words Don’t Come – July 21, 2018

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Romans 8:26

When the Words Don’t Come


Daily Devotion – July 21, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 8:26

See series: Devotions

Give some careful thought to the following statement: The times we find it hardest to talk to God in prayer are often the times we need to talk to him the most. Here it is again. The times we find it hardest to talk to God in prayer are often the times we need to talk to him the most.

If you have lived more than a few years in this difficult place, you know how true that statement is. What words do you speak to God, exactly, when you walk out the doctor’s office with the news that your spouse has stage 4 cancer? What words do you speak to God when your finances are on the verge of collapse? What words do you speak to God when you can no longer process how stressful your place of work has become? What words do you speak to God when it feels as though a member of your family has run a sword through your soul? What words do you speak to God when your marriage begins to implode? And what words do you speak to God when all the regrets from your past begin to smother you like a heavy shroud?

These are the times when the words don’t come. These are the times when coherent thought disappears. These are the moments when you and I cannot even articulate a simple cry to the Lord for help.

Enter the Holy Spirit. He knows. He knows very well how the wreckage of this sinful world can overwhelm us, paralyze us to the point of stunned silence. In those moments he comes to us. He intercedes for us. On our behalf he speaks to our heavenly Father “with groans that words cannot express.” And to such groans God listens and responds.

You are a forgiven child of God through faith in Jesus Christ. That means you possess the exclusive privilege of talking to the Lord in prayer. But when you set aside time for him and the words do not come, take heart. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what you need. What he says on your behalf will go beyond human words. And God will listen. And he will answer.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, there are times when the words just do not come. Speak on my behalf with groans that words cannot express. And fill me with the peace that is mine in Jesus. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

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Good Works are God’s Work – July 20, 2018

It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Philippians 2:13

Good Works are God’s Work


Daily Devotion – July 20, 2018

Devotion based on Philippians 2:13

See series: Devotions

“I’m doing it, daddy!” the little girl said excitedly.

What a sight! A four-year-old behind the wheel of an oversized Sport Utility Vehicle. Her little hands not fully grasping the steering wheel. Her feet dangling inches from the floor board. Her neck craned upward, chin thrust out, eyebrows raised as high as they would go. Still, she could barely see over the dash board. But she was doing it.

“Daddy, I’m driving!”

Or so she thought. She was proud of her efforts behind the wheel, but dad was in control. His eyes were watching for any obstacles in the vacant parking lot. His foot was hovering over the brake ready to stop the behemoth vehicle in an instant. His hands were firmly grasping the steering wheel. His voice was instructing her when and how far to turn the wheel.

Spiritually, we are more hindered than a four-year-old. From the moment our life begins, we are dead in sin and separated from God. Without faith in Christ, we cannot do anything that pleases God. But the Holy Spirit works through the good news about Jesus. He connects us by faith to him who died for our sins and was raised again. He gives us life in Christ, so we can live like Christ.

The funny thing is, it looks like we are doing the work. Others see us humbly serving without expecting anything in return. They see us work without grumbling and talk without complaining. They see us lead upright, innocent lives. But really, it is God at work in us. The loving Father empowers us. The living Christ motivates us. The enlightening Spirit guides us.

Do you want God to fulfill his good purpose in you? Do you wonder what God’s good purpose for you is? The little girl skillfully moved the over-sized SUV because she was connected to power—her father. As we stay connected to Jesus in Word and sacrament, God’s power is at work in us. We will know God’s good purpose and offer our lives and lips in thanks because God is working in us.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, work in me by your Word the desire and the drive to fulfill your good purpose. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Fully Meeting God’s Standards – July 19, 2018

Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11:6a

Fully Meeting God’s Standards


Daily Devotion – July 19, 2018

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:6a

See series: Devotions

Has there been anyone in your life who always had expectations of you that were too high—so much so that you never felt like you could live up to what they expected? Maybe it was a parent who had really high expectations when it came to your grades at school. No matter how hard you tried, your grade point average was never good enough. Or maybe it was the football coach who was never satisfied with the way you ran that one particular play in the playbook. Even when you thought your team had it down, he shook his head and said, “Run it again!” Perhaps it was the boss who was never satisfied with your sales numbers, even when you surpassed the projected earnings for the company.

Often it feels impossible to live up to the expectations that others have for us. All of the above examples are nothing compared to the expectations that God has for you and me. God is holy. The bar he has set for us could not be any higher than it is. God commands us to be perfect. He demands that we be holy as he is holy. His expectations for sinners cannot be any loftier than that.

God’s Word states that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” On our own, sinners like you and I have no hope of ever meeting God’s expectations. Because of sin, we fall short day, after day, after day. Some days we don’t even try to meet God’s standards. Scripture speaks the truth when it states that, “we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are powerless to meet God’s standards and because of that we deserve his eternal punishment.

That’s where faith comes in! The word faith in this verse describes a confident trust that an individual has in someone else. We know we have fallen short of God’s demands, but we are confident that someone else has met those demands for us. We trust that a Savior has taken our place under God’s law and fulfilled it perfectly for us. We have faith that because of our Savior’s life, death, and resurrection, our status before God has changed. In Christ, God no longer sees our failures. He no longer sees how far short we have fallen from perfection. Instead, through faith in Jesus, God sees works that please him. God sees his own forgiven children serving him in love. By faith in Jesus, God sees us as ones who have fully met his standards!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for keeping the demands of the law perfectly for me and for taking away all of my sins. Help me to live in thanks for your blessings. Help me to live by faith and to serve God in all I do. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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When the Pressure is On – July 18, 2018

Then Amaziah (the priest at Bethel) said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now then, hear the word of the LORD.”
Amos 7:12-16a

When the Pressure is On


Daily Devotion – July 18, 2018

Devotion based on Amos 7:12-16a

See series: Devotions

It was a time of prosperity in the northern kingdom. Sadly, comfort and ease led to complacency, slipshod worship, superficial offerings, then open idolatry, immorality, self-indulgent/selfish living, and cruelty to the poor. Amos was called to announce God’s judgment on Israel. The people and the king did not like it. Amaziah gave Amos his “marching orders.” “Get out, you seer!” “Who do you think you are?” “This is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom!” Oh, oh, the pressure was on!

