Tag Archive for: daily-devotions

Full Forgiveness – April 19, 2024

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:8,9

Full Forgiveness

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Daily Devotion – April 19, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 1:8,9

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People love to minimize the real faults in their lives. They will admit to doing something wrong in the past, but they will quickly explain how it’s not as bad as what someone else has done. They claim to be improving, at least to the point where previous faults should not be brought up. They have thought through so many rationalizations that it becomes hard to pin them down.

God says that is a dangerous way to live. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, plain and simple. Everyone has sinned and continues to sin. There is no one righteous, not even one. If you claim that, you are simply not telling the truth.

It is far safer and healthier to confess our sins. In fact, the healthiest practice is daily confession. You don’t have to fear that you are conceding something to God when you confess the bad things you have done, or the good things you have neglected. God has promised to forgive you and is faithful to all his promises.

Because of the work of Jesus, taking the punishment for your sins, God is even just when he forgives you. He cleanses you from all unrighteousness by his powerful word of forgiveness.

Prayer:
Holy God, gracious Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. 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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Extraordinary Eyewitnesses – April 18, 2024

You are witnesses of these things.
Luke 24:48

Extraordinary Eyewitnesses

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Daily Devotion – April 18, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 24:48

See series: Devotions

Your friend busts into the room with an amazing story. He tells it with great gusto and appropriate hand gestures. He pauses just before the good parts. You are captivated. Then you ask him, “Were you there?” And he responds, “No, I just heard about it.” It doesn’t take away from your enjoyment of the story, but it does make you wonder whether it actually happened the way he described it.

Every Easter we hear the story of Jesus rising from the dead. It’s breathtaking, and it gives us shivers to hear it, think about it, and celebrate it. But some wonder whether it got garbled in the retelling. Did it really happen the way that the Bible says it did?

The disciples of Jesus saw the resurrection happen. They reported it just as they had seen and heard it. Jesus gave them a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that they could report it word for word without mistakes. When it comes to Jesus rising from the dead, we have extraordinary eyewitnesses.

When the details of the resurrection get garbled in your head, go back to the original accounts in the Bible and read them again for yourself: Matthew chapter 28, Mark chapter 16, Luke chapter 24, and John chapter 20. You will be able to read what the eyewitnesses have to say, and can enjoy repeating their story with gusto and joy.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 746, st. 6)
Lord, I love to tell the story.
O wonderful redemption!
The price for sin is paid,
Salvation is accomplished
My heart is unafraid
For God has raised Christ Jesus
To show the work was done;
His glorious resurrection
Declared the vict-ry won! 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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Marvelous Message – April 17, 2024

Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations.
Luke 24:47

Marvelous Message

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Daily Devotion – April 17, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 24:47

See series: Devotions

Jesus had some pretty interesting things to say. He found people who thought they were living their best lives, and he told them that it wasn’t good enough. They had to repent. He found people who were despairing that they would ever be able to live good lives, and he told them that their sins were forgiven.

Anyone could have said the things that Jesus did. People have talked about living better lives in a variety of ways, but you have to wonder whether their ideas are better than anyone else’s. People can assure you that you should feel better about your life for various reasons, but you have to wonder if those reasons are really valid.

Jesus said that his ideas about how to live were really what God wanted. Jesus said he would earn forgiveness of sins by sacrificing himself on the cross. Then Jesus rose from the dead to prove that what he said was really true.

Jesus told his disciples that the message continues to this day. He calls you to repentance, that is, to stop thinking that your own works can get you to heaven to be sorry for what you have done wrong. He calls you to faith, that is, confidence that your sins are really forgiven through the work of Jesus.

It’s a marvelous message.

Prayer:
Lord God, we give you thanks for clearly calling us to repentance and forgiveness through faith 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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Real Resurrection – April 16, 2024

[Jesus said] “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see, a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Luke 24:39-43

Real Resurrection

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Daily Devotion – April 16, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 24:39-43

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The early disciples must have wondered if Jesus was a ghost when he rose from the dead. It would have made sense to them. They had seen him die, and they had seen him buried, so if he were to come back from the dead, it would have to be as a spirit.

Jesus demonstrated to them that he had risen from the dead in far more than spirit. He had them touch his body. He showed them the hands and feet that had been nailed to the cross. He ate real food. Jesus had risen from the dead with both soul and body.

In these modern days there are people who insist that Jesus could not actually have risen from the dead. After all, no one does that, right? People are willing to consider the possibility that there are ghosts and even willing to consider the idea of zombies, but they are unwilling to believe that people can rise from the dead, body and soul.

Jesus did rise from the dead, body and soul, and he made it clear that everyone who believes in him will do the same. On judgment day, believers in Jesus will have their real souls reunited with their real bodies in a glorified form, unable to sin anymore.

Because Jesus lives, we too shall live.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your promise of real resurrection. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Perfect Peace – April 15, 2024

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Luke 24:36

Perfect Peace

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Daily Devotion – April 15, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 24:36

See series: Devotions

In the Middle East, it is common to greet one another by saying, “Peace.” That was true already at the time when Jesus rose from the dead. So when he appeared to his disciples and said, “Peace be with you,” it could have been understood as a simple greeting.

But it was far more than that. The disciples were unsettled. They were not sure that Jesus had really risen from the dead. They were uncertain whether they had done the right thing at the time of his trial and crucifixion. They did not know where they stood with one another, much less where they stood with Jesus.

All those uncertainties made it important for Jesus to greet them by saying, “Peace be with you.” He needed to assure them that his relationship with them was good. Because he had died to take the punishment for their sins because he had risen from the dead to prove that his promise of forgiveness was true, he could calm a whole range of anxiety with those simple words, “Peace be with you.”

