Daily Devotions

Grownups – August 18, 2021

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5:14

Grownups


Daily Devotion – August 18, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:14

See series: Devotions

Here’s some context for this Bible passage from Hebrews chapter 5. As the Hebrew Christians are reading this inspired letter, they are learning many wonderful truths. In this particular section of the letter, however, there is a loving—but sobering—reality check. God’s Word has just made a candid observation about their lives as Christians. While the readers of this letter continue to trust in Jesus as their Savior, many of them have neglected to keep growing and maturing in the teachings of Scripture. As a result, many of them, God’s Word frankly says, are like infants, still feeding on milk. The implication is clear. It’s time for them to grow up. It’s time for them to sink their spiritual teeth into solid food. It’s time for them to get back to the business of growing in their knowledge of the Word of God.

Allow that same candor from God’s Word to speak to you. Someone once said that, when it comes to growing in the knowledge of Scripture, there can be a tendency among Christians “to treat children like adults and to treat adults like children.” Meaning this—there can often be a serious effort to make sure that children thoroughly learn the basic teachings of the Christian faith. When those children reach adulthood, the drive to keep growing and maturing in God’s truth often comes to a halt.

Let’s confess to our Lord that it has often been easy to look upon our personal knowledge of God’s Word in much the same way we might look upon the history class or the literature class we took in high school. We remember some big things, but other things have gotten fuzzy, and in some ways, we have not moved forward at all. If Satan knows this (and he does), then he knows how vulnerable we are.

But this is where the Lord steps in. He calls us to repentance, washes us clean in his blood, and draws us closer to himself. And as he does, he empowers us to mature in his Word—to become grownups.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, send me your Spirit. Move me to grow and mature in your Word. 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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To Forgive – August 17, 2021

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

To Forgive


Daily Devotion – August 17, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:32

See series: Devotions

According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, you can gain health benefits for yourself when you forgive someone else. The article lists eight specific health benefits that can come your way when you let go of a grudge. These benefits include the following: healthier relationships; less anxiety; lower blood pressure; a stronger immune system; improved heart health; and improved self-esteem.

Without a doubt, such an article is a vivid reminder of what can happen when, for whatever reason, you and I choose to allow sinful resentment and bitterness to fester within us. As Solomon rightly warns, “Anger lodges in the heart of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9 ESV).

And so, as we consider all we have to gain by letting old grudges go, are these good reasons for us to forgive others? Yes, they are. And no, they are not.

Sure, we could grant forgiveness to others, reap the health benefits, and then congratulate ourselves for having upgraded the quality of our lives. But in doing so, you and I would miss the profound beauty of what forgiveness truly is.

Enter Jesus. God the Son entered our broken, hate-filled world. On our behalf, he lived a life of perfect patience, perfect kindness, perfect compassion. Then, to purchase full forgiveness for our every grudge, our every resentful thought, Jesus went to the cross to suffer and die for the entirety of our sinful, self-righteous arrogance.

But here’s the point. Jesus endured all this not to lower his blood pressure, not to boost his immune system, not to improve his self-esteem. He did it out of a selfless, other-centered, sacrificial kind of love that you and I will never fully grasp. Jesus did this out of love for you and me. He did it because we needed him to.

That’s the kind of love we possess in Jesus Christ. And it is that love that empowers you and me to forgive others.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, move me to forgive others as you have forgiven 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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Journey – August 16, 2021

The angel of the LORD . . . touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
1 Kings 19:7

Journey


Daily Devotion – August 16, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:7

See series: Devotions

His name is Elijah. In this moment, Elijah is depressed. He’s overwhelmed. He’s exhausted. He is discouraged beyond words.

Here’s the backstory. It’s about 800 years or so before the birth of Jesus. Elijah is a believer in the true God and a proclaimer of his Word. He works to share God’s Word among God’s Old Testament people. But these are dark times, toxic times. The worship of a fertility god called Baal is all the rage. And while many around Elijah may not come right out and renounce the true God, the practices of Baal worship have saturated the culture. As a result, to Elijah, it looks as though no one—no one—cares about the LORD anymore.

And so Elijah leaves. He leaves out of fear, disgust, and disappointment. Once he’s far into the desert, he sits down under a tree, prays a prayer of grief and defeat, and falls asleep.

And then this happens. As Elijah sleeps, the angel of the Lord gently touches him. Elijah wakes up to find food and water prepared for him. The angel says, “Arise and eat. The journey is too great for you.” Elijah does.

How’s your journey? At this moment in time, perhaps your journey is smooth. Perhaps it’s rough. Perhaps it’s exhausting and awful. Whatever it is, remember that the same Lord who tenderly refreshed Elijah is the same Savior who tenderly seeks to refresh you and me with his promise of his forgiveness and presence. The One who journeyed to the cross on our behalf to wash us clean is the same One who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The journey is too great for us. The Lord knows this. He gives us what we need. Thank God.