Amos recognized the threat, but respectfully answered, “The LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now then, hear the word of the LORD.”

Today, the Lord Jesus calls Christians to be witnesses for him, to share the “word of the Lord” with people in our lives, starting with our own families. In addition, we have a sphere of friends, relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors to whom we can tell the good news about Jesus the Savior. Since trusting the Savior begins with recognizing a need for the Savior because of one’s sinfulness, the reaction can be that heard by Amos. “Who do you think you are?” Oh, oh, the pressure is on!

If someone asks, “Who do you think you are?” be ready to give an answer. The apostle Peter gives excellent instruction in his first New Testament letter: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

Israel needed to hear what God had to say through Amos. People today need to hear what Jesus has to say, and that can happen through you!

Prayer:
Dear Holy Spirit, help me listen and learn from Scripture so that, with your blessing, when the pressure is on, I am prepared to give an answer. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Chosen by God – July 17, 2018

Note: On Tuesday, July 17 the WELS Mobile app installed from the iPhone/iPad App Store, Google Play Store, or Amazon will be removed. Any users with the app installed on their devices will find that many of the features will no longer function correctly. The reason for this change is that a new WELS App is now available at https://wels.app. This new app provides all the same functionality as the old WELS Mobile app and more. Please read all about it in a recent blog posted entitled WELS App Launches.

[God] chose us in [Jesus] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Ephesians 1:4-6

Chosen by God


Daily Devotion – July 17, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:4-6

See series: Devotions

Do you remember the feeling? You are preparing to play kickball during recess at school. Two captains are choosing players for their teams. They start with the best athletes. Was that you? Or were you picked later? Maybe even last?

If God were picking teams, would you be chosen?

There are days when you think, “Of course I would! I try my hardest. I’m honest, kind, and caring, just the kind of person God would want on his team.” And maybe you go to church and sing in the choir and volunteer to serve in many ways. God should not only pick you but should name you MVP—Most Valuable Person.

But there are other days—or parts of every day—when you realize that you don’t even deserve to be picked last. You shouldn’t even get a spot on the bench. So often, you hurt those around you with what you say or don’t say, with what you do or don’t do. With your life, you say to God, “I want to play by my own rules.”

If God were picking teams, why would he choose you?

But God did choose you! God’s choice was not based on your ability or performance. His choice, which he made before the creation of the world, came from pure love. He gives you that love freely, generously, and without condition. How comforting that is! It is all in God’s hands! It is all because of God’s love!

In love, God chose to send his Son, Jesus, to take away your sins and failures, so that you are holy and blameless in his sight. In love, God chose to adopt you as his own child through faith in your Savior Jesus. In love, God chose to give you an eternal inheritance and a home with him in heaven.

Praise God for his loving choice!

Prayer:
Father, I thank you that, in awesome and undeserved love, you chose me to be your child. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You are Needed – July 16, 2018

Calling the Twelve to him, [Jesus] sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. … They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Mark 6:7,12,13

You are Needed


Daily Devotion – July 16, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 6:7,12,13

See series: Devotions

We are needy people who need to be needed. In the prime of life, we take pride in our work and service to others. But how do we feel when advanced age, sudden illness, or loss of employment prevents us from doing the work we love? Hardworking, independent people are told they can no longer live on their own. Loving parents no longer have children at home to care for. People in such situations can feel worthless, thinking they are not needed anymore.

Jesus’ twelve disciples were not the most “needed people” in the world. Some of them were working class fishermen. Others occupied a lower rung on the social ladder, such as Matthew the despised tax collector. All of them had their own sins and failings. (See Matthew 10:2-4.) But Jesus the Son of God graciously chose them to be his disciples. He chose to give these Twelve the inside knowledge of the kingdom of God. This kingdom centered around the good news of the forgiveness of sins that Jesus himself would accomplish by dying on a cross for all people. Jesus chose imperfect people to hear this message. Jesus equipped imperfect people to share this message. Jesus anointed the Twelve with his Spirit to tell people to turn from their sins and trust God who was working in the world to save them.

What human being would ever be “up to the task” of sharing such an important message with others? Jesus chose twelve who desperately needed his love and forgiveness to receive his love and forgiveness. Then he chose them to share his love and forgiveness with others. He chose to make them important and special by entrusting them with the best news the world has ever heard.

This message of repentance and forgiveness is for you as well. As you hear it and ponder what it means for you, think about what it means for someone close to you. God graciously chose to use you to serve others. He makes your life eternally significant.

Praise be to God. It feels good to be needed!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, out of thankfulness for all you have done to save me, help me to look for opportunities to love and serve others. Remind me of how valuable I am in your sight that I may work hard to be of some value to others. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Eager Expectation – July 15, 2018

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
Romans 8:19

Eager Expectation


Daily Devotion – July 15, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 8:19

See series: Devotions

In the world of professional horse racing, there is a singular moment that all the jockeys in the sport know very well. It is the moment just before the starting gates open and the race begins. In that brief length of time, seconds can seem like centuries. In that brief length of time, the purebred horses in those starting gates are just waiting to explode with speed, their every muscle ready to uncoil their power and to rocket down the track. They are focused on one thing. They are looking for the starting gates to open.

