Daily Devotions

Heaven Will be Different – November 19, 2017

Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.
Luke 20:34-36

Heaven Will be Different


Daily Devotion – November 19, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 20:34-36

See series: Devotions

Tell a little girl that heaven is the happiest place to be, and then ask her to describe what she thinks it will be like. She may compare it to the happiest things she knows: free candy and no cavities, ice cream any time you want it, new clothes to wear every day. Heaven is indeed the happiest of all places, but there is nothing on earth that can compare. As different as God is from us, that’s how different heaven is from earth.

For some, this is a real sticking point. In today’s reading, some Sadducees came to Jesus with a question. The Sadducees believed only in the things they could see and touch, and so they didn’t believe in angels, or heaven, or the resurrection from the dead. Their question was a trick question, intended to trip Jesus up over his own words. In effect they asked: if a woman was married more than one time in this life, to whom will she be married in heaven? For the Sadducees, heaven seemed so strange and different, so outside their realm of experience, that it couldn’t be real.

Sadly, we all struggle with a similar problem in our relationship with God. When we compare the words of the Bible to the words of this world, we are struck by how different the Bible is. God has high expectations for how we live, but we’re just trying to get by. God has a plan to save us, but we tend not to think we even need saving. Because God’s Word is so different, we find ourselves wanting to set it aside. Even when we know God’s Word is good for us, we neglect it. And so we become living proof of another key difference between us and God. He is holy, and we are sinners.

The differences between us and God lead us to run from him, but they don’t lead him to run from us. Just the opposite: God’s Son Jesus became one of us. He took the guilt of all sins onto himself, and he paid for them with his own blood, and why? He did it so that he could be with us, and we could be with him, now and forever.

Jesus didn’t apologize to the Sadducees for how different heaven is from earth. In fact he described it in terms more foreign to them than they had imagined. In heaven, like angels, we will never die, and there will be no marriage.

As believers living in this world of pain and sorrow, we are happy to hear that heaven will be different. In fact, the best part about heaven is the thing that makes it the most different of all. In heaven, we will get to see God face to face, serving him and one another in sinless joy forever.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, forgive my sinful neglect of you. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to take my sin away. Help me remember the glorious future you have in store for me and all who believe in you. 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.

Eternal Encouragement – November 18, 2017

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5

Eternal Encouragement


Daily Devotion – November 18, 2017

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5

See series: Devotions

Life can be pretty discouraging at times. There is depressing news happening all over the world and the media is more than willing to bring us down by sharing every detail. Health problems, family problems, financial stress, and much more are very depressing. Christian people can feel pretty lonely and stressed trying to believe and defend all the teachings of Scripture, as God wants us to, in a world that cares little for what God says in his Word. And looming on the horizon for each one of us is the great equalizer—death, and the eternal questions that death brings.

Encouragement from family and friends is most welcome at times like this. Vacations, hobbies, and entertainment can distract us from our problems for a time. Unfortunately, those things don’t provide “eternal” encouragement. We need to look to God for that and he does not disappoint. “From the beginning God chose you to be saved.” Before you were even conceived and born God chose you to be saved from the eternity in hell and determined heaven for you instead. “He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Those God has chosen to be a part of his eternal family he also makes sure they hear and believe the good news (gospel) that Jesus Christ loves you so much that he was willing to suffer hell in your place so you wouldn’t have to. And just like Jesus rose victoriously from the grave and now lives in the glory of heaven forever, those who are connected to Jesus in faith will experience that same resurrection from the dead and will share the same awesomeness of heaven…forever.

“The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” God will not let anyone or anything, including the Devil, get in the way of you spending eternity with him in heaven. My friends, as you navigate through the discouraging things that happen in life, be eternally encouraged by God’s promises.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to treasure the physical life you have given to me as a gift. Even more so, help me to treasure the spiritual and eternal life you give to me as a gift through faith in Christ 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.

Worth it? – November 17, 2017

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18

Worth it?


Daily Devotion – November 17, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 8:18

See series: Devotions

Is it worth it? We ask ourselves this question many times every day. Is it worth it to drive out of our way to save a few pennies on gas? Is it worth getting the kids out of the car or should we just use the drive-through? Is it worth it to pay for two-day shipping or can we wait a few extra days?

Thankfully there is one decision that is so clear we have no need to wonder, “Is it worth it?” God tells us that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us. In other words, if you piled all your sufferings on one side of a scale and on the other side the glory that awaits you in heaven, the scale would tip fast to the side of glory. In fact, the answer would be so obvious you would wonder why you even bothered to weigh them at all.

Is it worth it to go through sufferings on your way to heaven? Is it worth it to continue to fight against sin? Is it worth it to be made fun of and looked down on for your faith? Is it worth it to go through loneliness, poverty, disease, trusting in God’s power to save? Is it worth it to suffer things like these? God says that it will be so worth it that it isn’t even worth comparing.

Think about your worst day. No matter how bad it was or what happened, a time is coming when you will be so happy, content, perfect and at peace, that your worst day won’t even be remembered. No matter how bad things get, God promises you that the good coming in your eternal future will far outweigh any bad you go through now.

Is it worth the suffering to be with Jesus? God’s Word tells you to not even compare the present with the future. The glory God has in store for you is better by far.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, keep my eyes focused on the glory you promise me that I may not despair of my sufferings. 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.

Led by the Spirit – November 16, 2017

Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:14-16

Led by the Spirit


Daily Devotion – November 16, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 8:14-16

See series: Devotions

Today in your prayers, pause to give thanks to the Holy Spirit. He is true God, whom we worship together with God the Father and God the Son—the Triune God. Pause to give thanks to the Holy Spirit because his work is vital for your eternal relationship with God.

