Daily Devotions

A Sure Anchor – October 20, 2019

Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever.
Psalm 146:5,6

A Sure Anchor


Daily Devotion – October 20, 2019

Devotion based on Psalm 146:5,6

See series: Devotions

How would you like to take a trip down Niagara Falls?

The mighty Niagara River plummets some 180 feet at the Falls. Yet farther upstream the river’s current flows gently and boats are able to navigate. Anyone who floats lazily from the gentle upstream waters toward the falls will notice a sign that says, “Do you have an anchor?”

It’s a rather interesting illustration of life. You can be floating along gently, everything going swimmingly when you are suddenly plunged into the choppy rapids of problems or pain. Perhaps you even shoot over the falls of a major life crisis. You find yourself broken and alone.

This is when it is so important to have an anchor—someone or something to hold on to. In your loving God, you have just that. The writer of Psalm 146 says, “Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.” You are blessed because he is the maker of heaven and earth. He has the power to deliver you from whatever has caused you to crash. Hold on to him for dear life!

Prayer:
Lord God, you are my anchor, my hope in every adversity. Thank you for your promise to remain faithful to all your promises. Use those promises to comfort me when I crash. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Better Place – October 19, 2019

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
1 Timothy 2:1-6

A Better Place


Daily Devotion – October 19, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 2:1-6

See series: Devotions

“What can I do to make this world a better place?” A look at the sad, scary state of current events, both local and worldwide, can lead one to wonder, “Is there really anything I can do that will make a difference?”

Yes, there is. The apostle Paul says to us, “Pray.” Paul urges us to pray for everyone. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, citizens of our country, and for people around the world. Pray.

Especially pray for all those in authority. Pray for local authorities and national authorities. And pray for kings and authorities around the world. Whether it is the authorities at home or abroad, Paul doesn’t say, “Ridicule them.” He doesn’t say, “Put them down.” He doesn’t say, “Make sure everyone knows their faults.” He says, “Pray for them.” Pray for them so we can live peaceful and quiet lives.

When we live peaceful and quiet lives, we can live in all godliness and holiness. And then we can proclaim the real difference-maker, Jesus. God wants all people to be saved. That happens when people come to a knowledge of the truth. Not just any truth, but the truth that Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and people. The truth that Jesus Christ is the one who has established peace between God and all people. The truth that Jesus Christ is the one who has opened heaven for us. He did that by giving himself as a ransom, by taking our sins upon himself, by offering his body and blood for us on the cross.

Life with Jesus—that’s what truly makes this world a better place.

Prayer:
Lord God, guide and bless all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Then guide and bless us as we proclaim Jesus, the difference-maker for this life and for eternity. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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My God – October 18, 2019

“No one can serve two masters.”
Luke 16:13

My God


Daily Devotion – October 18, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 16:13

See series: Devotions

Fifteen years ago, an author by the name of David Foster Wallace agreed to speak at a college graduation. Wallace was a secular man, wary of any kind of organized religion. And yet in this speech he surprised a lot of people. He said that in the trenches of everyday life, there really is no such thing as atheism because everyone worships something. It’s just a question of what. Then he gave some warnings. He said that if you worship money, you will never have enough. If you worship beauty and good looks, you will always feel ugly. Furthermore, as you grow older and beauty fades, you will die a million deaths before you actually die. If you worship power, he said, you will always feel weak. And if you worship intellect, then you will always feel stupid, and you will always feel afraid you’re going to be found out.

In addition, Wallace included this chilling caution. Be careful what you worship. Because nearly everything that one can worship will, in the end, eat you alive.

And so let’s put the question out on the table. Who—or what—do you worship?

More often than we care to admit, you and I have slipped into putting our best time, our best energy, our best passion into something or someone other than our relationship with God and his will for our lives. As a result, we have often skewed our priorities and hurt other people. For this, we deserve God’s abandonment.

But God has not abandoned us. Instead, Jesus came. In our place, he always put his heavenly Father first. At the cross, he washed away the sin of our every misguided priority. Through faith in Jesus, all is now forgiven. All is well between us and our God. This reality empowers us to follow the One who matters most.

David Foster Wallace warned that nearly everything one can worship will eat you alive in the end. But not the one, true God who is worthy of your worship. He will not eat you alive. Through Jesus He will keep you alive…eternally.

Prayer:
Lord, I love you with all my heart. May all that I say and do this day demonstrate my love 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Contentment – October 17, 2019

Godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:6

Contentment


Daily Devotion – October 17, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 6:6

See series: Devotions

Ruth Whippman is an accomplished writer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker. She is also someone who has devoted time and thought to the concept of contentment in our twenty-first century. What she’s written makes for a good read. For instance, did you know that in the United States alone, people spend $10 billion per year on books, programs, and techniques that promise to deliver contentment?

This financial pursuit has become so pronounced that marketers have designated a new category for it. They call it Spiritual Spending. “The idea,” writes Whippman, “is that if you just put in enough emotional elbow grease, slog out enough hours of positive thinking, mindful coloring, gratitude-journal keeping, and self-help book reading, you will ultimately be rewarded.”

