Daily Devotions

Our Good Shepherd – July 25, 2021

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

Our Good Shepherd


Daily Devotion – July 25, 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 23:4

See series: Devotions

King David knew the life of a shepherd because he grew up tending his father’s flocks. He was well aware of the dangers his sheep faced. We read in the Bible that David bravely defended his sheep from the attack of a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:34,35). And his only weapons were a wooden rod and shepherd’s staff.

David reminded himself of this picture as he thought about the dangers he was facing in life. Though danger was all around him, he was not afraid. Why? Because he trusted that the Lord, his Good Shepherd, was always with him to defend, rescue, and protect him.

Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He rescued us from Satan and the jaws of eternal death. Jesus defeated Satan by laying down his life for us, and he won the victory over death with his resurrection. Neither Satan nor death could overcome him. And in Jesus, who is our defender and protector, we can be confident that neither Satan nor death can overcome us. He crushed the power of Satan! He swallowed up death in victory!

Take comfort in the salvation that your Good Shepherd has accomplished for you. And be assured that Jesus is always with you to defend you from danger and guide you through every difficulty of life.

Prayer:
Dear Good Shepherd, allow me to focus on you when troubles come my way. My challenges may seem great, but I know you are greater. And whether you take my troubles away, or give me the strength to endure them, I know you will be with me and always watch 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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Rest for Our Souls – July 24, 202

Then [Jesus] said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Mark 2:27,28

Rest for Our Souls


Daily Devotion – July 24, 202

Devotion based on Mark 2:27,28

See series: Devotions

The word “Sabbath” means “rest.” When God created the world, he “worked” for six days, and on the seventh day he rested, he stopped his work of creation. Therefore, in the Old Testament church God commanded his people to work for six days, and on the seventh day (the Sabbath day), they were to rest. On that Sabbath day, they rested in the Word of God. Yes, even back then, it was a temptation to work nonstop and get so busy with earthly things that they would neglect the Word of God.

In Jesus’ day, the local teachers of the law had made the day of rest into a day of rule-following, not a day of rest in God’s Word. They had multiplied the requirements and rules, adding all kinds of details as to what defined “work” and what defined “rest.” If you kept the man-made rules, you were to be proud of yourself. If you failed to keep the rules, you lived in guilt.

Here’s the problem: Seeking rest through following rules is never restful!

Jesus set them straight. He said that he was the one in charge of the Sabbath, not human beings making up their own rules. And Jesus came to give us rest for our souls. We could never keep God’s law so well that we can find rest in what we have accomplished. But Jesus kept it in our place. Then he died in our place for our failures. And he promises that because he has done it all, we can confidently look forward to heavenly rest by faith in him.

That’s why we take time to rest in the Word—not to follow a rule, but to honor our Savior. Jesus invites us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We thank him for the rest we have now and look forward to the eternal rest that he has provided.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for the rest you have provided for my conscience. Give me peace as I look forward to the eternal rest that lies in the future, all thanks 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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A Guarantee – July 23, 2021

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:13,14

A Guarantee


Daily Devotion – July 23, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:13,14

See series: Devotions

When a person agrees to purchase a home, it’s customary to put down a deposit. The seller wants to know that the buyer is really serious about closing the deal. A deposit serves as a kind of guarantee that the transaction will happen. If the buyer steps away from the deal, they lose their deposit.

We like promises to be kept. When reliable people give us their word, it provides a sense of certainty and peace about the future. If we know what’s going to happen, we can take a deep breath and relax.

That’s how our heavenly Father wants his people to feel about his eternal choice to save them. He doesn’t want them to fret and stew. He doesn’t want them to wring their hands, wondering anxiously whether or not he’s going to follow through on his plan. He wants them to have certainty and peace about their eternal future, planned from eternity.

So what did he do? First, he revealed his perfect love, forgiveness, and salvation for all people in the person and work of his Son, Jesus Christ. But now he has also sent his “promised Holy Spirit” to his people through his Holy Word, written down in the Bible.

For what purpose? To reassure them. The Holy Spirit is “a deposit,” Paul tells us, “guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.” In other words, while God’s people await Jesus’ return on the Last Day—when he will take them to life everlasting—their heavenly Father continually sends and plants his Holy Spirit deeper in their hearts through his Word of promise. And why? So that they can be certain, confident, joyful, and at peace that eternal life is theirs—guaranteed!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me daily to listen to your Word and to trust your promises without fail. 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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A Perfect Mystery – July 22, 2021

With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
Ephesians 1:8-10

A Perfect Mystery


Daily Devotion – July 22, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:8-10

See series: Devotions

“Are you going to be able to attend the surprise party that we’re throwing for you next Tuesday?” Oops, you just blew it! You ruined the surprise by revealing it too early.

We all know how surprise parties are supposed to work. You turn off the lights, hide behind the furniture, and wait for the honoree to walk in. Then you flip on the lights, jump up, and shout in unison, “Surprise!” It was a secret, a mystery, and then suddenly it’s not. Surprise!

That’s the way the apostle Paul describes God’s glorious work of saving the people of this world from their sins. It’s a mystery, unfathomable, hidden out of sight. The Bible teaches us repeatedly that salvation is often hidden behind what appears to be its opposite—suffering.

Paul learned that painful lesson from experience. In 2 Corinthians chapter 12, he describes a painful “thorn in the flesh” he was enduring. We don’t know what it was, but he asked Jesus to remove it from his life three different times. Paul was mystified. Why was Jesus allowing him to suffer so much?