Without the work of the Holy Spirit, you would be terrified of God’s judgment. Your spirit would be enslaved by the fear of death. You would be lost in the hopelessness of eternal separation from God.

However, in his amazing love for you, God the Father gave you his Holy Spirit. The Father gave the Spirit to you through the gospel—the good news of salvation in his Son, Jesus Christ. By the power of gospel, the Holy Spirit connected you to God. He led you to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of all your sins and brought you into God’s holy family. The Spirit made you a child of God.

Now as you are led by the Spirit, you are not afraid of God. You are one of his children! He dearly loves you. He proved his love by giving his own Son, Jesus, to suffer and die so that you can be so closely united with God that you can call him, “Abba, Father.” You can live in the firm confidence that God is your loving Father and you are his dear child—for time and eternity!

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, I thank you for making me a child of God through faith in Jesus as my Savior. Live in my heart to instill my spirit with the confidence of life with God now and forever. 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.

A Sight to Keep in Mind – November 15, 2017

“As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”
Daniel 7:9-10

A Sight to Keep in Mind


Daily Devotion – November 15, 2017

Devotion based on Daniel 7:9-10

See series: Devotions

Out of sight, out of mind. You don’t often think about the memorabilia you have stuffed into storage. Out of sight, out of mind. Unless you’re a mechanic, you don’t often think about your vehicle’s engine. Out of sight, out of mind.

Then suddenly you find yourself thinking about those things. You crave to see some old pictures because a dear friend has died. You pop open your car’s hood because that one noise has gotten so much louder.

Too often God drifts out of our regular thoughts. We see and experience the people, the things, the joys, and the struggles of life—they’re right in front of our faces. But God doesn’t visibly occupy a chair at the supper table. He doesn’t physically hug you when you cry. Is God out of sight and often out of mind?

One day, God will be very much “in sight.” We’ll be standing face-to-face with our God, our righteous Judge. About 550 years before Jesus was born, God showed a man named Daniel a vision. As Daniel described that vision, he wrote how God appeared. God’s clothing was white as snow and his hair white like wool. The throne he sat on was flaming with fire. Daniel was seeing God in his holiness and power. God was seated to judge.

One day, you will stand before God who will judge you. If you go alone and trusting in yourself, you can expect God’s anger and eternal punishment. Your own goodness is not good enough. Hoping and wishing God won’t care about your sin against him won’t change his heart or judgment. If you are on our own, you should be terrified of that day.

You will stand face-to-face with God. But if you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you will not be alone. Jesus, your Savior, is at your side. What will your holy and all-powerful God declare? His judgment will be the same as he now gives you through his gospel of salvation. Through faith in Jesus, God has credited you with the perfection of his Son’s holy life, and God has declared you not guilty of your sins on account of Jesus’ innocent sufferings and death for you. He proved it by raising his Son from the dead. With Jesus, you have peace with God. You stand in God’s grace.

Keep that day in mind—the day you’ll stand face-to-face with God. Keep Jesus in mind—his life and death and resurrection for you. Keep in mind your forgiveness and peace with God. Keep them in mind even though now God is out of sight. One day that will change and you will see God face-to-face.

Prayer:
Dear God, it is so easy to forget about you and the day I will see you face-to-face. Forgive my sins for Jesus’ sake. Fill my heart with your peace and my life with love for you and 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.

Normalcy Bias – November 14, 2017

The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
1 Thessalonians 5:2

Normalcy Bias


Daily Devotion – November 14, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 5:2

See series: Devotions

Want to learn a new term? Here it is. The term is Normalcy Bias.

Normalcy Bias is the assumption that just as things have been in the recent past, so they will always be in the future. Normalcy Bias is extremely common. We are all vulnerable to it and observers of human nature have said it can be one of the most dangerous biases we have. For instance, Normalcy Bias is responsible for many car accidents. If you carelessly breeze through the same unmarked intersection hundreds of times without meeting another car, you can begin to assume you will never meet another car. That assumption will work—until the day it doesn’t. Normalcy Bias was a factor in causing the builders of the Titanic not to include enough lifeboats. And even after the Titanic struck the iceberg, Normalcy Bias prevented people from getting into the lifeboats. So powerful was the assumption that ocean liners could no longer sink. It was Normalcy Bias that convinced a lot of people not to flee Nazi Germany when they had the chance, because they felt sure that the homeland their families had known for years could not possibly turn into a nightmare.

When it comes to our relationship with God, Normalcy Bias can be a factor as well.

If I live my life without paying much attention to God and his Word; if I rack up day after week after year of going to work and coming home without any kind of shocking crisis, it can be easy for me to assume that this is how it will continue. This is life as it should be and that God is not important. Such an assumption on my part will work—until the day it doesn’t.

Through the apostle Paul, God’s Word says, “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” God tells us this as a warning. But even this warning comes from a heart of supreme love.

Throughout Scripture, the Lord’s call to us is urgent. “Listen, listen to me,” he says (Isaiah 55:2). “Seek the LORD while he may be found,” he says (Isaiah 55:6). “Now is the day of salvation,” he says (2 Corinthians 6:2).

The heart of love that puts out such an urgent call to you and me is the same heart that drove God to become one of us in the person of Jesus Christ. It’s the same love that drove him to carry our every sin to the cross and make full payment for all of them.

This is how passionate our Savior’s love is. He wants to shatter the deception of our Normalcy Bias. And he wants to replace it with the reality of sins forgiven through faith in him.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, where I have a sinful Normalcy Bias in my relationship with you, do what you must to break it. Embrace me in your grace. 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.