Prayer:
Lord, my journey is long. Move me to find refreshment in 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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Give Me Strength – August 15, 2021

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
1 Kings 19:3,4

Give Me Strength


Daily Devotion – August 15, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:3,4

See series: Devotions

Burnout, depression, anxiety, panic attacks are common problems in our day. Maybe you’re dealing with some of these issues right now. Life was going along just fine. Then the bottom fell out. Family problems, issues at work, the hectic pace of everyday life—it finally catches up with us. We’re overwhelmed. We feel like failures. We’re tired, discouraged, and we want to quit.

This is how the prophet Elijah felt. Even though with God’s help, he had just defeated the prophets of Baal, he was on the run. Wicked Queen Jezebel wanted revenge. She vowed to take his life. Elijah ran in fear. He had hoped his victory over the prophets of Baal would turn things around. Instead, he was on the run. He was tired, discouraged, and wanted to die.

God knew Elijah needed help. He sent an angel to give Elijah food and water and sent Elijah on his way. There was still work that needed to be done.

When you think you can’t go on, remember that you’re not alone. The Lord knows what you need. The same God who sent his Son to save you from your sin is there to help you with the troubles of life. He knows how you feel. He knows the problems you face. He will help you. You have his Word on it.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, when life gets hard and I want to quit, give me strength as you did Elijah. Let me never lose sight of your love nor forget your promise to help. In Jesus name I pray. 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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Never Go Hungry – August 14, 2021

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:35

Never Go Hungry


Daily Devotion – August 14, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:35

See series: Devotions

In the movie The Lion King, the lion named Scar wants to usurp the throne, and he’s recruiting the hyenas to be his henchmen. His sales pitch? “Stick with me, and you’ll never go hungry again!” That sounds pretty human, doesn’t it?

We are so easily focused on the things of this world, thinking that if we could satisfy earthly longings, that we could thereby be content: “If only I had more money in my retirement account, then I could be happy.” “If only I had a different job, then I could be happy.” “If only I could get that new car, house, clothes, shoes, furniture, television, then I would be satisfied.” It never works.

What we need most is food for our souls. We need to know that our sins are forgiven and that we are at peace with God. We need to know where we are going when we leave this world. We need to have an answer to guilt and a purpose in life.

And in Jesus, we get all of those things. Jesus paid for our sins and washed our guilt away. Jesus opened the gates of heaven for us. And in loving and serving Jesus, we are given purpose in life.

So do you never want to be hungry again? Then feast! Feast on God’s Word, feast on the good-news message of Jesus, your Savior. And you will never go hungry again.

Prayer:
O Savior, feed me! Lead me into your Word, that I might feast on the truths that my sins are forgiven, that I’m at peace with you, that I’m your eternal child. Use the Bible to bring eternal satisfaction to my eternal soul, that it might rest in confidence. In Jesus’ name, I pray. 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 is Faithful – August 13, 2021

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of (the Israelites); their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry. We should not commit adultery, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:5-13



Daily Devotion – August 13, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 10:5-13

See series: Devotions

The apostle Paul listed for his friends in Corinth various sins that Israel committed during their years in the wilderness. There were two things all their sins had in common. Firstly, all the Israelites who committed them had seen God going with them, working for them, and providing for them in impossible situations. They didn’t suddenly forget these things had happened. They didn’t suddenly stop believing in God. They were just trying to believe in God and enjoy a little sin on the side at the same time. The second thing all these things have in common is that they didn’t get away with it. God noticed, and he didn’t just let it go.

Paul wanted to warn the Christians in Corinth and us about how quickly someone can stray into a sinful path. Israel was proof of that. So were the people in Corinth and each one of us.

But Paul didn’t leave his friends dwelling on their unfaithfulness to God. He pointed them to God’s faithfulness in loving and forgiving us. “God is faithful,” Paul wrote. God was faithful in sending the Savior promised long ago. He was faithful in providing the sacrifice that would forgive every sin. He was faithful in conquering death for us. And he will be faithful in leading us safely through every trial and temptation.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, may my focus always be on your faithful love in Christ 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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Christ is Our Only Rock – August 12, 2021

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Christ is Our Only Rock


Daily Devotion – August 12, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

See series: Devotions

In his first letter to his Christian friends in the city of Corinth, the apostle Paul mentioned some of the most famous moments in Israel’s 40 years in the desert. He talked about the pillar of cloud God placed over them, the time God parted the Red Sea for them, and the miraculous ways God provided food and water in the desert every day of their 40-year desert wandering. But he mentioned one other important thing. Four times in these four verses, he used the word “all.” All of Israel saw the same things. They all saw God going with them. They all saw God working for them. They all saw God providing for them all, even in impossible situations.

