Tag Archive for: daily-devotions

No More Slavery to Fear – May 26, 2024

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
Romans 8:15

No More Slavery to Fear

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Daily Devotion – May 26, 2024

Devotion based on Romans 8:15

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An Oscar-winning film, “The King’s Speech” is based on the true story of Albert Windsor, a shy, stammering member of the British royal family. Albert had a severe stammering problem all his life, and the very idea of giving a speech in public filled him with terror. Then, the unthinkable happened. His older brother, the King, abdicated his throne in the 1930s. Albert was the next in line. Duty demanded that he accept the crown. Not long after, World War II broke out. Suddenly, the stammering man who feared public speaking more than anything had to give a radio speech broadcast to millions of people.

By a seeming miracle, he did it. In fact, he did it with hardly a stammer. The secret was his speech therapist. Over time, his speech therapist had removed much of Albert’s fear of public speaking. When the paralyzing fear left, Albert was able to do what needed to be done.

The day the Holy Spirit brought you to faith in Jesus was the day you didn’t have to be afraid anymore. But the devil hopes you won’t remember that. Satan hopes that you’ll still stay paralyzed in your old fears, your old guilt, your old regrets, your dark memories of past failures. After all, if he can get you to forget what you have in Christ, he’s won the battle for the day.

Today, give the devil a bad day. Remember the forgiveness you possess in the Son of God. Stop and recall that you are a child in God’s family by faith. Take your old fear and have it washed away in the blood of the Lamb.

When you do, you can live free of the old slavery to fear. And fluently with your life, you can do some of the wonderful things God desires for you to do.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, apart from you I am afraid. In you, however, I have nothing to fear. Empower me by your Spirit to remember that. Use me to do your good work. 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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Can these bones live? – May 25, 2024

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'”
Ezekiel 37:1-6

Can these bones live?

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Daily Devotion – May 25, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 37:1-6

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Have you ever gone into a natural history museum that had bones of dinosaurs, birds, and other creatures displayed? As you look at these bones, your mind may start to put flesh on them, give them a personality and imagine what it would have been like to see these bones covered by flesh and alive. But, of course, you know this can’t happen.

As the prophet Ezekiel stared at a valley of human bones in a vision God gave him, The LORD asked him, “Son of man can these bones live?” The natural response would have been, “No way!” However, Ezekiel said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” Ezekiel knew that he could not do something so miraculous, but the true God could. And he did. God gave Ezekiel the words to speak, and life came into the bones.

Ezekiel’s vision was a picture of what God can do for spiritually dead people, people like you and I were by birth. We had no spiritual life. But, through his promise of forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus, God creates faith in our hearts to believe what he has promised. And, just like that, we are spiritually alive.

Be thankful today that yours is a God who can make the dead live!

Prayer:
Jesus, keep me spiritually alive by believing all that you have promised. 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 Wonders of God – May 24, 2024

“We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Acts 2:11-13

The Wonders of God

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Daily Devotion – May 24, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 2:11-13

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If you’ve ever walked through a busy international airport terminal, you’ve been bombarded with the discord of multiple foreign languages. The words you cannot understand sound like gibberish. And when you hear your native tongue, it is a welcome relief.

Foreigners crowded the streets and temple in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Harvest. Different languages and dialects filled the air. Suddenly, those foreigners could understand someone speaking to them in their language.

It was amazing to hear their own language. It was also perplexing because the ones speaking were from Israel, not from all over the ancient world. But what was truly refreshing was the message they heard. The disciples of Jesus were declaring the wonders of God. They shared the good news of God sending the Messiah, Jesus Christ, into the world. They spoke of the many proofs of Jesus’ divinity, culminating with his death and resurrection from the grave.

As is always the case, though, there were some who rejected this message. It was gibberish to them, and they excused this miraculous event as drunkenness.

There will always be some who reject the wonders of God. Without the Holy Spirit, those words will always be gibberish. But there will be others who hear the wonders of God and to them, there is no greater relief or comfort. The Holy Spirit comforts them with the message of the forgiveness of sins. The Spirit reassures them of God’s grace and love for them. The Spirit helps them to delight in God’s law and commands. They never tire of hearing of God’s wonders.

When you hear the wonders of God, may they be a welcome relief to you. May you find comfort and reassurance in Jesus—the Savior from your sin.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, come and make known the wonders of God to me. Help me always to delight in your Word and work. 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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Powered by the Spirit – May 23, 2024

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:1-4

Powered by the Spirit

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Daily Devotion – May 23, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 2:1-4

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You can’t miss them as you drive through the heartland of America. They’re the tallest structures in miles and miles of farmland. They’re windmills. Modern windmills can be as tall as a 32-story building when you count the turbine at its apex. And they’re built to do one thing: catch the power of the wind.

You can’t see the wind. You can’t hear it. You can see the things the wind blows. You can hear the leaves as the wind rushes through them, but the wind is invisible and silent. You don’t know where it comes from or where it goes.

In some ways, the wind is similar to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the force that powers God’s Church on earth. God’s Church acts like the turbines of a windmill. The Church is powered by the Holy Spirit.

This started on the Day of Pentecost. In a dramatic way, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. Peter, the same disciple who had denied knowing Jesus to a little servant girl, suddenly had the courage to preach to thousands of people.

The other disciples, who had fled from Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, went into all the world proclaiming the resurrection of the Savior Jesus. The Church of God continues this work by preaching the forgiveness of sins found in Jesus alone.