We also live with uncertainty. We wonder whether we have done the right thing. We don’t know how we stand with one another, and we waver in our confidence that Jesus loves us. Because Jesus died to take the punishment for our sins because he rose from the dead to prove that his promise of forgiveness for us is true, we rejoice to hear Jesus say it to us, too. “Peace be with you.”

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for calming our anxiety by assuring us that we have perfect peace 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 Ultimate Refreshment – April 14, 2024

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.”
Acts 3:19,20

The Ultimate Refreshment

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Daily Devotion – April 14, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 3:19,20

See series: Devotions

A multitude of products promise to quench our thirst: A variety of teas and juices, sports drinks, and dozens of brands of soda ranging from caffeine-loaded to caffeine-free all claim that if we drink them, we will find refreshment.

Interestingly, many of these products actually deprive the body of the refreshment it needs. Despite flashy marketing techniques and new and exotic tastes, some beverages fall flat when it comes to delivering the refreshment the consumer is paying for.

The same can be said of the many religions that promise spiritual refreshment. Not many deliver what is promised. Not many deliver what the soul needs: peace, hope, joy, contentment, and freedom from fear.

In fact, only one product delivers true, lasting spiritual refreshment. The only thing that refreshes is the forgiveness of sins.

Only the forgiveness of sins gives peace—peace of conscience and the peace of knowing that we are no longer enemies of God. Only the forgiveness of sins deals with the guilt and scarring left by sin and failure. Only the forgiveness of sins, won for all by Jesus’ death on the cross, gives lasting spiritual refreshment.

In our Bible reading today, the apostle Peter’s call to repentance echoes across the centuries to our hearts. Rather than take forgiveness for granted, we confess our sins and are refreshed with God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness of sins is the ultimate refreshment. It’s free, and it’s yours through Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in you I am forgiven and refreshed. May I always cling to you, my perfect 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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Peace Be With You – April 13, 2024

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:19

Peace Be With You

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Daily Devotion – April 13, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:19

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What causes you to lock the doors? What makes you afraid?

For Jesus’ first disciples, it was fear of what the Jewish leaders might do to them, fear that they might do to them what they had done to Jesus. You might also say it was fear of the future—fear of an unknown future. That fear caused them to hide and huddle. It paralyzed them.

How about you? What causes you to huddle and hide? What keeps you from taking action in life and in the name of the Lord? Is it fear of what others might say or do? Is it fear of an unknown future? What causes you to lock the doors?

When situations that have the potential to fill you with fear rise around you, Jesus stands next to you and says, “Peace be with you!”

After Jesus spoke those words to his first disciples on Easter evening, he said to them, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” and went on to talk about the work of the Holy Spirit and the gift of forgiveness. Jesus was not only the extender of peace—he was the provider of peace. This is why he had come—to seek and to save the lost, to offer himself in perfect payment for sin, and to offer his living hands and side as positive proof of his victory. Jesus came to bring the forgiveness that disarms fear and opens the way to true, lasting peace.

This peace does not dictate what others might say or do to you, but it keeps you secure no matter what others might say or do. This peace does not determine what the future holds for you, but it does uphold you no matter what the future holds. All of this is wrapped up in Jesus’ words: “Peace be with you!”

Prayer:
O blessed Savior, I thank you for your death and resurrection. Through your faithful work, I know I have peace with God. Continue to bless me with this peace. Use it to calm my fears, remove my doubts, and give me a never-failing joy. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Proof of the Unseen – April 12, 2024

Then Jesus told [Thomas], “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:29

Proof of the Unseen

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Daily Devotion – April 12, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:29

See series: Devotions

There’s an old adage: Seeing is believing. It means you need to see something to accept that it is true. That saying, however, is not always true. People believe in all sorts of things they have not seen. For example, do you believe that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated?

Of course! Even though you didn’t see it happen, you know that it did. Why are you sure of it? Because there is proof of what you yourself did not see. Other people met him and gave eyewitness testimony about him, so you believe it happened.

What about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? Do you need to see Jesus to believe he rose from the dead? Thomas thought that. He had missed Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples after he rose from the dead. When the others told him they had seen Jesus alive again, Thomas did not believe them. He said, “Unless I see, I will not believe it.”

Like Thomas, you have never seen Jesus alive after being dead for three days. Should you bet your life and eternity on something you have never seen? Not if seeing is believing.

Thankfully, seeing is not believing—there is proof of what you have not seen. Jesus answered Thomas’ doubt by physically appearing to him and giving him the proof he wanted. He gives you proof, too, but in a different way.

Jesus only appeared in person for forty days after his resurrection. After that, people relied not on seeing him with their own eyes but on the eyewitness testimony of those who did see him. In fact, Jesus calls you blessed if you believe even though you have not seen.

You don’t need to see or touch Jesus’ wounds to believe. You don’t need to see Jesus to know he’s real. When it comes to believing in Jesus and his resurrection, he has provided you with proof of the unseen that is just as blessed as witnessing it yourself.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for blessing me, through the testimony of your witnesses. 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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Salvation Delivered – April 11, 2024

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
John 20:21-23

Salvation Delivered

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Daily Devotion – April 11, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:21-23

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When Jesus came into our world, he lived a perfect life, completely fulfilling God’s law. Then he died a sinner’s death, paying the price for your sins. Finally, Jesus rose from the dead, guaranteeing your sins are forgiven. By his life, death, and resurrection, he accomplished your salvation.

But how does that accomplished salvation get to you? If Jesus lived, died, and rose for you, but you didn’t hear about it, would it do you any good? If God has forgiveness for you but you don’t receive it, how can it help you?