The Time Will Come – November 13, 2017

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory and the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”
Matthew 25:31-33

The Time Will Come


Daily Devotion – November 13, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 25:31-33

See series: Devotions

“God will have to take me just the way I am.” George sincerely believed he was good enough for heaven just the way he was. When his friend Bob tried to gently correct his friend’s lack of understanding, George became even more set in his beliefs. Although Bob tried to get George to listen to what the Scriptures had to say, George only became more adamant. In the end all Bob could say was, the time will come when things will be different.

What Bob tried to get his friend to understand is the very lesson Jesus taught his disciples. It is a lesson I need to hear, learn, and believe. The time will come when Jesus will return to the earth. At his return he will separate the sheep from the goats, namely the believers from the unbelievers. What I need to understand is I have to be ready when that time comes.

There is only one way for me to be ready. It is through faith in Jesus as my Savior. As I prepare to stand before him on the day of judgment, I need to be perfect—completely free from every spot, stain and blemish of sin. By myself this is impossible. However, through faith in Jesus I am declared perfect. His sinless life becomes my sinless life. His innocent death becomes my innocent death. His victory over the devil becomes my victory.

This is why I cling to Jesus’ precious work with the strength he provides. It is only through him I am declared one of his sheep. It is also only through him I am called to his right hand and eternal life.

Prayer:
O blessed Jesus, the time will come when you will return in glory. Give me the faith I need to trust in your precious work. Give me the strength I need to stand firm until you come again. 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.

Know What I Have – November 12, 2017

Jesus replied, “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.”
Luke 19:26-27

Know What I Have


Daily Devotion – November 12, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 19:26-27

See series: Devotions

Bigger is better. Greed is good. Selfishness is acceptable. This is the world’s message, and it is alluring. It puts me first. It also gives me permission to get whatever I can. Jesus offers a different perspective, and it demands my full attention.

Jesus addressed the many misconceptions people had regarding the kingdom of God. Some thought it should be a clearly visible and an immediately recognizable earthly kingdom. Others thought it didn’t make any difference how one lived, God would be more than happy to welcome all.

Strange as it seems, nothing has really changed. People still have the wrong idea about God’s kingdom, and I am confronted by the same misunderstanding. This is why I need to listen to Jesus’ lesson, and know what I have.

The temptation is to always want more, bigger and better. It is just as tempting to put myself first. Unfortunately, the pursuit of the things of this world and self-gratification put me outside of God’s kingdom. It also places me under his just judgment.

I need to listen to Jesus’ clear call to look at what I already have. Through God’s undeserved love in Jesus and the gift of faith, I am already a member of God’s kingdom. Not only do I have the assurance of his care and protection, I also know what the future holds. When I leave this world, I will be with him in heaven. My life under his ruling care will only get better. This is why I delight in living under his loving rule as my Lord. Yes, serving myself brings certain joys, but these will eventually be lost in death. When I serve the Lord and put him first, I know I have an even greater treasure waiting for me in heaven.

So, do I choose what the world offers? Will I indulge myself and satisfy my selfish desires? Or, do I choose what the Lord offers? Will I serve him and rejoice in his loving direction? My answer is found at the cross of my Savior Jesus Christ. Here I see what God has done for me. Here I know what I have.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, open my eyes to see the great blessings which are already mine through faith. Remove every earthly desire and rid me of my selfish ways. Renew me by your undeserved love and restore my joy in living under your good will and direction. 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.

The Lord Calls to You – November 11, 2017

“This is what the LORD says: Stand in the courtyard of the LORD’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way. Then I will relent and not bring on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.”
Jeremiah 26:2-3

The Lord Calls to You


Daily Devotion – November 11, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 26:2-3

See series: Devotions

A car speeds down the Interstate. The red signs blaring out “DO NOT ENTER” and “WRONG WAY” make no impression on his drunken senses. Then it’s all over in a head-on collision.

Which direction are you headed in? How tempting to point out how others are going in the wrong direction rather than examining our own hearts! Yes, the sexual pervert, the murderer, the abuser, and the thief are headed in the wrong direction. The Lord calls out to them: “I have no take no pleasure in the death of anyone … so turn, and live” (Ezekiel 18:32 ESV).

But his call is not only for them. Notice where the Lord sent Jeremiah to speak the words of today’s reading, which call the people to turn from their evil ways. Not to a brothel, tavern, or prison, but to the temple. He was to speak to those coming to worship.

Rather than honestly confessing our own sins, how easy to let the act of worship (or let other good things that are meant to bless us) dull our sense of guilt and deaden our desire to serve our Savior. We tell ourselves: “I’m not perfect, but God forgives. So what’s the big deal if I mess up? Do I have to listen to everything he says? Just let me live life my way.”

That mindset speeds down the Interstate of life in the wrong direction, oblivious to the warning signs. How soon before the fatal crash that ends in hell?

The Lord calls to you and me each day: “Turn and live. Turn from your evil ways. For I want to bless you. How earnestly I want to bless you! For I gave up my own dear Son for you.”

Prayer:
How fervent is your love, heavenly Father! How precious the blood of your Son! Lead me each day to turn from my own ways and follow him alone. 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.

Enjoy the Blessings of the Spirit – November 10, 2017

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
Romans 8:5-8

Enjoy the Blessings of the Spirit


Daily Devotion – November 10, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 8:5-8

See series: Devotions

Some people are openly disobedient. They seem to delight in daring the authorities by finding ways to break the rules aggressively and defiantly. They do whatever they want, whenever they want.