But rather than removing his suffering immediately, Jesus provided a profound response. He said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, Paul would need to be patient and trust Jesus to rescue him at just the right time.

The same is true when it comes to God’s work of eternal salvation. We can be certain that our eternal salvation is a guaranteed reality in Christ Jesus. But so often, we need to wait until “the times reach their fulfillment” for God’s perfect plan to be revealed to us. We walk through the door into the dark. He flips on the light, jumps up with a smile, and shouts, “Surprise!”

The perfect mystery is revealed at the perfect time. Relax and rejoice!

Prayer:
Jesus, help me to be patient and trust you always. 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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A Secret Choice – July 21, 2021

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
Ephesians 1:7,8

A Secret Choice


Daily Devotion – July 21, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:7,8

See series: Devotions

When you buy someone a special gift, you can hardly wait until they open it. When you know that you’ve made or purchased something your loved one has been longing to have, it makes the big reveal especially meaningful. You may have had and hidden it for weeks or months, but it doesn’t elicit the desired joy and excitement until it’s given, opened, and revealed.

When our heavenly Father chose to save the people of this world from their sins he made that choice secretly. But, of course, any gift that’s chosen and purchased in secret does the intended recipient absolutely no good if it’s not given and opened.

God knows this better than anyone. So what did he do with his gift of eternal life? He revealed his love and forgiveness for you and me through his Son, Jesus Christ. In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, it’s as if God has ripped off the wrapping paper to reveal his astonishing gift!

That’s the important point the apostle Paul is making in Ephesians chapter 1. “In (Jesus),” Paul writes, “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Yes, Jesus is our only redeemer, the one who has bought us back from sin and death, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

God’s choice was secret, but now the gift is revealed through Christ.

Enjoy! Rejoice!

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for revealing your eternal love and perfect salvation 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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God Chose You – July 20, 2021

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

God Chose You


Daily Devotion – July 20, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:4-6

See series: Devotions

“I can’t believe it. I was chosen!” Have you ever been in a situation where you said that to yourself? Maybe you were the one who got the desirable promotion or the academic scholarship, even though the competition was stiff. Or maybe you were asked unexpectedly to attend the prom with that guy you had your eye on, even though you figured there were better candidates. When it’s something you desire, it feels good to be chosen.

That’s the wonderful news the apostle Paul shared with the Christians in Ephesians chapter 1 when he wrote that God “chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”

Sometimes it may not feel to Christians like they are God’s special, chosen children. They may be going through a difficult time. Or, the guilt of their sins may be weighing on their hearts, and they wonder, “Why would God choose me?”

That’s why today’s Bible reading is so comforting for Christians. God’s choice is not based on who they are or what they have accomplished. His eternal choice to save them for eternity had everything to do with their perfect Savior, Jesus, and “his pleasure and will.” In other words, God desperately wanted to save them and takes great pleasure in freely doing so through the person and work of his perfect Son Jesus.

What a wonderful and merciful God! He chooses the undeserving and undesirable to be his!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, today I praise you for your love and mercy in saving those who did not deserve your salvation. 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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Not an Afterthought – July 19, 2021

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Ephesians 1:3,4

Not an Afterthought


Daily Devotion – July 19, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:3,4

See series: Devotions

Do you ever feel like an afterthought? You hear that a group of your friends is getting together for dinner. They’ve planned it for weeks. And then, at the last moment, they ask you to join them. “Sure, I guess,” you think to yourself, even though you’re not entirely sure they really want you there. If they did, they would’ve asked weeks ago. You feel like an afterthought.

It doesn’t feel good.

It’s natural to feel that way in our relationship with God, especially when we’re struggling with trouble, sorrow, disappointment, or pain. After all, God is busy. He has an entire creation to care for and billions of people to help. Why in the world would he ever think about you or me individually? How is it possible that we would be important to him? The psalmist put it well when he asked the LORD out loud, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4). It’s natural to conclude that we must be an afterthought to God, and who could really blame him?

But, wonder of all wonders, we are not! The apostle Paul reveals to us in Ephesians chapter 1 that our heavenly Father was thinking about us individually even before he drew up plans for the creation of the world. And he wasn’t just thinking about us; he was planning our eternal salvation in Jesus, preparing an eternal home for us in heaven.

That astonishing reality is what prompted the apostle to sing the song of praise that he does in our Bible reading for today. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” And what is the prime spiritual blessing Paul has in mind? The fact that we are not an afterthought to God. You and I are his very first priority!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me to know and believe that I am not an afterthought and that you have always loved 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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Chosen – July 18, 2021

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Ephesians 1:3,4

Chosen


Daily Devotion – July 18, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:3,4

See series: Devotions

She drums her fingers nervously on the arm of the couch. Seated around the room are other young women, looking just as nervous as she feels. The sparsely furnished room looks like the dozens of others where she has waited and wondered. “Will they call my name?” is the question on every face in the room. This is not her first acting audition…but it might be her last. She cannot make ends meet for much longer. If her name is not called, she will have to head back to her hometown with her dreams of stardom left behind on the West Coast. “PLEASE,” she thinks, “Choose me!”

We have all been there. Perhaps not auditioning for an acting job, but we have all been in situations where we want to be chosen. It is thrilling when we are and devastating when we are not.

Every Christian can be certain that he or she has been chosen—not for a job, team, or promotion—but to be a child in God’s family. Unlike people being chosen for jobs, teams, or promotions, Christians were not chosen by God because they were better than others or more deserving than others. Quite the opposite. The Bible says that God chose us IN SPITE OF how undeserving we were. He chose us to show just how merciful and forgiving he is. Knowing that God has chosen to forgive us for Jesus’ sake, knowing that he has adopted us into his family, we can only marvel at how great God is.