Keep that picture in mind as you consider what God’s Word has to say about the creation you see around you. Many of you this summer are doing some kind of traveling. Perhaps you’re traveling through scenery that’s entirely new to you. Or perhaps you’re traveling through scenery that’s very familiar. Either way, God wants you to enjoy that scenery. He wants you to soak in the beauty that has come from his hand. He wants you to savor that scenery to his glory.

And he wants you to do something else. Whether you are standing before the vastness of the Grand Canyon, the majesty of the Rocky Mountains, seeing the power of the Atlantic Ocean, the lush green of farmland, or the stars in the night sky—wherever you are, God wants you to picture his creation waiting for something. Because it is. Through the apostle Paul, the Lord tells us that his creation is waiting in eager expectation for the Lord Jesus to return and to take his faithful people home. Just as a racehorse looks for the starting gate to open, so also God’s creation is waiting for our Savior and King to return.

So, enjoy your travels through God’s creation this summer. Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy its beauty. But as you do, remember to see it as God wants you to see it. Remember that it’s all waiting in eager expectation for Jesus to return. See it in light of the wonderful reality of your Savior from sin.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, you came to this earth. You died for my sin. You rose from death. You ascended into heaven. And one day you will return to take me home. In my travels this summer, keep this truth vivid in my eyes. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

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Following Jesus- July 14, 2018

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

Following Jesus


Daily Devotion – July 14, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:10-11

See series: Devotions

It’s called the hydrological cycle—evaporation and precipitation. But you don’t have to know those big words or be a scientist to figure it out. The water on planet earth in its three forms, ice, liquid water, and steam are in a cycle. The water from the mountain stream eventually ends up in the ocean, then it evaporates into the clouds, which in turn causes rain to fall in the mountains, feeding the mountain streams.

But even that is more complex than you really need. Simply, God sends water and it does its job. Whether it’s to make plants grow or for people to drink or to provide a habitat for fish to survive, the water that God sends, he sends for a reason and it serves that purpose well.

So it is with the Word of God. When he sends it, it accomplishes something. It doesn’t come back to God without doing something. Will that something always be conversion to faith in Christ? No, sadly not always. Sometimes that Word of God causes people to realize that following Jesus is an all or nothing proposition. “Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins!” I can’t sort-of believe that, and when the Word is preached it leads some to faith in Jesus or results in people hardening their hearts in unbelief.

So we should proclaim that Word. Loudly and confidently we should announce the gospel of Christ. We shouldn’t be quiet about it, for it’s the living and active and powerful Word of God! It’s not a waste of time to proclaim Jesus. The proclamation of the Bible’s message won’t return to God empty but will accomplish his purpose.

The Word won’t return to God empty and neither does it leave us empty. We are filled with the joy and peace and hope that only forgiveness can bring. Knowing that we are saved, and heaven is our home, we can tell others that same message that they too might be saved and that their empty hearts might be filled with joy and peace and hope, just like ours.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for filling me with your love and sending your gospel into my heart. Help me to send your Word out in my life, that more people might be won for you and your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

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Will I ever relapse? – July 13, 2018

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

Will I ever relapse?


Daily Devotion – July 13, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 51:10

See series: Devotions

When someone leaves inpatient alcohol treatment, they wonder: “Will I relapse?

But it’s not only addicts who live with this fear. When we look back at words and deeds that haunt us, we can stress over falling back into those sins of the past.

That was the case for King David. At one time he was a model believer. He had a courageous faith against Goliath. He had a gentle spirit towards his persecutor Saul. He was even called, “a man after God’s own heart.” Yet, in a moment of selfishness, he stole the wife of Uriah, one of his bravest soldiers. Then before his evil could go public, he orchestrated a vile cover up. King David had innocent Uriah killed.

Confronted with his grievous sins, David called out to God in a sincere prayer of repentance and faith: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David asked God to cleanse him from the inside out, to help him live faithfully and not relapse into the sins of his past.

We ask God to do the same in our lives. We call upon our God who died for people like David, for people like us, and we ask him to change us from the inside out. We ask that he take away the past guilt that haunts us, and lead us to live faithfully in honor to him.

God answered David’s prayer. God forgave his sins and filled David with the Holy Spirit who equipped him for a renewed life of faithfulness to God’s Word.

Don’t be burdened by sins in your past. Make this prayer your own. God will purify your heart, forgiving all your sins through Jesus. He will cleanse you from the inside out and lead you to live a new life in faithfulness to him.

Prayer:
Lord God, forgive me for the sins of my past in Jesus’ name. Fill me with your Holy Spirit so that I may live faithfully according to your Word. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Bought You Back – July 12, 2018

[Jesus Christ] gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2:14

Jesus Bought You Back


Daily Devotion – July 12, 2018

Devotion based on Titus 2:14

See series: Devotions

Have you heard the phrase, “You’re perfect just the way you are”? No one wants to be told they are not. No one wants to be told they are wrong. No one wants to be told they are bad. But if you take an honest look at yourself, does it match the phrase “You’re perfect just the way you are”? Of course not. You have done things that are wrong. You have felt the pangs of guilt. The Bible doesn’t just say that these are kind of bad. The Bible calls them wicked sins.

Sin separates you from God. Like a kidnapper, sin rips you away from having the close relationship to God that he created you to have. It holds you hostage; it’s only goal is to drag you down to death and hell.