Other people are quietly, subversively disobedient. They are so sneaky that they are not usually caught. They know that no one suspects them, and they get away with a lot.

Both groups of people do not please God. He wants people to follow his laws happily and obediently, even the laws that are counter-cultural or counter-intuitive. God is not even pleased by good people who follow his laws but for the wrong reasons. God looks for perfect integrity.

Instead, everywhere he looks God sees disobedience and hostility. People resent his high standards. But God has a surprising solution to that problem.

Rather than punishing people, God sends his Spirit into their hearts. The Spirit comes by hearing God’s message from the Bible and the Spirit changes things.

The Spirit causes people to believe that Jesus was punished for their sins even though he had done nothing wrong. People are grateful when they hear that they are forgiven and that they are going to have eternal life in heaven through faith in Jesus. People like to know that they are at peace with God and that he is not going to punish them because he has already punished Jesus in their place.

Because the Spirit gives people joy and peace, they set their minds on what the Spirit desires, which is faith in Jesus and from that faith flows love and kindness. Hang around those people and enjoy the blessings of the Spirit.

Prayer:
Martin Luther, whose birthday is celebrated today, often prayed: Heavenly Father, keep me this day from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please 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.

Eternal Innocence in Jesus Alone – November 9, 2017

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

Eternal Innocence in Jesus Alone


Daily Devotion – November 9, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 8:1

See series: Devotions

Can there be anything as sweet as God uttering that I am innocent in his eyes? Nothing refreshes the weary sinner more than the pardoning proclamation of my Lord whose love for me is limitless.

His utterance of my innocence astounds me for I know that this is the opposite of what I deserve. God’s holy law unleashes the unsettling truth that I stand convicted of my many sins in his righteous courtroom. So too, my conscience constantly reminds me of my corrupt nature that makes me an enemy of the just Judge of all. I can only conclude with the apostle Paul that I am a “wretched man” bound for the eternal ruin of hell (Romans 7:24).

Instead of proclaiming my ruin, God promises my rescue! The Lord provided the perfect rescuer—his innocent Son, Jesus Christ. In unspeakable love, he carried all my guilt to Calvary’s cross and suffered the wrath of God for every one of my wretched offenses. He was condemned in my place to pay the complete price for my sins.

Christ is my everlasting comfort. He is my only refuge in which I am able to withstand every accusation of the devil and all the consternation of my conscience. God does not promise me an earthly life of ease and freedom from all misfortune. What he does promise is far greater than any treasure the world can provide. He grants me the marvelous gift of faith to grasp the glorious promise of pardon and peace that are mine in Jesus alone.

If ever I begin to doubt the fact that I am freely and fully forgiven, the gracious hand of God points me again to the unfailing words of his glorious gospel. There he declares with eternal certainty, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The Lord’s infinite love for me deserves my endless thanks and praise.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, your eternal gospel wondrously declares my innocence in Jesus. Grant me a firm faith to always believe and reflect that truth in the freedom of my new life in Christ. 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.

Don’t Fear the Lions – November 8, 2017

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Daniel 6:19-23

Don’t Fear the Lions


Daily Devotion – November 8, 2017

Devotion based on Daniel 6:19-23

See series: Devotions

What would you have done if you had been Daniel? The king has just issued a decree that for an entire month no one can pray to anyone except him. If anyone does pray to someone other than the king, that person will be thrown into a pit to be torn apart by hungry lions. You, however, worship the true God. And everyone knows that you pray to him in your room three times each day. Your enemies, who want you dead, are watching you to see if you will continue praying to your God in spite of the king’s decree. So, what will you do? Will you keep praying to God as you always have been and risk being thrown to the lions? Will you perhaps change your routine and pray privately rather than where people can see you? Will you even stop praying for a month so that you can stay alive?

It didn’t take long for Daniel to decide what he was going to do. Right after Daniel heard about the king’s decree, he went home and kept on praying to God just as he always had done. He didn’t change his routine. And he certainly didn’t stop praying to the true God. Even if it meant that he would have to deal with hungry lions, Daniel was determined to remain faithful to the true God. He was confident that God was able to protect him even from the jaws of lions.

Daniel’s confidence in God was not disappointed. After spending the night with the lions, Daniel was still alive. God had sent an angel to close the lions’ mouths. And the lions hadn’t harmed Daniel at all.

It’s a great blessing to live in a country where we don’t have to face the exact dilemma that Daniel faced. But that doesn’t mean we don’t face similar challenges to our faith. Daily we face pressure to hide our faith. Daily people tell us, perhaps not in so many words, that it would be better for us not to be so public about believing the Bible. Our culture makes it very clear that those who do show their love for Jesus in the way they live will face, not literal lions, but metaphorical lions of disdain, hatred, and ridicule.

But none of this gives us any reason to back down or hide our faith. Like Daniel, we can keep on living our faith and sharing it with others without any fear of the “lions” that threaten us. We know that God is more than capable of overcoming any “lion”. In fact, he has already overcome of the most dangerous “lion” of all, Satan himself, through the work of his Son Jesus. If Satan cannot harm us, then neither can anyone else. And we can boldly live our faith, confident that the God whom we serve can—and will—rescue us from any “lion” that we may face.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, shut the mouths of the “lions” that threaten me and strengthen me to boldly live the faith that you have given me. 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.

Two Unspoken Words – November 7, 2017

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

Two Unspoken Words


Daily Devotion – November 7, 2017

Devotion based on Galatians 5:1

See series: Devotions

In the 1930’s, a group of Americans took on an extraordinary project. They armed themselves with audio-recording equipment, and with that equipment they made it their goal to capture the voices of men and women who had once lived under slavery.