If you compare the people of Israel with the people of Corinth, they were incredibly different—different genetics, histories, skin color, economic situations, music preferences, entertainment, and styles of clothing. But there was one important thing they had in common that Paul wanted them to value above everything. They had the same God. The same rock. And “That rock was Christ,” he said.

The apostle Paul would say the same to you and me two thousand years after he wrote his letter to the Corinthian Christians: Jesus Christ is our rock. This means that: wherever you live in the world; whether your skin is pale white, dark as night, or anything in between; whether the people around you treat you like a celebrity or a nobody, whether you are dirt poor or phenomenally wealthy, whether your sins are well-known to everyone or only to you, you can rely on Jesus. He is your rock.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, establish my feet firmly on the work of Jesus Christ, my rock, and my Redeemer. 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 Perfectly Satisfying Future – August 11, 2021

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” . . . The LORD said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’”
Exodus 16:2,3,11,12

The Perfectly Satisfying Future


Daily Devotion – August 11, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 16:2,3,11,12

See series: Devotions

Our bodies need food to live. That is just as true for us as it was for the nation of Israel during their 40 years of wandering through the wilderness. They needed food to live. So God gave them food. God literally made it rain bread. For 40 years. But the main reason he did wasn’t to fill their bellies. He told them he did it so that “you will know that I am the LORD your God.” When they saw the manna, God wanted them to see the kindness of the God who gave it to them. And, at first, they did. But eventually, when they got tired of eating the same food day after day, they started complaining that they wanted something different. They weren’t grateful to receive whatever God sent them. Rather, they wanted the right to tell God how he should be taking care of them. They didn’t want to see God as much as they wanted to be God.

Like the manna, there are a lot of very good things God gives us in our lives—food, health, job, relaxation, family, friends, money, and possessions. But if, like Israel, we start complaining when those gifts aren’t all we would like them to be, we commit the same terrible sin of telling God how to be God.

Jesus came to give us a better way to live. His work as our Savior allows us to live each day without wondering if we are forgiven for all the times we have told God how to be God. His work for us allows us to live each day knowing that our fragile existence has God’s undivided attention. And he will not fail to provide all that is needed as he leads us to the perfectly satisfying future that has already been prepared for us in heaven.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for all the gifts you graciously give 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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Bread That Will Always Satisfy – August 10, 2021

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
John 6:28,29

Bread That Will Always Satisfy


Daily Devotion – August 10, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:28,29

See series: Devotions

When Jesus promised the crowd a bread that would always satisfy and never spoil—they asked him a very natural question. “What must we do to get it?” We all ask what must I do in many categories of our lives.

What must I do to live a long and healthy life?
What must I do to have a good marriage?
What must I do to make sure my children turn out well?
What must I do to find the results for which I’m looking?

Those are important questions, and we are wise when we apply the best-known answers to our lives. But when the crowd asked Jesus what they must do in order to never feel hungry again, Jesus didn’t tell them to do anything. Instead, Jesus told them, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Jesus knows we cannot do the works that would make us worthy of eternal life. This is precisely why Jesus came into this world–to do the works for us that we could not do for ourselves.

That’s why Jesus didn’t tell the crowd to do anything but “believe in the one God has sent.” In other words, he wanted them to stop working so hard to find the acceptance, love, forgiveness, and approval from God that had already been given them in himself. Jesus tells us the same–trust that Jesus has done everything necessary for you to enjoy eternal life with him.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for sending Jesus, my Savior who never fails to satisfy my soul. 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 Is the Bread of Life – August 9, 2021

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval” . . . Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:26,27,35

Jesus Is the Bread of Life


Daily Devotion – August 9, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:26,27,35

See series: Devotions

There is a park in Arkansas called Crater of Diamonds State Park. Inside is a 37.5-acre field in which anyone can go and look for diamonds, and you get to keep any diamonds you find. A few years ago, a woman found a 3.69-carat diamond. The diamond was worth about $20,000. The year before, someone found a 6-carat diamond. The largest diamond ever found was a 40-carat gem called the “Uncle Sam” diamond–worth over $50 million.

But these are the exceptions. Most people who look for diamonds in this large field don’t find anything, no matter how hard they look, no matter how long they stay. Everyone hopes to find the very best diamonds. But the vast majority end up disappointed.