A ransom had to be paid, but no amount of money would do. Blood had to be shed to free you from that certain eternal death. Jesus Christ made that ransom payment. He became true man, but unlike the rest of mankind, he was able to reject all the temptations of sin. He lived perfectly in your place, and then he took your place on the cross as he died for all your sins. He redeemed you, that is, he bought you back from the captivity of sin. By his work, he has removed that guilt and sin and purified you.

Out of love, Jesus not only set you free, but he gave you an identity. He made you into a people of his very own. This makes you pure before God. This change also affects what God’s people want to do. Set free from the captivity of sin, God’s people desire to do what is good out of thankfulness for what God has done for them. This is not a burden, but a joyous desire. Be eager to do good, because Christ has bought you back from death to life.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for giving your life for mine and freeing me from the captivity of sin. Work in me the desire to do what is good out of thankfulness to you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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What Sinners Need to Hear – July 11, 2018

[The LORD] said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
Ezekiel 2:1-5

What Sinners Need to Hear


Daily Devotion – July 11, 2018

Devotion based on Ezekiel 2:1-5

See series: Devotions

Someone has said, “It’s hard to correct nations … and relatives. Nations are so distant, and relatives are so close.” When he called Ezekiel, the LORD added, “The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn.” Would they listen? It was uncertain, even doubtful. God said, “They … have been in revolt against me to this very day.”

Nevertheless, Ezekiel’s assignment was, “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen … they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

“Wait a minute. I’m not a prophet! If I try to talk to my daughter about living with that man (fine fellow though he otherwise seems to be) without the benefit of marriage, she won’t listen. Or will he? I’m not a prophet!”

Was the man, Ezekiel, God’s point? Was the prophetic office God’s point, or was it the message? “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’” What sinners need to hear is “what the Sovereign LORD says.” It’s what you and I need to hear day after day.

It’s not just grandparents’ old-fashioned point of view. It is what the Sovereign LORD says. It is what the Bible says! True, the Bible says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But now it’s not just one sinner talking to another sinner expressing his or her opinion. Sin is sin. This is what the Sovereign LORD says. Yet, the Sovereign LORD also says that when sinners repent of their sins, trusting in the saving merits of Jesus, his Son, “he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Spirit-worked faith moves sinners to listen and strive to serve the Savior. But … “whether they listen or fail to listen,” they must know, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says.”

Prayer:
Dear Holy Spirit, grant your blessing that day by day I learn and listen to your law and gospel with a believing heart and am willing, lovingly but firmly, to say to family, relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors (even to nations), “This is what the Sovereign LORD says.” Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Humblebrag – July 10, 2018

I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Humblebrag


Daily Devotion – July 10, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 12:9

See series: Devotions

It’s a term that a comedian officially coined in 2010. The term is humblebrag. To humblebrag is to brag about yourself behind a false show of humility or behind a false complaint.

An example of humblebrag might be this: At a neighborhood party a man says, “I don’t know how my kids grew up to be so grounded and successful considering what kind of dad they have.” Or this: In the office lunchroom a woman complains, “I wish I could just concentrate on my own work, but everyone keeps coming to me for advice.” Or this: On a first date, the young man says, “You should probably know about my character flaws. For one, I’m too conscientious. For another, I tend to care too much about other people.”

Enough examples? No doubt you get the idea.

As it turns out, recent studies have shown that humblebragging does not work very well. An article in a recent edition of Time magazine cites a study in which people actually dislike a humblebrag more than a straightforward brag. In fact, they dislike a humblebrag even more than a straightforward complaint. The reason for this appears to be that people smell a whiff of dishonesty in the humblebrag, whereas the straightforward brag and the straightforward complaint are, at least, sincere.

Which brings us to the apostle Paul. In his second letter to the Christians in Corinth, Paul did a bit of bragging. And his bragging was humble. It was not, however, humblebrag.

On the contrary, Paul found himself in a moment of profound truth. You see, for a long time Paul had been painfully aware of his own weaknesses. He’d been painfully aware of his own failures. He’d been painfully aware of his own inadequacies, struggles, and imperfections. But when Paul fervently asked the Lord several times to take away some of his weakness, the Lord told Paul that it was those very weaknesses that helped Paul keep his eyes focused on God’s grace, God’s undeserved love in Jesus Christ.

And so, take inventory of your weaknesses. Take inventory of your difficulties. Take inventory of your inadequacies and struggles. See how the Lord has used them to keep your field of vision filled with God’s forgiveness of your every sin through faith in Jesus as your Savior. Give thanks for them. Rejoice in them. Parade them as precious evidence of the Lord’s love for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for using my weaknesses to display your constant grace in my life. I rejoice in them. And I rejoice in you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Problem with Unbelief – July 9, 2018

[Jesus] was amazed at their lack of faith.
Mark 6:6

The Problem with Unbelief


Daily Devotion – July 9, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 6:6

See series: Devotions

There were many in Nazareth who could not fathom that Jesus was more than Mary and Joseph’s son. Certainly, they were amazed at his teaching. They were inspired by his wisdom. They were astonished at his miracles. Yet, they were offended. They could not accept what the evidence revealed. Because the people of his hometown rejected Jesus, they also rejected the blessings he came to bring. This is the problem with unbelief, and it is a problem concerning which I need to be on my guard.

It would be foolish to simply dismiss Jesus as a fake or a fraud. While I would think twice about rejecting Jesus in this way, there are other ways unbelief can affect me.