We still have those recordings today. If you search around a bit online, you will find them. Some of the sound quality is so poor that it’s difficult to understand everything. Nevertheless, the impact of these recordings is powerful: Actual voices of men and women who know what it is to live under slavery.

In addition to the recordings, there are transcriptions and written notes. Meet a man by the name of Charlie Aarons. Charlie says he grew up with a father and mother, a sister and a brother. But when Charlie was about 10 years old, his master put him up for sale. Charlie says he remembers the extreme anxiety he felt as he stood on the block and various people bid for the right to take him home.

A Mr. Jason Harris purchased Charlie that day. And Charlie never saw his family again.

Slaves worked hard on the Harris plantation, Charlie says. They were in the fields from 6 in the morning until 6 at night. When asked if he had ever had a chance to escape, Charlie says that the dogs would capture you soon enough, and then you would get a beating. And when asked if his master ever taught him to read or write, Charlie smiles and says, “No, Madam, only to work.”

Two unspoken words permeate the voices of these ex-slaves. The words are, “Never again.”

Through faith in Jesus Christ, you and I are free. We are free from the guilt of sin. We are free from the power of sin. We are free from fear, free from isolation, free from the darkness and despair that sin can bring. But as you and I bask in God’s forgiveness, and the peace and joy we now have, there are also two unspoken words that live and thrive within our Christian faith. Those words are, “Never again.”

For the agents of the old slavery of sin are always on the prowl. The temptations to sin are always on the watch.

Thank God that for every time the claws of sin try to drag us into slavery, Jesus is here. He is here to call us to repentance. He is here to cleanse us in his blood. He is here to refresh us in the freedom he purchased for us at the cross.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in you I am free. By your Spirit, keep me free. Stay by my side. 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.

Trust Me – November 6, 2017

“All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Matthew 10:22

Trust Me


Daily Devotion – November 6, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 10:22

See series: Devotions

Jesus knew what his disciples were going to endure. This is why he urged them, “Trust me.” He wanted his followers to understand that the world was going to hate them just as it hated him. Jesus’ words which invited their trust were not empty. The disciples did experience the same rejection, animosity and hatred Jesus did.

Jesus pleads with me too: “Trust me, the world will hate you because of me.” My experience testifies to the truth of Jesus’ warning about the world. Daily, people ridicule the way I live. Daily, people attack what I believe. Daily, people seek to silence my witness about Jesus. Why should I be surprised by this kind of treatment? My life as a faithful disciple of Jesus will always be challenging. At the same time, my Savior also reminds me of the rescue he has prepared.

Jesus assures me of my salvation. My Lord and my Savior does not want me to become disheartened, discouraged, or fall way. The words he offers are full of love and encouragement: “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Certainly, I recognize my weakness and my readiness to give up, but Jesus directs me away from myself and leads me to trust him, to stand firm on what he has done for me. And amazing is the only way to describe what he has done.

Jesus became my Savior with an amazing act of love. He humbled himself and became obedient to death on the cross. With his humiliation and crucifixion, he secured the victory and confidence I need. The burden of sin is removed. The power of the devil is defeated. Even my fear of the world is overcome.

It is because of Jesus’ complete and overwhelming victory I know I will stand firm. Absolutely nothing will separate me from his love, or the heaven he has prepared for me. Safe in Jesus’ loving arms and protected by his all-surpassing strength I can do exactly what he says, “Trust me!”

Prayer:
O loving and faithful Savior, I rejoice that you have called me to be your disciple. I recognize your great strength to support me. I also rely on your invitation to put my trust 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.

Freedom from the Truth – November 5, 2017

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32

Freedom from the Truth


Daily Devotion – November 5, 2017

Devotion based on John 8:31-32

See series: Devotions

The English language can be confusing. Take the words: freedom from the truth. They can be understood in two completely different ways. One is the freedom which presumably comes because absolute truths are rejected. The other understanding is the freedom which comes because truths are accepted. Today, many people have adopted the first understanding. They feel they are free because their lives are not limited by someone else’s idea of the truth.

When I examine what Jesus said to those who were gathered to listen to him, I begin to see what is really true. When I reject the truth, I am no longer free. In fact, I have enslaved myself to lies, half-truths and deceptions. This is why Jesus’ words are so precious: “If you hold to my teaching, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jesus couldn’t make it any clearer. Knowing the truth he offers and putting one’s complete confidence in it is liberating.

What Jesus offers is freedom from the devil’s domination and deception. He also offers freedom from the guilt and shame which accompany my sinful disobedience. He even offers freedom from death and the grave with his promise of life in heaven.

What makes Jesus’ truth reliable is his ministry dedicated to validating this truth. His life, his death, his resurrection all provide the guarantee I need to be certain his truth is valid. It is also liberating. Because of what Jesus has done, I am free to live knowing I am at peace with God. I am also free to live knowing what love and joy are mine through faith.

Today, it is easy to be confused by the appeal of a truth of one’s own making. Where will it lead? What confidence can it offer? The only result of this kind of truth is disappointment and despair when I stand before the Judgment Throne of God. This is why I need to hold on to the truth Jesus went to great lengths to establish and offer me through faith. It is also why I want to make every effort to know and experience the freedom which comes from believing Jesus’ truth.

Prayer:
O blessed Savior, I thank you for establishing the truth which sets me free. Through your Holy Spirit help me grow in my knowledge of that truth, and my confidence in it. In the end, let me enjoy the true and lasting freedom you alone can offer in this life and in the life to come. 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.

