Tag Archive for: daily-devotions

Locals Do Not Take It Well – January 25, 2022

“Truly I tell you,” [Jesus] continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” . . . All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.
Luke 4:24,28

Locals Do Not Take It Well

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Daily Devotion – January 25, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 4:24,28

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When Jesus was growing up, he never sinned. It’s hard to understand how he could go through childhood and teenage years without ever doing anything wrong, but that’s exactly what happened. Jesus was a model citizen. But when he returned to his hometown as an adult to tell the people all about the truths about God, they rejected him. He had never done anything wrong to them, but they were still skeptics. Jesus saw their problem, and he told them, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” Did that make them sorry for doubting him? Nope! They were furious when they heard what Jesus told them.

Don’t be surprised if you get the same reaction when you mention anything about Jesus. His perfect life is your righteousness, your ticket to heaven through faith, but rather than marveling at that truth, people remain skeptical. His death took the punishment for your sin, but rather than thanking you for that information, people roll their eyes as if it’s a cliché.

Don’t give up. One famous skeptic in the Bible, a man named Saul, was converted by the power of the word of God. He became one of the most famous missionaries in all of history. He may never have preached in his hometown, but he founded congregations in many other places and trained many other witnesses to the truths of the faith.

You are able to be a witness to the power of the word of God in your life as well. Stick with Jesus until you share the hometown of heaven with him.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when people reject what I say about you, forgive them and strengthen me to serve you faithfully all the days of my life. Amen.

Daily 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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Rulers Do Not Take It Well – January 24, 2022

You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.”
Acts 4:25,26

Rulers Do Not Take It Well

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Daily Devotion – January 24, 2022

Devotion based on Acts 4:25,26

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The Bible tells us about a young man named Timothy who was mentored by a famous missionary named Paul. There are even two books of the Bible—1 Timothy and 2 Timothy—named after him. Both books are letters written to him by Paul.

Timothy’s life wasn’t always easy. For example, we know that he was imprisoned for being a Christian. Hebrews 13:23 says, “I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released.” That’s not commonly talked about when Timothy is remembered, but it shouldn’t surprise us. David, who lived a thousand years before Jesus died, said that kings of the earth rise up against the Lord. Just twenty years after Jesus rose from the dead, rulers banded together to have Timothy and others arrested.

It is still going on today. Whole nations rage against the Lord, rejecting the morality of the Bible and scoffing at the news of forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus.

But not so with you. Like Timothy, who remained faithful to the end, you have no reason to rage or plot against the Lord. Instead, you can take comfort that God is stronger than any nation, king, or ruler. When government officials thought they had put an end to Jesus’ work by killing him, he rose from the dead and demonstrated how God uses even powerful opposition to carry out his purpose.

God’s purpose is to love you. God’s purpose is to save you. No ruler can prevent him from doing that for you.

Prayer:
Lord God, I do not have power over governments, but you do. Grant us a peaceful society where we are free to learn about your love for us in Jesus. Amen.

Daily 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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Help for Your Heart – January 23, 2022

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.
Isaiah 61:1

Help for Your Heart

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Daily Devotion – January 23, 2022

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:1

See series: Devotions

There are a lot of heartaches in our lives. We would like to have the world be a better place. But doesn’t it seem like things are just getting worse? Our lives get weighed down with many cares and concerns. Sometimes matters are so serious that it just breaks our hearts.

What difficulties are you facing that are almost too much to bear? What troubling circumstances surround the days that keep you awake at night? To whom can you turn for help?

You can turn to Jesus. God sent him “to bind up the brokenhearted.” He knows you; he understands you. And most importantly, he helps you. He came to remove the greatest weight that crushes your heart. He is your Savior who took away the guilt of all your sin. And now, no matter what things are breaking apart in your life, you have a relationship with God that is unbroken. As a result, you can count on God, who loves and saves you, to help you with all the matters in your life that are breaking your heart.

Prayer:
Jesus, I lift up my heart in praise to you because you came to bind up my heart broken by sin. Help me to grow in my trust that as you loved me to be my Savior, you will also be with me every day to help through the difficulties and troubles that I face. Amen.

Daily 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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Perfect Timing – January 22, 2022

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My hour has not yet come.”
John 2:4

Perfect Timing

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Daily Devotion – January 22, 2022

Devotion based on John 2:4

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Waiting for the perfect time is what Jesus did throughout his ministry. It didn’t make any difference what the situation was. He waited for exactly the right moment so that everything was done right and according to God’s saving plan.

Jesus said as much when he responded to his mother’s request for more wine at the wedding in Cana. The same concern for timing can also be seen when he taught, when he performed miracles, or even when he raised Lazarus from the dead. Everything was done at exactly the right time.

The same concern for the perfect timing can be seen in his decision to go to Jerusalem. When the time was right, Jesus went into the city. The timing had to be perfect to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies and rescue all people from the curse of sin.

It is Jesus’ perfect timing that provides a double comfort. The first assures that we have been rescued from the punishment deserved because of sin. Jesus went to the cross and offered his body and blood as the sacrifice God required, so we are cleansed of guilt and set free from punishment. The second comforts us every day. Every need, every prayer, and every detail of our life is under Jesus’ loving care, his watchful eye, and his perfect timing. This assures us that everything will always happen for our good and at the best possible time.

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, Jesus Christ, my times are in your hands. Teach me to not only turn my heart to the promises you give me in your Word but teach me also to trust that you will do everything for my good according to your perfect timing. Amen.

Daily 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 Rest of the Story – January 21, 2022

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
John 2:11

The Rest of the Story

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Daily Devotion – January 21, 2022

Devotion based on John 2:11

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I grew up listening to National Public Radio. It was always on when my dad was driving or in my grandmother’s kitchen. We’d listen to replays of Garrison Keillor on Sundays and during the week, Paul Harvey.