The group to whom Jesus was speaking in John chapter 6 never wanted to feel disappointed again. One day earlier, Jesus used five loaves of bread and two small fish to miraculously satisfy the hunger of thousands. But do you know what happened the next day? The same thing that does the day after we eat even the most satisfying meal. Their bellies were hungry again. So they came to Jesus, who then promised them a food that would never fail to satisfy them.

But he wasn’t talking about food for their bellies. He was talking about nourishment that would never fail to feed their hurting hearts and sinful souls. He was talking about himself—the one who would feed their souls with forgiveness by his sacrificial death and fill their hearts with hope by his resurrection.

He was pointing them and us to the Bread of Life, who will never disappoint us.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, as I listen to your Word, feed me with the living bread that will never fail to satisfy. 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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Listen Carefully – August 8, 2021

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. For this is what Amos is saying: “‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’” Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”
Amos 7:10-15

Listen Carefully


Daily Devotion – August 8, 2021

Devotion based on Amos 7:10-15

See series: Devotions

Remember when your mother sent you to tell your sibling that it was time to come in from playing outside, and your sibling said, “No, it’s not!” That’s a pretty good illustration of what was happening in the days of Amos the prophet. God sent Amos to warn the Israelites to turn from their sins. Amos assured them that “This is what the LORD says!” But, most of the people didn’t want to listen. Amaziah was a false priest who told Amos, “Get out of here! You’re a liar!” Amaziah didn’t like what God was saying.

Sometimes we don’t like what God says to us, either. We especially don’t like it when he warns us about our pet sins—our drunkenness, our materialism, our lust, our gossip. It hurts when God’s Word condemns our sins.

It may hurt to face the truth of our sins, but it will hurt much more and much longer if we ignore the reality of our sins. Instead, may God help us to confess those sins and then look to the cross of Christ where there is forgiveness. Because as serious as God is about telling us about our sins, he is just as serious about telling us about how he saved us from those sins. Let us listen carefully whenever God speaks to us through his Word!

Prayer:
Loving Father, thank you for your Word and for those who faithfully share that Word with me. Help me to listen carefully so that I might repent of my sins and find comfort in 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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I Need Jesus – August 7, 2021

After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
John 6:14,15

I Need Jesus


Daily Devotion – August 7, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:14,15

See series: Devotions

Jesus had just fed more than five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two small fish. One can only marvel at Jesus’ power to feed so many people with such limited resources. It almost makes you think, “What if Jesus could do this every day?” Worldwide hunger could become a thing of the past. Next, sickness and homelessness could be eliminated.

It all sounds good, but is this why Jesus came? There were those who would have been happy to have Jesus just take care of them. Feed me. Make life easier for me. Be my king, and make my life free from effort, sacrifice, and problems.

It is tempting to make Jesus into a “bread-king” and have every want and desire filled. But what about my real needs? Who would respond to my need for forgiveness? Who would resolve my natural animosity toward God? Who would give me hope in the face of sickness and death? I need Jesus to be the Savior God sent him to be.

This is why Jesus came. He came to live for me, bleed for me, die for me, and rise for me. He came to answer my greatest need. He came to conquer my greatest fear.

It is easy to confuse what I want Jesus to be with what I need Jesus to be. When I am uncertain, I need to look to the cross. There I can see Jesus, the Savior I truly need.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for being the kind of king I truly need. 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 Gives More Than Enough – August 6, 2021

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
John 6:12,13

Jesus Gives More Than Enough


Daily Devotion – August 6, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:12,13

See series: Devotions

Perhaps you have seen the picture that is a classic found on many dining room walls: a grandfatherly-type figure wearing a green flannel shirt. His hands are folded. His eyes are closed. And in front of him sits on fine china—a 16 oz. ribeye, baked potato, grilled asparagus, and an elegant tiramisu for dessert.

Ok, maybe that is not the classic picture. But the classic picture does have a grandfatherly-type figure wearing a green flannel shirt. And in front of him sits a bowl of soup and a baguette. That’s it. Yet his hands are still folded, and his eyes are still closed.

It would be nice to be so content! We live in a society that is constantly looking for more. And we get caught up in it. We need the newest phone, the trendiest clothes, the best latte. It’s easy to not be satisfied. But when we snap out of our materialistic mindset and stop comparing ourselves to others and start counting our blessings, we soon realize that the Lord has provided, and he’s provided us with plenty.

That lesson was not lost on the disciples at the feeding of the 5,000. After Jesus fed the crowd to the point that they had “as much as they wanted” (John 6:11), he turned the disciples into busboys to clear the grassy table. “They filled twelve baskets” (John 6:13) of leftovers. The people had more than enough, but so did the disciples.