When I pray, do I always have complete confidence in Jesus’ ability to answer for my good? When I study the Bible, do I always accept this is the truth and the certain guide for my life? When I feel the burden of a guilty conscience, do I look to the cross and the peace Jesus offers there? I may say I believe, but there is always a part of me that remains hesitant to put my full trust in Jesus.

Because I have these doubts I need to look at the evidence Jesus provides to support my faith. From the Scriptures, I learn he is faithful to all of his promises—not one has ever been broken. From his obedient life, I see him as my substitute and Savior—he has completed every righteous requirement for my rescue from eternal condemnation. From his death and resurrection, I rejoice to know he is wholly committed to my welfare—I am his for this life and for eternity.

When I rely on what Jesus has said and done, he helps me overcome the problem with unbelief. I will also rejoice to know the blessings he has secured are mine.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 405)
Oh, for a faith that will not shrink though pressed by many a foe,
That will not tremble on the brink of poverty or woe.

Lord, gives us such a faith as this, and then, whate’er may come,
We’ll taste e’en now the hallowed bliss of an eternal home.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus’ Invitation – July 8, 2018

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

Jesus’ Invitation


Daily Devotion – July 8, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 11:28-30

See series: Devotions

The people to whom Jesus first spoke these words were very much like you and me. People who were looking. People who were searching. People who were tired. Jesus was calling all those who were weary from trying to work out their own salvation, from trying to make themselves right with God, from trying to find their own way to heaven. He was inviting all those who were weighed down by the burden of vainly, fruitlessly striving for peace, contentment, and happiness in ways that didn’t work and in places where it could not be found.

All these people could come to Jesus. He didn’t put up any walls. He didn’t play favorites. He didn’t cater to people who acted a certain way, or dressed a certain way, or talked a certain way. There was no “in crowd” when it came to Jesus’ invitation.

So Jesus’ invitation is extended to us. It is extended to all of us, regardless of our age or upbringing, regardless of our background or past. Regardless of who we have been or where we have been, regardless of who we are or where we are, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

“Learn from me,” Jesus says. One thing we learn is that God can’t accept us as we are by nature. His holiness and justice won’t allow it. Our sins separate us from God. And the wages of sin is death—physical, spiritual and eternal death.

Another thing we learn is that God did everything necessary to make us acceptable to him. Because he is gentle and humble in heart, he gave himself for us, that we might have rest for our souls.

That means an end to the weariness of trying to work out our own salvation, of trying to make ourselves right with God, of trying to find our own way to heaven. It means an end to the burden of vainly, fruitlessly striving for peace, contentment, and happiness in ways that don’t work and in places where it cannot be found. It means knowing you are a redeemed and forgiven child of God and an heir of eternal life. It means looking forward to perfect rest with Jesus in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, let me find rest in you today, and always. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

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The Promised Land – July 7, 2018

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

The Promised Land


Daily Devotion – July 7, 2018

Devotion based on Exodus 33:14

See series: Devotions

The Lord had rescued his people from slavery in Egypt. The people had fashioned a calf-shaped idol out of gold, Egyptian style, and worshiped it. The Lord had punished them. Now what? The road to the Promised Land was forty years long, and they would have to travel through desert, wilderness the whole way.

Maybe you, too, have paid a heavy price for something you’ve done. Maybe you still feel the effects. Where do you turn when the burden of your sin weighs heavily upon you? We may think that if we stay busy, we will forget the burden we carry. We may turn to recreation and entertainment to anesthetize our pain. These are only band-aids for wounds that run soul deep.

Listen to what the Lord says to his Old Testament people in today’s reading. He says, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” The Lord is present with you, just as he was present with them. The Lord has rest for you, just as he had rest for them. God’s Son Jesus knows exactly what your burden of sin feels like. He carried it all the way to the cross, together with the sin of everyone who has ever lived, and that’s where he left it. This is no band-aid. This is the Lord of all lifting a ton of weight off of your soul; this is your Savior dealing with guilt-burdened hearts at the source of all guilt. Jesus became sin for you. In him, you have rest for your soul.

The road through your wilderness may be long, but you aren’t traveling alone. Jesus is here for you in God’s Word every step of the way. He’s here for you with his soul-saving message of forgiveness, of rest. Jesus will also be there for you at the end of the road, to welcome you into the Promised Land.

Prayer:
Dear Savior, refresh me in the forgiveness you won for me and all people. Give me strength for the journey ahead. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

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God’s Instruction Manual – July 6, 2018

I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore, I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:104-105

God’s Instruction Manual


Daily Devotion – July 6, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 119:104-105

See series: Devotions

I don’t always know the right thing to do. I wish I could trust my gut or at least my conscience, but I can’t. The desires of my heart are a mixed bag. Or, as one theologian put it, “We are at the same time a sinner and a saint.” That means sometimes we have good, God-given motives and actions. But other times, we are being influenced by our sinful nature to live a selfish life. On our own, we just don’t know the best way to live.

That’s why we need God’s Word. Now, the Bible is first and foremost an account of God’s great rescue mission in Jesus Christ. But the Bible is also an instruction manual for life. You see, God designed the world, and his Word shows us how things are supposed to work.

We need instruction manuals. Have you ever tried to assemble a dresser from IKEA without the instructions? Sure, you might be able to build something that resembles a dresser, but it won’t work properly, and you will end up with lots of extra parts.

That’s what happens when you try to assemble your life, family, and marriage without God’s Word. Sure, you might be able to build something that resembles a family, but it probably won’t work properly. Yet, when you look at God’s instruction manual you will see how things were really designed to be.