Paul Harvey liked to show how there is often more to a story than what we are aware of. He weaved narratives filled with amusing or amazing behind-the-scenes details about famous people or historic events. Each episode ended with a surprise twist, revealing who or what the story was about. Then he closed with his famous phrase, “And now you know … the rest of the story.”

Without having all the details, people make all kinds of false assumptions about God. They think he is unfair, unloving, angry. He has little interest in us. He doesn’t care about our happiness. The truth is, we can’t possibly uncover who God truly is on our own. God is beyond our reach. But God has made himself known to us in Jesus.

What do you know about Jesus? There are four books in the Bible that give a detailed account of Jesus’ life, but the book of John provides the rest of the story. John doesn’t just give us details about Jesus’ life and miracles. He goes behind the scenes and shows us how each miracle is a “sermon in action.” Each miracle teaches us something significant about God.

When Jesus turned water into wine, he uncovered what God is like. He is good, gracious, and generous. Jesus doesn’t decrease joy; he multiplies it. He wants to share in our joys and solve our challenges. That’s why Jesus came to earth. He came to help us in our need. He came to destroy the devil’s work by his death on the cross. And by his resurrection, he opened heaven to all who believe in him.

Like Jesus’ disciples, may what we learn of him in the Bible cause us to believe in him.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, use what you tell me about yourself in the Bible to cause me to believe that you are my God and Savior. Amen.

Daily 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 Best for Last – January 20, 2022

The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
John 2:9,10

The Best for Last

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Daily Devotion – January 20, 2022

Devotion based on John 2:9,10

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The young girl was in awe. This was the first wedding she had attended. It had been amazing. As she sat at the reception, a server came by to take her plate. She was about to hand him her fork when her grandma, leaning over, said with a smile, “Hold on to your fork.” The little girl looked puzzled. So, her grandmother explained.

In all her years, she had been to many weddings and enjoyed many banquets, and learned one important lesson. As splendid as the main course was, there was always something more. Dessert! “So, hold on to your fork,” she said, “The best is yet to come.”

The master of the wedding banquet Jesus attended had no idea what Jesus had in store. In all his years, every wedding celebration had always served the good wine first. Imagine his surprise when the servants brought him the best wine last. He had no idea where it came from, but the servers knew. Jesus had miraculously turned water into wine.

With this miracle, Jesus uncovered an important truth about God. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from God. Not satisfied with giving us what is adequate, he insists on providing more and better blessings than we could ever have imagined.

He is, as a matter of fact, saving the very best until last. For all those who trust his promise of forgiveness through Jesus, he promises an eternal, glorious and perfect home in heaven, provided for you by his Son.

God provides us with so many joys in this life. But even if your life is filled with troubles and sorrow, this truth remains: In Jesus, the best is yet to come!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, for all that I receive from your hand—daily bread, forgiveness, eternal life—make me truly thankful. Amen.

Daily 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 Changes Everything – January 19, 2022

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” . . . Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.
John 2:5,7-9

Jesus Changes Everything

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Daily Devotion – January 19, 2022

Devotion based on John 2:5,7-9

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You’ve probably heard about the egg who decided one day to do something rather foolish. He climbed atop a very high wall and sat scanning all he could see. Suddenly he slipped, slammed to the ground, and shattered into a thousand pieces. As he lay there, not even the most powerful creatures in the land could put Humpty Dumpty together again.

When Jesus attended a wedding in the town of Cana, there appeared to be a Humpty Dumpty kind of situation. The wine had run out. There didn’t seem to be any solution. Even the wealthiest guests could not purchase more wine if there was none to be had.

But Jesus’ mother, Mary, knew who her son was. And she knew he could help. So, she told the servants to do whatever Jesus asked.

Jesus told the servants to fill six large jars with water. One moment those jars were filled with water. The next moment, the servers were pulling wine from those same jars. Jesus had changed 180 gallons of water into 900 bottles worth of wine. Just by willing it to happen!

When things fall apart in your life, remember what Jesus is capable of. You don’t need a good bottle of wine to drown your sorrows in. All you need is the power of your gracious and generous God. He can do the impossible.

He changed more than water into wine. By his death and resurrection, he brought light from darkness and life out of death. He can certainly put your life back together. He will work all things for the good of those who love him. Indeed, he can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, remind me that when my life falls apart, I know you can put it together again. Amen.

Daily 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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All In Good Time – January 18, 2022

When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
John 2:3-5

All In Good Time

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Daily Devotion – January 18, 2022

Devotion based on John 2:3-5

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I was recently in the drive-through of a national coffee shop. The line of cars in front of me snaked all the way around the building. But I didn’t care. I needed my cup of joe. When I finally reached the speaker box to place my order, I saw a sign that read: “Our apologies, we are all out of coffee cups.” That store had a problem.

The host at the wedding Jesus attended in Cana had a bigger problem. The week-long celebration was nowhere near over, and the host had no more wine. This was a huge problem. And Mary desperately wanted the family to avoid embarrassment. She knew who her son was, God’s Messiah. And she believed that he could provide a solution.

In the grand scheme, the lack of wine was a minor issue. Jesus had a global concern—the salvation of souls. Still, Mary believed that—should he so choose—Jesus could help the wedding couple in their time of need.

Jesus can also help us in our times of need. Whether we struggle with shortages of finances, food, physical health, or a friend’s or family’s love, Jesus is able to help. After all, he was able to help us with our greatest need—the forgiveness of our sins against God. The blood he shed on the cross purifies us from all sin and makes us acceptable to God.