Thank God for today’s Bible passage! On the evening of the first Easter, the risen Christ appeared to his disciples and commissioned them to preach the results of his work to the world.

They told people about the sin that would damn them. Why? Because they wanted their listeners to turn from their sins and live forever with Jesus in heaven. If the people acknowledged their need for forgiveness, the disciples forgave them. If they refused to admit their sin, the disciples refused to forgive them. In all this, they simply announced what Jesus had accomplished, and God did the work of convicting and forgiving.

He continues that same work to this day—sending Christians in every time and place to preach and teach his Word. And by that Word preached, taught, and read from the Scriptures, the salvation he accomplished on the cross is delivered to you.

First, he does it. Then he delivers it. You need both! Thank God he has done both!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for delivering the salvation you accomplished to those you need it, including 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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Jesus’ Resurrection Brings Peace – April 10, 2024

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:19

Jesus’ Resurrection Brings Peace

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Daily Devotion – April 10, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:19

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The disciples were in hiding. Their teacher had been arrested and executed, and they had acted shamefully. They abandoned Jesus when they should have helped him. Now, he was dead, and they couldn’t apologize or make it up to him. The guilt they felt must have been astronomical.

Worse than that, though, was the fact that the people who killed Jesus were probably going to arrest and kill them, too. So they locked themselves in a room and waited for the inevitable.

They were not, however, visited by the vindictive Jewish leaders. Instead, they were visited by Jesus. He who had been crucified, dead, and buried was now very much alive and standing among them. He entered without using the door. The surprise they felt must have been astronomical.

Do you think they were also afraid when they saw him? After all, they had wronged Jesus when they abandoned him. Now, he was standing right in front of them. The locked doors had not stopped Jesus from getting to them. Neither had death. Would Jesus hold a grudge?

No! His first words to them were, “Peace be with you.” He didn’t punish them or coax an apology out of them. He gave them peace. It was more than freedom from enemies who wanted to kill them. It was the peace that comes from knowing everything was right between them and God.

The risen Savior gives that same peace to you. What does it take to get peace? Peace with God comes at a cost, but Christ has paid it for you.

Sin makes everything wrong between you and God, but Jesus paid the price for your sin. You can be certain because after Jesus paid that price, he rose from the dead with a message of peace on his lips.

So, what guilt burdens your conscience? What sins keep you up at night? Know that Jesus’ resurrection brings you peace. In Christ, you have the unconditional pardon of everything that you’ve ever done wrong. You are forgiven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me peace from the certain fact of your resurrection from the dead. 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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Joy Made Complete – April 9, 2024

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.
1 John 1:3,4

Joy Made Complete

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Daily Devotion – April 9, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 1:3,4

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What brings you joy? Does it come when you run a mile in under ten minutes? Perhaps it is when you are flush with cash. Or it may simply be when you are with the people you love. Interestingly, in all of these examples, joy is the product of outward circumstances in your life.

Unfortunately, that makes this kind of joy fleeting—doesn’t it? You can lose your family, money, athleticism, and joy along with them. When joy comes from your ever-changing circumstances, it is here today and gone tomorrow.

God wants you to have something better. That’s why the apostle John wrote today’s Bible passage. He gives you a cause for joy that will stay with you no matter what happens in life: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

That is what John saw and heard. With his own eyes, he saw Jesus’ empty tomb. With his own ears, he heard Jesus speak to him and the other disciples on the first Easter evening. They spent decades telling others about the risen Christ, and that good news united everyone who believed it. More importantly, it also united them to God.

It does the same thing for you! The reality of the resurrection gives you forgiveness of sins, fellowship with God, and eternal life. These are promises, and Jesus’ resurrection is the promise kept that guarantees all the rest.

This means Easter is a source of joy that is always with you, no matter what your ever-changing circumstances are. Remember: God is good, his Son lives, and your name is written in heaven. Nothing can take that away, as long as one thing is true; and it is always true: Christ is risen!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, use the message of your Son’s resurrection to make my joy complete—this day and every day. 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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Courage To Speak – April 8, 2024

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
Acts 18:9-11

Courage To Speak

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Daily Devotion – April 8, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 18:9-11

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It takes courage to speak the Word of God. The apostle Paul knew this from experience. Once, in a city called Lystra, his audience pummeled him with stones and left him for dead. He was flogged and imprisoned in Philippi, chased out of Thessalonica and Berea, and sneered at in Athens.

Now, Paul had come to Corinth, and his reception was mixed. Some people believed the Word that he preached, but others were abusive to him. You can imagine what he thought: “Will I only be laughed at, or will this turn ugly? Should I go before something worse happens?”

You probably don’t need to try very hard to imagine that inner monologue because you’ve thought something similar. Although you haven’t traveled the Mediterranean world on a preaching tour like Paul, you have been in situations where sharing the Word of God could have led to unpleasant results.

Perhaps you’ve stood by a friend burdened with a guilty conscience, a relative mourning her dead husband, or a colleague shocked at the state of the world. In the Bible, God has things to say for all those situations. But when you speak them, it could cause a hostile reaction.

However, rather than being silent, remember the encouragement that Jesus gave Paul: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you.” The risen Lord promised to be with him, and he kept that promise. He blessed Paul’s work in Corinth for a year and a half!

Did you know that God is with you too? After his resurrection, he gave a similar promise to everyone who believes in him: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). How encouraging to know that the risen Lord is with you to support you as you speak his Word!