On Pentecost, the Spirit rested as a tongue of flame on each disciple. We don’t see the Holy Spirit work that way today, but the Spirit does work through the water of baptism and the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. The Spirit works through the preaching of the God’s Word. God continues to power his Church through the Spirit.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, continue to power your people through the gift of the Holy Spirit. 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 Spirit of Truth – May 22, 2024

[Jesus said] “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”
John 15:26,27

The Spirit of Truth

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Daily Devotion – May 22, 2024

Devotion based on John 15:26,27

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When you look at a photograph of yourself, you flash back to that moment in time. One feature of storing photos digitally is you can get an automatic flashback notification on your phone. For example, Amazon Photos or Google Storage will show you pictures you took a year ago, five years ago, or however long it’s been. You can relive that day through the pictures you took.

On the Day of Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples had a flashback. Jesus had promised his disciples that he would send them the Advocate, a helper. This Advocate was the Holy Spirit, who came upon the disciples in power on Pentecost. They remembered that Jesus had promised to do this for them.

Jesus had also told the disciples what the Holy Spirit would do. He would testify about Jesus. And the Spirit would help the disciples to do the very same thing. With the help of the Spirit, the disciples recalled the life of Jesus, the words he spoke, and the deeds he did. Guided by the Spirit, they wrote about Jesus and his teachings. These writings make up the New Testament of the Bible. They testify about Jesus.

It’s always interesting looking at a photo with others who were also in the picture. You remember different things, different details. You help each other to fill in the memory blanks.

The Holy Spirit would make sure the disciples would record and remember everything about Jesus’ life we needed to know. They testify so “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

Because Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, we can be sure that God’s Word is the truth. We can be sure that the same Holy Spirit will work through that Word to create and strengthen faith, to forgive sins, and to give new life.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for sending the Holy Spirit on the disciples. Help me to trust the testimony written about you in the Bible. 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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Dry Bones to Living Hope – May 21, 2024

Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.’”
Ezekiel 37:11-13

Dry Bones to Living Hope

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Daily Devotion – May 21, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 37:11-13

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The imagery of dry bones symbolizes the desolation and despair felt by the people of Israel during their exile to the country of Babylon. They believed their hope was lost, their identity cut off, and their future buried in the dust of defeat. Yet, amid this hopelessness, God speaks a powerful word of promise through the prophet Ezekiel.

God reveals to Ezekiel that these dry bones represent the people of Israel who feel spiritually and nationally dead. They have given up hope, feeling disconnected from their heritage and purpose. But God declares that he will intercede. He will open their graves, bring them back to their land, and restore their relationship with him.

Maybe you have experienced seasons of dryness like the Israelites. Your faith seemed empty, your hope evaporating, and your connection to God distant. You felt like those dry bones, disconnected from the life-giving source of God’s presence and promises.

Yet, just as God promised restoration to Israel, he promises the same to you. He can breathe life into your dry bones, renewing your hope and reviving your faith. No situation is beyond his ability to restore and redeem. When you feel cut off and hopeless, God invites you to trust in his faithfulness.

God’s promise of opening graves and bringing life from death is not just a historical event for Israel; it’s relevant for you. In Jesus, you have the ultimate fulfillment of this promise. Jesus’ resurrection shows God’s power to bring life out of death, hope out of despair, and victory out of defeat.

Prayer:
O Lord, you are the God of resurrection and restoration. Send me your Spirit to restore my soul and bring me to life eternal 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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The Word of Life – May 20, 2024

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
Ezekiel 37:9,10

The Word of Life

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Daily Devotion – May 20, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 37:9,10

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This chapter of the book of Ezekiel sounds like a spooky story. The Spirit of God leads the prophet Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones. But these aren’t animal bones; they’re human bones. Femurs, rib cages, vertebrae, and skulls—these bones were lifeless and dry.

What happened to these people? What caused them to become a lifeless valley of bones? Unlike our spooky stories, there was no fast-spreading, deadly virus. It was neither a magical incantation nor a catastrophic natural disaster. No, the reason for this death was sin.

Sin is so powerful that it makes people spiritually dead. All of us come into this world spiritually dead. We are dry bones. And dead, dry bones can do nothing. Ezekiel could have walked up and down that valley for 100 years, and those bones never would have shown any signs of life.

But God intervenes. He tells Ezekiel to speak. But not just any words—no, God gives Ezekiel the words to say. And the faithful prophet carries out his work. He speaks the Word of the Lord. Bones come together. Flesh comes onto bones, but the bodies are still lifeless until God commands Ezekiel to call breath into them. And miraculously, those once dry bones become a living, breathing people, a vast army.

In a similar fashion, the only thing that can save us from spiritual death is the Word of the Lord. The Word is powerful, even more powerful than sin and death. Through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit attaches bone to bone. He puts flesh on the bones and breathes life into us. God’s Word is the Word of Life.

God wants us to hear and use his Word so that we can see how much he loves and cares for his people. He doesn’t want us to remain a valley of dry bones. He wants to give us life.

Prayer:
Dear God, cause me to hear and speak 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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An Amazing Event – May 19, 2024

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
Acts 2:1-3

An Amazing Event

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Daily Devotion – May 19, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 2:1-3

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“They were all together…” Who are the “they”? It’s probably best understood to be the 120 believers who are described in Acts 1:15 “In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty).” Yes, the apostles of Jesus are there, but there are many other believers there, too. People like Matthias, the person chosen to take Judas’ place as one of the apostles.

And did you notice? “Tongues of fire . . . came to rest on each of them!” Yes, there was a tongue of fire on Peter’s head, but there was also one on the head of all those unnamed believers in Jesus, like believer #57. James, John, Andrew, Thomas, and Matthias—each of them had a flame; so did believer #120.