God’s Unconditional Love – November 4, 2017

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant … I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:31,34

God’s Unconditional Love


Daily Devotion – November 4, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:31,34

See series: Devotions

Apple, Samsung, Nokia—someone is continually advertising their newest smart phone, tablet, or another device. Do we really need the newest? It may have a few more features, but the changes are only incremental.

What about the Lord’s new covenant? Do we really need it?

Consider our situation without it. How would we gain life with God? Our conscience tells us that we must obey his law. That’s the condition. What does his law say? If you do not murder or steal, you will live. Doesn’t sound too hard. But the conditions don’t stop there.

If you never dream of revenge, if you never feel lust except toward your spouse, if you never feel greed, never gossip, never covet, then you will live. Does it still sound possible? But there’s more.

If you always love your neighbors, helping them in need and speaking well of them, and if you always give the proper respect and honor to those in authority, then you will live. But the law’s not done yet.

If you love God above all, cherishing him more than your stuff, your family, your pride, if you trust him above all, if you hold his commands in highest regard, if you never misuse his name but continually call on him in prayer, if you never slight his word but always gladly hear and learn it.

Need I go on? How miserably we fail! How much we need something new!

Is the new covenant an incremental improvement, modifying the conditions? Not at all! We’d still fail. The new covenant is not incremental, but revolutionary. It has no conditions. That’s right, no conditions at all! Rather the Lord God declares: “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Do you see any “ifs,” any conditions?

The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, put this new covenant into effect. His resurrection is God’s signature. You are forgiven. God remembers your sins no more. Jesus erased your record of wrongs.

This unconditional Good News makes our hearts new, so that we believe this promise and desire to do what God commands.

Prayer:
How great my sin! How much greater your forgiveness, O my Lord! 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.

Funerals Simplify Things – November 3, 2017

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Funerals Simplify Things


Daily Devotion – November 3, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 6:23

See series: Devotions

I always appreciate funerals. I have been at the funerals of poor people and well-to-do people, of old people and young people, of people I knew well and people I never met. And they all helped me. How?

Every funeral helps me, because funerals simplify things. When I stand at a funeral, I am reminded that I am a mortal human being, and the reason I am mortal is because I am a sinful human being. “The wages of sin is death.”

In my day-to-day life, I can think of all sorts of problems that I think are oh-so-important and pressing. The car needs to be repaired, or is on its last legs. The bank account isn’t where I would like it to be. My career doesn’t seem to be moving the way I want. My kids are sick. My parents are struggling. My team isn’t doing as well as I would like. I have so much work to do, and on and on. And then I stand at a funeral and I am reminded that none of those things are my biggest problem. My biggest problem is that I am a sinner, who will die, and even worse, I am a sinner who deserves to go to hell. That’s my biggest problem! And if that one problem doesn’t get solved, nothing else really matters. That’s really simple. Funerals remind me of that.

But then I am reminded of another truth, that Jesus stepped into my place, taking the punishment which I deserved. The wage which I deserved—death—he took. And what’s left for me?

What’s left for me isn’t a wage, but a gift! And oh, what a gift! God gifts to me life eternal! God gifts to me eternity in heaven with him! By forgiving my sins, God gifts to me eternal joy, eternal peace, eternal glory!

And again, life gets simplified! I have eternal life, because God has given it to me! Does that mean all my other problems go away? Not at all! But it does put them into perspective! I am going to heaven! And so I can handle … the sickness, the stress, the change, the heartache, the money issues, and on and on. Since God has given me eternal life, certainly he will guide me through these other issues, because they are just things of this earth. Simple.

And funerals help me to remember that.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, keep simplifying everything for me by focusing me on what really matters. 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.

Dead and Alive – November 2, 2017

Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Romans 6:11-14

Dead and Alive


Daily Devotion – November 2, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 6:11-14

See series: Devotions

Christians are walking oxymorons. That may sound like an insult to Christians, but connected to God by his grace through faith in Jesus, this is an accurate description. An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two terms, which seem to contradict each other, appear together. For example, “jumbo shrimp,” “civil war,” and “crash landing” are oxymorons. Yes, Christians are walking oxymorons. God’s word recorded in Romans chapter 6 tells Christians to consider themselves dead and alive at the same time. How can we be dead and alive at the same time? Either we are one or the other, not both.

The key is to what or to whom we are dead or alive. Once we were dead to God. The Bible tells that without Jesus we are “dead in our transgressions and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) We were spiritually dead, not caring about God or his will, and doomed to hell. But Jesus changed all that. He gave his life on the cross to forgive our sins and save us from death and hell.

Once we were dead to God and living in sin, but God in his grace has turned that entirely around. By giving us faith in Jesus, he changed us. We are now dead to sin and alive to God. As such, Romans 6 urges us to have nothing to do with sin. If we are dead to sin, why let our hands or mouths be tools of wickedness? Our Savior, Jesus, who gave himself for us, is our master now. We live under his grace. Our hands and mouths can be his instruments, showing and telling his saving love in what we say and do.

So be the walking oxymoron God in his grace has made you to be. You are dead to sin, AND alive to God through faith in Jesus. Live like it!

Prayer:
Dear Savior, thank you for bringing me from death to life in your death and resurrection. Help me to use my life and all I have to live to you and for 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.

The Feast – November 1, 2017

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.
Isaiah 25:6-8

The Feast


Daily Devotion – November 1, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:6-8

See series: Devotions

Celebrations and food go hand in hand. Weddings have receptions, birthdays have cake, and the holidays always have their own unique treats.

Why is that? Why does feasting always seem to accompany celebration and joy? Because it’s a blessing that God has intended. He gives us food to help us celebrate.