God’s Word is a “lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” We might not always be able to trust our gut or our conscience, but we can always trust God’s Word.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive us for all the times we tried to live our life without listening to your instructions. Holy Spirit, show us the way we ought to live, and give us the ability to carry it out. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Built for Service – July 5, 2018

We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

Built for Service


Daily Devotion – July 5, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:10

See series: Devotions

Everything has a purpose. Hammers are for pounding nails. Sponges are for cleaning. Books are for reading. These tools work best when you use them for their designed purpose. Cutting an apple with a book cover would not work well. Using a hammer to wash the dishes would not turn out very well for the dishes. You couldn’t get to work trying to drive a sponge. Things are designed for a purpose. If you try to make them do something they are not designed for, you often run into problems.

What is your purpose? As a Christian, the Bible says that you are God’s workmanship, his handiwork. God made you, and in Christ he has given you a purpose—to do good works. These good works are the things done by faith out of love for God and love for others. They can be great deeds like rescuing someone from a burning building, or they can be simple acts of kindness like doing the dishes or being kind to someone who is hurting.

What makes these opportunities to serve by good works so amazing? God prepared them in advance for you to do. He provides you with countless opportunities to show this love to him and to others.

Do you always take those opportunities? Or do you give into the thoughts that they are too much work or you are too busy. Selfishness and self-serving attitudes can come up with countless excuses to not serve God or others. The result of these sins is that you not do what God designed you to do.

And yet, what has God done? By grace, God’s undeserved love, Jesus took your place. He lived perfectly for you and died for all your sins. God forgives you for selfishness and failures to serve. He gives you this gift because of his great love. Moved by his love and forgiveness, savor the opportunities to show love for him by joyfully doing good works in service to him and others. For God has built you for service in Christ Jesus.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving me my sins of selfishness and loveless actions. Help me to live in your love, and joyfully serve you and others in all that I think, say, and do. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Waiting – July 4, 2018

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:25-26

Waiting


Daily Devotion – July 4, 2018

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:25-26

See series: Devotions

“Are we there yet?” With summer vacations in full swing this is sure to be heard from more than a few back seats. After spending so much time in the car, children can’t help it. Waiting is a difficult thing to do.

But waiting is difficult in more than just car rides.

The original readers of the book of Lamentations had experienced the heartache of sin and its consequences and had to wait for God’s restoration. They had been taken from their homes, led off into captivity, and now struggled as aliens in a foreign land. However, God promised them certain restoration. They would return to their homes and find peace, but they needed to wait for that day.

We, the readers of Lamentations today, also know the heartache of sin. Whether it is the consequences of our own sin, the consequences of the sins of others, or just living in a sinful world, we too know the heartache of sin and we must wait for God’s restoration. Sometimes we get to see hints of that restoration here and now: a disease is cured, a relationship is restored, security is found. Other times we must wait for restoration, though God promises it will surely come, whether in this life or in the life to come.

The thing about a long car ride is you do eventually arrive at your destination. Whether it is the beach or Grandma’s house you get there, and the waiting was worth it. The same is true for those of us who wait on the Lord. While it may seem to take a long time, God promises us that it will be worth the wait. Because it will be worth the wait, it is good to wait quietly for the Lord, not grumbling or complaining. With hope in our hearts we know that the Lord is good to us. We know that his plans are best for us and so we seek him. We know that he is bringing full restoration and salvation when he returns at the Last Day.

Until then, we wait quietly for the Lord.

Prayer:
Lord God, help us to wait on your timing. Give us patience to see and know that your will is best for us. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Alone – July 3, 2018

You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.
2 Corinthians 8:9

Alone


Daily Devotion – July 3, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 8:9

See series: Devotions

It was the summer of 1992, and a man by the name of Christopher McCandless had just come to a startling conclusion. It’s a conclusion he likely never expected to reach.

For much of his life, Christopher McCandless had wanted to be alone. He dreamed of living a solitary life, free from obligations to others; free from the responsibilities that come with ties to family and friends; free from the complications of human relationships. His passion to live this way was so great that he was willing to sacrifice all he had to experience it.

And so in 1990, after graduating from college, Christopher walked away. He walked away from his family relationships. He walked away from his ties with friends. As he did, he began his new life—his new life as a vagabond, traveling about the country, working odd jobs as needed along the way.

He found the experience thrilling. His desire to be alone grew. He hitchhiked his way to Alaska, and there he pursued what he must have seen as a dream-come-true. With little equipment or expertise, he walked into the Alaskan wilderness, determined to live off the land and to be alone.

He kept a diary and took pictures to record his adventure. For a time, he seemed convinced that this was the way to live, and that this solitary life was worth all he had sacrificed.

But then, in the summer of 1992, alone, in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness, Christopher came to what must have been a jarring conclusion. His diary proclaims that conclusion in five words. In his diary he wrote, “Happiness only real when shared.”

“Happiness only real when shared.” After all that he had sacrificed to be alone, Christopher had discovered that, for him, to be alone was not the answer. But now it was too late. His body had grown weak from physical problems. He was too weak to walk back out. He died alone.

Jesus once sacrificed all that he had. He gave up the full use of his power and glory as God in order to live and die as a human being. He made that sacrifice, however, not in some quest to be alone. He made that sacrifice so that he could be with us, and we could be with him. He did what had to be done to break down the barriers of our sin. He did what had to be done so that you and I would never have to be alone.

Through faith in Jesus, we are not.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for my moments of solitude. But even then, remind me that simple aloneness is not the answer. You are. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Why Bother the Lord? – July 2, 2018

While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Mark 5:35-36

Why Bother the Lord?