But then she delivered the bad news. Spiritual Spending has not delivered as promised. Studies reveal that, if anything, people are more anxious and disappointed than ever. And while she does not claim to have all the answers, Whippman does suggest where the problem lies. Increasingly, she says, people are “looking inward into their own souls, rather than outward…” In addition, she notes that “many recent happiness trends, from self-help books to meditation, are designed to be carried out completely alone.”

All of this echoes a foundational Christian truth: I will not find the answer by looking inward because the answer is not in me.

The answer is in a relationship with the one who created us. An early Christian by the name of Augustine once prayed, “Lord, you made me for yourself. Our hearts are restless until we find our rest in you.” God could see how restless and lost our own sinfulness had made us. And so he sent his Son. On our behalf, Jesus sought and found perfect contentment in his relationship with his heavenly Father. Then, in love, he carried our failures to the cross. There he endured the abandonment we deserved. Through faith in him, we not only have full forgiveness, we have him. He is with us each and every day, no matter where our lives take us. Knowing that he has taken care of our greatest need, we can be sure that he will take care of our every need. And we can be content.

Prayer:
Lord, I know that you are with me this day. No matter what it brings, may this make me content. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Bond – October 16, 2019

God our Savior . . . wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth . . . Christ Jesus . . . gave himself as a ransom for all people.
1 Timothy 2:3-6

Bond


Daily Devotion – October 16, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 2:3-6

See series: Devotions

He was an army captain, flew a helicopter, and was offered a teaching position at West Point. But he loved songwriting. So, he left the army and moved to Nashville. He showed people his songs, but no one seemed interested. Meanwhile, he worked as a janitor at a recording studio. One night at the studio he opened a letter from his mother. It was a bombshell. She was disowning him. She was ashamed of him, she said. She told him not to come home anymore because his presence would humiliate her in front of her friends.

News of this reached a singer who was recording in the studio that day. Years earlier, the singer had had a similar experience. In his childhood, his older brother had died. One night, in a drunken stupor, his father had told him, “I wish you had died in that accident instead of your brother.” The singer and the janitor were different people. But they had things in common and it created a bond between them. The singer, Johnny Cash, went on to sing songs written by the janitor whose name was Kris Kristofferson. Thanks to Johnny Cash he went on to become one of the greatest songwriters in country music history. And it all started with a common bond.

As you go about your day look at those around you. There’s the girl at your convenience store. There’s the mechanic you’ve trusted for years. There’s the aid at the nursing home. There’s the neighbor who always waves but whose name you don’t know. All different people. But you share a bond with them. All of you know the brokenness of sin. All of you need a Savior. All of you need the forgiveness Jesus has purchased for you. And so pray for an opportunity to get just a little better acquainted. When God gives you a moment with one of these souls, take it. As you get to know that person better, look for an opportunity to tell them about the Savior you share. Because, as St. Paul wrote, God wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.

Prayer:
My Savior, everyone around me needs you as badly as I do. Give me the courage and conviction to tell them about 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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For Kings – October 15, 2019

“I urge, then, first of all, that . . . prayers . . . be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority.”
1 Timothy 2:1,2

For Kings


Daily Devotion – October 15, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 2:1,2

See series: Devotions

The Apostle Paul was a proclaimer of the Good News of Jesus in the first century A.D. During his ministry, one of the emperors of the Roman Empire was a man by the name of Nero. Nero embodied everything decadent about the Roman Empire at that time. He was self-indulgent, violent, and cruel. He arranged for his own mother to be stabbed to death. He had his wife murdered when he wanted to marry someone else. So awful was his regime that, when Nero died by suicide, a contemporary historian reported that citizens “ran through the streets . . . as though they were freed slaves.”

Then there was the great burning of Rome. When the city caught fire, many blamed their emperor. To divert attention, Nero chose to blame Christians. Under Nero’s orders, Christians were captured, tortured, executed. Some were hung up and set on fire to provide light for one of Nero’s evening parties.

This was the government under which the Apostle Paul lived. And it was under these circumstances that the Holy Spirit moved Paul to urge us to pray “for kings and all those in authority.”

And so here we are, in our own setting, in the twenty-first century. It is easy to complain about government leaders, to be cynical about government leaders, to rage against government leaders. It does not always occur to us to pray for them.

But stop for a moment and consider what we possess as Christians. Because of the forgiveness Jesus won for us, we possess the high privilege of entering the courts of the almighty God himself. We can come into his presence and talk to him in prayer. And when we speak to him about our government leaders, he will listen. What a privileged and powerful position to be in! May we not waste the opportunity to ask the King of the universe to bless the leaders of our land.

Prayer:
Lord, I pray for my government leaders. Give them wisdom. Guide their actions for the good of our society and for the furthering of your kingdom. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Memory – October 14, 2019

“I will never forget . . .”
Amos 8:7

Memory


Daily Devotion – October 14, 2019

Devotion based on Amos 8:7

See series: Devotions

There is a fascinating new documentary series entitled The Mind, Explained. Each episode explores what researchers have learned about some specific function in the human brain. The subject of the first episode is memory.