Although it is exciting to be chosen for a team, job, or the lead role in a movie, nothing can compare to being chosen as God’s child. It means we have the almighty God on our side. Nothing can separate us from him. When we leave this world, our Father will welcome us into his eternal home.

Prayer:
Thank you, Father, for choosing me to be your child. I know that I do not deserve to be a member of your family. But knowing this only makes me more thankful. Help me this day to live as your child and bring honor to your name. 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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Strength with God – July 17, 2021

But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9,10

Strength with God


Daily Devotion – July 17, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 12:9,10

See series: Devotions

People who want to be fit and strong will often include the lifting of weights in their exercise routine. Serious weightlifters follow proper lifting techniques, including having spotters nearby just in case the lifter can’t lift the bar up again. Nobody would be content to rely on a spotter to lift the bar up each time. That would be foolish! The spotter would get a better workout than the lifter.

The apostle Paul gives us a different picture in our Bible reading for today. He tells us that his strength and power did not come from his muscles, but from God’s power: [The Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We have a tendency to rely upon ourselves to make it through the difficulties of life. We might view dependency on someone else as a sign of weakness. But dependence on God for his help is not weakness but strength. The almighty God is capable of handling all of our problems and providing for all of our needs. By ourselves, we are weak. God is the strong one. Trusting his power and love, we are strong.

Prayer:
Lord God, humble me and make me strong in you and your love. For when I remember your strength and love for me, that’s when I know my true strength. You are my strength. Thanks be to you, God. In Jesus’ name, 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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Boasting In Weakness – July 16, 2021

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Boasting In Weakness


Daily Devotion – July 16, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 12:9

See series: Devotions

The Bible is an unusual book in how it shows the weaknesses and failures of so many of its important people. It tells us about the adultery and murder committed by Israel’s greatest king. It tells us about Jesus’ disciples who were just too sleepy to stay awake with their teacher. It tells us about the greatest missionary of all time who spent the earlier part of his life putting Christians to death.

This isn’t an accident. God included these stories in the Bible to teach us that his grace is enough for us.

God doesn’t need the help of the powerful or the strong or the smart. He isn’t choosing a team based on who is the best because he doesn’t need the best. God doesn’t need our help or assistance, nor do we need to meet God halfway. His grace supplies more than anything we could ever contribute.

Instead of trying to hide our weaknesses, God invites us to boast about our weaknesses. Rather than our weaknesses being something that holds us back, our frailty and feebleness give God’s power a chance to shine through in powerful and amazing ways. Rather than being ashamed of our inabilities, God allows us to put them on full display so that his grace can better supply what we are lacking.

What is your story? It is probably a story with plenty of weaknesses and failures. It is also a story of God’s power being made perfect in those weaknesses and failures. Despite your inability to contribute, God has forgiven your sins. He is directing all things in this world for your benefit. He has given you an inheritance in heaven.

Boast in your weakness. God’s power is shown perfectly in it.

Prayer:
God of all power and might, by my own will and abilities I can do nothing. May I always find all of my worth, hope, and joy in your grace. 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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Blessings from God – July 15, 2021

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
2 Corinthians 12:7

Blessings from God


Daily Devotion – July 15, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 12:7

See series: Devotions

Few had accomplished more for God than the apostle Paul. His passion and drive to do the work of God were without parallel. He spent most of his life traveling from town to town, sharing the message of God. His impact on growing the church had no equal. He started churches all across the Mediterranean, and countless people came to faith because of Paul’s efforts.

Few had received more blessings from God than the apostle Paul. God had given him signs and miracles to accompany his message. Paul had heard with his own ears the voice of the risen Jesus. Paul had even been so blessed that one time he was caught up to heaven and experienced “inexpressible” things.

There was one blessing Paul was given that he asked God to take back: a thorn in his flesh. We don’t know exactly what this thorn was. It may have been an illness of some type. Maybe a limitation or persecution that he had to experience. Regardless of what it might have been, its purpose was clear. Paul said it had been given to him “…in order to keep me from becoming conceited.”

Paul had accomplished so much that it would have been easy for someone of his caliber to become conceited. Therefore, God, in his perfect wisdom and love, granted one more blessing, a reminder to rely on God alone.

We can look at the challenges in our lives the same way. We can see them as blessings from God. After all, he has promised to use everything in our lives for our ultimate good. It is not always easy to believe, but this is his promise. When the doctor brings a bad report, God is blessing you. When money is scarce, God is still blessing you. When people hurt, God is still blessing you. Regardless of your situation, God promises to bless you.

May we always see God’s hand of blessing in our lives.

Prayer:
Gracious Lord, when difficulties enter my life keep me close to you. Remind me that in all circumstances you promise to bless 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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Hidden in Plain Sight – July 14, 2021

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Mark 6:2,3

Hidden in Plain Sight


Daily Devotion – July 14, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:2,3

See series: Devotions

The ancient city of Petra in the country of Jordan has been popular with archeologists and tourists for centuries. It was thought that all the ancient buildings there had been uncovered until just a few years ago when a woman from Alabama discovered one of the largest ancient buildings at the site. Using a camera on a drone, she noticed that hiding in plain sight was a very large, partially buried building that people had just been walking over without giving any notice for hundreds of years. The building was always there, but no one had noticed what was right under their own feet.