If you had been there, you would have had a flame, too. Why? Because the Holy Spirit works on the hearts of each of us individually. Through your baptism, for example, you received the gift of the Holy Spirit. God brought you to believe that Jesus was your Savior. God convinced you that Jesus had paid for your sins. God assured you that there is a home in heaven awaiting. God the Holy Spirit works in your heart—individually, personally—even as he placed a flame on the heads of each individual on that Day of Pentecost.

It must have been an amazing event to experience! I can hardly imagine what it would have been like to be there. It must have been awesome!

The reality is that the Holy Spirit has worked an awesome miracle in you. He brought you to faith! He brought you from spiritual death to spiritual life! That’s a miracle! And every time you hear the Word of God, the Holy Spirit continues to pour himself out upon you.

Prayer:
O Holy Spirit, continue to bring your life-giving Word to my heart, that I might remain a child of God all my life, until that wonderful day when you take me to life eternal. 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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Have the Strength of Stephen – May 18, 2024

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 7:59,60

Have the Strength of Stephen

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Daily Devotion – May 18, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 7:59,60

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Stephen has the distinction of being the first Christian martyr. Illegally arrested, tried, and convicted by enemies of the Christian Church, Stephen was dragged outside the city of Jerusalem and pummeled with stones until he died.

Wouldn’t you like to be like Stephen? I’m not suggesting that any of us would revel in the idea of facing injustice, pain, and death. What I am suggesting is that any of us would revel in the idea of facing injustice, pain and death with the kind of strength Stephen displayed: “While they were stoning him…” While the stones bruised and cut his flesh, Stephen prayed for those throwing the stones. What did he pray? He prayed that Jesus would forgive them.

Whom do you have to forgive? Is it a relative, friend, or neighbor? Is it a teacher, student, or co-worker? Are you thinking, “I can’t forgive him for that?” What has the person done that is worse than stoning you to death? Stephen could forgive because he knew he had been forgiven. He knew he was no more deserving of God’s forgiveness than the men killing him were. And he knew he didn’t need to get even with them. It was in Jesus’ hands. He could trust Jesus to do what was right and just.

You have that same security. You don’t have to hold on to those grudges and that anger. Jesus is alive and well. Easter assures you of this. You can forgive those who have sinned against you, knowing that Jesus has forgiven you. You can forgive those who have sinned against you, knowing he is perfectly capable of doing what is just and right for those who have hurt you.

Wouldn’t you like to be like Stephen—strong enough to stand firm when persecuted and forgive those who persecute you? You are like Stephen. You have the same living Lord he had. And Jesus will give you the strength you need.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, I come to you in prayer because I know you are alive and ruling all things. Grant me the strength you gave your servant Stephen that I may stand firm against those who oppose you and that I may forgive those who hurt 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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Rescuing Us From This World – May 17, 2024

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 7:59,60

Rescuing Us From This World

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Daily Devotion – May 17, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 7:59,60

See series: Devotions

Duct tape is a wonderful thing. It’s can repair shoes, furniture, boxes, appliances, and even cars. But after a while, there are just some items that are too broken to be fixed. Not even duct tape can do the job. This world is broken. Broken relationships. Broken people. And yes, our Savior Jesus overcomes the world. He overcomes broken relationships by motivating us through his Word. He overcomes broken souls by providing faithful witnesses of the gospel. Yet, because of sin, this side of heaven will always have an element of brokenness.

So what does our Savior do? Eventually, in his grace, he will rescue us from this broken world by bringing us to his unbroken world of heaven, a world where there are no more tears, no more pain, no hunger, no heartache, no headache. What a beautiful day that will be when he closes our eyes as we fall asleep in a broken world, only to wake up and see him in all his glory standing before us.

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” That was what Stephen prayed after being dragged out of the city and having stones thrown at him. You may never have a stone thrown at your head that will claim your life. But because a stone was rolled away, revealing the empty tomb of Jesus, you will always have life as you will be rescued from this broken world.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 695)
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee. 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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Showing Us He’s in Control – May 16, 2024

When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at [Stephen]. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Acts 7:54-56

Showing Us He’s in Control

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Daily Devotion – May 16, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 7:54-56

See series: Devotions

What is your favorite way to picture Jesus? Is it baby Jesus lying in a manger? Miraculous Jesus walking on water? Loving Jesus sacrificing his life on the cross? Victorious Jesus exiting a tomb? Many biblical pictures of Jesus may bring us comfort at various times of our lives. When I am troubled by my sins, the image of Christ paying the price on the cross brings relief. When I’m attending a funeral, Jesus walking out of the tomb helps to dry the tears. But what about when you’re being persecuted? What Jesus do you want to see when your co-worker gives you the jab of being a Jesus freak? When your Easter Instagram or Facebook post gets a nasty comment? When your relatives are “furious” or “gnash their teeth” at you because of your religious convictions. What Jesus do you want to see, then?

We may not find it very comforting to picture a swaddled baby when we’re being attacked for our faith. But King Jesus? Well, that’s a different story. And that’s a picture the Bible gives us of Jesus right now. Right now, Jesus is “standing at the right hand of God.” Right now, Jesus is in a position of authority, ruling all things for your benefit. Right now, Jesus has every enemy of his people under his feet. When we feel we are being overcome by this broken world, remember what Jesus showed Stephen: he is in control. May that truth reign in your heart.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 695)
Take my heart it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne. 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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Faithful Witness of People – May 15, 2024

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose . . . To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! . . . You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him—you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
Acts 6:8,9; 7:2,51-53

Faithful Witness of People

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Daily Devotion – May 15, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 6:8,9; 7:2,51-53

See series: Devotions

“The doctor needs to see you as soon as possible. Can you come in today?” Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of that phone call. But it’s a phone call that must take place. If you are diagnosed with some illness that requires immediate attention, you don’t want the doctor to keep it a secret and to wait until your next visit. Not only do you appreciate the immediate attention, but you also appreciate that the doctor wants to have the conversation in person. It demonstrates care and concern.