Researchers have discovered that the capacity of the human brain to commit things to memory is breathtaking. For instance, one woman featured on the show is able to memorize a random series of 500 numbers in just 10 minutes and then repeat the numbers in their proper sequence without making a mistake.

However, researchers have also found that there are many aspects of human memory that are far from reliable. Another woman recalls what she remembers from September 11, 2001. While the main arc of what she remembers is accurate enough, there are various details in her recall that are not.

All of which brings us to our Lord. Our God’s capacity to remember is perfect. It is all-encompassing. It is eternal. All by itself, this is a chilling thought. It tells me that if my plan is to stand before a perfectly good and just God one day and presume that, somehow, my failures will be small enough to have been forgotten by him, then I am the one with a faulty memory. I have forgotten that my God knows all and remembers all that I do.

But that’s why God chose to send his Son. He saw our desperate need for rescue. Jesus remembered his heavenly Father’s will and lived a life of perfect faithfulness on our behalf. He also carried our every sinful failure to the cross. There he washed them away in his blood. Now, through faith in what Jesus has done in our place, God declares that he will remember our sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34).

And here’s one more beautiful thing. Even on those days when you don’t fully remember how much God loves us in Jesus, he does.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you that because of what Jesus has done for me, you remember my sins no more. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Ripe Fruit – October 13, 2019

The LORD has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.”
Amos 8:7

Ripe Fruit


Daily Devotion – October 13, 2019

Devotion based on Amos 8:7

See series: Devotions

In the days of Amos the prophet, the LORD God of Israel showed Amos a basket of ripe fruit. The LORD told him that just as the fruit was ripe, the time was ripe for his judgment on the people of Israel. Time was up.

The LORD‘s words should have disturbed every listener in Israel. He swore to never forget the evil they had done. His patience had run out. The end had come. Assyria would soon sweep them away.

Most of the people who listened to Amos’ message did not take him seriously. They despised him as a foreigner from the southern kingdom of Judah who had come to meddle in the affairs of the northern kingdom of Israel.

Within a generation, God carried out his threat. The kingdom of Israel collapsed.

The same God speaks to the world today through his ancient prophet whose words remain true for this generation. He speaks against the sinful excess and blatant idolatry in our lives. How can the Almighty forget the evil we have done?

Yet he makes a promise that repentant sinners love to hear. The God who says, “I will never forget anything they have done” has also declared, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). Through Jesus Christ, he has kept this promise. Although your God would have every right to remember your sins, he has chosen instead to put your sins on his Son who took them to the cross. For his Son’s sake, he remembers your sins no more.

Prayer:
Righteous God, forgive me, renew me, bless me, and keep me steadfast in your gracious love 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Mercy – October 12, 2019

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy . . . The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly.
1 Timothy 1:13,14

Mercy


Daily Devotion – October 12, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 1:13,14

See series: Devotions

One of the classic tales in all of literature is Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo. The story is set in France in the early 1800s. The main character, Jean Valjean, has just gotten out of prison, and no one wants to help him in any way. Finally, he finds refuge with an elderly bishop, who happily gives him shelter and food. But Valjean’s old habits get the better of him, and during the night he fills a bag with the bishop’s silver and runs away.

The next morning, three policemen pound on the bishop’s door. They’ve caught Valjean with the bishop’s silver. They now have cause to lock him up for life. But the bishop responds in a surprising way. “So here you are!” he cries to Valjean. “I’m delighted to see you. Had you forgotten I gave you the candlesticks as well?”

The policemen are speechless. And so is Valjean. The officers have no choice but to release him and walk away. This single act of mercy spares him from a lifetime in prison. And it also changes his life.

Les Misérables, of course, is only a story. But God’s mercy for you and me in Jesus Christ is not. The apostle Paul openly confessed that, apart from Christ, he had been “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.” Then God’s mercy stepped in. By the power of the gospel, the Holy Spirit created within Paul the miracle of faith in Jesus as his Savior. That act of mercy spared Paul from an eternity of darkness. And it changed his whole outlook on life.

You and I can see ourselves in Jean Valjean. And we can see ourselves in Paul. Alone, we are lost. But God’s mercy has intervened. And God’s mercy is here because of what his Son has already done on our behalf to wash us clean.

The mercy of God. The pure, simple, sweet mercy of God in Jesus. Rather than make us speechless, may it make us sing his praise!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, your mercy has rescued us from a life of darkness and despair. You have done this through faith in your Son. Thank 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Importance of One – October 11, 2019

[Jesus said] “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke 15:10

The Importance of One


Daily Devotion – October 11, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 15:10

See series: Devotions

Our congregation will soon be observing a Welcome Home Sunday. We hope to have all of our members come together for a festive day of worship and encouragement in God’s Word. We also hope that those who might have strayed from God’s church will come back and experience God’s love and forgiveness with us, as well as the blessing of a Christian community.