Those who lived and grew up with Jesus in his hometown of Nazareth didn’t realize what was hiding in plain sight. They knew Jesus as a carpenter. He was the son of Mary and Joseph, it seemed. He had brothers and sisters. They saw him in the streets and talked with him as they would talk with anyone else. When he started doing miracles and teaching the people as the Son of God, the people had questions and were offended. Could the Messiah that God promised be hiding in plain sight?

People are still offended by Jesus for the same reason today. They think he was nothing more than a moral man who had some helpful things to teach us.

But Jesus wasn’t just a moral man. Jesus was sent by God his Father. In plain sight, before all the world, he taught like no one else and did miracles like no one else to show that he was like no one else. While he grew up before the world with a mother and brother and sisters, he is God from all eternity come to do what no one else could do—save the world from its sin and reunite us to our heavenly Father. He is Jesus, the Son of God.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus. Help me to always see him as your Son and my 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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Not Just for the Good Guys – July 13, 2021

He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn.”
Ezekiel 2:3,4

Not Just for the Good Guys


Daily Devotion – July 13, 2021

Devotion based on Ezekiel 2:3,4

See series: Devotions

God doesn’t just love the “good guys.”

It is perhaps the greatest miracle in the entire Bible. Sure, the Bible tells us about people walking across seas, the blind receiving their sight, and empires brought to their knees. But the greatest miracle in the entire Bible might be that God loves the rebels and transgressors and the obstinate and stubborn.

Many years ago, God sent a man by the name of Ezekiel to speak to his people. These weren’t “good guys.” They had rebelled against God’s commands. They had transgressed his commands. When they were told to turn from their sin, they stubbornly refused to listen. Despite this, God still sent Ezekiel to the people of Israel to share his message that the people needed to turn from their sins that God might forgive their ways.

There are many days when we cannot describe ourselves as “good guys.” We have moments when we are selfish and uncaring. There are times when we are stubborn and disobedient to God. We have all rebelled against God and not obeyed what he commands. Yet God still calls us back through his servants. He sends pastors and teachers to instruct us in the Word. He uses the biblical encouragement of friends and family to call us to repentance.

God even sent his own Son, Jesus, to live and die for rebellious and stubborn people. He sent his Son to have us turn from our sins, to speak words of love and forgiveness, and to make us his people for all eternity. God didn’t send Jesus just for the “good guys,” but for you and me.

Prayer:
Dear Father, I thank you for sending Jesus for people like me. May I always hear your voice through those you have sent. 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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God Speaks Anyway – July 12, 2021

And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them.
Ezekiel 2:5

God Speaks Anyway


Daily Devotion – July 12, 2021

Devotion based on Ezekiel 2:5

See series: Devotions

It is frustrating when you are speaking, but no one is listening. My grade school teacher used to do something when the class was not listening. With two dozen kids making a lot of noise, she would stop talking. She would stand in front of the classroom and not say anything at all until, one by one, we all realized we weren’t listening, and we quieted down and gave her our attention once more.

What does God do when we are not listening? He speaks anyway.

Many people don’t want to listen to God. They don’t want to hear either his commands or his promises. They are more comfortable listening to themselves than their Creator. However, even though many people don’t want to listen to God, he speaks anyway.

Even our own hearts often don’t want to listen to God. We would rather find things to do other than hear God’s Word. We would set aside his commands in order to do what we think is best. We would rather find our own way forward than hear how God would have us live for him. Even though we don’t always want to listen, God speaks to us anyway.

Why? Because he loves us, and he knows how desperately we need to hear what he has to say. We need to hear about this love for us—especially the love that caused him to send Jesus to earn the forgiveness of our sins. We need to hear about his commands—the way he wants us to live our lives because he knows his way is always best for us.

What a wonder that God would continue to speak to us. May we always be eager to listen!

Prayer:
I thank and praise you, God, for continually speaking to me through your Word. Give me ears to hear your message, eyes to see your constant love for me, and a heart to believe what you have to say. 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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Thorn – July 11, 2021

To keep me from becoming conceited . . . there was given me a thorn in my flesh.
2 Corinthians 12:7

Thorn


Daily Devotion – July 11, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 12:7

See series: Devotions

The apostle Paul had a serious problem. There was something wrong in his body, and he suffered because of it. We have no idea what this physical problem was. Maybe he had to grapple with crippling pain, bad eyesight, severe arthritis, terrible digestive trouble, seizures, or heart disease. Maybe what vexed him was something completely different. All we know is that this physical problem was serious and the burden on him was profound. Paul simply described it as “a thorn in my flesh.”

It should come as no surprise that Paul prayed about this physical problem. Paul asked the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh. And, in love, the Lord answered Paul’s prayer.

His answer was “No.”

In his perfect wisdom, the Lord knew that this debilitating physical problem was necessary for Paul and his ministry. It gave Paul perspective. It reminded Paul that, on his own, he was frail and weak. As a result, he never forgot that his real strength was in the Lord and in his gospel. With that thought in mind, Paul later concluded, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”

What is the thorn in your life? Perhaps it is chronic illness, chronic pain, a lifelong struggle with depression, or a deep emotional scar from an old wound. Perhaps it is a thorn only you and your Lord understand.

For the time being, if the Lord has chosen to leave that thorn in you, just remember—he does this in love. It may be to give you perspective or to nurture your compassion for others. It may be to keep your eyes fixed on the One who has washed your sins away at the cross, and who lives to fulfill his every promise to you. Whatever the reason, never forget that there is love in that thorn—God’s love for you in Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Lord, when you choose to let a painful thorn remain, remind me that even that thorn overflows with your 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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Amazing Love – July 10, 2021

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
Lamentations 3:25

Amazing Love


Daily Devotion – July 10, 2021

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:25

See series: Devotions

Last summer, my brother put on a fireworks display for our family. He hardly lit more than a sparkler when his five-year-old daughter said to the rest of the family, “My daddy is amazing.”