And yet, isn’t it a wonder that what we desire and expect for our physical welfare is the opposite of what we expect and desire for our spiritual welfare? We don’t like to hear about what we’ve done wrong. Or we get defensive when someone points out the faults of our family members. “Who are you to judge?” or “Mind your own business” are phrases that so easily come out of our mouths when we are confronted. But consider just how spiritually dangerous it would be if our sins went unchecked. Unless we know something is wrong, we won’t care about a cure. Unless we know something is broken, it won’t ever get fixed.

Our God doesn’t want this sin-broken world to stay broken. God doesn’t want you to be broken. So what does he do? He makes the difficult phone call and has the tough conversations through the faithful witness of people. We need to hear God’s law and how we’ve broken it. Not so we can feel hopelessly broken, but so that he can point us to his Son, Jesus, who never broke a single law but obeyed them all perfectly for us.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 695)
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee. 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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Dedication to God’s Word – May 14, 2024

The Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables . . . [We] will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Acts 6:1,2,4

Dedication to God’s Word

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Daily Devotion – May 14, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 6:1,2,4

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“The devil can’t affect our teaching, but he can affect our relationships.” That’s what one veteran Christian said as tensions were beginning to boil at a congregational meeting. He understood that personality wedges between people can cause the collapse of a group of Christians. It’s a great tool for the devil to employ. Knowing that God’s will is for Christians to encourage one another as they gather together regularly, it’s no surprise then that the devil would set his sights on people. When they’re bickering or complaining against each other, they’re less likely to encourage one another with the promises of God’s Word.

So what’s the solution when there are complaints among God’s people? What’s the solution when there is bickering between believers? Should we just “get over it”? No. Should we set up mediators who listen to each side and declare the “winner”? No. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Turning the other cheek and Christian mediation can be God-pleasing solutions. But they aren’t the first solution.

There is one place to turn. The more people complain and bicker, the more we need to turn our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word. It sounds so cliché, “Having problems? Read your Bible.” It’s anything but cliché. Only in the Word will we find the motivation to love and forgive one another, just as in Christ, God forgave us. In the Word, we find the motivation to speak well of another and not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths. Only through the Word will we be led to serve others instead of wanting to be served first.

Granted, it’s difficult to turn to God’s Word when we’re turning against our neighbors. But God hasn’t left you to do this alone. In his grace, he provides godly leaders who devote themselves to the Word and prayer so that they, in turn, can redirect us there. What a blessing!

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 695)
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. 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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Service and Generosity of Believers – May 13, 2024

The Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. . . choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.
Acts 6:1,3

Service and Generosity of Believers

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Daily Devotion – May 13, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 6:1,3

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“I just can’t believe how many broken people are in my congregation.” That’s how one pastor evaluated the people under his care. Yes, some areas of the world or some congregations may seem more broken than others. But the fact that people are broken shouldn’t be surprising. Ever since sin entered, the perfect world that God designed has been broken. There are bad relationships. There is physical pain. There is hard work. There is death.

Early Christian congregations experienced the same. Relationships were strained. There was hunger and stress. And there was death. In a world void of social security or life insurance policies, this brought a whole new level of brokenness. For example, how would a widow pick up the pieces of her broken heart and her broken home to provide for those under her roof?

Maybe you’re in the same boat. Are you broken? Did you lose a loved one? Do you not know where your next meal will come from or how that medical bill will be paid? Jesus said he came into this world to heal those who were broken. While his primary purpose was to heal our spiritual brokenness through his perfect life and death on the cross, he also demonstrated his care for physically broken people. That hasn’t changed now that he has ascended into heaven. Jesus still fixes and helps the broken as he continues to provide for his people. One of the ways he extends his hands is through the hands of others. The early church realized this as they assigned capable people the responsibility of caring for the widows in their midst. Today, God continues to work through his people. Through the service and generosity of others, thank God that our ascended Lord helps us overcome a broken world. And who knows, maybe it will be your hands that God uses to help fix another person’s life.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 695)
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of 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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The Heavenly Father Protects You – May 12, 2024

[Jesus prayed] “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”
John 17:14,15

The Heavenly Father Protects You

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Daily Devotion – May 12, 2024

Devotion based on John 17:14,15

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The world is not our home. Heaven is our home. Jesus knew this better than anyone. Jesus knew from personal experience how difficult it is for God’s people to live in a world ravaged by sin and under constant attack by Satan. That is why Jesus prayed for his disciples the night before he went to his death. He knew his disciples would face temptation, persecution, poverty, and imprisonment.

Knowing this, we might expect Jesus to pray for his disciples to be delivered from this world. Why not just ask the Father to whisk them right to heaven so they could avoid all the evil and opposition that the devil throws against Jesus’ followers? But the reason he prayed as he did was because Jesus had work for his disciples to do. They would take the good news of forgiveness and eternal life to the ends of the earth. So, rather than ask the Father to take them out of this world, Jesus prayed that his Father protect them.

Jesus asks his Father to do the same for all of his followers, including you. He knows about every temptation you are facing, every trial you are undergoing, and every trouble you are enduring. He knows that temptations, trials, and troubles are part of living in this sin-filled world. But he does not ask his Father to take you out of this world. There is work for you to do. You have people to love and serve. You have God’s good news to share.