As a way of preparing for Welcome Home Sunday, we recently studied Jesus’ parables in Luke, chapter 15. A keen observation that one of our members made was the importance of one.

In Jesus’ stories, one sheep out of ninety-nine was lost; one coin out of ten went missing; one son left home to disown his family and squander his wealth. But that one was worth going after. That one was worth searching for. That one was worth waiting for with eager anticipation.

Jesus tells us, “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

This means that when God leads you from unbelief to faith, from sin to repentance, from straying to returning, God and his angels rejoice over you! Your soul—as small and unimportant as it may feel at times in this big world—matters to God! Nothing brings God greater joy than to forgive your sins and welcome you home!

The importance of one also makes a difference as we think about others. In love, we want sinners to turn to the Lord in humble faith and receive his forgiveness. So we pray for them. We reach out to them. We invite them. How discouraging it can be when it seems like our work is wasted. Hours of care and prayer may show little or no outward results.

But God works in hearts through his Word. And, there is rejoicing over everyone who turns back to the Lord. So, do not lose heart. We who have been loved and found can boldly love and seek others and then rejoice over each one who comes home to their Savior.

Prayer:
Jesus, you rejoice over me. Give me your heart to rejoice over all who repent. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Loves the Lost – October 10, 2019

[Jesus told them this parable] “Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke 15:8-10

Jesus Loves the Lost


Daily Devotion – October 10, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 15:8-10

See series: Devotions

Keys, cell phones, toys, computer files. We all lose things from time to time. How carefully we look for them may indicate how valuable they are to us. When I was eight or nine years old, my parents had recently bought me a new baseball glove. One day I couldn’t find it. I didn’t know where it was. My dad was not happy with me, mostly because I didn’t seem to care that I had lost my new glove and wasn’t too concerned about finding it. My attitude seemed to show that I didn’t value my lost glove.

A popular Christian hymn says, “I once was lost but now am found.” When Jesus told the story about a lost coin, he was comparing us to that lost coin. The disobedient hearts we inherited from our parents lead us to wander away from God. The Bible describes us as spiritually lost. Jesus could have just written us off. It was our fault, not his, that we were lost. But Jesus loved us more than that.

He went out of his way to find us. He came down from heaven “to seek and to save the lost.” He found us in our sin and saved us by taking our place under God’s judgment. And when our hearts lead us to keep running away from God and into sin, Jesus keeps seeking us.

In his Word, Jesus shows us how our sins offend God. Then, he shows us the forgiving love that brought him to earth to save us. With that two-fold message, he picks us up from the dust and draws us to himself, where he wants us to stay forever. And with his angels, he rejoices that we have been found and freed from sin and death. How much he loves us!

Prayer:
How much you love me, Lord, to seek me and find me whenever I’m lost. Thank 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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This Man Welcomes Sinners – October 9, 2019

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Luke 15:1,2

This Man Welcomes Sinners


Daily Devotion – October 9, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 15:1,2

See series: Devotions

My oldest daughter started high school this fall. Though I am thankful that she can attend a Christian high school, I still grow concerned as a father. I know that she is a sinner like me. I know that her judgment, like mine, is not always perfectly wise. I know that the devil has his sights set on her, ready to unleash his flaming arrows. He wants to lay traps of temptation for her that, perhaps, I never faced in my youth.

One of the important pieces of advice that we parents give our children is to choose their friends carefully. Whom you will spend time with—no matter how old you are—can make a big difference in how much you leave yourself open to Satan’s attacks.

As I think about the verses in today’s text, I wonder if I would have wanted my daughter to be hanging around with Jesus and the people he spent time with. These were people who were known for immoral living. No self-respecting prophet would associate with them. No godly parent would let his children be around them.

Or would they? Jesus saw such people and loved them. He didn’t condone or encourage their immorality. He called their sin, sin. He lovingly and patiently called them to confess their wrongs, receive his forgiveness, and live a new life of faith.

By spending time with them, Jesus was showing love for their souls lost in sin, the unconditional love that we so desperately need. If Jesus only loved certain sinners, why would I think he loves me? But Jesus wants all sinners to turn from their sins and be saved. He came to love me and forgive me. And he calls me to love others, as I have been loved.

May God lead our children to choose wisely those with whom they will spend their time. And may God give to our children and to us a heart that rejoices in his boundless love and reflects that love to all people.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, friend of sinners, as you have loved and forgiven me, lead me to love and forgive 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Came to Save Sinners – October 8, 2019

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
1 Timothy 1:15

Jesus Came to Save Sinners


Daily Devotion – October 8, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 1:15

See series: Devotions

Media outlets often report the sins that people have committed against one another and the latest ways that sin has ravaged our world. How can people do such things to one another? And how can God put up with it and not destroy our wicked world?

But here is an amazing truth that God wants us to know: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

To fully understand what it means that Christ Jesus came to save sinners, take off a week of work, and go and sit in a police station or courthouse. You’ll see the evening news close up and personal. But Christ Jesus came to save sinners. Christ Jesus came to save every one of those people whose heinous crimes land them in prison—every one of them.