Daily Devotion – July 2, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 5:35-36

See series: Devotions

There are times when I pray that I get frustrated. I come to the Lord hoping he will help. I feel confident he hears my request. I even expect I will get a good answer. This is when I get frustrated. It seems the Lord isn’t listening, and his answer is completely different from the one I expected. This is when I have to fight the temptation to say, “Why do I bother the Lord?”

It is what Jairus’ friends said when his daughter died. For them there was nothing anyone could do, even Jesus. Yet, Jesus encouraged Jairus to believe.

Faith didn’t disappoint Jairus, neither did Jesus’ answer. Faith will never disappoint me either. Surely the world will say, don’t bother. Without a doubt the devil will want me to think, don’t bother. It is certain my sin-weakened flesh will tell me, don’t bother. Yet, I can believe what the Lord says. I can also believe his answer will never disappoint.

While I may not see the same miracle Jairus did, I will see miracles in my life. Every time Jesus answers my prayer for my good, it is a miracle of his great power and his undeserved love. And even though I may not always see or understand that answer, I can trust the Lord. My confidence comes from his loving answer to my greatest need.

I was dead in sin. I was condemned because of my disobedience. I was sentenced to eternal separation. Yet, Jesus delivered me from death. He purified me from my guilt. He even declared me free from the just judgment I deserved. It is this love, secured with the sacrifice of his own life, which gives me every reason to believe him. It is this love which also gives me every reason to “bother” him with every need—small or great.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 411)
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness—take it to the Lord in prayer.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Whom do you love? – July 1, 2018

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:37-39

Whom do you love?


Daily Devotion – July 1, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 10:37-39

See series: Devotions

These words of Jesus may be a bit difficult to comprehend, especially if you’ve ever held your own child in your arms. The love which parents, especially new parents, have for their child is something that can hardly be described. It’s overwhelming. It’s profound. Some find the greatest joy in these moments.

Something more…perhaps you’ve been there as your mother or father or sibling is passing away. You’re filled with another kind of profound love and care for them. It’s overwhelming and profound to a different degree, and yet it is still love.

Now, as you consider the words of Jesus once again, you have to ask yourself, “Is my love for my child, parent, sibling…greater than my love for Jesus?” If so, Jesus’ words cut deeply. In truth, we are breaking the very First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods,” if we are loving people more than we love Jesus. The results of this are eternally damning.

Let’s consider this from heaven’s eternal viewpoint. Everything we have is a gift from God—a gift that is best viewed “on loan.” Our parents are his. Our children are his. The material things we have are his, on loan to us for a time. If we love the gifts and not the giver of the gifts, we are idol worshippers and will lose our life.

Jesus had it all, and yet he gave it all up. He is the eternal Son of God who gave up the glory of heaven to come to this world where he died destitute—all because he loved God above all else. He truly is the only one who has earned the title “worthy.” Yet, by grace alone, through faith alone, he forgives our sins and calls us worthy! Whoever loves him and believes in him HAS eternal life.

What astonishing love Jesus has for us! What an amazing gift he has given to us! In love he gives us eternal life—a gift that far surpasses all material gifts. May his love lead us to love him above all else, always.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, help me to love you more and more each day. Thank you for all the gifts you have given me. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

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Lasting Peace – June 30, 2018

The prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.
Jeremiah 28:9

Lasting Peace


Daily Devotion – June 30, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 28:9

See series: Devotions

Although we look for and long for peace, it is not often found and short-lived when it is. Full-blown wars are waged across the globe. Minor skirmishes break out continually. Violence erupts in city streets. Domestic abuse comes to old and young and many in between. How great it would be to hear that right around the corner is an end of the fighting and an entrance of peace! Sadly, that’s not what God tells us to expect in our world. Hatred and hostility, not harmony and hand-holding, are the world’s hallmarks.

Why? Why is peace such a rare commodity? The simple answer is: sin. Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, their descendants in this world are in a wrecked relationship with God and each other. Sin that dwells in human hearts reveals itself in self-destructive acts of rebellion against God and his commands. Human hearts reveal their sinfulness in thoughts of jealousy and suspicion against fellow human beings. Wicked thoughts often lead to ugly words and malicious accusations. Greed and unbridled desire propel people to take action to sink the competition and gain ground for self. Is it any wonder that unchecked human beings who gain wealth and power will use them to gain even more, with little or no care for those they hurt in the process? Sin destroys peace—peace we long for on earth—but more devastatingly, peace with God!

The prophet Jeremiah, some 2600 years ago, recounted the accurate prophecies made against nations and people, all which came as a result of sin. Then, to a certain false prophet who was trying to raise the people’s hope for peace he said, “The prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.” Jeremiah was warning the people that the prophet who predicted peace for the nation of Israel was a liar. How depressing!

But wait! Later in his rather long book of prophecy, Jeremiah himself spoke of peace (Jeremiah 30:10, 46:27). He talked of a lasting peace which would bring ultimate security. And…his prediction came true! The Lord himself brought peace to human beings by sending his Son as the peace-maker. He came, not as one who demands that all lay down their arms, but to lay down his life as an offering for sin and sinners. Not coming to bark orders and demand that everyone treat each other nicely…or else, he came to bring about a divine cease-fire through his pure life, innocent death, and resurrection from death. Those actions of Jesus Christ have been accepted by God himself as solution to sin and the terms of a truce between God and people, between God and you!

We shouldn’t expect to see an end of the fighting in this world. But, in Christ, there is peace that goes way deeper than that: peace with God through the forgiveness of sins! As you hold tight to Jesus in faith you have a divinely secured peace, which no one can take from you and that will last forever!

