Teen Devotions

Transformed – teen devotion – July 12, 2020

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

Serving Christ boldly . . . by being a good friend

I was told by someone early in life, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” At the time, I shook my head at this pearl of wisdom, but didn’t truly understand what it meant. As I grew older, the beauty of this saying began to mean a whole lot more. I’m guessing that as a Christian young person you already know that lesson well—there are few things in life more valuable than true friendship.

The opposite is also true. Fair-weather friends make life a struggle. We all fall prey to this, picking and choosing when to let those closest to us become an object of our affection and aid, and when we’re just going to let them sink or swim by themselves. This failure is what makes the short Proverb before us such a needed reminder today and always, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

We really can’t read that verse without thinking about Jesus, can we?! The hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus reminds us, “Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge—Take it to the Lord in prayer. Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer. In his arms he’ll take and shield you; You will find a solace there.” (CW 411:3) In any and every situation in life, Christ helps. He heals. He saves. We serve Christ boldly by not only cherishing this timeless truth. We serve Christ boldly in the way we act like a true friend at all times, even at a time of adversity.

Prayer: Almighty God, friends are a blessing from you. While I constantly fail in life and don’t always imitate your love for me, please help me in life to be a friend to those around me and someone who others feel they can come to for help. Guide me to build up and not tear down. All to give you glory. All for your Son’s sake. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – July 5, 2020

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:2-3

Serving Christ boldly . . . in my family

This July, WELS teens from across our country—and the world—were to be still basking in the glow of the WELS International Youth Rally scheduled at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN June 23-27. As we know all too well, that didn’t happen. Instead, the world stopped. Our schedules were interrupted. Instead of traveling with friends to an exciting college town to praise our God in worship, study his word, and have a whole lot of fun, we spent most of the summer cooped up in our homes with Mom and/or Dad.

And that’s okay! God never promises us that we will have no troubles in life. He does clearly tell us, though, “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” He does tell us “Honor your father and mother. . . .” I haven’t always done this throughout my life. You haven’t, either. We’ve failed our God in failing to not only obey, but also in failing to honor and love the imperfect representatives he has placed over us in life.

What an opportunity we have to serve Christ boldly by remedying these failures and responding to God’s grace by becoming a better son, a more helpful daughter, a young person who truly honors our God by honoring our parents. We do this in worship of the One who gave himself for us. We do this knowing that our sins are forgiven. We do this knowing our God has called us his own children and declared us to be heirs of eternal life.

Prayer: Lord Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me family in my life that love me as well. Guide me to always love as you have loved me. Help me to honor and obey my parents, not just because I have to, but because I want to as a response to your tender care for my soul. In your name I pray this and all things. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – June 28, 2020

“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11

God and gender: Satan’s baptism

So called experts promise that if you change your biological sex, you’ll be much happier. They say you’ll experience a renewed sense of being. Everything bad that happened to you and everything bad you’ve ever done will no longer be a reality because you’re no longer you. You’re someone else. You have a new identity, a new name, a new look, and in some cases a newly modified body. Anyone who knew you before won’t be able to recognize you again.

These experts promise a fresh, new, exciting start that will supposedly free you from all of your anxieties. All you have to do is take really expensive, hormone altering treatments for the rest of your life. If you really want a lasting transformation, they invite you to surgically and permanently remove or modify parts of your body.

Men and women who have gone through gender reassignment therapy and surgery have reported having feelings exactly as described above. But if you do a little research, you’ll find a different trend among those same people.

They report that those amazing feelings last between 7 to 11 years, and then suddenly the bottom drops out. They have this realization that they’ve done something horribly wrong to their bodies and the life they’ve been living is a complete and utter lie. They become overwhelmed with guilt, shame, and suicidal thoughts. In fact, there are many who have transitioned who are now “detransitioning.” They even have support groups to help them through the process of returning to God’s original design for them.

They’ve come to realize that all the hype and all the promises are a pack of lies that come at an extremely high price to them personally as well as to their families. The new life they were promised, isn’t life at all. It’s a sham. It’s what I call Satan’s baptism. You pay a high price to experience a new life that eventually leads to death.