Or maybe try this. Instead of watching the news go out and buy a big mirror. Prop it up in front of your TV. Then, every time you watch TV or even walk by the TV, you will see a sinner whom Christ Jesus came to save.

You see, God doesn’t give us his law to show us all of the bad people around us. He wants his commands to make us realize how much we have disobeyed him in our attitude and actions. Even that pride that makes us look down on others is a sin that is worthy of God’s judgment.

When God’s law has done its work, God’s love is so much more amazing. I’m a sinner, but because of Jesus, God considers me a saint. I’m a slave to sin, but God sets me free. I’m worthy of death, but God gives me life.

God’s forgiving love has no limits. No matter how great my guilt, Jesus came to save me. Neither my past nor my present is beyond the reach of his mercy. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—to save me. What unimaginable love!

Prayer:
Jesus, I’m a sinner. I’m no better than anyone else. But you came to save me—even me! Accept my humble praise now and always. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Faithful Love – October 7, 2019

The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods.”
Hosea 3:1

Faithful Love


Daily Devotion – October 7, 2019

Devotion based on Hosea 3:1

See series: Devotions

Hosea was a messenger for the Lord in a dark time in the history of the nation of Israel. The Lord had shown loyal love to the Israelite people, but they turned their backs on him. They knew the only true God, but they chose to serve and worship false gods conceived in the minds of man.

But the Lord loved them. He wanted them to know and trust him. He wanted them to be his people and enjoy his blessings forever. So he sent prophets to warn them and try to win them back.

One of those prophets was Hosea. The Lord not only told Hosea what to say to people. He also commanded Hosea to live in a way that would speak a powerful message to them.

The Lord commanded Hosea to marry a woman named Gomer. She was a prostitute. She used her body in ways that offended God and mocked his gift of marriage. When Gomer married Hosea, that didn’t change. She was unfaithful to her husband, just as Israel was unfaithful to the Lord.

But the Lord told Hosea to take Gomer back and love her again. And Hosea did. He even paid a price to get her back, knowing very well that she would probably be unfaithful again.

Hosea’s life teaches us about our God’s unconditional love. We are unfaithful to the Lord every time we disobey him. Our actions reveal that we often love ourselves and our world more than the Lord.

But the Lord does not give up on us. He does not stop loving us. Jesus came to pay a price to free us from our sinful life and its deadly consequences. The price he paid was his own innocent life. He patiently brought us back to him and loved us with his perfect, selfless love.

Though we are often unfaithful, the Lord’s faithfulness never fails. His commitment never wavers. Your Lord will always love you, always forgive you, always welcome you back.

Prayer:
Lord, may your faithful love for me move me to serve and worship you faithfully. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Gets Rid of Every Spot and Stain – October 6, 2019

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”
Psalm 51:1-3

Jesus Gets Rid of Every Spot and Stain


Daily Devotion – October 6, 2019

Devotion based on Psalm 51:1-3

See series: Devotions

“How will I ever get that clean again, young man?” This cry has gone out more than once when a young child comes in covered with dirt and grass stains. It doesn’t matter what detergent you use. You’ve tried them all. Pre-soaks? Bleach? They just don’t work as well as they are advertised.

David, the writer of Psalm 51, also had trouble cleaning away some dirt. But the dirt and stains he was worried about were not on his clothes or under his fingernails. David, the King of Israel and leader of God’s people, had committed some terrible sins. He had sex with another man’s wife. When David found out his girlfriend was pregnant, he arranged to have her husband murdered.

For a while, David told himself these things didn’t matter. But they did! His conscience bothered him constantly. He couldn’t sleep or eat. He knew he was “dirty.” His dirt, however, could never be taken away with soap or cleaners. There was only one place he could go to get clean.

David took his sins to the Lord and pleaded, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” David knew that sin was a stain that could only be cleansed through God’s forgiveness.

In mercy God sent the Savior for David and for all of us, and “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 Peter 1:7). What a relief it is to know that Jesus gets out every “dirty spot!” What a joy it is to know that through God’s forgiveness all our sins are washed away! Thank you, Jesus!

Prayer:
Dear Lord, be merciful to me. As you have so richly forgiven me, continue to send me your Holy Spirit, that I may not fall from faith but remain your child 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Worth It – October 5, 2019

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus…
Philemon 1:1

Worth It


Daily Devotion – October 5, 2019

Devotion based on Philemon 1:1

See series: Devotions

In the world of social psychology, the name of Dr. Craig Haney is a familiar one. In particular, Dr. Haney has become well-known for his research on prisoners and prison systems. From his research, he has concluded that typical prisoners will have to grapple with a number of psychological issues—issues that often come along with the reality of confinement.

For example, one issue is the prisoners’ understandable sense of dependence on those who are keeping them confined—something that can threaten to wear them down in negative ways as time goes on. Another can be a diminished sense of self-worth and personal value. This, in turn, can lead to social withdrawal and isolation. According to Dr. Haney, these are just some of the challenges that typical prisoners must be ready to face.