Just because we suffer shortages doesn’t mean God doesn’t care. God uses our struggles to drive us to Jesus and ask him for a solution. Since Jesus died and rose again to give us eternal life, he can certainly help us with our daily needs. And in his good time, he will.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, by your death and resurrection, there is nothing that I lack. But when I am in need, drive me to you for relief. Amen.

Daily 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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Be My Guest – January 17, 2022

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
John 2:1,2

Be My Guest

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Daily Devotion – January 17, 2022

Devotion based on John 2:1,2

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One of our favorite family activities is attending a family wedding. It’s always guaranteed to be a joyful occasion. The whole family drops everything to be there. But the one thing that ties it together and makes it truly joyous is that Jesus is there.

The first wedding (we know of) that Jesus attended was in Cana. His presence is hugely significant. He had just begun his earthly ministry and chosen his first disciples. Three days later, in an unexpected move, Jesus went to a wedding. It was unexpected because time was of the essence. It was time to get down to business and focus on his mission.

So, why take time to go to a wedding? Because his mission was people, and there would be plenty of people at this wedding. But a wedding was also a perfect place to begin to reveal his true nature as God and God’s true desire for people. By attending this wedding at Cana, Jesus uncovered a wonderful truth about God.

God wants to be with us. He is not impersonal and uncaring. He longs for us to be a part of his family and for us to give him a place in our lives. He is invested in our lives. He is interested in sharing our joys and carrying our sorrows. And he is never too busy to decline an invitation.

Accepting this invitation was Jesus’ first public act of ministry, and it is the final prayer of the Bible. In the Lutheran tradition, we often say a prayer when we sit down to a meal. “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed.” It is an invitation for Jesus to join us at our table. It is an acknowledgment that everything we have, from daily bread to eternal salvation, is a gift from his generous and loving hand. It is a prayer that his presence among us and his gifts to us are a blessing. Isn’t it wonderful to know that when we ask Jesus to be our guest, he accepts!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, be my guest as I go about my day and stay with me when it is evening. Grant that all you enable me to do be a blessing to me and pleasing to you. Amen.

Daily 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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Growing up Strong – January 16, 2022

I pray that out of [the Father’s] glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
Ephesians 3:16-18

Growing up Strong

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Daily Devotion – January 16, 2022

Devotion based on Ephesians 3:16-18

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Eat your vegetables! You can probably hear echoes of your mother giving you that advice. Maybe you have even spoken those words to your own children. It’s important that children eat the right kinds of foods so that they will be healthy and grow up to be strong. If left to themselves, children would try to survive on a diet of candy and soda. That might work for a little while, but such an unhealthy diet would soon make them weak and sick.

Too often, we try to survive on spiritual junk food. The world offers a candy store selection of ways to make ourselves happy. We feast on vices and vanity and even though the world promises otherwise, they offer us absolutely no nourishment. With a lot of heart ache, we find out eventually just how shallow we’ve been and how foolish our spiritual diet has been.

Our heavenly Father ensures that we receive the best nourishment for our souls. Instead of leaving us to be sin-sick, facing death for our faults and failures, he provides a rich feast of his love and forgiveness. He feeds our spirits with his Word so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. He gives us strength through his Holy Spirit so that we might serve him and bring glory to his name every day. He gives us power and ability to grasp the enormity of his love for us—his immeasurable great love that saves sinners like us through Jesus and through faith in our Savior gives us eternal life.

A healthy diet makes your body strong, but even more important than that is the food of God’s soul-strengthening Word. Feast daily on his Word that fills you full of the great love that he has for you in Jesus.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for causing me to be strong in your love through the power of your Word. Continue to build me up in faith and the fullness of Christ’s wondrous love. Amen.

Daily 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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Placing Labels on People – January 15, 2022

[God] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:5

Placing Labels on People

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Daily Devotion – January 15, 2022

Devotion based on Titus 3:5

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Placing labels on people—that’s something the world loves to do. Some labels are encouraging: “You’re a winner…a natural leader…a hero.” Some hurt: “You’re a loser…ignorant…lazy.” In fact, labels can cause all sorts of problems by making some feel arrogant and others feel insecure. But those labels are based on someone else’s opinion, and it’s foolish to let the opinion of others determine how you feel about yourself.

However, when it comes to the opinion of God, that’s different. God, our Savior, has placed a label on you. “Mine,” he says. That’s not just an opinion, it’s a fact because he has done everything necessary to make it true. He has washed away your sin with his precious blood. He has wrapped you in his righteousness. He not only created you, but he also purchased and won you from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Even the faith you need to believe that saving message is something the Holy Spirit freely provided.

For those times when you wonder, “Could this really be true?” When the devil accuses, and your conscience agrees: “God could never love a sinner like you!” That’s when the Holy Spirit reminds you of a most precious blessing: baptism—the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. By the power of God’s Word, baptism connected you to Christ. God the Holy Spirit placed a “label” on you. “Mine,” he said. “You belong to me.”

Some labels should be ignored but through baptism, the Holy Spirit has placed a label on you worth pondering every day. You are his own. There is nothing in this world more important and more comforting than knowing that you belong to God, your Savior!

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, thank you for the priceless gift of baptism. Through this washing of rebirth and renewal, you have made me your own. Constantly remind me of this glorious truth. Amen.

Daily 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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Eight Is Enough – January 14, 2022

Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David.
1 Samuel 16:10-13

Eight Is Enough

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Daily Devotion – January 14, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 16:10-13

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Strike one. Strike two. Strike three. That usually means, “You’re out!” But our God has a different way of counting. When the prophet Samuel went to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king, Samuel got all the way up to strike seven. And yet, he still wasn’t out. When son number eight walked in, the Lord commanded, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

Number eight was “the one.” Why was David able to be one of the most successful kings in the history of God’s people? Why would David be called “a man after God’s own heart?” Not because of his handsome features. Rather, from the day that Samuel anointed him, “the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully over David.”