Prayer:
Lord, give me the courage to speak your Word when it needs to be spoken. 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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My Lord and My God – April 7, 2024

Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20:27,28

My Lord and My God

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Daily Devotion – April 7, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:27,28

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As a father of twins, it’s not hard for me to understand why a twin would have a problem with people being sure they had seen something. A twin regularly encounters people who believe they saw what the twin knows they did NOT see. “It was my twin sister that you saw” is regular speech for a twin girl.

Thomas wanted more than mere words that his companions had really seen Jesus.

And his gracious Jesus chose to give it to him. A week earlier, he appeared behind doors that were locked in fear and spoke, “Peace,” into the room. And he—personally, tangibly, and audibly gave Thomas what he needed—absolute proof that he, the crucified one, died and buried, was now alive! Thus, the risen Savior could tell Thomas to stop doubting and believe. In faith, Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God!”

We believe, teach, and confess that Jesus continues to come today—personally, tangibly, and audibly. He is present personally and audibly in worship when we hear, “Forgiven in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” His true presence in body and blood for forgiveness in his Supper is unbelievable to some, but the core of faith for the one, holy, Christian, and apostolic Church. “My Lord and my God!” continues to be the confession that springs from jaded, now liberated lips.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the saving love you’ve shown me in the living Christ who continues to come to me in Word and sacrament. Thank you for the confession I get to say today: “My Lord and my God!” Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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No Blade Sharp Enough – April 6, 2024

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:20

No Blade Sharp Enough

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Daily Devotion – April 6, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:20

See series: Devotions

To say that Thomas Jefferson liked to read would be a grand understatement. “I cannot live without books,” he once said. In his day, Jefferson had the largest personal collection of books in the United States. It numbered in the thousands, and the volumes covered every conceivable subject, from history and literature to science and philosophy and everything in between.

In this massive library that Jefferson loved, however, there was one written history that received unique treatment. It was the Bible’s written history of Jesus. For reasons fully known only to him, Jefferson took the written account of Jesus’ life and proceeded to remove any verses that described supernatural events and any verses that described Jesus as anything more than a man. He simply sliced them out of the text. As one historian described it, he “kept his blade busy.” Then Jefferson pasted together the remaining verses to make a book of his own. He called it, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.

Given the kind of book it was, it is not difficult to guess how the book ends. The book ends with this sentence: “There laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.” In Jefferson’s version of events, Jesus does not rise from the dead. In his book on Jesus’ life, Easter does not survive Jefferson’s blade.

But there’s no blade sharp enough to remove the reality of Easter. Whether it’s a blade that cuts verses from the written account of the gospel, a blade that cuts down the lives of early Christians, or a blade that puts present-day Christians to death for their faith—the tomb is empty. No matter the sharpness of the blade, Jesus lives. No matter the sharpness of the blade, God has kept his promise, we stand forgiven, and eternal life is ours.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, there is no blade sharp enough that can separate your promises from my life. Thank you for the reality of Easter. Thank you for the reality of your empty tomb. 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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By Name – April 5, 2024

Thinking [Jesus] was the gardener, [Mary Magdalene] said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
John 20:15,16

By Name

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Daily Devotion – April 5, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:15,16

See series: Devotions

It is Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene, longtime follower of Jesus, is still in shock over his death. To make matters worse, she discovers that his tomb is now empty.

She has no idea how to process this. Has someone stolen his corpse? As she stands outside that vacant tomb, all she can do is let the tears flow. But then a man approaches and asks why she is crying. At first, she presumes he’s the caretaker of the garden that surrounds the tomb. Perhaps, for some reason, he is the one who’s taken Jesus’ body. “Sir, if you have carried him away,” Mary says, “tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

But then the man calls her by name. Nothing more. Nothing less. He simply says to her,”Mary.”

Just one word, her name. But in that one word, Mary realizes that this man knows her and that she knows him. And in that one word, Mary realizes that Jesus, her teacher, her friend, her Savior, her Lord—is no longer dead. He is very much alive. And because he is, everything he ever claimed to be, every promise he ever made—everything is true. Everything. Because here he is. Alive and calling her by name.

You and I, in our sinful weakness, have all kinds of Mary Magdalene moments—moments when all we feel is confusion, grief, and uncertainty. But then the Lord speaks through his promises in the Bible. As he proclaims in Isaiah chapter 43, “I have called you by name.” He encounters us face-to-face through his body and blood in Holy Communion.

And when he does, I realize he knows me, and I know him. I realize he lives, and because he does, everything he ever claimed to be, every promise he’s ever made is true. Everything. Because here he is. Alive and calling me by name.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you live. And you call me by name. All is well. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Waiting – April 4, 2024

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20

Waiting

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Daily Devotion – April 4, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:20

See series: Devotions

The next time you walk through a cemetery, look at the gravestones. Some are simple, with the name, date of birth, and date of death. Some add a word or two about the deceased: “Beloved Father,” “Devoted Mother,” “At Rest.” Others may have an etching of a favorite hobby. Others offer the reader an endearing sense of fun; for example, one woman’s gravestone contains the recipe for her world-famous fudge. Still others, without apology, go straight for the laugh with remarks such as, “I knew this would happen,” or “Please deactivate my Facebook.”

The vast majority of the gravestones, however, do seem to have one thing in common. Almost all of them look backward—to the past, to what has been, and the life the person has lived.

There are a few gravestones, however, that take a different approach. Some choose to look ahead. “Gone from our sight,” one reads— “Gone from our sight, but soon to rise again in glorious resurrection.” Another says, “Death is not the end; it is merely a sleep awaiting resurrection.” Still another says, “In memory of a life lived, and a resurrection yet to come.”