Your heavenly Father will answer Jesus’ prayer. He will give you strength to do this work and protect you from the devil until your Father does, in his time, take you home to heaven.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I humbly ask you to protect me from the evil one that I may carry out the important work you have given me to do. 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 Danger – May 11, 2024

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
1 John 4:7

The Danger

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Daily Devotion – May 11, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 4:7

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In the world of 21st Century philosophy, Charles Taylor is a pretty big name. According to thebestschools.org website, Taylor “has been influential in defining how we conceive of ourselves in the modern world.” In a book entitled, “Dilemmas and Connections,” Taylor makes a compelling observation about the secular mind and what motivates the secular mind to do good for other people.

A paraphrase of Taylor’s observation is as follows: People with a secular mindset do good for others because, among other things, it makes them feel good about themselves. However, cautions Taylor, the danger with this kind of motivation is that it can easily slip into feelings of superiority and even contempt for the very people you are trying to help. This can especially happen, says Taylor, when the people you are trying to help are not as responsive or grateful as you think they should be.

Let’s take the observation of Charles Taylor and turn it on ourselves. As you work to do good for others, how do you react when the people you are trying to help are not as responsive or as grateful as you think they should be? Does your attitude harden, even just a bit, into an attitude of superiority? Does it even darken into an attitude of contempt? Are there times when a bitter voice within you says, “After all I’ve done for them, this is the thanks I get?”

That’s why we need Jesus. Out of a kind of selfless love we will never fully comprehend, the Son of God lived a life of perfect service on our behalf. Then he took upon himself the guilt of all of our self-serving motives, our hidden agendas, our false humilities, and he paid the price in full at the cross. And now, as our living Savior, he comes to us in his Word, calling us to repentance, washing us clean, renewing our hearts, empowering us to love others as he has loved us.

What drives real love is not self-serving pride. What drives real love is Jesus’ love for us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive my self-serving agendas. Empower me to love others with your love 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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Loving Others – May 10, 2024

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
1 John 4:21

Loving Others

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Daily Devotion – May 10, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 4:21

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Growing up with siblings can be fun. Brothers and sisters can create good memories. Things like family vacations, playing in the backyard, watching movies, building forts in the basement and snowmen outside are all things that make having siblings fun. It is easy to love our brothers and sisters in moments like those.

However, it is not always so enjoyable. Living in close proximity with our siblings can provide ample opportunities for unloving behavior. Arguing, fighting, tattling, pushing and shoving, and insulting each other are all too common among siblings.

But it does not change much when we grow up and live around roommates, classmates, and coworkers. While there can be good times with these relationships, there can also be friction. It is difficult to love those who don’t love us back. It is a challenge to love others when they ignore us, insult us, or are so self-absorbed that they pay no attention to us. Why should we love them?

Thank God that he did not view us that way. God easily could have convinced himself that we were not worth loving. Thankfully, God’s love for us did not depend on our behavior toward him. Knowing that we would never perfectly show love to him or to others, God still put his love into practice and offered up his only Son to die on the cross in our place. Even though he knew that we would not always love him, God demonstrated his love for us. Thank God for his faithful love to us!

One of the best ways we can return that love to him is by loving others. We can love others by showing patience when treated poorly. We can love others by showing kindness in the face of rudeness. We can love others with acts of generosity that expect nothing in return. As we love others this way—our love for God will come shining through.

Prayer:
Dear Lord God, thank you for the love you show to me each and every day. Move me to love the people in my life, even if I may not receive the same love from them. 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 Clear Picture – May 9, 2024

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and all his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:12

A Clear Picture

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Daily Devotion – May 9, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 4:12

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Do you ever wonder what God looks like? Perhaps we have an image of Jesus that comes to mind, but what about God the Father? What does he look like? Wouldn’t it be nice if he would just show himself? Frankly, that would make it easier for us all to believe in him. I mean, if God is really out there, why doesn’t he show himself to us?

In this world of pain and suffering, it is not difficult or uncommon to feel like God isn’t present. Or to feel like God doesn’t love us or care about us. Maybe there is a person in your life who has recently made similar comments to you. How in the world can anyone get to know God if they can never see God?

That’s where we come in. The Bible says that the world can get a glimpse of what God is like when we love one another. When we live as God’s forgiven children, that gives others a chance to get to know what God is like. Your friend or coworker may never see God, but she will see you every day. What picture of God will she get as she interacts with you?

If we keep the love of Jesus fresh in our hearts and minds—that will enable us to present a clear picture of God’s love for others. When we remember his sacrificial death, we can then be selfless for others. We can put others first. We can listen to their fears and worries without judgment. We can help someone in need and show compassion when so many others pass by uncaring. We can acknowledge a hurting soul and let them know that they are seen. We can show respect and honor in a world that is so quick to put down and condemn. God will be clearly seen when his children live in his love.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your love and forgiveness for me. Give me strength today to let your love shine through in all that I do. Lead others to see your love through 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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Share God’s Love – May 8, 2024

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11

Share God’s Love

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Daily Devotion – May 8, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 4:11

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Imagine turning on your television to watch the NCAA basketball tournament. You have been waiting all year for this. Just as you settle in, the game breaks for the first round of commercials and, of course, they go right to a political ad for the upcoming election. You brace yourself for a harsh, critical presentation where one candidate blasts the other. But, to your surprise, that is not what you see. Rather, you see the two nominees complimenting each other, shaking hands, and telling America how much they like each other. The commercial ends with the two opposing candidates giving each other a big hug and promising to get together soon.

Does that seem far-fetched? Of course it does. That is not the world we live in. We live in a world where political candidates sling mud at each other through all forms of media. We live in a world where citizens threaten each other on various social media platforms. We live in a world where people swear at each other in traffic and ignore each other as they pass through the halls at the office.