There are few things more powerful than a child’s hope in a grown-up’s ability to do amazing things. Isn’t this the same attitude you want to have toward your heavenly Father? He has put on a display of his love when he put Jesus on the cross to die in your place. And he displayed his love again when he raised Jesus from the dead so that you too can live a new life. Isn’t our heavenly Father amazing!

As soon as my niece told the family that her daddy was amazing, she immediately turned to daddy and said, “Do it again!”

God has done the amazing for you through Jesus. Seek him and his goodness again and again. He promises that you will not be disappointed. May you be filled with his amazing love for you!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for your amazing love for me. Help me to help others see it too. 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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He Became Poor – July 9, 2021

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

He Became Poor


Daily Devotion – July 9, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 8:9

See series: Devotions

In ancient Greece and Rome, there were rich people who would use their wealth for the good of the whole community. They would, for example, pay for public baths to be built since very few people had plumbing in their homes. Yes, the wealthy people might use those baths themselves, but they were mostly for other people.

The word used for what those rich people did was “grace.” From their wealth, they did something they didn’t have to do, not really for their own benefit, but for the whole community. Even if people in the community didn’t deserve the gift, they still got to take advantage of it.

Jesus was rich. As God, he had every advantage. Jesus could have spent eternity being worshiped by the angels. Instead, he took on human flesh, put himself under the law, suffered ridicule, and even went to death on a cross. He chose not to use many of his advantages as God. He made himself poor.

Jesus didn’t do all of that for himself. He did it for the benefit of the whole world. And since you are in the world, you can rest assured that he did it for you. Don’t worry that you don’t deserve it. The point of grace is that he did it for you even though you don’t deserve it.

Now you are rich! You have forgiveness for all your sins and the promise of life after death. You have the comfort of knowing that the God of the universe cares about you.

And with all of your newfound wealth, you can afford to be generous.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for becoming poor to make me rich. 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 Perspective of Jesus – July 8, 2021

One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. . . . When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old).
Mark 5:22-24,38-42

The Perspective of Jesus


Daily Devotion – July 8, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 5:22-24,38-42

See series: Devotions

The twelve-year-old was dying. Her father found Jesus and appealed to him for help. Jesus did not ignore or dismiss the girl’s father. Instead, he went to his home. He took action to help him.

When you appeal to Jesus for help, he will not ignore or dismiss you. Instead, he will be with you no matter where you are, and he will take action to help you.

As Jesus went to the house of that little girl, he encountered people who did not trust that he could do something for her. Jesus could tell that they thought death was the end. He encouraged them to think of death like sleep, but they only laughed at him.

You will encounter people who do not believe that Jesus can help you. You may even encounter that kind of doubt or fear in your own heart. But listen to Jesus. Nothing is too big for him to handle.

The little girl’s father had a mental picture of how he wanted Jesus to help, but Jesus didn’t quite follow that script. Instead of laying his hands on the girl, he spoke to her and touched her hand.

Jesus may not follow your mental script, but he knows precisely what to do. You can trust him to do the right thing for you no matter what.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, lead me to trust you in every part 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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He Will Show Compassion – July 7, 2021

Though [the LORD] brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.
Lamentations 3:32,33

He Will Show Compassion


Daily Devotion – July 7, 2021

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:32,33

See series: Devotions

One internet meme of endless variety is parents sharing the reasons their children are crying. It’s usually a picture of a two-year-old in full-blown meltdown with a simple caption.

“I won’t let him run into the middle of the road.”

“She found out the Golden Gate Bridge isn’t actually golden.”

“The daffodils are gone, and I can’t bring them back.”

You can understand the dynamics of parents wanting the best for their children, arranging things for their children’s benefit, and the children not understanding why they can’t have what they want or expect. When it’s two-year-olds, it’s often a little funny and a little sad at the same time.

If you can understand that dynamic, you can begin to understand how “the Lord brings grief” and “he does not willingly bring grief.”

The Lord wants the best for you. His love is unfailing. Above all, he wants you and everyone else to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth in Jesus Christ.

So he arranges things for your benefit and the benefit of everyone else. He knows that how he arranges things may cause you grief. Grieving is not pleasant, and he does not want you to grieve like someone who has no hope, so he promises to comfort you in your grief.

When you cannot have something you want or expect, it’s not easy. It can seem like a pretty big affliction, and you may wonder why the Lord allows it. All of his reasons may not be perfectly clear, but he wants you to know that he has your best interests in mind, and he will show you compassion.

He has already shown you compassion by sending Jesus, and he will continue to show you compassion in many ways every day. Life can be funny, or sad, or exasperating, but through it all, the Lord’s great love is unfailing.

Prayer:
Lord, help me see past the grief to your love and compassion through Jesus Christ. 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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It Is Good to Wait Quietly – July 6, 2021

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

It Is Good to Wait Quietly


Daily Devotion – July 6, 2021

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:25,26

See series: Devotions

All around the world, people are trying to figure out what exactly they have to do to please God. They want him to arrange things in the world so that their lives go the way they want them to go. Those people devise elaborate rituals, often involving prayer and sacrifice, in order to get God to notice and bless them.