Compare that to God’s baptism. In God’s baptism there are no expensive, long, drawn out treatments or painful surgical modifications. It simply consists of being washed with water while these words are spoken: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (See Matthew 28:16-20) That’s it! The results are miraculous. Jesus says you are born again! (see John 3:1-8) Made new! (See Romans 6) Your past no longer defines who you are. What others did to you can no longer chain you down in fear. You are a new and lasting creation because Jesus Christ makes it so.

The Holy Spirit said it this way through the apostle Paul, “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Verses 9-10 have always scared me to death, because I’ve committed some of those sins. God declares that anyone who continues living in those sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. That means you don’t get into heaven when you die. Instead, you go straight to hell.

But that’s not the end of the story. Verse 11 is the good news! Those sins we’ve committed aren’t who we are. They no longer define us, because we have been washed in God’s baptism, made holy by the blood of Jesus, and declared not guilty before God our Father. Our sins are what we were. Our baptism into the name of Jesus makes us who we are. We are a new creation!

If you’ve already received the gift of God’s baptism, remember it’s benefits every single day. If you haven’t been baptized yet, what are you waiting for!? Contact your local pastor today.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are amazing! You make everything new. Thank you for the gift of baptism that washes my sins away and gives me a new and holy life. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – June 21, 2020

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:4-5

God and gender: Identity crises

You’ve heard the saying and have probably been told, “Just follow your heart,” or “Do what makes you happy.” For someone who feels like a male trapped in a female’s body or a female trapped in a male’s body, that sounds like great advice. “How could my heart mislead me?” one might think or, “Of course God wants me to be happy and right now I’m miserable.”

There’s a problem with that line of thought though. God knows your heart better than you do. In Jeremiah 17:9 he says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Or in other words, “Your heart is a liar. Don’t trust it.”

The Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to explain why in Ephesians 2:1-3, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”

Reread that slowly. You were spiritually dead when you followed the ways of this world ruled by Satan. You did what your sinful heart craved following its desires and thoughts. What does that mean? Contrary to popular opinion and pop-culture, it means that wanting to change your gender is not a godly thought. It’s actually demonic. It’s an idea that comes straight from the devil himself.

The devil wants you to believe that your identity should be wrapped up in your gender or sexual orientation, as if that defines who you really are. That’s a lie spiritually dead people believe. Jesus Christ came to free you from that lie. He came to change your deceitful heart and bring you back to life.

Read what the apostle Paul writes next, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Previously, you were dead in your sins and deceitful thoughts, but Jesus Christ has made you alive. He’s forgiven you, saved you, and given you a position of honor! You are his handiwork! Like a sculptor painstakingly sculpts a beautiful statue, God sculpted every bit of you. He created you to do amazing things that are fueled by your real identity.

Through faith in Jesus Christ, you are a son or daughter of God. You didn’t do anything to earn that right. God gave you that status because of his indescribable love. That love is what makes you who you are. The more you lean into that truth, the freer you’ll be to live out your whole life as his son or daughter.

Prayer: Jesus, I was dead, and you made me alive. I used to follow the ways of the world, but now I get to follow you. Thank you for showing me the real me. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – June 14, 2020

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

God and gender: Binary or a spectrum??

The term LQBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning or Queer. Embedded in this initialism are those who question their birth-assigned gender and identify themselves as the opposite sex or no sex at all. Some prefer to be called by pronouns like “them” or “they” instead of “him” or “her.” You may know someone or may be someone who has this preference.

This concept is born out of the idea that gender is not binary (divided into two parts). It’s the notion that being male and female are not our only options. And if that’s the case, then gender must fall on a spectrum or a sliding scale giving the impression that there is something in between or a combination of the two.

My question for you is what is the truth? Is gender binary or does it fall on a spectrum? Before you answer that, do you remember the ground rules we established last time? My opinion and experiences don’t determine absolute truth and neither do yours. God’s Word, which is found in the Bible, determines the truth.

So, let’s go back to the very beginning when God created the world. In Genesis 1:27, when God created humans, it says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

What does that verse tell you? Is gender binary or on a spectrum? It’s binary. He created them male and female. Now, I know that was a long time ago. Maybe we’ve evolved throughout the years. Let’s see.

Fast forward a few thousand years to the days of Jesus Christ and read Matthew 19:3-6, “Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Notice how Jesus responded to their question. He didn’t share an opinion or a popular idea from that time period. He pointed them back to the Bible. He pointed them back to the beginning and said that nothing has changed. Gender is still binary. That means that if you were born a male, then you are a male. If you were born a female, then you are a female.