But it’s not bread in our bellies that leads to contentment. The secret to contentment is not a what, but a who—that who is Jesus. Go back to the classic picture described above. I neglected to share one more item sitting in front of the grateful grandfather—besides the bowl and baguette was also the Bible. That’s what led him to fold his hands. That’s what led him to close his eyes in prayer. He had all this and Jesus, too.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see all the blessings in my life and give me a heart of contentment. 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 Can Do a Miracle – August 5, 2021

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
John 6:10,11

Jesus Can Do a Miracle


Daily Devotion – August 5, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:10,11

See series: Devotions

“Do you believe in miracles?” Ever since the 1980 Olympics, that phrase has been identified as one of the most famous play calls by a sports announcer. Long before Al Michaels ever said those words regarding a hockey victory, Jesus subtly implied the same question. Picture the scene: Jesus’ disciples are running around frantic. “How in all the world are we supposed to feed all these people? Do you know how much that’s going to cost? We have one little boy’s lunch, but how far will that take us?”

And what does Jesus do? Amid the chaos, he calmly says, “Have the people sit down” (John 6:10). It’s not written, but it’s certainly implied that when Jesus gives those orders to his disciples, he’s asking, “Do you believe in miracles?” He already has in mind what he is going to do. And he already has the means. In hockey terms, all that is left was to put the puck in the net. All that is left for Jesus is to complete the miracle. And that’s exactly what Jesus does, “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish” (John 6:11).

While the miracle is the key point of this lesson, signaling that Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be, namely the Son of God, let’s not miss how Jesus sets up the miracle. It’s so easy for us to run around in chaos, wondering how we’re going to accomplish this task or pay for that task. But before Jesus steps in and shows himself, he calmly asks, “Do you believe in miracles?” And he instructs us to take a seat and watch him go to work.

“Have the people sit down.” What a beautiful reminder that it’s not our activity that brings about miraculous changes. It’s Jesus. Only Jesus. So grab a seat, hear him speak to you in his Word, and marvel at the miracles that our Savior has done and continues to do for you.

Prayer:
Lord, take the pressure off my shoulders and lead me to have a seat and ponder the miracles of your love and care. 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 Can Use Any Means – August 4, 2021

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
John 6:8,9

Jesus Can Use Any Means


Daily Devotion – August 4, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:8,9

See series: Devotions

“Is it a keeper?” If your fishing partner has to ask you that about the size of the perch that you’re holding up to the measuring tape, the answer is usually, “No.” If it’s not obvious, it’s likely not a “keeper.” And yet, fishermen like to brag about the size of their catch, no matter how small they are.

Which is why I find it interesting that when fisherman Andrew presented one little boy’s lunch as the disciples were searching for food to feed the hungry crowd, Andrew didn’t just comment on the quantity of fish; he also commented on the size of the fish. “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish.”

Have you ever said or felt something similar when you look at God’s providence in your life? You notice the number of gifts he provides, but you complain about the quantity or the size of those gifts. Your “five loaves and two fish” may be that you have a job, but you quickly qualify it by commenting on the “smallness” of that job, “Yeah, I’ve got a job, but it’s going nowhere.” Or maybe your “small fish” concerns your resident, “Yeah, I’ve got a house, but it’s small and needs a lot of work.” Or, “Yeah, I have my health, but my strength is nothing compared to what it used to be.”

What is the “small” fish in your life? When you throw those fish back because they’re not keepers in your eyes, remember what our God can do with “small” fish. He once used the smallest son of Jesse to become the greatest king in the history of his people. He once used a humble girl from the small town of Nazareth to be the mother of God. Look at Jesus himself. To the rest of the world, he looked like a small fish in a big pond of prophets. Yet, in reality, he was the only “keeper” when it came to be our Savior.

The means that God uses to provide for our lives may seem small. But be assured, nothing is small when those means are in the hands of our loving God.

Prayer:
Lord, give me confidence that no gift is small when it is used by 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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Worth More than Money – August 3, 2021

Philip answered [Jesus], “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
John 6:7

Worth More than Money


Daily Devotion – August 3, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:7

See series: Devotions

What are your concerns in life? Go ahead, list your top ten. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that somewhere on your list is something to do with money. Oh, I’m not accusing you of having the love of money, which is the root of all evil. I’m not accusing you of poor management of the financial gifts that God has given you. Nor am I accusing you of not being content with those gifts. I’m just acknowledging that money is connected to almost every aspect of our lives and will consistently be on our minds. And if it’s on our minds, it will be one of our concerns.

When Jesus asked Philip where they should get the bread to feed the large crowd that had gathered on the mountainside of Galilee, Philip’s first concern wasn’t where to shop. He wasn’t wondering which market would have enough inventory to feed a sporting arena’s worth of people. He wasn’t wondering how they would transport the food. His first concern was how much will it cost? “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:7).