In the beginning, the LORD gave Adam and Eve a home in Eden that was full of food for them to feast on. They were free to eat from any tree in the garden—except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But they broke God’s command, and their rebellion trapped them and all their descendants in a shroud.

What is this shroud that enfolds all peoples, this sheet that covers all nations? It is death. Because of sin, life ends in death for all individuals, peoples, and nations.

Now, every birthday eventually leads to a funeral, marriages are ended by death, and the holidays are occupied by memories of departed loved ones. The shroud of death overshadows our celebrations and makes life seem pointless.

So thank God that he destroyed the shroud when he sent his Son into our death-covered world! By his death on the cross, Jesus took away every sin that separates us from God, and by his resurrection he swallowed up death forever. The shroud of death is lifted. Jesus lives, and in him, you live too.

Now God has prepared the feast for you, a banquet of life eternal. The celebrations of this world last only a moment, but the heavenly feast will never end. This is a feast of rich meats and the finest of wines—a feast like no other. This is a never-ending celebration where death has been swallowed up forever and all tears have been wiped away. Rejoice and be glad in God’s salvation!

Prayer:
LORD Almighty, thank you for swallowing up death forever and for preparing the heavenly feast 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.

Rejoice! – October 31, 2017

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice!


Daily Devotion – October 31, 2017

Devotion based on Philippians 4:4-7

See series: Devotions

You are saved by grace alone. That means salvation is a gift, won by Jesus when he died and rose again. Even the faith you need to believe this glorious message is something God freely gives. Salvation is secure because it is the work of Christ, and since it is his work, then it cannot fail. On this, the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, be sure to give thanks to God for that glorious truth. As the apostle Paul wrote: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

On this special day, as you thank God for salvation by grace, spend time reflecting on how your life has changed because of Jesus’ work. Don’t forget that Jesus has washed away your sin and guilt. As you look to him in faith, you can rejoice—just as Paul says—because the Lord is with you and heaven is your home. There’s no need to be sour, harsh, angry or anxious because you have a Savior who hears and answers all your prayers. And remember: the peace we have through faith in Christ is something no worldly woes can disturb.

But the devil will try. The old, evil foe seeks to obscure those Reformation blessings. “Worry!” he demands. “You should! Just look at all the horrible things happening in the world! And how about all the dreadful things you’ve experienced? Get angry! Get mad! Look at all the world’s wretchedness in the headlines! Abandon hope! Forget about joy!”

Take to heart Paul’s encouragement: “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

If you spend time focused on the ugly results of sin, the devil will get his way. So check your thoughts. Guard your heart. Set your mind on Christ and his salvation. As you do, you’ll discover new courage and peace, more reasons to rejoice and an extra measure of joy for the day.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to focus on Jesus this Reformation Day and fill my heart with the peace you alone can give. 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.

Truth about God – October 30, 2017

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:1-14

Truth about God


Daily Devotion – October 30, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 22:1-14

See series: Devotions

Have you ever said, “I think God is like…” Then you went on to describe your own version of God. We might be tempted to say, “I know the Bible says that I shouldn’t have sex before marriage, but I think God would want me to be happy.” Or “I know my friend doesn’t believe in Jesus, but I don’t think God would ever really send anyone to hell.” It can be tempting to invent our own truth about God. But we can’t invent God. God must tell us the truth about himself.

Jesus wants us to know the truth about God. So he tells us a story. He says that God is like a king who throws a wedding banquet. The party was going to be incredible! The best of meats and the finest of wines. But those he invited made excuses and didn’t want to come.

Stop. Do you see what Jesus is showing you about what God is really like? Your heavenly Father is not trying to rob you of your fun. He is a generous king who is inviting everyone to come to his eternal celebration.

Jesus went on to say that the king sent out more messengers and compelled as many people as he could to come to the feast. You see, God wants everyone in heaven! When the banquet finally arrived, a man entered who was not wearing wedding clothes. He was asked about his attire, but he remained speechless. Eventually the King threw him out into the darkness.

Stop again. Do you see what Jesus is trying to teach you about God, now? You are invited to come to the eternal celebration of heaven. But you can’t come on your own terms. Only those who have repented and have clothed themselves with Christ by faith will enter. If you reject the robe of Jesus’ righteousness, he will also reject you.

Many people make up their own ideas about what God is like. But God is real, a personal God. We can’t invent who he is. The good news is he is more loving and compassionate than we could have ever imagined.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, open my eyes to see what God is really like. Lead me to repent of my sin. Robe me in your righteousness by trusting in you as my Savior. Finally bring me to the great celebration of eternal joy in heaven. 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.

Thanksgiving Leads to Thanksliving – October 29, 2017

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”
Luke 17:11-18

Thanksgiving Leads to Thanksliving


Daily Devotion – October 29, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 17:11-18

See series: Devotions

After Jesus cleansed the ten lepers, only one returned to thank him. His question was poignant. “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” It appeared the nine were so excited about their new found health they forgot to thank the one who healed them.

How unfortunate! What is equally unfortunate is how I occasionally forget to respond to the Lord’s goodness and compassion. I pray for his intervention. I depend on his invitation to help. I even trust he will give me an answer. When he does answer my heartfelt request, what follows?

It is easy to be amazed and overwhelmed by the Lord’s answer to my prayer, but should it become a reason to forget to thank the one who came to my aid?

Luke does not record what happened with the other nine. No doubt they went to the priest, were declared clean, and returned to their families. Their new found health gave them a new life. The tenth leper probably did the same things. There was one exception. He stopped and returned to fall at Jesus’ feet. He began his new life by giving thanks to the Lord and praising him for his undeserved love.