Something may have happened to you or to someone you know causing this truth to be questioned. But know this, there is no such thing as changing your assigned gender.

The clothes you wear and how you refer to yourself won’t change that. You can permanently remove parts of your body, but that doesn’t change your gender. You can receive hormone injections to change how you look, talk, and feel—but you’re still the person God created, and you belong to him. The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Prayer: God, Almighty Creator, thank you for revealing your divine truth that you made people either male or female. Help me to believe this truth and honor you with the body you have given me because ultimately it belongs to you. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – June 7, 2020

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues [what we would call churches], proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Matthew 9:35-36

God and gender: What’s the truth?

When I was a teenager, one of the first things they taught me in computer class was you can’t believe everything you read, see, or hear on the internet. That was great advice! Sure, you can Google practically anything or ask Alexa to find something for you and get a response. But, as many facts as you can find on the internet, you can find just as many opinions, biases and straight up lies. It’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t.

I’ve learned over the years that the only source of unaltered truth is the Bible, God’s Word. It tells it like it is. It doesn’t sugar coat sin. It reveals it. It also highlights God’s love and mercy like no other book ever written. That’s why we’re going to be studying the Bible for the next four weeks as we wrestle with the subject of transgenderism. It means someone who identifies with a gender different from their birth one. This is a big topic causing a lot of confusion among Christians and non-Christians alike.

It’s a confusing topic because people we look up to, like celebrities, movie stars, athletes, friends, and family members are all giving us conflicting messages. It’s hard to know what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s also easy to jump from one extreme to the other. One side will say, “Live and let live. It’s not for me to judge. You do you.” The other side will say, “I can’t believe anyone would think about changing their sex! What’s wrong with them?” Both extremes lack truth, and most importantly they lack biblical love.

That’s where I want to start today. Before we get into what’s right and what’s wrong, I want all of us, no matter our personal thoughts or opinions about transgenderism, to make sure we’re starting where Jesus wants us to start.

Matthew 9:35-36 says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues [what we would call churches], proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Every person Jesus ever saw, he loved. He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Sheep without a shepherd don’t know which way is right and which way is wrong. They don’t know how to tell the difference between the truth and lies unless someone guides them. Jesus wants to guide them . . . gently and with compassion. He wants to guide you gently and with compassion so that you can do the same for others.

I want to emphasize that the next devotions will not be based on my opinions or biases or anyone else’s. They will be based on the timeless, changeless, and compassionate words of God.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, my Good Shepherd, thank you for being compassionate with me in my ignorance and lack of understanding. As I learn more about the topic of transgenderism from the truths revealed in your word, please help me to be compassionate towards others. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – May 31, 2020

“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.”
Mark 11:23

Confronting monsters: Doubt

Can you ever be sure? I mean, can you ever 100%, without-a-single-doubt, be unwaveringly confident?

Doubt is such a sneaky monster. It doesn’t rise up in front of you and scream in your face like a storm does to make you afraid. It doesn’t scratch or claw at you. It sneakily nags at you.

In today’s reading, Jesus calls us to believe and not doubt. But doubt is everywhere, and it constantly sneaks up on us. As soon as you put that answer down on a test, almost immediately the thought comes to mind, “Are you sure?” Whenever you make any sort of decision, your mind wonders, “What if it’s the wrong one?”

The same thing happens to us when we pray. We ask for something but then wonder, “What if that’s selfish? What if I’m asking for the wrong things?” On top of this, the devil inserts sinister thoughts in our mind: “Is God even listening? Does he even care? Can he even do anything about this?”

Doubt is such a sneaky monster. It nags at you, slowly breaking apart the foundation of our faith and inserting more and more the sandy foundation of doubt.

How do we fight it? What is the antidote to doubt? It isn’t what you might think. It is easy to think that faith is the antidote to doubt. It’s easy to think that we fight against doubt by believing more. But that’s not it.

The antidote to doubt is remembering your God, remembering his promises. The answer to doubt is remembering what he’s done, and letting his promises wash away the sandy foundation of doubt.

Remember your God. He is the almighty, all-knowing, all-loving, ever-present God. Even if you cannot sense his presence or see his power, you can be sure that he is present with his power in any and every situation. More than that, you can know his love by looking at the cross of Jesus. Yes, the God who was at work in the past to save you by the blood of his Son Jesus is the same God who is with you in this present moment.