Maybe Philip was exaggerating a bit. According to my calculations, in today’s money, it would cost approximately $2,500 to give each person a slice of bread. But if you gave each person a sack lunch consisting of a ham sandwich, bag of chips, and an apple, it would cost $33,000, which happens to be the average cost of a pre-Covid wedding in the United States. How would you like to pay for a wedding on the spot without having time to plan for it?

The point being, we can get caught up in the numbers, just like Philip. Whether it’s the cost of mortgage, groceries, tuition, cars, insurance, vacations, weddings, and more. Life isn’t cheap. But when we’re counting the cost of living, don’t forget that you can count on the One who promised to provide for you. You can count on Christ.

Prayer:
Lord, lead me to trust in you to provide for all my needs. 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 Has a Plan in Mind – August 2, 2021

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
John 6:5,6

Jesus Has a Plan in Mind


Daily Devotion – August 2, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:5,6

See series: Devotions

If you grew up hearing Bible stories from your parents or going to Sunday School, you may have fond memories about the miracle of Jesus feeding 5,000 people on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. That miracle recorded in John chapter 6 often makes the list of top Bible stories.

If you’re not familiar, read John 6:1-15. If you are familiar, can you list the details of the story? Five thousand people (actually 5,000 men, plus women and children), five loaves and two fish, and plenty of leftovers are just a few of the details that quickly come to mind. But do you remember what was going through Jesus’ mind that spring afternoon as the crowds gathered on the mountainside?

When Jesus asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread?” he wasn’t wondering whether Philip would say, “Kroger, Albertsons, or Walmart.” Rather, “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do” (John 6:6).

Read that again: “he already had in mind what he was going to do.” Consider the comfort that detail brings to our daily lives. So often, we look for the miracle, or we wonder about the means. ‘How are we going to get through this challenge? Where am I going to get that necessity? How am I going to carry out this responsibility?’ Long before the miracle or the means becomes evident, our Savior already has in mind what he is going to do. At times he may make us wait before he acts. Jesus may test us prior to providing. But he always “has in mind” what he is going to do.

Treasure that thought today. If your life plans and activities don’t seem clear, know they are clear to your Savior. From before the creation of the world, he always had you in mind.

Prayer:
Lord, calm my heart of any uncertainties, assuring me that you always have a plan for 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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Lost to History – August 1, 2021

I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
Romans 1:15

Lost to History


Daily Devotion – August 1, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 1:15

See series: Devotions

If you visit the city of Rome today and walk through its ancient ruins, what you’ll see are the remnants of massive, awe-inspiring stone structures—the amphitheater, the baths, the villas, the coliseum. And what a sight it is.

What’s easy to overlook is that Rome, in the First Century A.D., had upwards of one million people. And the vast majority of those people did not live in luxurious villas. They lived in small, multi-level apartment buildings.

Those apartment buildings were made of wood. More than a few of them were in ramshackle condition. And so living in such apartments often meant a constant fear of fire or collapse. The living conditions could be cramped, sometimes just one room per family. Many apartments had little or no natural light. And if you lived in the upper levels of the apartment, you had no access to water.

Perhaps most poignant of all is the simple reality that these tens of thousands of wooden apartments have long ago disintegrated and vanished—along with the names of the hundreds of thousands who lived in them.

Names lost to history? Yes. Names forgotten by the Lord? No.

Every soul that the message of the gospel brought to faith, every soul who came to trust in Jesus as Savior from sin through the power of the Holy Spirit—that soul’s name is written in the Book of Life. That soul is a fully forgiven child of God now basking in the presence of Jesus Christ forever.

Keep that in mind the next time you feel forgotten.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in those moments when I feel anonymous and forgotten, remind me by your Holy Spirit that I am not. 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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Needed Rest – July 31, 2021

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Mark 6:30-34

Needed Rest


Daily Devotion – July 31, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:30-34

See series: Devotions

You need a vacation. You know you do. You wince when the phone rings, regardless of who it is. Trying to get everything done, you work right through meals. You wake up in the morning and feel like you haven’t even rested. Even if you are a people person, you know you need to retreat to a quiet, solitary place and get some rest.

Jesus sent his disciples out into the communities of Israel to call people to repentance and to tell them that the promised Savior had arrived. When they returned from that important work, they debriefed with Jesus. It was clear to him that they needed some rest.

Their attempt to seek a place for physical rest was thwarted by a large crowd of people. Rather than being frustrated, Jesus realized that those people needed rest as well. Their need for rest was spiritual, and Jesus met that need by teaching them many things.

When you have physical, emotional, and spiritual needs for rest, Jesus meets those needs by teaching you about himself. “Come to me,” he says, “and I will give you rest.” He calms your concerns about your work and your life by promising to be with you. He remedies your guilty feelings by promising to forgive you. He invites you to remember that everything is under his control and that he loves you.