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for sending your Son to restore peace in my relationship with you. Help me to reflect that peace in the way I serve you and treat others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

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Holding on to Hope – June 29, 2018

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Holding on to Hope


Daily Devotion – June 29, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 15:13

See series: Devotions

Hope is a slippery thing. We hold onto it until suddenly and almost always unexpectedly, it is taken away from us.

We can’t help people by just telling them to be more hopeful. That’s like telling an excited child to close his eyes and go to sleep. He may close his eyes as tightly as he possibly can but that won’t make him any sleepier. Hope isn’t something we can have by wishing for it.

Rather, hope needs to be given and who better to give it than the “God of hope”? How does God give hope? He does it by filling us with joy and peace as we trust in him.

Joy is ours as the Holy Spirit teaches and convinces us that God is not our enemy nor is he looking to punish us. Rather, as the Holy Spirit works through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are assured that God has forgiven all our sins and even calls us his friends.

The Holy Spirit gives us peace as we read the Scriptures. He makes us confident that our days are known by God and that he is promising to work all things for our eternal good. He takes away our fears because he guarantees that our future belongs to him and nothing can take that future away from us.

Filled with joy and peace as we trust in God, we truly have hope. Not the kind of hope that can be easily taken away but instead we have an overflowing hope. Filled with peace and joy by the Holy Spirit, hope fills our lives abundantly. Rather than slipping away from hope, it runs over into the lives of others.

All of this is the work of the Holy Spirit, allowing us to hold onto and be filled with hope.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, give to us the Holy Spirit that we may be renewed in hope as you fill us with peace and joy. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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True Spirituality, A Gift from God – June 28, 2018

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38

True Spirituality, A Gift from God


Daily Devotion – June 28, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 2:38

See series: Devotions

“I am spiritual.”

It is common to hear that statement when the topic of God and religion comes up. People probably mean many things when they say they are spiritual. Maybe they just want to give an answer that sounds good, so conversation will turn to something else. But in many instances, it seems to indicate an interest in things like morality, spiritual forces of good and evil, or a higher power.

True spirituality is important, something that God wants all of us to have. So he defines it and he tells us where it comes from.

Today’s Bible verse is a message delivered many years ago by a man named Peter. He was speaking to his Jewish countrymen about Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus had performed many miracles. He had taught with authority. The Jewish leaders and people called for his death. He was handed over and killed. But he rose from the dead and lives and rules as Lord! Many of Peter’s listeners were convicted of their guilt. “We killed the one God chose and sent! What shall we do?”

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” God the Holy Spirit connects us to Jesus and the forgiveness he earned by his suffering and death for us. True spirituality is a gift from God. It is freely given to those who do not deserve it. It is given to those who have failed God and others. It is given to those who are terrified about what their sins look like to God. It is given through the message of Jesus Christ. It is given through a simple, but powerful and profound, washing of water connected to that word. The Spirit comes to human hearts this way. The Spirit gives spiritual life by turning hearts away from themselves and turning them in faith to Jesus. The Spirit connects people to Jesus’ forgiveness and the peace, joy, and hope that come with it.

“I am spiritual.” By God’s gift of the Spirit through the gospel of forgiveness…by the gift of the Spirit who connects you to Jesus and his forgiveness…yes, you are!

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for your gifts to us. Thank you for Jesus and his forgiveness. Thank you for the Holy Spirit and his work of connecting us to Jesus by the gospel. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Why Question – June 27, 2018

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: … “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
Job 38:1,4-7

The Why Question


Daily Devotion – June 27, 2018

Devotion based on Job 38:1,4-7

See series: Devotions

“Why, daddy?” “Mommy, why?” Can you hear the three-year-old asking questions over and over and over again? “Why is the sky blue?” “Why does ice cream taste so good?” “Why do you get to stay up and I have to go to bed?” “Why do cars go fast?” “Why do light bulbs make light?” And over and over again. For the adult, it can be challenging to remain patient, to continue to answer, or sometimes to even know how to answer. And we can become frustrated.

Is it possible that what frustrates us about three-year-old children is the way we sometimes approach God? “Why do some people have so many talents and I have so few?” “Why do my attempts to get ahead financially seem to fail, while others seem to do very well?” “Why didn’t I make that team, get that promotion, or get that guy or girl?” “Why did this struggle come to me and my family?”

Job was asking the “why” question. He had faced enormous difficulties in his life and became frustrated. In his mind, it wasn’t fair; he’d been a faithful believer, yet his life was in shambles. “Why!” (Read the book of Job, chapters 1 & 2.)

In the last five chapters of the book, God answers, but he doesn’t answer the “why” question. Instead, he focuses our attention from “why” to “who.” Who spoke to Job? The Lord spoke to Job. The Lord, who is the powerful, independent God; who is also the faithful God, showing love and mercy to us humans. That’s who spoke to Job.

And how much power does the Lord have? He laid down the earth’s foundations; he marked off its dimensions. The Lord has amazing powers which go oh-so-far beyond our understanding. He can do anything and everything!

And most importantly, how does the Lord feel about you and me? He loves us! He proved it by faithfully sending Jesus to this earth to live, die, and rise in our place. He loves you and me with an everlasting love which is bigger and better than any love which any human being can have for us. That’s “who” our Lord is!

Is it okay to ask “why?” Sure. But it’s often far better to ask, “Who?” “Who is in control?” The all-powerful God who loves you dearly. That’s who!

Prayer:
Focus me on you, O Lord, that I may be filled with peace during every up and down of life. Amen.

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