The gravestones that look ahead are wonderful reminders of what you and I have in Jesus Christ. God the Son entered our world of sin and death. On our behalf, he lived a life of perfect goodness. In our place, he took our every wrong to Calvary’s cross, where he suffered and died to wash us clean. Then he rose from death. In addition, the apostle Paul tells us that Jesus’ resurrection from death is the first of the many resurrections yet to come—that on the Last Day, Jesus will return and summon our bodies from our graves. He will reunite them with our souls. And then—all who trust in Jesus—in glorified, perfect bodies, will live in the presence of the Lord forever, freed, once and for all, from the presence and effects of sin.

The body of the Christian, therefore, is not just resting. It’s waiting. The best is yet to come.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, because of you, the bodies of our fellow Christians have something wonderful in store. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Remembered – April 3, 2024

If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. . . But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:14,20

Remembered

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Daily Devotion – April 3, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:14,20

See series: Devotions

“He’s not really dead as long as we remember him.” “As long as we have memories of her, she will always be with us.” In times of grief, it’s easy to say these things. Well-intended? Yes. Solid and meaningful? Not really.

For instance, how much do you know about your great-great-grandparents? In terms of real years, they walked on this earth not too long ago. And yet, for most of us, they are little more than old pictures in an album. Memories fade. Quickly. And the same will apply to you and me. Sure, there might be smartphone footage of us uploaded into the cloud. But do people truly remember us after we’re gone? Real memories rapidly go away.

Which brings us to Jesus. When God the Son entered our time and space, he did not come to soothe us with sentiment. He did not come to comfort us with clichés. He came to confront what was killing us. What was killing us was the guilt of our sin. The consequence of our having severed our relationship with God was that sin and death rushed in to fill the void.

And so God the Son arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. On our behalf, he lived the life of perfect love that you and I have failed to live. In our place, he suffered and died at Golgotha to pay our debt of sin in full. And then—to make clear that he really is who he claims to be, and he really has done what he has promised to do—Jesus rose from the dead.

In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul does not simply say that Jesus is alive in our memories. He speaks of it as an actual event. And he’s candid. “If Christ has not been raised,” Paul says, “our preaching is useless, and so is your faith.”

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,” Paul later says. Jesus lives. And because he does, we too shall live. Not through others’ memories. But in reality. With Jesus. Forever.

Prayer:
Living Lord, in you I will never be forgotten. Never. Praise be to your holy name. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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My Own Eyes – April 2, 2024

After my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
Job 19:26,27

My Own Eyes

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Daily Devotion – April 2, 2024

Devotion based on Job 19:26,27

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From Chicago, you take a 16-hour flight to Muscat International Airport, located on the southeastern corner of the Sinai Peninsula. From there, you’re in for a long drive—over 500 miles through the barren desert. Once you arrive at the city of Salalah, you still must work your way through another 20 miles of narrow, winding roads to reach a hilltop. There, you will find a small, modest building. Walk inside, and there, in the center of the floor, you will see it—the traditional site where the Old Testament believer Job lies buried.

Stand there for a moment in that tiny room. Let your eyes rest on the rectangular grave. What remains of Job’s body? Dust? A few bone fragments, perhaps? This would come as no surprise to Job. He understood very well the nature of death in this sinful, broken world. He understood that, upon death, the physical body breaks down.

But Job understood something else. He knew that even after his body had decomposed in death, there would come a moment when he would see God with his body resurrected and restored. Or as Job himself proclaimed, “Yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.”

Beneath the rectangle in the floor of that tiny hilltop room, Job’s body will not remain as grains of dust and bits of bone. His body will rise. He knows this because his Redeemer has promised to raise him. And he knows that his Redeemer will keep his promise because Job knows that his Redeemer lives.

Whether you are looking at the grave of Job on a remote hilltop or the grave of your loved one who has died in the Lord, or whether age or illness has made it clear that your own body does not have long to live—one beautiful truth stands tall. Jesus has conquered sin and death at the cross. He has risen from death. In him, we stand forgiven. Eternal life awaits.

Prayer:
Lord, one day I will see you with my own eyes. How my heart yearns within 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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Long Night – April 1, 2024

I know that my Redeemer lives.
Job 19:25

Long Night

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Daily Devotion – April 1, 2024

Devotion based on Job 19:25

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The year is 1759, and on a British warship, a young man by the name of Samuel Medley is facing a very long night. In a recent battle, Medley sustained an injury to his leg. The leg is getting worse. Medley might die. The surgeon has just told him that if the leg is not better by morning, he will have to amputate.

In another sense, Samuel Medley has been facing a long night for a long time. As a boy, he learned about Jesus from his grandfather. Since then, however, he has not given Christianity the time of day.

But on that ship, facing death, facing a long night of dark despair, Samuel remembers. He remembers what his grandfather has taught him. He looks to his long-forgotten Redeemer.

Perhaps you are facing a long night. Perhaps you already fear that your sleep tonight will be restless and haunted. Or perhaps you’ve been facing a long night for a long time. Maybe—just maybe—your relationship with your Redeemer has been dismissive, thoughtless, listless, and apathetic, and for that reason, there’s been a despairing darkness in your life that’s hard to define, but it’s there.

Jesus saw Samuel Medley on that ship. He carried him through that long night. At dawn, the ship’s surgeon discovered that the leg was better. There was no amputation. Samuel Medley lived. The long night set off a chain of events that drew Samuel closer and closer to his Redeemer by the power of the gospel. One day, he entered the pastoral ministry, proclaiming the message of the cross and the empty tomb to all who came to listen.