God says we ought to love one another, but often, we fail in doing that. Thankfully, God has loved us without fail. Even though we could not perfectly show our love to others, God demonstrates his love in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God is different. He loved us even when we did not love him back. In Jesus, our sins are forgiven. Our imperfect love for others is forever washed away.

So now, as forgiven and loved children of God, we are free to love others. To be different from the world we live in. To show love in our thoughts, words, and actions, regardless of whether someone else shows the same love to us. To share the love of Jesus in how we treat others.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, forgive me for my imperfect love toward others. Thank you for forgiving those sins. Empower me and encourage me to live a life of love toward others in this unloving world. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Constant Love – May 7, 2024

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8

Constant Love

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Daily Devotion – May 7, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 4:8

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Would you describe yourself as a loving individual? If so, are you always loving toward others? We undoubtedly have our moments. Moments when we love our children and grandchildren and show up at their events and cheer for them. Moments when we are there for our spouses and family members to support them in a difficult time. Moments when we help a friend move or take care of their yard when they are out of town.

But then there are times when our love falls flat. Couples in our world fall in and out of love. Children fail to lovingly be there for mom and dad in their last years. Friends are too busy to provide a shoulder to cry on. Neighbors don’t always even make the effort to introduce themselves to each other. Love is one of those things: sometimes we have it, and sometimes we don’t.

God is different. God can’t not love. In fact, the Bible says that God is love. Our love comes and goes, but God’s love is constant. He can’t help it. It’s who he is. But God didn’t show that constant love for us in a way that we might expect. God doesn’t show us his love by turning a blind eye to our sin and giving us a free pass to do whatever we want or by tolerating anything and everything. That’s not what true love is.

Rather, God demonstrated his love for us through sacrifice. He gave up his one and only Son for us. He sent Jesus to die as a sacrifice on the cross to pay for all of our sins. Rather than wink at or ignore our sin, God paid the price our sins demanded. He gave Jesus to die so that we wouldn’t have to. That is true love. God selflessly looked to our needs rather than his own.

This amazing love of God is with you always because that’s who he is. God is love. And this love is something we always have through faith in Jesus.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for us in Jesus. Comfort me with your constant love and enable me to give that same love to others. 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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Loved by God – May 6, 2024

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7 (ESV)

Loved by God

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Daily Devotion – May 6, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 4:7 (ESV)

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Do you feel loved? It feels great to be loved. It feels wonderful to be hugged by our grandkids, comforted by our spouse, and cared for by our parents. But what about the other times? The times when our spouse is too preoccupied with work to pay attention to us? The times when we work so hard to take care of our kids, and they don’t even acknowledge it with a thank you or a hug as they head out the door to their next activity? The times when the boss fails to recognize our contributions to the company? The times when we look in the mirror and don’t love what we see?

It is not easy to feel loved in this world or even love ourself. In fact, it is far easier to feel unloved, unappreciated, and unnoticed. These feelings can quickly spiral downward and lead us to despair, depression, and feelings of worthlessness.

In moments like these, remember that God loves you. The people in our lives may pay us little attention or give us no outward affections of love, but the God of all creation not only knows us, but says we are objects of his love. And he showed his love to us in a way that no one else ever has or ever could. To demonstrate just how loved we are, God sent his Son, Jesus, into the world to live and die for us. Jesus gave his life in our place on the cross and paid for all our sins, forever removing the eternal punishment they deserved. He did all this because God loved us and did not want us to be lost forever.

So regardless of how others may feel about you, take comfort in knowing that you are loved by God. And that will never change! God’s love for you is always constant in Christ Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for loving me and sending Jesus to die in my place. Enable me to now live in 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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God’s Way To Love – May 5, 2024

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
1 John 4:19-21

God’s Way To Love

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Daily Devotion – May 5, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 4:19-21

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Most people would tell you love is an emotion. Sometimes love is there; sometimes it is gone. People think they can only show love when they feel like it. Before long, the feeling goes away. Love is gone, and so are any expressions of love.

The kind of love God talks about is much more stable and consistent than this human love. Christian love gives—it shows kindness, consideration, and patience. Through loving actions, we reflect that we are children of God. We follow God’s pattern.

For the Christian, love is not just an emotion that grows when it receives something in return. Rather, Christian love rests on the boundless love of God for us. John tells us that merely saying we love one another is not enough to demonstrate adequately what Jesus has done for us and that he is at work in us. We must show our love in tangible ways.

How do we do this? In our Bible reading today, John explains that we cannot see God. So we cannot go to him and give him some food, clothing, or other tangible, temporal goods. So what do we do? We show our love to those we can see. They give us tangible opportunities to show our love to God. If we withhold our love from them and refuse to share it—how can we claim to love God?

In other words John says, love the one who is right there with you, and you will be showing love to God. True, our brothers and sisters in Christ aren’t as kind and loving as God has been to us. But remember, God loves us and sent his Son to die for us, even when we were his enemies. Not having our love returned is all the more reason to show love, for then it is unconditional, just like the love Jesus has for us.

Prayer:
Lord, help me show love to those around me just as you have loved me, not just in words, but in action. 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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Connection with Jesus – May 4, 2024

[Jesus said] “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

Connection with Jesus

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Daily Devotion – May 4, 2024

Devotion based on John 15:5

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Lately, I seem to be getting frequent reminders that I am not as young as I used to be. The latest was a notice in the mail that my twentieth high school class reunion will be held this summer. Indeed, those twenty years can go by very quickly. Also, a lot can happen in twenty years, making it hard to stay connected with classmates. Life happens. We get married and have children. Jobs take us all over the country. When we go so long without seeing people, it is easy to lose the connections we once had with them.