It is true that the Lord is good to those who seek him, but he is not impressed by elaborate ritual prayer and sacrifice. Instead, Jesus has done everything that God desired, and Jesus has said that his life of prayer and sacrifice counts for everyone whose hope is in him. That’s why the Lord is good to those people, because of what Jesus has done.

So if Jesus has done everything in my place and has given me forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation, what is left for me to do?

It is good to wait quietly. I can go about my daily life in confidence, looking out for the needs of others and making the most of every opportunity because my salvation is assured. I can pray and sacrifice without obligation, not worrying if I have done enough because my salvation is already taken care of.

It is good to wait quietly. I may become impatient or distressed, but then I can remember how good the Lord is to those whose hope is in Jesus, and I can take a deep breath. No matter how bad the situation gets, God’s got it, and like a child safely in the arms of a parent, I can rest easy.

It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Prayer:
Lord, give me the strength of faith to wait quietly 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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New Every Morning – July 5, 2021

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22,23

New Every Morning


Daily Devotion – July 5, 2021

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:22,23

See series: Devotions

If you live in a place where there is freedom, you can probably tell the story of the sacrifices people made to secure that freedom. It’s satisfying to celebrate what those people did, and it’s appropriate to be grateful for them.

No matter where you live, the Lord has secured a certain kind of freedom for you. By rising from the dead, Jesus proved his power over death and his ability to give you eternal life. You don’t have to be consumed by a fear of death. You can live a satisfying life in that freedom.

Because Jesus has forgiven your sins, you don’t have to be consumed by a fear of going to hell because of something you have done. Jesus has suffered hell in your place and taken the punishment for your sins. You can live a peaceful life in that freedom.

Those freedoms earned by the Lord for us are a big deal, and it’s appropriate to be grateful for them. But the Lord is not done acting on your behalf. He still loves you and has compassion for you. He knows how easy it is to slip back into fear, almost as if the freedoms don’t exist, and he wants to reassure you that he is still here for you, every minute of every day. He will continue to be faithful to his promises of freedom, no matter how you are feeling or what you have done.

In fact, he says that his compassions are brand new every morning.

Prayer:
Great is your faithfulness, O Lord! Thank 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 Goodness of God – July 4, 2021

Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
Exodus 33:18,19

The Goodness of God


Daily Devotion – July 4, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 33:18,19

See series: Devotions

It’s July 4th! Will you go to see the fireworks tonight? Sing some patriotic songs? We in the United States thank God for the blessings he’s poured out upon us and our country. And yet we also groan because of so much wrong in our country, so much activity that opposes the unchanging Word and holy will of God. So perhaps we would pray, like Moses did, “God, show us your glory!”

God answered Moses by saying, “I’ll show you my goodness.” Not glory. Goodness. Why? Because sinful human beings would die if they were to see the perfect glory of God.

Instead, God—who is LOVE—shows us his goodness. We see it most clearly in Jesus who went to the cross to pay for our sins. What a good God we have, who rescued us from our sins, even paying for them himself!

And ultimately, that’s what you and I—and our country—need to see. We need to see God’s forgiving love. We need to hear that God loves us now, that God loves us forever. We need to see that God is gracious, compassionate, forgiving. Seeing God’s goodness leads us to appreciate all the more his greatness and his might.

So, go ahead! Enjoy the fireworks, the patriotic songs. But all the more, enjoy the goodness of God! Appreciate his forgiveness, his compassion, his love. Those bring real fireworks, fireworks for the soul!

Prayer:
Lord, we thank you today that in a world that is often so bad, you love us enough to show us your goodness. 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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Loving Our Enemies – July 3, 2021

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:43-45

Loving Our Enemies


Daily Devotion – July 3, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 5:43-45

See series: Devotions

When Jesus speaks of loving our enemies, he uses the Greek word, which means more than “to like.” It is a word that the Bible uses most often in regard to the love God has for totally undeserving sinners, a love that moved God to be merciful and act for our salvation. We may be unable to like some people because of their sinful habits. But as disciples of Jesus, we are to love our enemies. Why? Because we know and have experienced the love of God, his wonderful grace for us undeserving sinners that pardons our guilt for Jesus’ sake. By his love, God eternally embraces us as his children.

Faith in God’s redeeming love empowers us to love our enemies with a love like his. Though ours will never be a perfect love like that of our heavenly Father, yet his love compels us to love even those who hate us. This means that we show them love in word and deed with the highest aim that in extending our Christian love to them, they will be attracted to the saving message of the gospel, believe it, and be saved.

Jesus points out that by showing such love for those who hate us, we are recognized as the children of the Father. How wonderful to be known as children of God simply by the way we treat those who have mistreated us!

Prayer:
Dear God, through your Word renew in me daily a greater understanding and a deeper appreciation for your love in Christ. Help me to reflect your love to others, even toward those I have difficulty liking. 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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Storm – July 2 ,2021

[The disciples] were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:41

Storm


Daily Devotion – July 2 ,2021

Devotion based on Mark 4:41

See series: Devotions

When you have a moment, look up “Gardner Museum” online. When you get to the museum website, search Rembrandt, and you will find his extraordinary work of art, “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee.”

Look it over. Zoom in on the details. Rembrandt captures the moment when Jesus and his disciples are in a terrible squall while sailing in a small boat. Thanks to Rembrandt’s genius, you can almost hear the roar of the wind, the crash of the waves, the cries of the men. You can almost feel the cold spray on your face.

Study the disciples. Several of them are scrambling to control the sail. One is holding on to the tiller for dear life. One is about to get sick. One is clinging to the side, frozen over what to do next. One has his back to us, quietly shutting down in despair. One is in prayer. Two of them are yelling at Jesus in panic, waking him up from a sound sleep.