Sometimes we forget that about ourselves, don’t we? We so easily can rely on our talents, our health, or our handsome features to navigate life. But talents, health and handsome features will all fail eventually. God’s Holy Spirit won’t. God’s Holy Spirit, who comes to us through the words of the Bible, connects us to our heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus. That connection assures us of God’s forgiveness and eternal life. Unlike talents, health, and handsome features, God’s Holy Spirit will never fail us.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for pouring out your Spirit on me. Lead me to rely on him as I live for you. Amen.

Daily 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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Messengers of Peace – January 13, 2022

Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?” Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.”
1 Samuel 16:4,5

Messengers of Peace

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Daily Devotion – January 13, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 16:4,5

See series: Devotions

I used to have an office across the hall from a preschool. More than once, I overheard a parent at pick-up time say to their child, “You better behave, or you’ll have to go to the pastor’s office.” I cringed whenever I heard that. First, I didn’t personally want to get involved about how a preschooler should hang her coat up on the hook. But more importantly, I didn’t want that little preschooler to view the pastor as only a disciplinarian. “If you misbehave, you have to go see the pastor.”

It’s sad how Satan works, isn’t it? While it is true that sometimes God uses his church and its leaders to confront sin, the primary purpose of his church is to proclaim the good news that Jesus paid the price for their sins. The primary purpose of the Lord’s church is to echo what the angelic messengers proclaimed just a few weeks ago at Christmas, namely, “Peace.” And yet, Satan would have us see God’s messengers as anything but messengers of peace. We may stay away from worship where God’s messengers share God’s message. And the result? We are robbed of the very thing that brings us lasting peace.

Don’t listen to Satan’s lies. The next time that you drive past that place of worship and your guilt prevents you from going in, hear what the Lord decrees, “I have been sacrificed for your sins.” The next time you wonder if Jesus came for you, know that he did. Through Jesus, you have peace with God.

Prayer:
Lord, let the peace of your forgiveness overcome my guilt. Amen.

Daily 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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No Fear – January 12, 2022

But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to theLORD.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”
1 Samuel 16:2,3

No Fear

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Daily Devotion – January 12, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 16:2,3

See series: Devotions

Years ago, there was a TV show called “Fear Factor.” The premise was that contestants would face such daunting challenges that they couldn’t go through with it. Whoever could overcome the “fear factor” first would win the grand prize.

You may not be asked to drink blended rats, but the “fear factor” is not limited to TV shows. Fear still has a way of paralyzing people from moving forward or thinking clearly. Even if the danger causing our fear isn’t real, the fear is real. Sometimes, what causes such fear is that our eyes are focused on the wrong thing.

That was the case with Samuel. God had asked Samuel to do an important task. He had to anoint someone to be a king. What sounds like a festive occasion was a fearful occasion for Samuel. You see, there already was a king on the throne. So by anointing a new king, Samuel thought his life would be in danger. That word, “thought,” is the keyword. What we think will happen does not always match what God knows will happen. What we fear is not always God’s reality.

Consider the situations in your life. God commands us “to do” a variety of things. God commands that we honor those in authority and follow his direction for marriage and sexuality. He commands that we honor him with our wealth.

Why do we struggle with such commands? Sometimes it’s simply that we are afraid to do the right thing. We are afraid the task may be too hard or that it may hurt. With Samuel, we may ask, “How can I go?” (1 Samuel 16:2). When facing a fearful task, take comfort in God’s direction, “I will show you what to do” (1 Samuel 16:3). There is no fear factor when there is a God factor.

Prayer:
Lord, erase my fears as you keep my eyes focused on you. Amen.

Daily 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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Who Is in Control? – January 11, 2022

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
1 Samuel 16:1

Who Is in Control?

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Daily Devotion – January 11, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 16:1

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“It’s been three years.” That’s what the mature churchgoer mourned at a recent gathering of his church friends. Church was the center of this man’s life, but it had been three long years since they had a consistent voice in the pulpit of his congregation. And it wasn’t for lack of trying to fill the void. One pastor after another was given the opportunity to serve this congregation. But each answer was the same, “No.”

Pastoral vacancies or leadership vacuums are never fun. If there is an empty seat at church, in the home, or around the conference table at work, we can flounder as we are directionless. Worse than directionless, we may even find life to be chaotic. Or we can find ourselves trying to drive forward while looking in the rear-view mirror instead of the windshield. “Oh, I wish dad was still here.” “Remember how good it was when our old boss was at the helm?” “Remember when…”

Your eye maybe sees that an aspect of your life is leaderless. But that’s not what God sees. When there is a void in leadership, it may just be God’s way of reminding us that he is the ultimate leader. God is still in control. He knows your needs and how he will meet those needs. That was the lesson God gave the prophet Samuel. Mourning the downfall of a king, Samuel had a hard time moving forward. But then God had to open his eyes, “How long will you mourn for Saul . . . I have chosen one of [Jesse’s] sons to be king” (1 Samuel 16:1).

“I have chosen.” What beautiful comfort we can find in that little pronoun. When we mourn the past or are fearful of the future, find comfort in God’s leadership. “I have chosen you to be my child… I have a plan for your future… I will work all things out for your good.” Find comfort in knowing that no matter what your eye sees, the Lord still decrees, “I am King.”

Prayer:
Lord, open my eyes to see that you are in control. Then give me confidence in your leadership. Amen.

Daily 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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Check the Drawer – January 10, 2022

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7

Check the Drawer

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Daily Devotion -January 10, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 16:7

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Just an old-fashioned coffee grinder. That’s what the couple had their eye on as they perused the estate sale in their small town. They were intrigued, but the $100 price tag seemed a bit steep, especially when the same item could be purchased on Etsy for $27.51. So, they passed it up.