Remember his promises. When Jesus went up into heaven, he made some tremendous promises. He promised to you and to me, “I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He promised that nothing can separate you from his love (cf. Romans 8:32-39). He promised that he would send his Holy Spirit to remind us of all things and to be with us forever (cf. John 14:16).

When the devil whispers in your ear and says, “Are you sure?” tell him: “My God has been true to me in the past; he will be true to me in the present. He has spoken, and he will not change his mind.”

Yes. I am sure.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, so many times doubt sneaks into my thoughts, and I wonder, “How can I be sure?” When these thoughts come, remind me of your Word and promise and so crush doubt in my heart and mind. Send your Spirit to remind that your Word is always true. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – May 20, 2020

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

Confronting monsters: Bitterness

The monster we’re looking at today is the monster of bitterness. Bitterness is so sneaky. It can show up in our lives in ways we’ve never expected.

Perhaps all the time you’ve been spending with your family due to social distancing is making you bitter at your parents. It snuck up so quietly, and now, you realize that you’ve really begun to resent your mom or dad. Perhaps it’s a bitterness toward a sibling or even toward a friend.

Bitterness can show up in our lives in all kinds of negative ways. It starts in the heart as an attitude toward or about someone or something. Then, that attitude grows from a bitter root into unkind words, harsh actions, silent treatment, and cold shoulders.

As bitterness takes root in our hearts, it also destroys our happiness and steals our joy. It’s hard to be happy when you’re upset and bitter at someone or something.

So, what should we do about it? Paul tells us to get rid of it. But how? How do we get rid of bitterness? Confess it. Come clean about it.

Confess it to God. Confess that you’re struggling with bitterness and a bad attitude toward people in your life. Ask for his help to kill bitterness in your heart. We often think it is helpful to keep our feelings to ourselves. But it’s not. The silent treatment never really helps anybody. Bitterness will simply grow in our hearts.

Confess it to the person you’re bitter against. You will be amazed at how cleansing it is to simply confess your feelings to that person. Then, they can work with you to address whatever made you bitter in the first place. If they sinned, the two of you can work through your bitterness toward reconciliation.

Since you care deeply about the relationships in your life, bring this out into the open. Confess it to God and to the people you care about. With God’s help you will strangle the bitterness in your heart before it destroys you and your relationships. Together you will move into a new day of joy and gladness as you live in the forgiveness of our God.

Your God so deeply desired a relationship with you, he killed the justified bitterness, anger, and wrath he had towards you on the cross. Because of Jesus, God has no feelings of bitterness, anger, or frustration toward you.

Since God has done this for you, let’s do the same for each other and kill the bitter root in our hearts. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Prayer: Lord God, I can feel a bitter root growing in my heart toward certain people in my life (Confess specific bitterness here.) Help me to bring this out into the open and kill bitterness in my heart so that I might live with joy. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – May 17, 2020

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Proverbs 14:30

Confronting monsters: Envy

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen my iPhone usage soar through the roof. I wish I could go back and see what it was like before COVID-19, but now I look at my usage, and last week, I spent nearly 3.5 hours daily on my iPhone. It wasn’t all for work. I’m not proud of that, just aware of my own weakness.

I’m not saying that being on your phone is bad, but it might be bad for you. As you scroll through Facebook, Instagram, you see the filtered life and emotions of other people. As you flip through Snapchat or TikTok, you get glimpse of other people’s lives, and usually only the best parts.

I can only speak for myself. I do not share the pictures of a struggle. But I will share images of triumph. I only post the best pictures because I want to look good. I share a filtered life.

What feelings fill your heart and mind when you see the filtered pictures of everyone else’s lives? What thoughts do you have as you watch the videos or follow the stories people post?

Their filtered lives can look so much better than your own. A better house. A better look. A better life. Following their story, it may seem like they’re always doing bigger, better things than you. Right now, you might just be getting by, but they seem to be thriving.

Here comes the monster: Envy and jealousy. Envy will rot your bones. Jealousy will consume you. The more you think about their life, the more your life will seem to stink. The more you look at the things they have, the more you will want their life. Envy is a monster that will never be satisfied.