Finally, there is one disciple who is looking straight at you. He appears to have questioning eyes. He seems to be asking, “What about you? How would you react if you were in my place?”

When the storms of life hit, which one of the disciples are you? Do you scramble to figure things out on your own? Do you simply hold on to the tiller for dear life? Do you yell at Jesus in panic? Do you shut down, overwhelmed?

Time for some candor. There have been many times when you and I have reacted to the storms of life out of anxiety, panic, and fear instead of trust in the one who commands the wind and the waves.

But Jesus came here for more than stilling storms. He came to live a life of perfect trust on our behalf. Jesus came to wash away our every sinful failure at the cross, and then he rose from death. And because he has, he refreshes us in his forgiveness when we come to him in repentant hearts. Restored in him, you and I can rest easy, even in the storms of life.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when the storms come, you are here. All is well. Thank 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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Shipwreck – July 1, 2021

“Last night, an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul.’”
Acts 27:23,24

Shipwreck


Daily Devotion – July 1, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 27:23,24

See series: Devotions

Let’s set the scene. The apostle Paul, in custody, is sailing to Rome to stand trial before Caesar. He’s sailing on a ship that is massive for its day, comparable in size to the great British warships of the early 1800s. There are 276 people on board.

Then, disaster. A “Northeaster,” a wind of hurricane force, sweeps down and takes over the ship. All the crew can do is ride along. Days pass, but the wind is relentless. The crew begins to throw the cargo overboard in hopes of lightening the load and saving the ship. But more days come and go. The storm continues. The sun and stars do not appear. Everything is bleak. Everything is desperate. It looks as though all is lost.

Then Paul gets up. There will be a shipwreck, yes. However, Paul says, “Last night, an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul.’” He goes on to assure them that his Lord has chosen to protect all 276 lives on board.

And so here is Paul, facing the certainty of a shipwreck. Nevertheless, because of a word of promise from the God who claims Paul as his own, Paul remains calm.

You can relate to the 276 people on that ship. Perhaps you’ve never spent days on a sailing ship in hurricane-force winds. You’ve had your turn, however, at feeling the winds of trouble blasting through your life. You’ve felt the dashed hopes. You’ve felt the uncertainty. You’ve felt the fear of shipwreck.

We all have. We are, after all, sinful, frail vessels in a sinful, stormy world.

But as Paul says, “The God to whom I belong and whom I serve” has bound himself to us through faith in Jesus Christ. The same God who has washed us clean in the blood of his Son is the same one who will see us through all things—even the shipwrecks of life.

Prayer:
Lord God, when the shipwrecks of life come, see me through. 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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Self – June 30, 2021

He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:15

Self


Daily Devotion – June 30, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:15

See series: Devotions

The Twilight Zone was a TV series in the early 1960s. Episodes typically included elements of science fiction or the supernatural. Almost every story ended with a twist in the plot. Many consider it one of the best-written TV shows of all time.

One particular episode featured a hardened criminal who had died but woke up in a pleasant place. A congenial host welcomed him and invited him to enjoy what he knew to be some of the criminal’s favorite amusements—playing cards, playing pool, etc. At first, the criminal had a marvelous time, for he discovered that he won every game he played. Over time, however, the novelty wore off. More time passed. The irritation of always winning had now turned into drudgery. More time passed. Finally, the criminal cried out in misery, “I wish I hadn’t gone to heaven. I wish I were in hell.” In reply, the congenial host laughed a terrible laugh and said, “You are.”

From the Bible, we know that hell is far, far worse than simple boredom. The criminal’s misery, however, highlights a real curse—the curse of an empty, meaningless life that has no other purpose than to revolve around me.

That’s the evil genius of sin, of course—your sin and mine. My sinful self makes a compelling case that the purpose of my life is the fulfillment of my pleasures, my dreams, my comforts, my priorities. All that creates, however, is a vacant, lonely, pointless life. My life has meaning only in connection with the God who made me. Absent that, nothing matters.

And that’s why Jesus came. As my substitute, God the Son lived a life of perfect trust in his heavenly Father’s will. As my substitute, God the Son went to the cross and washed away all my sins of self-absorption. Now, as the risen and ascended Christ, he sends me his Holy Spirit through his gospel, joining me to God through faith in his Son. The curse of my self-absorbed life is over.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have rescued me from the loneliness of self. Fill me with the joy of living 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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Shield – June 29, 2021

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Proverbs 30:5

Shield


Daily Devotion – June 29, 2021

Devotion based on Proverbs 30:5

See series: Devotions

In 2015, archaeologists discovered something very old. It was a wooden shield, rectangular in shape and reinforced with straps. Experts date the shield to several hundred years before the birth of Jesus.

To a soldier in the ancient world, the significance of a good shield was profound. In the universe of battle, when swords, spears, and projectiles were seeking to kill or maim, there was nothing a soldier treasured more than a reliable shield. He cared for it, repaired it, maintained it, and for good reason. To him, the shield he carried was a mobile, personal refuge from harm.

Perhaps you are in a moment of your life when you feel as though there are swords, spears, arrows, and projectiles coming at you from every direction. Some may be coming from your place of work. Others may be coming from your home, family, and finances. Others may be coming from a diagnosis from the doctor. Still, others may be coming from sharp regrets in your past or pointed fears about your future.