He also picked up a pen. He began to put into words the joy and comfort the Christian has in Jesus’ resurrection. He based what he wrote in the proclamation of Job, the Old Testament believer. When Job found himself in the darkness of grief and loss, he declared, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

From Samuel Medley’s long night came a hymn of Easter joy. In the forgiveness Christ has purchased for us, we have that same joy. In Jesus, our long night is over.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you live. Because you do, my long night is over. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Who Will Roll Away the Stone? – March 31, 2024

Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”
Mark 16:2-6

Who Will Roll Away the Stone?

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Daily Devotion – March 31, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 16:2-6

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The women who went to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning were preoccupied. Their only thought was the stone that covered the entrance of the tomb. Who will roll away the stone? Would the soldiers who stood guard help? Would the disciples possibly be there to help? It must have been an agonizing trip.

Often, we are like the women who visited the tomb. We are preoccupied with worries, concerns, and far-ranging issues. The joy and confidence we could know are blocked by the stone of doubt and confusion.

When we are filled with doubt and fear we are invited to view the place where Jesus was laid. And we are invited to believe Jesus’ words of promise: “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25,26).

It almost sounds too good to be true, but it is true! Jesus has risen! He has burst the confines of the tomb. He has conquered death and the grave. His promise is true, and life is ours.

As we gaze by faith at the tomb of Jesus, we can rejoice. Not only has the stone been rolled away, but the grave is empty. Jesus lives!

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 152)
I know that my Redeemer lives; what comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead; He lives my ever-living Head!

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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Specifically For You – March 30, 2024

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Mark 16:6,7

A Once and for All Sacrifice

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Daily Devotion – March 30, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 16:6,7

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How do you think the apostle Peter felt on Good Friday? Just watching Jesus go through all his suffering must have been bad enough, but to know that he had denied knowing Jesus had to make him feel awful. Even worse, he’d done it three times. More than that, Jesus had warned him plainly, in advance, that he would do it! How might Peter have felt? I’m guessing he felt horrible.

Then, on Easter Sunday, the women who arrived at Jesus’ empty tomb were given a clear instruction by the angel. “Go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Tell Peter. Tell Peter specifically. Why?

Probably because Peter really needed to hear it! Peter needed to hear that his sins were forgiven and that he had a risen Savior who still loved him and would always love him.

You and I are no different than Peter. We’re sinful human beings, just like he was. We’ve denied Jesus in our own ways, whether by blatant statements (like Peter), or not letting our light shine, or failing to trust God fully, or neglecting God’s Word. We’ve failed and sinned. We’re Peter.

God sent angels to announce the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection marks his victory over death which assures us that our failures and sins are forgiven. The good news of Jesus resurrection is the special message of God’s Word for you! You have a risen Savior! Jesus died and rose again from the dead to assure you that your sins are all forgiven.

Prayer:
O gracious and living Savior, your resurrection gives me the confidence to believe all you have done for me. Open my eyes to the great blessing of your undeserved love, and keep my eyes fixed on you who won for me victory over sin, death, and the grave. 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 Once and for All Sacrifice – March 29, 2024

Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
Hebrews 7:27

A Once and for All Sacrifice

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Daily Devotion – March 29, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrews 7:27

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Sacrifice… blood, sweat, tears. That’s what it takes to succeed in this world. You have to work hard. You have to be willing to give up something to gain something greater, whether it’s on the athletic field, in school or work, in business, or anywhere else.

Don’t we sometimes approach our relationship with God that way? To please God, I have to make sacrifices. If I do something wrong, I have to make up for it. The more of yourself—your time, money, blood, sweat, and tears—you give, the more God will bless you. It seems reasonable, but is it true?

Long before Jesus came into the world, God’s laws taught his people that sacrifices were necessary. Something had to be done about all the ways that people didn’t measure up to God’s demands. And so, he commanded priests to offer sacrifices—lambs, bulls, and goats—day-after-day. There was no end to it. Through this, God also taught them that no animal sacrifice or anything a sinful human could offer was enough to make up for those sins or take them away.

But there was one sacrifice. One perfect sacrifice offered by the perfect priest—Jesus, the Son of God. He offered the sacrifice that only he could. He gave himself. And he didn’t do it for himself; he didn’t need to. He gave that sacrifice for you, dear sinner. Knowing that you could not earn God’s favor, knowing the best you could offer could never cover a single slip-up, he offered his own life on a cross. Because Jesus was the Son of God, his innocent life was infinitely valuable. His sacrifice was perfectly pleasing to God. It never has to be repeated. It was a once-and-for-all sacrifice for all people.

Through that sacrifice offered on a Friday twenty centuries ago; your relationship with God is perfectly restored. Once and for all. No strings attached, no wonder we call this Friday good!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for giving yourself as the perfect once-and-for-all sacrifice 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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A Hunger To Help His Betrayers – March 28, 2024

“The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
Mark 14:21

A Hunger To Help His Betrayers

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Daily Devotion – March 28, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 14:21

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In Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, the title character speaks the words “Et tu, Brute,” a Latin phrase that means, “You too, Brutus?” just moments before his death, when he recognizes his friend Brutus as one of those involved in the assassination.

While few of us can claim to have a friend plotting to kill us, betrayal is something almost everyone experiences. When someone we love and trust says or does something to hurt us, the wounds can be deep and lasting, maybe never really healing. If somehow you knew that someone would betray you, wouldn’t you distance yourself from that person if you could? Nobody wants to be hurt like that.

For centuries, prophets sent by God wrote and spoke about Jesus. They described his life and saving work in vivid detail. That life would end with betrayal, torment, abuse, and excruciating death. On the night he would be betrayed and handed over to those who would do their worst with him, Jesus said, “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!”

He was not caught by surprise. As the eternal Son of God, Jesus knew exactly what was coming. He knew that one of his closest friends would satisfy his appetite for money and power by betraying his friend, teacher, and Savior. But Jesus didn’t avoid the situation.