During his ministry, the apostle Paul learned what it meant to be a prisoner. Two times he endured extended confinement. As he did, no doubt he faced the very challenges that Dr. Haney details in his research. No doubt there were moments when he wrestled fiercely with the psychological and emotional issues that can vex a person in a prison setting.

Nevertheless, Paul accepted these consequences. He knew that it was his proclamation of Jesus that had landed him in prison. Even more important, he knew what he possessed through faith in Christ as his Savior from sin. As a result, he knew that any burdens he bore as a prisoner were all worth it.

As Christians, you and I bear burdens too. Satan makes us a target. He does all he can to distract us, to discourage us, to bring us difficulty and hardship. And we too have our share of wrestling matches with all the unpleasantness he can bring.

But just as Paul accepted the life of a prisoner, you and I can accept the burdens that come our way. We can accept them because we know what we have in Jesus. We know that, through faith in him, there is forgiveness, peace, purpose, life, light, eternal joy.

And that makes any temporary burdens well worth it.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when Satan tries to use the temporary difficulties of my life to discourage me, remind me of all I possess through faith 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Cost of Following Christ – October 4, 2019

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: . . . “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:25,27

The Cost of Following Christ


Daily Devotion – October 4, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 14:25,27

See series: Devotions

My first experience with a different culture happened when I was three years old. I was unprepared for the shock of being one of the few white children in a crowd of dark-skinned nationals. My pale skin, maize-colored hair, and bright blue eyes alarmed other toddlers. They would cower and cry in their mothers’ arms because they thought they had seen a ghost. Whenever I explored the areas near my home, I would hear my African peers call after me, “Mzungu!” (white-skinned wanderer).

As shocked as I first was, I grew to cherish that culture. In fact, when I left the warm heart of Africa for the cold tundra of Wisconsin, I felt like I had abandoned the culture of my childhood.

Jesus loves you so much. He doesn’t want you to be unprepared for the shock of belonging to his culture or unaware of the eternal shock of being apart from it.

Do you understand what it means to belong to the culture of Christ? Jesus wants you to know. The cross is central to who Jesus is. It is the heart of what it means to follow him. His cross reveals our sinfulness, but it also reveals his love. There he took full responsibility for our sin and purchased our salvation from the shocking consequence of hell. And his cross points us to the home in heaven that he has won for us.

Following Jesus means that we stick out among mainstream culture. Following his Word makes us wanderers in the world. We don’t settle for the good life because we long for eternal life in heaven. We sacrifice sinful pleasures because we cherish every spiritual blessing we have in Christ. We put aside personal agendas because we love the peace we have with God.

Jesus’ words are startling. But those who are wise in Christ rejoice to trust and follow him. For the benefits of carrying our cross far outweigh the shock of being different.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, make me strong to carry my cross and wise to follow you through this world on the way that leads to eternal 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Cling to the Credentials of Christ – October 3, 2019

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more . . . But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ.
Philippians 3:4,7-10

Cling to the Credentials of Christ


Daily Devotion – October 3, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 3:4,7-10

See series: Devotions

Five years ago, a former mayor of New York City made a bold claim. He pointed to all his accomplishments and said, “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven, I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven.”

The apostle Paul once made the same bold claim. He was an elite Jew from the tribe of Benjamin. At eight days old, he was circumcised according to Jewish law. He grew up in the strict Orthodox Jewish tradition. As a Pharisee, Paul followed their laws faultlessly. If anyone could earn his way into heaven, it was Paul.

But then Paul met Jesus. Jesus showed him that he is the only way to get into heaven. Jesus’ credentials are flawless. His life conformed perfectly to God’s will. His death on the cross paid fully for all the world’s sin. He earned our salvation completely. Paul’s credentials couldn’t compare. So, he tore them up, tossed them out, and clung in faith to Christ’s life-giving work.

Like the former mayor of New York City, we can lean heavily on our accomplishments. We may be good at living by the standards we set for heaven. But no matter how impressive our Christian credentials, they cannot get us into heaven. It’s all garbage compared to trusting Christ our Savior.

Like Paul, those who are wise in Christ cling to him by faith. Christ by his life, death, and resurrection brings us God’s forgiving love. He is the only way to get to heaven. Keep your eye on him, and don’t look back.

Prayer:
Your works, not mine, O Christ, speak gladness to this heart. To whom but you, who can alone for sin atone, Lord, shall I flee? 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Wisdom Welcomes the Estranged – October 2, 2019

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker. . . I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. . . . I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. . . . no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. . . . Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
Philemon 1:1-21 (selected verses)

Wisdom Welcomes the Estranged


Daily Devotion – October 2, 2019

Devotion based on Philemon 1:1-21 (selected verses)

See series: Devotions

“I don’t have anything to say to you,” he responded as he closed the door. I wanted to reconcile with my brother, but he was unwilling to reconcile with me.

Like me, Onesimus wanted to reconcile with his brother. Onesimus was the slave of a Christian named Philemon. For unknown reasons, Onesimus ran away from his master and went to Rome.