Such a feeling, of course, is nothing new. Ever since humanity severed its relationship with God in the Garden of Eden, we have been experiencing the consequences of our own sinful brokenness. One of those consequences is to feel as though we are, at times, in a chaotic, noisy battle.

God saw this. God saw us. He saw the madness, brokenness, and frantic despair. And so God sent his Son. On our behalf, Jesus fought the perfect fight against every sinful temptation. In our place, Jesus gave his life on the cross for our every sinful failure. Then, according to his promise, he rose from death, ascended into heaven, and filled the whole universe.

And because he has, you and I now stand forgiven through faith in him. Heaven is ours. He surrounds us in his presence. He guides all things for our good.

All of which means that, as you and I encounter the battles of life in this old world, we have a shield. We have a personal refuge. His name is Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when my battles come, you are my shield. Help me remember this. 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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Everything for Your Good – June 28, 2021

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?”
Job 38:1,2

Everything for Your Good


Daily Devotion – June 28, 2021

Devotion based on Job 38:1,2

See series: Devotions

The event was sold out. The featured speaker was a prominent British writer of television dramas and children’s literature. When a woman by the name of Malorie Blackman tried to get in, the ticket-takers at the door stopped her cold. “Do you have a ticket?” they demanded, with a nasty edge in their voices. “No, I’m afraid I don’t.” “Then you’ll have to leave. It’s sold out. You can’t come in.”

Malorie thought for a moment about this. Then she replied, “Well, if I leave, then so will everyone else. You see, they’ve all paid to hear me speak.” Immediately, according to Malorie, every ticket-taker there was wearing a red face of embarrassment. They simply had no idea to whom they were speaking.

The Old Testament book of Job is the moving account of what happened when a believer in the true God had to endure a titanic amount of severe suffering. Eventually, Job began to question God’s wisdom.

God’s reply? “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” God made it very clear to Job that Job was out of his depth when it came to challenging God and his wisdom. Job was beginning to lose sight of who his Savior-God really is.

How about you? Is this a period in your life when you’re beginning to forget who your Savior-God really is? Do you perceive him as distant, small, uncaring—perhaps even a bit irrelevant to the frantic urgencies of your life?

Stop. Listen. Listen to the Word of the Lord. Listen as the profound voice of your Savior-God calls you to repentance. As he does, listen further. Listen as he goes on to embrace you, all over again, in the forgiveness purchased by his Son on Calvary’s cross. That is the God who loves you. That is the God who guides everything—everything—for your good.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, forgive my words without knowledge. Forgive me for the sake of your Son. Refresh me in the greatness of who you truly are. 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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Out With the Old – June 27, 2021

If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Out With the Old


Daily Devotion – June 27, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:17

See series: Devotions

It had become kind of embarrassing. The shoes had served me well, but the scuff marks were getting pretty bad. No matter what I did to clean and polish them they still looked dirty. I had to walk carefully around puddles because a hole had formed in the sole of the left shoe. It didn’t matter how nicely I dressed, with those shoes on my feet I just felt a little grubby.

Finally, after putting it off longer than I should have, I bought a new pair. Ah… they were comfortable, and I didn’t have to worry about my socks getting soaked every time it rained. Now I was confident that I looked decent when I needed to dress up. I actually found myself walking with more of a spring in my step, confident in my brand-new shoes.

If new shoes or new clothes can have that kind of an impact, what would it be like to be a completely new person? Those who know Jesus and trust in him as their only Savior from sin and death don’t have to wonder. The Bible tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new here!”

Jesus died to remove your sin forever. Every impure thought, every hurtful action, every regret-producing decision, and shame-inducing failure—all have been washed away by the blood of Jesus. Everything that would make you look dirty and dingy in the eyes of your perfect Creator has been done away with. The old has gone!

Those who are in Christ—who believe that his blood washed away sin—have been made new. You can walk around confident that you look good to God. He sees you as his holy and perfect child, washed in the blood of his Son and made new.

Through faith in Jesus, you are a new creation!

Prayer:
Jesus, my Savior, thank you for removing the old and making me new. Help me to live as the new creation you have made me. In your name I ask it. 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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God Will Never Give Up on You – June 26, 2021

“‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain…Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches . . . I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’”
Ezekiel 17:22-24

God Will Never Give Up on You


Daily Devotion – June 26, 2021

Devotion based on Ezekiel 17:22-24

See series: Devotions

It’s not a great feeling when people give up on us. Maybe it was the coach who decided you were never going to get it, and so he banished you to the bench. Maybe it was the employer who decided you weren’t fast enough to keep up with the job and fired you after only a few weeks of work. Or perhaps it was the spouse who was no longer willing to be patient with you to make some necessary changes and decided it was time to move on without you.

The believers in Ezekiel’s day had the mistaken impression that God had given up on them. They were languishing in captivity in the far-off land of Babylon, far away from home and country, far away from their house of worship. Yes, they had sinned. And now it seemed to them that God had given up on them and moved on.

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God gave his people a wonderful and much-needed reminder that he would never give up on them. He had promised to save them many times and through many generations, and he intended to keep that promise. In beautiful words, Ezekiel records God’s determination to keep his promise to his people. He let them know that a Savior was coming—one who would take away everyone’s sins and provide refuge for all who seek him.

God will never give up on you either, no matter how unlikely that may seem. God has proven that already by keeping his promise in sending Jesus. The cross of Calvary is God’s guarantee that he will never give up on you. He loves you, has saved you, and will always be with you. Wherever you are, whatever your circumstance, God says to you: “I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.”

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for giving yourself in my place and for giving me the gift of heaven. Lead me to trust you and to live as your child. 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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