That night and the following day, Jesus would satisfy an appetite that he had, too. He would satisfy his appetite to show love and mercy not only to his betrayer but to every one of us who betray him every time we disobey God’s law. In unimaginable love, Jesus endured unspeakable injustice and abuse to win forgiveness and eternal life for his abusers and his betrayers, for you and me.

Because of his unshakable love and determination to save us, our longing to be close to God and enjoy an eternal relationship with him is fully satisfied.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, I hunger for your mercy, and in you, I am fully satisfied. Thanks and praise! 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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Fix Your Eyes on Jesus – March 27, 2024

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Hebrews 12:1,2

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

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Daily Devotion – March 27, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrews 12:1,2

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I don’t know about you, but I am easily distracted. So many things come at us from every different direction and want our attention. Sometimes just a voice in another room or something I see off to the side on my desk derails my train of thought and interrupts my focus.

Not everything vying for our attention is bad. There are important people and things in our lives that need our attention. But an inability to focus on one thing at a time can make it difficult to give the important things in our lives the attention they need.

What’s getting your attention? Does the devil have you chasing after sinful pleasures and selfish urges with the promise of happiness that never really comes?

Does work or school consume all your energy and focus? Is it hobbies, recreation, sports, money, entertainment? What about family? Many of these things are good things; but they aren’t the only thing. And they aren’t what matters most. And if they are all we focus on, we’ll wear ourselves out with temporary things and miss out on far greater blessings from our God.

In the next few days, I hope you will join Christians around the world in taking a journey. Set aside time to attend your local church for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday services. There, take a spiritual journey as you hear about and meditate on events that changed the course of history. There, tune out the distractions of daily life and just watch and listen.

There, fix your eyes on Jesus, who fixed his eyes on you when he came to die for you. Fix your eyes on Jesus, who let nothing distract him from his mission of mercy to rescue you from sin and death. Fix your eyes on Jesus, who persevered through adversity to win for you an eternal inheritance.

In faith, see him who loved you enough to die for you. In faith, see him who is waiting for you across life’s finish line, waiting to welcome you home.

Prayer:
Jesus, my Savior, fix my eyes on you, as I run life’s race, so that one day I will see you face-to-face. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Joy Set Before Him – March 26, 2024

For the joy set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

The Joy Set Before Him

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Daily Devotion – March 26, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrews 12:2

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An athlete in a race needs to keep their sights set on the finish—not just in the race but in the days, weeks, months, or even years of preparation that go into that competition. Keeping your focus on the finish is important for many other difficult tasks in life, too—a big project or hard assignment, physical therapy following an injury, or grueling treatment for cancer or some other disease. Individuals and organizations who keep the goal or mission in mind tend to be more successful and find greater joy in the difficult journey to get there.

Jesus came into this world knowing that the road would be rough. The challenges would be great. The pain would be almost unbearable. What he would have to endure would be more difficult than any race, task, assignment, or mission we will ever face. And, when it got the most difficult, there would be no one by his side cheering him on. He would have to go through it completely alone.

This week that we call Holy Week, we see Jesus enduring that dreadful mission with a singular and undivided focus. Knowing what was coming, Jesus went willingly to the cross, where he literally suffered hell he didn’t deserve.

What kept him going? Our Bible verse for today says, “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame.” Jesus focused on the finish. He saw the end.

But it wasn’t just that it would be over soon, and life would be happy again after he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. The joy set before him was joy for you. It was the joy of knowing that because he suffered hell, you would never have to face hell for your sins. It was the joy of knowing that, through his suffering to forgive our sins, he would open up heaven for you to live with him in perfect peace forever. Love for you that saw what his suffering would accomplish for you is why he willingly endured the cross and scorned its shame. He loves you that much!

Prayer:
Jesus, your love for me is beyond words. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Real Strength Rules to Rescue – March 25, 2024

His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
Zechariah 9:10,11

Real Strength Rules to Rescue

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Daily Devotion – March 25, 2024

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:10,11

See series: Devotions

If you were to list the most powerful rulers in history, men like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, or other leaders of powerful empires would surely be part of the conversation. Their strength was not just in political savvy but in eliminating opposition, controlling the people, and intimidating or destroying enemies.

History teaches us to expect great strength to be used in wicked ways. Lord Acton, a 19th century British historian, wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.”

Just days before he died, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. This royal ride was predicted by the prophet Zechariah centuries earlier. As people remembered those prophecies, they began to sing his praises. They knew that Zechariah also foretold that this King’s rule would extend to the ends of the earth. They may have imagined a mighty warrior destroying nations to establish his empire and bring them peace and prosperity.

But as King Jesus came to rule, he didn’t come to destroy but to save. He didn’t come to enslave but to rescue and release. Jesus’ strength was not in the bloodshed of his enemies on the battlefield or the death of those who opposed him. His strength was in his blood—the innocent blood of the Son of God who came to save. He would lay down his life for friend and foe to conquer the devil—the spiritual enemy that enslaves and oppresses all people. By riding into Jerusalem to bleed and die, King Jesus would free us from the pit of our sin and guilt to live as blessed citizens of his eternal kingdom.

The most powerful man in the history of the world used his strength to resist the temptation to use others for himself. Instead, he humbly gave himself up and shed his blood to set you free forever.

Prayer:
King Jesus, by the power of the blood, you have set me free from sin and death. Give me strength to use that freedom to serve you and those around 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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Your King Comes to You – March 24, 2024

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Zechariah 9:9,10

Your King Comes to You

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Daily Devotion – March 24, 2024

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9,10

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Think of the traffic slowly snaking its way to a sold-out concert or opening day baseball game. Crowds of people inch their way closer to the stadium.