Jesus sees that you are like a sheep without a shepherd. As the Good Shepherd, he leads you and feeds you with his words and promises. He gives you true rest.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for the rest you supply me, here and for eternity. 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 Hero Speaks the Words of Salvation – July 30, 2021

So [Jesus] began teaching them many things.
Mark 6:34

Our Hero Speaks the Words of Salvation


Daily Devotion – July 30, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:34

See series: Devotions

One truth that we were reminded of by the global pandemic is that not all heroes wear capes. In fact, most don’t. Instead, they wear nurses’ garb and first responders’ gear. They keep our vehicles running and store shelves stocked. In 2020, we were reminded about all the heroes hidden in plain sight.

The Word of God from Mark chapter 6, shows us Jesus as a hero hidden in plain sight. Sure, he was a magnet for attention. Sure, people were chasing just to get a glimpse of him. But, when we see him here, he’s not doing prototypical hero things, or more appropriately, superhero things. He’s listening, nurturing, and teaching.

Indeed, teaching is the stuff of heroes. Especially when the Kingdom of God is the subject matter. Someone might ask, “If Jesus had the power to raise the dead, to give blind eyes sight and deaf ears sound, why would he spend his valuable time talking?” It lets us know that the miracles weren’t really why Jesus had come. He had come to reveal the plan of salvation to human hearts. And that plan is made known through words. If we do not hear it, we cannot believe it and be saved. Paul wrote to the Romans, “Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” In Mark chapter 6, we see that happen quite literally!

But we also see it happen in our lives today. Jesus still teaches us many things, still makes known the path to eternal life for us. He sends faithful pastors to point us to the cross and the empty tomb. He sends faithful teachers who speak to us about the things of God, including those who sit in a classroom, and those who share God’s truth in more informal settings, and those who show us Jesus in their Christian example. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news,” Paul wrote to the Romans just a couple of verses before the one we quoted earlier. Indeed! The words of Jesus bring lost sinners from the brink of eternal death to the gates of eternal life. That is heroic work!

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, you have the words of eternal life. Thank you for sharing them with me through your messengers. 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 Hero Sees With Compassionate Eyes – July 29, 2021

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Mark 6:34

Our Hero Sees With Compassionate Eyes


Daily Devotion – July 29, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:34

See series: Devotions

You have had the week marked off on your calendar for months. You have been counting down the days until you are finally able to get on the plane and jet away to your favorite vacation spot. As the plane touches down, you finally exhale. You have arrived, and it is time to relax! As you enter the baggage claim area of the terminal, there is a welcoming committee. It is your boss, your clients, and a bunch of your coworkers! And they are not here to vacation. They have phone calls for you to answer, emails that need attention, demands, and deadlines that cannot wait. You thought you were getting a little rest and relaxation, but you ended up instead with work and more work.

Even though the example is a little over the top, it bears some resemblance to what happened to Jesus and his disciples in today’s Bible verse. They went away to rest—at Jesus’ suggestion—and when they arrived at their destination, their work was right there waiting to greet them. I know how I would have responded in that situation, and you probably do, too. That is what makes the way Jesus responded truly heroic.

Yes, his work followed him on vacation. But when he got off the boat, he didn’t see work waiting for him there. He saw people. People who needed him because they were confused and helpless, spiritually speaking. They were like sheep without a shepherd. And that pulled Jesus’ heart toward them.

Perhaps you can see in this scene on the shoreline shadows of something even bigger. The same Savior whose compassionate heart moved him to set aside rest here is the One whose compassionate heart moved him to set aside heaven itself in order to come and rescue us from the sins that would have condemned us.

Heroes sacrifice. Their hearts are pulled toward people in need, and they always make the time. They abide with the inconvenience. They reach out when others will not. That is what Jesus has perfectly done for us. Thank you, Jesus!

Prayer:
Jesus, my friend and hero, thank you for looking on me with compassion rather than condemnation. Thank you for rescuing me from my sin so I might spend my eternity with 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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Our Hero Helps Us in Desperation – July 28, 2021

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.
Mark 6:32,33

Our Hero Helps Us in Desperation


Daily Devotion – July 28, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:32,33

See series: Devotions

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “As you get older, it’s hard to have heroes. But it is sort of necessary.”

When you’re young, having heroes is easy. Your imagination is big, and your cynicism is little. There are so many people who seem stronger and smarter than you. But as the years pass and you get older, you realize that that idealized image you had in your head wasn’t all that real. So many people seemed strong because you hadn’t yet been made aware of their weaknesses. So many people seemed smart because you hadn’t yet seen the foolish mistakes they make. As you get older, more and more heroes fall by the wayside, exposed by time as vulnerable at best and outright villains at worst.