It is a response I need to include in my life, and certainly, the Lord deserves my endless thanks. Richly and daily his undeserved blessings flow into my life, and these lead me to a life of thanksgiving. This life of thanksgiving could also be called “thanksliving.” It is how I live daily remembering and rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness and mercy.

Thanksliving can only begin when I recognize how blessed I am. Not a day goes by when the Lord does not support, strengthen or sustain me. Not a day goes by when he does not forgive, encourage or reassure me. This is why not a day goes by when I will not fall at my Savior’s feet and let my thanksgiving lead me to thanksliving.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, words cannot begin to express my thankfulness for your rich blessing. Give me a thankful heart that not only proclaims my gratitude, but also reflects it in the way I live to your glory and praise. 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.

God’s Faithfulness Doesn’t Change – October 28, 2017

If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
2 Timothy 2:13

God’s Faithfulness Doesn’t Change


Daily Devotion – October 28, 2017

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 2:13

See series: Devotions

“That’s just the way he is. He’s never going to change,” Jack explained to his younger cousin who had asked why grandpa had gone to bed at 6:30 pm.

“That’s just the way she is. She’s never going to change,” Sarah said, as she excused the absence of her sister who was over an hour late.

“That’s just the way he is. He’s never going to change,” Bob told the stranded motorist who was shaking his head in awe while Bob’s father, dressed in his Sunday best, wrestled the flat tire off the car so he could replace it with a properly inflated one.

“That’s just the way he is. He’s never going to change.” These words are most true when spoken about God.

People may have certain characteristics that define who they are and dictate their actions, but people do change. God never does. He is faithful. It’s not just what he does, it’s who he is.

God never goes back on a promise. He never fails to follow through on what he has said he would do. When you read a promise of God, you know that it is as good as done because God is faithful, and he never changes.

Your faithfulness or lack thereof does not influence God’s faithfulness one way or another. He has promised that he will always be with you even though there have been times when you have turned your back on him. God has promised that he will always love you even though you have not always loved him with your entire heart and soul and mind.

Most importantly, he has promised that the price for all the sins of the world, including yours, has been paid. Jesus’ blood was shed for you.

“That’s just the way I am. I’m never going to change,” your heavenly Father explains about his love for you and his faithfulness that never changes.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me even when I don’t love you in return. Thank you for your faithfulness that never changes in spite of my failures to be faithful. Help me to live a faithful life to you as the forgiven child you have made 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.

No question—You are loved! – October 27, 2017

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

No question—You are loved!


Daily Devotion – October 27, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 5:8

See series: Devotions

“I love you.” Those are precious words that we treasure hearing. But they are just that: words. Unfortunately, life experience has probably taught you that people can say anything, but that doesn’t necessarily make it true. Words that are backed up by actions, however, are much more meaningful.

The words “I love you” backed up by actions demonstrating that love—now we have something we know to be true, and it is pretty awesome.

Love is often demonstrated in any number of ways: a meaningful gift, care given during an illness, assistance with a home improvement project, just being there with an encouraging word when it is desperately needed.

The ultimate demonstration of love is someone giving up their own life for another person. Chances are that has not occurred in your life. That kind of extraordinary love and the extreme circumstances that would necessitate a sacrificial death in demonstration of that love are fairly rare.

If it did happen in your life, you could never question the love of the person who died for you. There would be no doubt as to whether or not the words “I love you” actually held any meaning.

God says he loves you, but is that real? Probably, there are times in your life when it doesn’t really feel like it. Maybe now is one of those times. When your world is falling apart around you and you feel helpless and alone, when your mind is filled with more questions than answers, it is very easy to question whether God really loves you or not. “Those are just words,” the devil tempts you to think.

God doesn’t just leave you with words. He proved his love through the ultimate demonstration of sacrifice by his death on the cross. Nothing that happens in your life can change the fact that Jesus died for you, a sinner. There can be no question. You are loved!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my Savior, thank you for proving your love for me. Help me to remain focused on your cross and know that I am loved by you and forgiven of my sins. May that assurance give me confidence and peace in my life. In your name, I ask it. 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.

An All-access Pass to God – October 26, 2017

Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:1-2

An All-access Pass to God


Daily Devotion – October 26, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 5:1-2

See series: Devotions

How far would you go to gain access to someone famous? How much would you pay for a backstage pass to a musical legend? How long would you stand in line to get an autograph from your favorite athlete or movie star?

How do you gain access to God? People have tried to figure that out since God banned Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. We have tried to gain access to God through hard work, through human intelligence, through our emotions, through wealth, and numerous other paths. However, each route leads us to the same dead-end. We can do nothing to gain access to God. Our sin has completely severed that connection.

What we have broken, God himself has restored. Rather than hold us accountable, he went after his Son for our sins. At the cross, God took out his anger over the world’s sin on his Son.

Because of Jesus and in Jesus, you have peace with God. You do not need to feel ashamed or guilty any longer. Jesus has forgiven the sins of your past. You can rest easy. God is not going to come knocking. No payment is left. The debt is gone.

Because of Jesus and in Jesus, you have full access to God. This means that when you need his help, you can call on him at any time. He will never put you on hold. When you call on him, he will never give you a generic list of options. His help is always tailor-made to fit your needs.

Because of Jesus and in Jesus, you have hope—a wonderful future in heaven. You may have troubles now, but God will turn all things out for your eternal good, and right all the wrongs you now suffer. No matter how tough your life is right now, before you know it, you will have a pain-free and trouble-free life forever with God in his glory.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for my all-access pass to your help, to the peace of your forgiveness, and the hope of eternal life; through Jesus Christ. 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.