The next day, they see the “50% off all items” yard sign as they drive past the sale they attended yesterday. Determining the coffee-grinder is worth $50, they quickly turn around and grab the item off its showcase table in the kitchen. Two twenties and a ten later, they are on their way. When they get home and inspect their new possession, imagine the surprise when they open the little drawer in the grinder and find $750!

“Don’t pass up a coffee-grinder until you open the drawer” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but you get the point. But not everyone gets the point, sometimes, not even prophets in the Bible. Samuel was sent, by God, to anoint Israel’s next king. He was told it would be one of the sons of a man named Jesse. When he saw Jesse’s oldest standing tall in front of him, his impressive appearance convinced Samuel that this must be the one who would be king.

But he was wrong. Because God told him that “The Lord does not look at the things people look at” (1 Samuel 16:7). Thankfully, that’s still true. Thankfully, when the Lord looks at you, he doesn’t see what others see—the selfishness, the lack of love, the sin. When the Lord looks at you, do you know what he sees? A person whose sins are covered with the blood of Jesus. When he looks at your heart by grace, he sees his home.

Prayer:
Lord, fling wide the portals of my heart and make it a temple set apart for you. Amen.

Daily 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 Meaning of Mercy – January 9, 2022

When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
Titus 3:4,5

The Meaning of Mercy

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Daily Devotion – January 9, 2022

Devotion based on Titus 3:4,5

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In the early 1800s, Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as emperor of France. His word was final. A woman appeared before him one day. She was seeking a pardon for her son.

Napoleon explained to her why this was not possible: Her son was guilty of committing a serious crime not once but twice. Under the law of the land, he had been sentenced to death.

But the mother persevered. “I plead for mercy for my son,” she said.

“But your son does not deserve mercy,” pronounced the emperor. It was then that this mother got to the heart of the matter. “You are correct,” she said. “My son does not deserve mercy. But if he did, it would not be mercy. And mercy is all I ask for.”

“Then I will have mercy,” Napoleon said. He spared her son’s life.

This woman understood the meaning of mercy. The apostle Paul did too. Paul said that, with the arrival of Jesus Christ, “God saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” The Son of God invaded our time and space to conduct a rescue mission. He rescued us from the curse of our own sin. He did this through the perfect life and innocent death he lived and died on our behalf.

But why? Here is where Paul gets to the heart of the matter. God did this not because we deserved it; not because he saw us as diamonds in the rough; not because we’ve done something that made us sparkle in his eyes. He did it because of his mercy.

It’s his mercy through Jesus Christ that makes your relationship with God so secure. It doesn’t depend upon what you have done for God. It depends on what the Savior, in mercy, has done for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in my moments of anxiety and doubt, fill me with your Holy Spirit. Through your Word, remind me that my relationship with you rests not on what I do for you, but upon your mercy. Amen.

Daily 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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Perfect Timing – January 8, 2022

When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Galatians 4:4-7

Perfect Timing

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Daily Devotion – January 8, 2022

Devotion based on Galatians 4:4-7

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The apostle Paul says that “when the time had fully come, God sent his Son.” But have you ever wondered why God chose to send Jesus into the world when he did? Looking back, we can see several reasons why he might have chosen the time that he did. The common Greek language, the peace of the Roman Empire, improved travel, and even the spread of the Jewish people, along with their synagogues, all helped the good news of a Savior from sin spread far and wide. Yet these are just observations made from a human perspective. The Bible never gives us the reason why God sent Jesus when he did. Instead, we are told that God sent his Son when the “time had fully come.”

We don’t know why God sent Jesus when he did, but we can be thankful that he did. God’s own Son became human and put himself under the law to redeem us from all our sins and failures under God’s law. He did this so we might receive the full rights of sons. Through faith in Christ, we have been brought into God’s family and can now call out to our Father in heaven with words of heartfelt intimacy “Abba, Father.” God’s timing was perfect, and so was his gift—Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to continually rejoice in your perfect timing in sending your Son into the world. Amen.

Daily 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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Access to the Father – January 7, 2022

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Galatians 4:4-7

Access to the Father

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Daily Devotion – January 7, 2022

Devotion based on Galatians 4:4-7

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The story is told of a soldier who was fighting for the North during the United States Civil War. All his brothers had died in battle. And he feared that if he died too, his mother would not be able to take care of their family farm all by herself. So, he marched up to the White House and asked to speak with President Lincoln. Unfortunately, he was denied access to enter.

Feeling dejected, he sat down by a nearby bench. A young boy noticed this soldier and asked why he looked so sad. He told the boy his concern. The boy responded, “follow me.” The young boy led the soldier up to the White House doors, where they passed right through. Together they walked down the hallway and strolled right into the room where President Lincoln was meeting with his staff.

The young boy spoke up, “Father, this man has a problem, and I would like you to listen to him.”

Now, I don’t know how accurate this story really is, but it makes an important point: Children have access to their parents, even if nobody else does.

This is the same point that Paul made when he wrote to the Christians in Galatia. He told them that no matter what family they grew up in, Jesus had made them children of God. And God’s children get access to their heavenly Father. He goes so far as to say that we can call the almighty God our “Abba, Father.” (“Abba” is the way of saying father in Aramaic.)

You don’t need to remain outside the presence of the Father. You can walk right into God’s presence through your prayers, empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak whatever is in your heart.

Prayer:
Abba, Father, thank you for sending your Son so that I too can be a child of God. Amen.

Daily 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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Just Like He Promised – January 6, 2022

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.”
Genesis 17:1-5

Just Like He Promised

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Daily Devotion – January 6, 2022

Devotion based on Genesis 17:1-5

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As a father, I want to give my kids the world. I want to take them places and give them memorable experiences. There have been times when in my excitement to bless my kids, I make promises to them that I can’t keep.