Compare that to the crowds who sang praises to Jesus riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Except Jesus wasn’t stationary. He wasn’t waiting for them to move. Zechariah said it well in his prophecy, “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation” (Zechariah 9:9).

Jesus, a King, comes to those who cannot come to him because of sin’s power to hold them down. He takes the initiative. He gets caught in the traffic jam of insults and beatings. He gives up a dark afternoon. He breaks through death’s doors to bring us new life. Now, he bids us to follow. Where?

Heaven, of course! But on the way, won’t we come to others still stuck in sin? As Jesus has already come to us who were waiting for hope, watching for rescue, many are still waiting and watching who need us to come to them.

Prayer:
King Jesus, you came to my heart’s home and set up your throne there. As causes cry for my allegiance, let it always be given to you first before them. Hear my praises that bless and honor you, and in the midst of my joy, direct a portion of my zeal to those still without 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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Sin Never Seems Far Away – March 23, 2024

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

Sin Never Seems Far Away

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Daily Devotion – March 23, 2024

Devotion based on Psalm 103:12

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“How far can you throw it?” That question was often asked in my neighborhood growing up. It resulted in several kids lining up and taking turns to see who could throw the football the farthest. It provided a way to measure ourselves against the other boys. But even as we grew older, the football never made it more than a few backyards away.

Our sins never seem all that far away, either. We try to forget them by thinking about something else. We try to rationalize our sins and make excuses for them. We try to pass the blame to others. We try to pretend that they never happened. But try as we might, we just can’t seem to throw them too far away from us. They weigh on our conscience. They float around in our minds and keep us up at night. We are often reminded of our sins by the hurt feelings and comments of others. Sin never seems too far away.

That’s where Jesus came in. He didn’t just pick up our sins and throw them a few backyards away. He has removed them “as far as the east is from the west.” Who can measure the distance from east to west? You can travel thousands of miles in either direction and still have just as far to go. God’s forgiveness for you in Jesus is immeasurable. His supply of forgiveness will never run out. When God removes your sin, he removes it completely. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, your sins are gone for good. They are not coming back. And trusting in Jesus as your Savior, you have an eternity in heaven to look forward to.

“How far can you throw them?” When it comes to sin, the answer is “not very far.” Our human ways of dealing with sin will always ensure that they keep coming back. Instead, lay your sins on Jesus and let him throw them away “as far as the east is from the west.” You are forgiven for all of your sins. In Jesus, they are nowhere to be found.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to be my Savior from sin. In your grace, through Word and sacrament, continue to remind me that all my sins have been removed completely. 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 Committed – March 22, 2024

[Jesus said] “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
John:12:27-29

Jesus is Committed

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Daily Devotion – March 22, 2024

Devotion based on John:12:27-29

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Jesus spoke these words during Holy Week. No one else knew what was coming next for Jesus, but Jesus knew. In a matter of hours, Jesus would be arrested. He would endure the indignity of a sham of a trial before the religious leaders. He would be paraded between two politicians. Soldiers would mock him, spit on him, and whip him. He would be executed like a common criminal.

But that’s not what truly troubled his soul. Jesus knew the agony that was waiting for him on that Roman cross. Worse than the crucifixion itself would be the weight of the sins of the whole world. Worse than the slow and painful suffocation would be the separation of Jesus from his Father, the punishment for sin.

It is no wonder Jesus said that his soul was troubled. But even as he could count the hours to the torment of hell he would suffer, he remained resolute. He was committed to saving God’s people and the glory it would bring his Father.

Next week, we start our Holy Week. We will travel with Jesus from Palm Sunday to Easter, with long and important stops at Holy Thursday and Good Friday. We will meditate, once again, on Jesus’ great love for sinners and the cost of our sin. As Jesus hangs from the cross, it will look anything but glorious. But it is there on the cross, an instrument of death and torture, that Jesus wins glory. It is there that Jesus does what the angels pronounced at his birth. Jesus brings, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for your commitment to me and the peace you’ve won between me and God. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Life Through Death – March 21, 2024

[Jesus said] Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
John 12:24-26

Life Through Death

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Daily Devotion – March 21, 2024

Devotion based on John 12:24-26

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You dig a small hole in the dirt. Carefully, you place a seed inside of it and gently push the soil over the seed. You wait, and all on its own, the seed sprouts. A green leaf pokes through the ground. And that single seed becomes a plant that bears more seeds just like it. Life comes through the death of the one seed.

It seems counterintuitive, right? Life through death. Yet, that was the very core of Jesus’ mission. He came to bring life to his followers through his own sacrificial death. Like a seed planted in the dark dirt, Jesus would be buried in a tomb dug from the earth for three days. After those three days, Jesus would rise to life and promise the same life to all who die believing in Jesus as their Savior.

But Jesus doesn’t just focus on death with his words; he focuses on life, too. A man once reminisced about the pastor he had growing up—he remembered the preacher saying, “You must die every day!” in nearly all his sermons. As a boy, he didn’t understand what the preacher meant. He didn’t want to die! He wanted to live.

He later understood what that preacher meant. Die to your sinful self. Die to selfish desires. Surrender your sinful agenda and submit to God’s love and will. Death to self brings life.

It’s a life full of love for God and the people in your life. It’s a life of peace and contentment. It’s a life with Jesus. It’s not easy. But it is life to the fullest, where Jesus promises his Father’s honor to all who serve and follow him.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you sent your Son Jesus to die so that I may live. Help me to die to my sins every day and live in the life you give. 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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