It’s also easy for that to take place with Jesus. Life happens. We get married and have children. We fill our schedules up with work, sports, and school activities. We have family and community obligations. We take vacations and try to make the most of life. Before we know it, we are losing our connection with Jesus. This happens gradually, just like with high school classmates over twenty years.

Losing a connection to a high school friend is one thing. Losing our connection with Jesus is another thing altogether. Jesus makes it clear in John chapter 15 that without a connection to him, we are in trouble: we can’t produce spiritual fruit and be saved from our sins. Ultimately, no connection with Jesus means no getting into heaven. It means getting tossed out with the other dead branches into the eternal burn pile.

The good news is that Jesus will never sever his connection with those who are joined to him by faith. He is always ready and waiting in his Word to remind us of his love and to draw us closer to him.

Perhaps, for you, now is a good time to reconnect with Jesus and take steps to remain in Jesus. Recommit yourself to regularly attending worship. Join a Bible study. Expand your devotional life.

We may or may not want to attend a class reunion, but we never want to miss out on eternal life with Jesus!

Prayer:
Dear Savior, thank you for always being there for me in Word and sacrament. Bless my efforts to remain in you now and forever. 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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Love Pleases God – May 3, 2024

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1 John 3:21-23

Love Pleases God

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Daily Devotion – May 3, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 3:21-23

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God has not only made you the object of his love, but he has also made you the subject who gets to love others. Like an object placed in a sentence that receives the action of the verb, God has placed people in your life to receive the action of your love. God calls them another, which means the objects to whom you can show your love can be anyone besides yourself.

As we talk about the objects of our love, we could talk about humanitarian aid, civil service, or random acts of kindness, but perhaps we should start with the objects of love God has placed in your home, people closest to you, likely the people to whom you have already said, “I love you.”

You can show your love in many ways to these people, but if you want to make your love visible, try doing something new. Perhaps it is vacuuming the living room or doing the dishes. It might be packing a lunch for your spouse or drawing a picture for your mommy.

I bet they will be pleased by it. I know God will. When we show our love by doing these things for one another, the apostle John says we “do what pleases him (God).” When the objects of God’s love also become the subjects who love others, God is pleased.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for making me an object of your love. Thank you also for putting people in my life to be the objects of my love. Help me to think of clever and creative ways to show others my love through the things I do. 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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Love Is a Struggle – May 2, 2024

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
1 John 3:19,20

Love Is a Struggle

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Daily Devotion – May 2, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 3:19,20

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The ancient Greeks considered their stomachs to be the seat of their emotions. It was their way of expressing that emotions come from deep inside us. Today, the bodily organ commonly associated with emotions like love is the heart. We imagine our hearts bursting when they are full of love and breaking when they aren’t. It is interesting that we tend to associate our emotions with bodily organs that are so easily upset and unsettled.

Your love for others is evidence of your faith in God’s love for you. Yet how often don’t you demonstrate the truth of Jesus’ statement when he said, “the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” In your heart, you know that you have not loved your neighbor as yourself or have not loved others as God has loved you. As a result, in your heart, you imagine yourself condemned.

Perhaps it is because we associate love with organs that are so easily upset and unsettled that we imagine ourselves so easily condemned. Thankfully “God is greater than our hearts.” God is not easily influenced by your struggle to love others that his love for you becomes upset or unsettled. He proved his love when he gave his son, Jesus, to pay for those sins that should have condemned you and that can still make you feel condemned. When you feel this way, remember that your forgiveness does not depend on how you feel but on what God has done to save you. Thank God he is greater than our hearts!

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, when my heart tries to condemn me, keep me from despair and comfort me in the knowledge that you have forgiven all of my sins, even when I don’t feel forgiven. 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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Love Makes Sense – May 1, 2024

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18

Love Makes Sense

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Daily Devotion – May 1, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 3:18

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Writing a good sentence is an art form. You can master that art by developing an awareness of what makes a sentence work. To be sure, there are nuances to sentence structure that may take a lifetime to master, but there are also some essential elements to every English sentence that even a toddler must master. One element that must be included in every sentence is the verb. The verb denotes action, occurrence, or existence. It is the verb that brings order and structure to what would otherwise be a collection of random and chaotic vocables. Without the verb, a sentence does not make sense and has no meaning. Even in simple sentences, the verb plays a crucial role. “See Jane.” “See Jane run.” “Run, Jane, run!” Without the verb, we wouldn’t know what to do with Jane.

A sentence doesn’t make sense without a verb, and a Christian doesn’t either. Actions are essential in the life of a Christian. You can tell someone you love them every single day, but if you never show it, your words make no sense and have no meaning. Like a sentence that doesn’t have a verb, the words “I love you,” when not connected to an action, are only a collection of random and chaotic vocables. Without action, love is senseless sentimentality and a meaningless emotion.

If you want your love to make sense and have meaning, do what Jesus has already done. Jesus loved you not so that you would be simply lovable but so that you would be loving. Jesus loved you so that you would be a person of action; be a person who is engaged in works of service and is willing to make personal sacrifices.

Words are appropriate for making promises and commitments of love. But it is an action that brings meaning to those words. So, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, a sentence doesn’t make any sense without a verb, and a Christian doesn’t either. Keep me from meaningless lip service. Make me instead a person of action so that my love has meaning. 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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Love Is Unconditional – April 30, 2024

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:16

Love Is Unconditional

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Daily Devotion – April 30, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 3:16

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When your living Lord laid down his life for you, he showed you that love was an action; a thing you do. But who is to be the recipient of your loving actions? Most people would say their family, friends, and neighbors are the recipients of their love. But what is it about your family, friends, and neighbors that make them deserve your love? Is it because they raised and nurtured you? Is it because they support and encourage you? Is it because they lend you a cup of milk and an egg when you need them? Those are all wonderful things, but if those are the reasons you love others, then you still don’t understand love. Notice what all the previous examples have in common. They are examples of conditional love; it’s about you getting something before you give something.