Did your parents ever do something similar to you? Did they ever over-promise and under-deliver?

Our Heavenly Father made a promise to the first Hebrew, Abraham, 2000 years before Jesus was born. He promised to turn Abraham’s descendants into a great nation that would bless the world. The Lord God confirmed that promise with an oath, called a covenant, which means that he was committing himself to keep this promise.

But for most of Israel’s history, it seemed like the heavenly Father was acting like earthly fathers. He seemed to be breaking his promise to his people. Instead of being a great people, they were a small, harassed group with little prestige or honor among the nations.

But then Jesus, a descendant of Abraham, was born. After he lived, died, and rose on behalf of us all, people from all nations put their faith in him. They were baptized and became children of God. And in that way, believers from all over the world have become “descendants of Abraham.” The oath that God swore to Abraham has come true!

Our Heavenly Father is not like earthly fathers. He always keeps his promises. So, you can be sure he will keep all his promises to you.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for being faithful to all of your promises. Amen.

Daily 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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No Longer Slaves to Sin – January 5, 2022

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. . . So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Galatians 4:4,5,7

No Longer Slaves to Sin

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Daily Devotion – January 5, 2022

Devotion based on Galatians 4:4,5,7

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The apostle Paul compared the human condition to slavery. He wrote, “We were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world” (Galatians 4:3). In other words, our selfish passions and desires seem to control us, and the law (meaning all the good things God wants us to do) feels like a task master magnifying our failures.

That might sound overly dramatic but think about the internal struggle of everyday life. Think about the feelings of envy, anger, or lust that seem to pop up in your heart. Day after day you fight against ungodly thoughts and feelings that tempt you toward ungodly words and actions. You (like all people) are, by nature, enslaved by sin.

But that’s why Christmas is such good news! Paul also wrote, “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” That means, at just the right time, Jesus was born as a real human. And he was placed in bondage under those same laws and temptations as we are. But what made Jesus different is that he did not give in to the temptations. He overcame them to redeem us, which means to free us from our slavery to sin. Now Paul says that those who trust in Jesus are no longer slaves to sin but adopted sons or daughters of God.

That doesn’t mean that we will never struggle with sin. But it does mean we don’t need to let it control us, nor do we need to wallow in guilt and shame. We are not slaves to sin! We are sons and daughters of God!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have set me free from sin and shame. Fill me with your Spirit, so I can live for you. Amen.

Daily 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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Serve Him Without Fear – January 4, 2022

[God has shown] mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Luke 1:72-75

Serve Him Without Fear

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Daily Devotion – January 4, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 1:72-75

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Fear is an all-encompassing emotion. When a person is afraid, they can become virtually paralyzed. The fight-or-flight system kicks in, and the whole body goes into survival mode. Can you think of a time when you were so afraid that you couldn’t carry out your normal responsibilities?

The Bible describes much of Israel’s history as one of fear. They were afraid of their enemies. And because they kept turning to idols to deliver them, they were also afraid of God and his just punishment.

But God had promised from the very beginning, from the time of Abraham, to rescue the people from all their enemies so that they would no longer be afraid. That’s why when John the Baptist was born (the forerunner to Jesus), his Father, Zechariah, sang the words above.

Zechariah knew that the coming Messiah was going to fulfill the promises that God made to Abraham, namely, to rescue God’s people from their enemies. Then, God’s people could finally serve God without fear.

Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus defeated our enemies of sin, death, and the devil. We no longer need to live in fear. We don’t need to fear the devil and his lies. We don’t need to fear our enemies who want to harm us. We don’t even need to fear the judgment of God. Because of Jesus, we are free to serve God without fear.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you came into this world on the very first Christmas to set me free. Set me free from all those things that cause me to be afraid, so that I can serve you in love. Amen.

Daily 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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Part of a Larger Story – January 3, 2022

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them . . . (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.”
Luke 1:68-71

Part of a Larger Story

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Daily Devotion – January 3, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 1:68-71

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Christianity didn’t start with Christmas. Of course, Christmas is an important event. But the birth of Jesus is part of a much bigger story. If you are unaware of the greater narrative, you might miss out on the significance of all the presents and parties that go along with this Holiday season.

The bigger story focuses on the nation of Israel. In the second book of the Bible, the Israelites find themselves enslaved by the Egyptians. For 400 years, they cry out to God for their freedom—which is also called “redemption.” Finally, God sets them free, but they are not free for very long. The surrounding nations continue to oppress them until one day, the whole nation is carried off into captivity in Babylon. But God’s people hold on to the hope that they hear from their prophets, namely, one day God will set them free from all their enemies for good.

Around the time of Jesus’ birth, a priest named Zechariah believed that God was bringing all his promises to fulfillment. That is why he sang the song that you read at the beginning of this devotion. He believed God was continuing his story of redemption through the Messiah, Jesus. He believed that his son, John the Baptist, was going to prepare the way for Jesus. Finally, that Jesus was going to set God’s people free. And he was right.

You see, Christianity is a much bigger story than just the Christmas story. Christianity is a much longer narrative about how God is redeeming his people. And this story isn’t over yet. The same Jesus who came at Christmas promises to come back again to set us free from all our enemies, from sin, death, and all that is evil. Let’s join Zechariah and praise the Lord who sets his people free.

Prayer:
Jesus, I praise you for coming to rescue your people. Amen.

Daily 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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Timing – January 2, 2022

When the time had fully come, God sent his Son.
Galatians 4:4

Timing

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Daily Devotion – January 2, 2022

Devotion based on Galatians 4:4

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Barton Mitchell served as a private during the American Civil War. He fought for the North. Things were not going well for the Northern army. In fact, things were going so poorly that Great Britain was on the verge of recognizing Southern independence. If the South could gain just one more victory, Great Britain might intervene on behalf of the South. In other words, if the North lost one more battle, it might lose the war.