In Rome, Onesimus met the apostle Paul who introduced him to his Savior. Onesimus learned that God had reconciled the world to himself through the cross. Jesus had paid for his sin! Onesimus believed the good news and became a changed man. So, Paul sent Onesimus back to his master with a letter.

Paul knew that Philemon treasured God’s reconciliation in Christ. So, in his letter, Paul called for Christian wisdom: Reconcile with Onesimus and receive him, not as a slave but a freeman and brother in Christ. This act of mercy would glorify Christ.

The good news of Jesus changes us too. As those who are wise in Christ, God equips and empowers us to glorify Christ by reconciling with one another. If we have run away from responsibility, we will make amends. If a brother or sister in Christ sins against us, we will show them their fault. And we will forgive and receive them back as if they had done us no harm whenever they repent.

For, we were slaves once too, slaves to sin. God should punish us, but Jesus intervened for us. He surrendered his rights as God and suffered our punishment. Because he satisfied our debt, God welcomes us back. No longer as slaves, but his children.

Prayer:
Lord, help me to glorify you by repenting of my sin, rejoicing in forgiveness, and reconciling with 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Wisdom Worships God – October 1, 2019

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. . . . So Abram went, as the LORD had told him. . . . Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. . . . The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” . . . From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.
Genesis 12:1-8 (selected verses)

Wisdom Worships God


Daily Devotion – October 1, 2019

Devotion based on Genesis 12:1-8 (selected verses)

See series: Devotions

We left home and family when I was a small boy. The Lord called my father from the mountains of America to serve as a missionary in the plains of Central Africa. When we arrived, we learned that our possessions had been lost in route, from furniture to family photos. I was too young to remember my reaction.

What will you do if the Lord uproots your life and leads you to unfamiliar places? You may lose your health, livelihood, a friendship, or loved one. You may change schools, jobs, or enter the workforce. You may face the end of your earthly life.

We know how Abram responded when God called him to leave his familiar life. He knew the Lord’s promise to bless him. He knew the Lord would be with him along the way and was already at his destination. So, when Abram arrived, he “called on the name of the LORD,” that is, he worshipped God for loving him.

When life takes an unfamiliar or uncomfortable direction, remember Abram’s wise response. Call on the name of the LORD. Worship him for loving you. Exhale your worry and fear. Inhale the life-giving breath of God’s Word. In all things God works for the good of those who love him, whom he has called for his purpose. Since he gave us his Son that we might have a home in heaven, he will undoubtedly give us all we need to reach that destination. Know that he is with you along the way and already there to greet you.

Wherever God leads, call on his name and worship him there.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom to worship you wherever you lead 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Get Wise – September 30, 2019

Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.
Proverbs 9:8-12

Get Wise


Daily Devotion – September 30, 2019

Devotion based on Proverbs 9:8-12

See series: Devotions

When I was three, we visited my grandparents’ home. Inside the window of the stairwell was a fan with metal blades. My mother warned me that if I touched it, I would hurt myself. She gave me the knowledge, but I lacked proper follow-through. Eventually, I reached out and my fingers contacted those rotating blades. Forty years later, my hand still bears the scar. I wasn’t wise.

Wisdom is not the same as book smarts, a high IQ, or even common sense. If you have knowledge, you are smart. If you have knowledge and the right follow-through, you are wise.

At least, that’s how we describe worldly wisdom. The Bible, however, tells us about something even more important—godly wisdom. Godly wisdom is knowing the God of the Bible and putting what we know about him and what he says into practice in our lives. Sadly, like a three-year-old who puts his fingers into the blades of a spinning fan, we are often spiritually unwise. We know what God tells us is right and wrong, what is good for us and what is bad. But we decide to do what is wrong and what is bad for us. We aren’t wise.

What should God do with such people? He could have simply said, “You fools!” and had nothing more to do with us. But he didn’t. Instead, he sent his Son Jesus Christ who lived a life of perfect godly wisdom. And he gives us the credit for it. Through faith in his perfect wisdom, God sees us as being perfectly wise. And, by his Holy Spirit, he grants us more and more godly wisdom. He empowers us to put his word into practice in our lives.

May he do just this for you this day.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are the wisdom of God and my wisdom too. Forgive me for my foolishness. And help me follow through, loving you and living 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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True Wisdom – September 29, 2019

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10

True Wisdom


Daily Devotion – September 29, 2019

Devotion based on Proverbs 9:10

See series: Devotions

It is interesting that Japan has a very high suicide rate and Haiti has a very low rate. It doesn’t seem to make sense. One would think that Japan, a very prosperous and modern country, would have few people who would want to end their lives. And one would think that Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, would have plenty of people who would want to escape such poverty and suffering. It doesn’t seem to add up. Why is this so?

There are many questions like that. Why is there so much crime? Why is there still so much war? Why do people in a world full of food, die of starvation?

Solomon, a man specially gifted with wisdom from God, says that answers can be found in true wisdom.