In 1 John 3:16, we are told that Jesus loves “us.” It would be good for us to remember what we gave to Jesus before Jesus made us the recipients of his love. According to Ephesians 2:1-3, all people are, by nature, enemies of God. This is because, by nature, none of us wants the same things God wants. We had nothing of value to give to Jesus, in fact, we disobeyed and fought against him. If Jesus were to love us with conditional love, if he were to wait for us to give something to him before he gave something to us, then we would never be loved by him.

But you are loved. Jesus was fully aware you had nothing to give him. Yet, he decided to make you a recipient of his love. When he laid down his life for you—he gave your life value, forgiveness, and salvation. Jesus loves you not because of what you can give to him, rather, he loves you because of what he has given to you. Jesus loves you unconditionally.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, I’m not worthy to be a recipient of your love. Yet, you love me anyway. Teach me love is unconditional. Strengthen me so that my love for others may be as unconditional as your love 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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Love Is an Action – April 29, 2024

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
1 John 3:16

Love Is an Action

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Daily Devotion – April 29, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 3:16

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What is love? Ask a doctor, and they will tell you love is a result of fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels. Ask a poet, and they will tell you that love is an emotion or a feeling. Ask a philosopher, and they will tell you that love is a construct of your mind. What about you? How would you define love? How you answer the question likely depends on which season of life you are in. A young person may start stammering about sweating palms, a racing heart, and a fluttering feeling in their stomach. A mature person may engage in a sensible discussion about faithfulness, commitment, and responsibility. An older person may wistfully reflect on something that is both comfortable and familiar.

Doctors discuss it, poets sing about it, and philosophers analyze it. Young people are afflicted with it, the mature are obligated by it, and the elderly tolerate it. We do our best to define and describe it, but it doesn’t seem like we really know what love is.

Jesus Christ did not define his love for you with a discussion of hormones, emotions, or thoughts. He did not describe his love for you from a personal perspective, rather, Jesus showed you his love with his actions. He did something that personally cost him dearly but benefits you eternally. He laid down his life for you. He paid the price for your sins so that you could be in a right relationship with God. As the apostle John wrote, “This is how we know what love is.”

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for showing me that love is an action. As I think about my Savior, who laid down his life for me, I am no longer content to define or describe love. Lord, strengthen me as I show that I know what love is by my actions. 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 Manager of God’s Possessions – April 28, 2024

No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
Acts 4:32

A Manager of God’s Possessions

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Daily Devotion – April 28, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 4:32

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That’s mine! You can’t have it! Leave it alone! Many parents have heard words like this so often that they never want to hear them again. At work, you hear: He took my parking place. That was supposed to be my promotion. Why doesn’t anyone think about my loyalty to this company?

The concern about me and what’s mine seems to be present at every stage of life. Some stages may be more filled with it than others, but the general thought is still the same. You have to fight to hold on to what you have. You have to fight to get what you deserve.

The early Christians spoken about in our Bible reading didn’t think that way. In fact, they didn’t claim anything as their own. Those believers did not find it necessary to talk much, if at all, about their own possessions. Possessions didn’t seem to be that important.

Why? The first reason is that these believers realized that everything they had was God’s, not theirs. They didn’t think of possessions as belonging to this person or that person. Everything belonged to God. Each one of them was only a manager of God’s possessions.

Think of that. What you have is not yours. It’s God’s, and you are the manager. One person manages one group of things, and other people manage other things. Having that understanding can change your point of view about possessions dramatically.

Another reason the early Christians didn’t consider their possessions to be their own was that they realized that we use our possessions only for a short time. What we possess now must be viewed from the perspective of our eternal glory of heaven. Our lives here and now are only a short step in our unending journey. Everything comes from God, and he has even better things, even more valuable things, in store for us. Heaven awaits. This fact teaches us to place the right amount of value on what God has given us to use here on earth.

Prayer:
Lord, teach me that all good gifts come from you. Lead me to value the spiritual blessings that you give through Jesus. Help me to use the many blessings you give me to serve you and love others. 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 Am Your Good Shepherd – April 27, 2024

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. . . I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
John 10:11,14

I Am Your Good Shepherd

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Daily Devotion – April 27, 2024

Devotion based on John 10:11,14

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Jesus says to you and me: I am not your typical shepherd. I am not a hired hand that cares nothing for the sheep. I am not some fly-by-night outfit that will only care for you when it’s safe. I am not going to abandon my post—and you—and run when the wolves come.

No. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Lord. I am the God who made you, cares for you, and protects you. I am the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for you. But when I laid down my life, it was my choice, no tragic accident. It was my choice to lay down my life for you on the cross. I willingly gave up my life to take away your sin and to forgive your wandering ways. And it was my choice to take up my life again on the third day. I conquered death—mine and yours.

Now, nothing can separate you and me. Nothing can snatch you out of my hand. Follow, listen to my voice, and trust my promises. I will never fail you. I will never leave you. I will never let you go. I know your hurts and doubts, your pains and problems, your fears and worries. And if not even death can snatch you out of my hand, neither can that problem you have with your job, your marriage, your health, your friends, your past, or your future.

I am your Good Shepherd. I laid down my life for you and took it up again. So you know: I won’t leave you now or ever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my dear Good Shepherd, with you I have all that I need. With you, my soul rests in peace. With you, my soul is restored and healed. With you, I am not afraid, even in the valley of the shadow of death. With you, goodness and love follow me all the days of my life, on my way to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Never let me go. 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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