But at the same time, having heroes is somewhat necessary as you get older. Because even as you realize the frailty and vulnerability of others, the passing years also bring you to the realization of how frail and vulnerable you are. You realize that you can’t do it all. You realize that in some situations, you can’t do anything at all. The more we become aware of our weaknesses, the more we become aware of how desperately we need a hero.

The people following Jesus were desperate for a hero. They wanted what Jesus had to offer, even if it meant hoofing it for miles to catch up to him.

People today are still looking to Jesus as their hero. They realize that Jesus offers them something they can find nowhere else. Perfect and unconditional love. Forgiveness. A clean conscience and the promise of eternal life.

Other heroes may fall by the wayside, but Jesus never will. He is a hero worth following.

Prayer:
O Lord Jesus, as I get older, I realize all the more how much I need you. Turn your heart to me, recognize my desperation and save me in my distress. Be my hero. 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 Hero Knows We Need Rest – July 27, 2021

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Mark 6:31

Our Hero Knows We Need Rest


Daily Devotion – July 27, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:31

See series: Devotions

Every year, countless people buy planners to help them map out their days, weeks, and months. Whether it’s paper or digital, a planner helps to get us where we’re supposed to be, when we’re supposed to be there. One recent trend finds our daily planners with a section called “Self-Care” (or something similar). The designers recognize if you don’t pencil in a time for rest and refueling, you’re not going to be as effective in all your other tasks. Sometimes, you just need to rest.

Jesus understood that the constant stream of people demanding his time and the disciples’ time was going to take its toll on them, too. Yes, sharing God’s kingdom was their mission. But they couldn’t carry out that mission if they were exhausted, burnt out, or sick. So Jesus put a pause on the “demands” and penciled into their collective planner the gift of time.

We might say, “I sure wish Jesus would do that for me today.” But, of course, he does. It’s important for us to recognize those times when Jesus gifts us a Saturday morning with nothing to do or weekday evenings when the calendar is clear. Let’s embrace a week at the lake or a trip with the family for what they are: our God presenting us with the opportunity to get some rest.

But don’t forget that he invites us to get a little rest for our souls as well. Every Sunday morning, there’s a time for us to retreat from the world to a quiet place and get rest from the world in the sanctuary of a church. And every day, there’s a time to retreat to a quiet place and do the exact thing you’re doing right now—meditating on God’s Word! Jesus knows that we need rest. I pray that’s exactly what this time has been for you!

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, you give me rest. You are my rest. Continue to graciously present me with little retreats to quiet places, that I may find the rest I need for my body and soul. 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 Hero Has Ears to Listen – July 26, 2021

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
Mark 6:30

Our Hero Has Ears to Listen


Daily Devotion – July 26, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:30

See series: Devotions

If I were to ask a 4-year-old what a hero is like, he might mention that heroes are powerful, brave, and smart. I imagine he’d describe how a hero saves people—and usually does so in a dramatic fashion. We frequently see Jesus do “hero things” in the Bible: reaching down to pluck a drowning Simon Peter out of the water, calming a raging storm, raising Lazarus from the dead. Those events would be worthy of treatment on the silver screen, accompanied by dramatic orchestral music appropriate for such heroic acts.

Our Bible reading for today is not this kind of scene. No one is saved from immediate peril—no one dead becomes alive again. No miracle happens, no jaws drop in awed, wide-eyed wonder. And yet, when we look closer, we see Jesus still doing hero things—things that are perhaps less dramatic but no less heroic.

Take, for example, what he does with his ears. He listens when it would have been so much easier for him to talk. Jesus’ disciples had just returned from the mission trip Jesus had sent them on. You can easily picture the disciples going on at length about their work for the kingdom, telling stories about the challenges they faced and the successes they’d found. Of course, they were reporting their accomplishments to the One who is the master preacher and teacher. So this would be like me proudly reporting to Peyton Manning that I played high school football. Or excitedly telling Rachael Ray that I’m pretty proficient at making Kraft Mac and Cheese.

How easy it would have been for Jesus to smile and dismiss them in a patronizing or condescending way! But he didn’t do that. He took in every word and accepted their imperfect work gracefully. He listened because he cared. He cared about them and about what they were doing.

His ears remain attentive to our words today. He still listens to us because he cares about us. So don’t hesitate to share your joys and challenges, your frustrations and accomplishments with him in prayer. Our hero has ears to listen.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, friend and hero. You are never too distracted to listen or too busy to help me. Give me ears like yours that I also may patiently listen to those who need to talk. 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 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

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“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

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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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