What is wisdom? Some say it is what you know by experience. Others say it is knowing how to use what you know—common sense. Solomon’s definition is the best. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Knowing God and understanding him is the basis for all true wisdom. How can I understand the world if I don’t understand the One who created it? How can I understand the meaning of life if I don’t understand the Giver of all life? How can I understand why I am here without first understanding the One who put me here?

God has revealed himself to us through his Word written in the Bible. As we hear, study, and learn his Word, we come to know him better and find true wisdom for our lives. In his Word, we find the good news that God sent Jesus to solve our greatest problem, our sin. In his Word, we will find the wisdom we need to live in this often-confusing world.

Prayer:
Lord, teach me to fear and know you so that my life will be filled with wisdom. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Never Changes – September 28, 2019

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Never Changes


Daily Devotion – September 28, 2019

Devotion based on Hebrews 13:8

See series: Devotions

Were you surprised this morning at the wrinkled face peeking back at you in the mirror? Or the sagging where there was once no sag? A gray hair proudly declaring its independence? Or maybe an entire forest of gray? “When did I change so much,” you sigh. But change is a fact of life. We see gas prices rise and fall. The love in marriages grows cold. Professional athletes retire, then un-retire, then retire again. We’ve become so accustomed to change that it would be far more remarkable to witness something that doesn’t.

The book of Hebrews tells us that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” I’m not sure that you and I can ever fully appreciate those words. We don’t have anything to compare it to. We’ve never experienced something so constant, so steady, so dependable, and so…unchanging!

But rather than fearing what we don’t understand, let those stabilizing words from your Creator make you feel secure and confident. Because the eyes that once blinked through the hurt of rejection and squinted through the tears of pain are the very same eyes that are watching you with tenderness right now. The hands that bore nail-marks as proof of his love, are the same divine hands protecting you from harm. The head that endured shame and thorns is the same head turned attentively to your suffering and trouble.

Jesus NEVER changes! Your forgiveness is sure; your heaven is secure. He will ALWAYS love you.

Prayer:
Jesus, I’m not quite sure how you can never change. So much of my world changes every day. But I know that it means you love me. And it makes me love you, too. Thank you, my unchanging Jesus. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Build Others Up – September 27, 2019

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors . . . But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.”
Luke 14:12-14

Build Others Up


Daily Devotion – September 27, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 14:12-14

See series: Devotions

Does Jesus really not want us to have our friends and family over to our homes for dinner? No, Jesus often went to friends’ homes for dinner. And the Bible speaks highly of the early Christians who “broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46). Jesus’ point in saying the words of today’s Bible passage is not to discourage us from hosting our friends and family for dinner. Instead, he is encouraging us to be on the lookout for ways to build other people up.

None of us is naturally inclined to build others up. By nature, we see people as mere tools we can use to build ourselves up. If someone has something that we think can benefit us, such as wealth or a good reputation, we seek to use that person in a way that will make us look better. If, however, someone has nothing that can benefit us, we either ignore that person or tear that person down so that we can look better in comparison.

This, of course, is not the way Jesus wants us to treat others. Nor is it the way he treated us. If Jesus had been looking only for people who could bring him some benefit, he never would have chosen us. We had nothing to offer him. Yet Jesus didn’t just associate with us. He became one of us. He humbled himself for the express purpose of building us up, so that through his life and death for us, we might be exalted with him forever.

Now, as we see how Jesus so selflessly built us up from the nothing we were, we are eager and able to build others up as well. It doesn’t matter who the other person is. All are people for whom Jesus humbled himself. All are people whom we, with God’s help, can seek to build up.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, lead me to build others up, just as you have done for 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Humble Yourself – September 26, 2019

[Jesus said] “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. . . . But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ . . . For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 14:8,10,11

Humble Yourself


Daily Devotion – September 26, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 14:8,10,11

See series: Devotions

“Where am I supposed to sit?” you wonder as you enter the reception hall. You scan all the tables and notice that one table at the front of the hall is specially decorated and elevated on a riser. “That must be where the bride and groom want me to sit,” you think. “After all, I’m one of their best friends. I deserve to be seated as close to them as possible.”

It’s hard to imagine that any of us would be so presumptuous as to do something like that at a friend’s wedding reception. Yet, as Jesus observed, such behavior is certainly not unthinkable for us sinful human beings. Each of us naturally has a very high opinion of ourselves. We believe that we deserve to be honored by others. And if they don’t give us the honor we think we deserve, we’ll do what we can to build ourselves up so they can’t help but notice how great we are.

Such self-exalting behavior, however, is not what Jesus wants to see in us. It certainly is not how he acted. Although, as the Son of God, he deserved to be honored more than anyone else, he did not insist on always receiving that honor. Instead, he willingly humbled himself and for a while hid his greatness so he could save us. It was through humbling himself, even to the point of suffering and dying on the cross for us, that Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God.

If you want to be honored in Jesus’ kingdom, don’t seek to build yourself up. Instead, through faith in Jesus, humble yourself. And trust that Jesus, who humbled himself for you, will exalt you just as he has promised.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, lead me through faith in you to humble myself to your glory. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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