This brings us back to Barton Mitchell. One day, Barton and his comrades were on a hillside, taking a break from their march. The place where they were resting was a former campsite for the Southern army. As they sat, Barton looked down and spotted some cigars wrapped in a piece of paper. Interested in the cigars, Barton picked them up. And that’s when he discovered that the paper around the cigars contained the marching plans for the Southern army. Quickly, Barton passed the paper up the chain of command. The information he found that day was enough to give the North a much-needed victory.

In so doing, Barton Mitchell may well have saved his country. It was one of the most dramatic episodes of good timing that history has seen.

The Bible tells us about an even better episode of good timing: one that took place in the town of Bethlehem.

The apostle Paul wrote, “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son.” At a time when the Roman Empire ruled the known world, immorality and religious confusion seemed rampant, and many of God’s people felt isolated and forgotten—it was in that moment when all things were ready. It was in that moment when God demonstrated that he was in control and sent his Son.

As you stare at that new calendar on the wall, keep in mind that God’s sense of good timing has not changed. The One who sent his Son at just the right time to cleanse you from all sin is the same One who holds and blesses every moment of your life.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you are the One who sent my Savior into this world at just the right time. Move me to trust your timing in every aspect of my life. Amen.

Daily 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 Perfect Gift – January 1, 2022

Then [Jesus] went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.
Luke 2:51

The Perfect Gift

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Daily Devotion – January 1, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 2:51

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What was the best gift you received for Christmas? Was it just what you hoped? Sometimes we receive a gift that is exactly what we wanted, and after opening it, we say, “It’s perfect!”

Unfortunately, even the best gifts don’t last forever. We grow tired of toys and games. New clothes wear out or become unfashionable. Things break or get lost. We discover that perfect gifts aren’t so perfect.

Except, Jesus. Jesus is God’s perfect gift to us. Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s holy law, including being obedient to his earthly mother and father. Think of it—the all-knowing, all-powerful God obeyed his sinful human parents. He did this, not because they were always right or fair, but because it was his heavenly Father’s will. Children are to obey their parents. So Jesus did, perfectly.

Can we say the same? Not one of us can. We have all been guilty of disobeying our parents and others that God put in authority over us. That’s why we needed Jesus. We needed Jesus to do for us what we were supposed to do. Jesus obeyed for all the times we have disobeyed. Jesus honored his parents for all the times we dishonored ours. His perfect life is God’s gift to us so that when God looks at us, he sees Jesus’ perfection. He sees children who are worthy of his heavenly kingdom, and through faith in Jesus, he freely gives them the gift of an “inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 3:4).

Even the best gifts you receive will lose their luster eventually. But not Jesus. He is the perfect gift.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for doing what I have failed to do. Give me the strength and humility to honor those you have placed in authority over me. Amen.

Daily 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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Our Freedom From Death – December 31, 2021

That by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:14,15

Our Freedom From Death

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Daily Devotion – December 31, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:14,15

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The further we move away from December 25th, the smaller our Christmas celebration gets in life’s rear-view mirror. For many folks, that is extremely depressing. We prepare so intently (perhaps even frantically!) to make our celebration as close to perfect as we can. And then, in a flash, it’s over. And it’s tempting to think, “Is that it? Is that all there is?”

But Christians know that what happened at Christmas is not all there is. Our reason for celebrating Jesus’ birth is not just that he arrived in a manger. It’s that he eventually left the manger! The story of Jesus doesn’t fade to the closing credits with angels singing, shepherds worshiping, and Mary pondering all these things in her heart. Jesus eventually left the manger and passionately carried on until he’d carried out every part of the work required to save us. Living in perfection. Reaching out with affection. Resisting the devil to the point of exhaustion. Suffering in the deepest humiliation. Triumphing through his resurrection. Ascending with the greatest celebration. Making us a new creation. It was all a labor of love done for you by your brother to “destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

One day we will die, but don’t let that thought bind you in chains of dread and fear because Jesus lived a perfect life as your substitute and paid for all your sins as your sacrifice. He then came to life, conquering death for you. He has done everything necessary for you to live eternally in heaven. And if it all depends on what Jesus has done, none of it depends on what you have done. Don’t let the thought of death hold you captive. Hear those shackles fall. What child is this? It’s Jesus, the substitute and sacrifice who has set you free.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, cast out my fear of death and every fear the plagues me. Help me face them knowing you are victorious, and you are near to me. Amen.

Daily 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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Our Flesh and Blood – December 30, 2021

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity.
Hebrews 2:14

Our Flesh and Blood

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Daily Devotion – December 30, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:14

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“He, too, shared in their humanity”—the import of that statement may not fully strike you until you consider how completely unwilling we are to settle for anything less than we think we deserve. If we pay for second-row seats behind home plate, there’s no way we’re going to accept being ushered up to the twenty-fifth row of the upper deck terrace instead. If our team is robbed of a hard-earned victory by an official’s error, that loss will sting as we remember it for years to come. If we reserve the SUV with third-row seating as our rental car and the best they can offer us at the counter is roughly the size of a clown car, we are going to grumble and complain and grouse to anyone who will listen.

Do you want to know how awesome Jesus is? Look at how willing he was to settle for less than he deserved. Jesus deserved the best heaven could offer. He willingly traded it for a crust of bread as his dinner and a rock for his pillow, for the indignities of childhood and insecurities of young adulthood. Jesus shared in our humanity. Being born was necessary so that he could one day die and so he could live every day in between as our perfect substitute.

Ever since the Garden of Eden, the devil has been trying to make us think that he is our closest friend. He tries to convince us that what he wants us to do will make us happy, fulfilled, prosperous. “Stick with me,” he says, “I have your best interests in mind.”

But, of course, the devil doesn’t. Only Jesus does. Only Jesus was willing to share our humanity and do everything necessary to save us from our sins so that we can share eternity with him.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are not only the powerful God, but my human brother, my flesh and blood. Thank you for all you sacrificed to come and be a sacrifice for me. Help me to live my life always willing to sacrifice for you in return. Amen.

Daily 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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Our Unashamed Brother – December 29, 2021

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
Hebrews 2:11

Our Unashamed Brother

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Daily Devotion – December 29, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:11

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Paul Gerhardt was a man who’d been put through the emotional wringer. Some might even call him a more recent version of Job. Because standing at the graveside of your son or daughter, especially a son or daughter who died at a young age, is one of the most horrific things a parent can imagine, that is if one can imagine it at all. Having to do that once would be borderline unbearable. Paul Gerhardt had to do it—four times. Four small caskets, four sets of funeral clothes, four painful goodbyes. And as if that weren’t enough, then Gerhardt’s wife died unexpectedly, leaving him as a single dad to their sole remaining child, a six-year-old boy.

But all that loss, believe it or not, is not what makes Paul Gerhardt memorable and noteworthy. What makes him memorable and noteworthy is the fact that he experienced what he experienced in life and yet was still able to sit down and put these words on paper in one of his hymns, “Dear Christian Friend, on him depend; be of good cheer and let no sorrow move you.” How could Paul Gerhardt say, “Be of good cheer and let no sorrow move you”? It’s because of what he wrote next. “For God’s own child in mercy mild, joins you to him, how greatly God must love you!”

God’s own child joined himself to our human family. He is not ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters. Shouldn’t he be? I mean, every family has at least one child who always seems to choose the more rebellious road. In God’s family, that rebel is you and me.

And yet here is our Jesus, our proud brother, unashamed to call us his siblings. And not only willing to simply call us his siblings, but our brother also went on to be our sacrifice so that we might spend eternity as co-heirs with him, sharing the same heavenly Father. Fellow rebels, rejoice! Jesus is willing to be our sacrifice, and he is not ashamed to call us his family.

Prayer:
Jesus, I am proud and so very thankful to be a part of your family. Amen.

Daily 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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Our Substitute in Worship – December 28, 2021

After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.
Luke 2:43

Our Substitute in Worship

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Daily Devotion – December 28, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 2:43

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As a 12-year-old, Jesus travels to Jerusalem with his parents, and when the festival is over, his parents accidentally head home without him. It’s unusual—but at the same time, it’s not hard to picture how that could happen. Mom and Dad are preoccupied with getting everything packed up and getting on the road on schedule. Perhaps, with Jesus being the oldest, Mary and Joseph had a few younger children demanding their immediate attention. Have you ever been on a road trip with your family? If you have, it’s a little easier to see how a semi-self-sufficient 12-year-old might not be his parents’ greatest concern at that moment.

We make a big deal about Jesus getting left there, but maybe we should be making a big deal about him even being there in the first place. He was there in Jerusalem to worship God! At any time was he tempted to think, “Wait a second, I am God!” He was there in Jerusalem to offer the required Passover sacrifices. At any time, was he tempted to think, “I’m the One all these sacrifices are pointing to? Shouldn’t I be on the other side of the altar? The object of the worship, rather than the one doing the worshiping?” Fact is, he is God. But he willingly chose to follow God’s laws. He did deserve to be the object of worship, but he willingly took his place alongside the worshipers.

So we see Jesus, even at 12 years old, already perfectly carrying out his Father’s will as our substitute. He perfectly worships at the temple for our moments of imperfect worship, distracted worship, uninterested worship. All so that on one dark Friday afternoon, he could step forward as our perfect substitute once again. Yes, all our accumulated punishment was placed on our substitute. Today, and every day, consider the magnificent and undeserved blessing of having a Savior so willing to be your substitute.

Prayer:
My sins are many, O Lord, but your mercies are even greater in number. May your perfection in my place always bring me true comfort and joy. Amen.

Daily 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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Our Substitute From Heaven – December 27, 2021

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.
Luke 2:41,42

Our Substitute From Heaven

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Daily Devotion – December 27, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 2:41,42

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Does studying this text at this particular time seem like we’re maybe rushing things a little bit? Wasn’t it just a couple of days ago that we were gathered around the manger, gazing with awe at the Wonder born for us there? We’ve just finished singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the Newborn King.” And now suddenly, Jesus is 12 years old! The birth of our Savior is a place in the Bible where we rightfully want to linger and ponder that singular moment in human history. The Creator becoming the created is a big deal. Are we rushing Christmas out the door?

We don’t have to feel that way. Don’t think of the verses from Luke chapter 2 as leaving the manger scene behind, but rather as filling in an important part of what the manger scene is all about.

Jesus’ birth is indeed significant and worthy of our highest joy and celebration. But Bethlehem was really just the first domino to fall in the story of God with Us. The 33 years that followed, the lifetime of humbling himself, of serving, of obedience, was a major part of why he was born in the first place.

Because we don’t have a lifetime of humbling ourselves, serving, obeying, we can’t string two seconds of perfection together. (As if we could even produce one second of perfection in the first place!) And eternal separation from God is what we have deserved as wages for our lifelong wicked work. But the One who demanded perfect and complete obedience saw our perfect and complete disobedience and came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves—to keep the law himself as one of us. And then, without there being any merit or lovability in us, Jesus gave up his life on a cross.

That is love unconditional. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas, after all. Not just that we have a substitute, but the amazing love for us that brought him here.

Prayer:
All praise and thanks to you, Lord Jesus, for the love that brought you as my substitute. Help me always to love you in return. Amen.

Daily 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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