So, put down the phone. Stop scrolling. Delete the app. Take a social media break. Instead, get out a pad of paper and make a list of how your God is blessing your right now.

Make a list of the people in your life who are there for you. Make a list of the blessings that COVID-19 has brought to your life. Make a list of the things that God has given you. List the physical blessings God has given you. List the spiritual blessings he has given you through his Son.

Then, pick up the phone and call a friend to see how they are. They need you right now. Pick up your pad of paper again and write a note. Take some extra time and craft an encouraging note to someone.

Know this. We often post and scroll longing for likes, but we already have the love of one who matters more than 1000 views and a viral post. Put down the phone and think about how your God has loved you and how he cares for you every day.

Prayer: Dear Father, envy is alive and well in my heart. I see the lives other people have and I grow jealous. Kill this monster in me. Help me to see the life I have from you and in you. Your love means more to me than 1000 likes. Give my heart peace because of your great love through Christ. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – May 10, 2020

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Mark 4:38

Confronting monsters: Fear

Fear is such a powerful emotion in our hearts and lives. When we’re scared of something, it very much controls and rules us. Fear can lead us to lash out at people who love us. Fear can lead us to hide away from the people who can help us.

That’s what we see with the disciples here. (Look up the whole account in Mark 4:35-41.) They were in a boat rowing against the waves, trying to get to the other side, all night long. Their boat was nearly swamped. Meanwhile, there was Jesus—asleep. He didn’t seem to care at that moment.

Keep in mind that Jesus had shown the disciples in many ways that he truly cared about them. Keep in mind that Jesus had proven his mighty power. Jesus had great power and deep care and concern for them.

Fear makes us do things we wouldn’t normally do. Fear can make us forget things that we already know. Fear magnifies the trouble of our lives and minimizes the care and the “can” of Jesus.

One of the biggest monsters we face today is fear. In this pandemic, it’s a natural response. We’ve never faced something like this in our lifetime, so it’s unknown and scary.

Instead of focusing on the thing that brings fear to your heart, in faith, “magnify” Jesus. Put the care, the power, and the work of Jesus under a magnifying glass and see that he truly does care, that he truly is powerful, and that he truly is at work in your life.

Your Savior does! He does care for you. His love for you is so wide, long, deep, and high that we can only begin to understand it. Put his care under the magnifying glass and begin to learn how big it is (Cf. Ephesians 3:16-19).

Your Savior can! He was right there as God at the creation of the world, making all things with his power and might. He is still holding it all together with his powerful word. But his power was most visible when he made everything right between you and God at the cross. Your Savior can! Put his power under the microscope, and you will learn that you can’t even begin to imagine what he is doing (cf. Ephesians 3:20).

And your Savior is! He is, right now, at this very moment, sitting on his throne and ruling over all things. All things are under his feet and he rules over them for your good (cf. Ephesians 1:18-23).

Your Savior does. Your Savior can. Your Savior is. Just as he calmed the storm and calmed the fears of his disciples, in the same way, he will calm you in this storm.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, there is so much that scares me right now. I pray, stop the storm! And if the storm must continue, calm my heart with your presence , your power, and your protection. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – May 3, 2020

We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.
Luke 24:21

Confronting monsters: Disappointment

In life, we sometimes face monsters. No, they’re not literal cartoon monsters. Instead, they are areas in our lives that will grow out of control if left unchecked. Over the next month we will take a look at five monsters that we face now and will face into the future.

This week’s monster: Disappointment.

After Jesus died, the disciples had to deal with disappointment. They had thought that things would turn out differently. They expected Jesus to free them from Roman rule. Instead, Jesus was dead. (They didn’t realize that he had already risen). At the moment, the disciples were understandably disappointed. They expected one thing to happen and it didn’t. They thought that Jesus was canceled.

This isn’t how you expected your life to go right now, not even close. Seniors, your graduation—canceled. Athletes, your sports season—canceled. Going to church—canceled. Hanging out with friends—canceled. In some places, even going to a park—canceled! You expected many things to happen in your life, but instead almost all of them are canceled.

Disappointment can be a monster in your life if you leave it unchecked. It will grow and grow, leaving you miserable. It will steal your joy and crush your spirit.

But Jesus won’t let disappointment crush you.

He didn’t let it crush the two disappointed disciples going to Emmaus. He came and walked with them. He came and opened the Bible to them to help them understand what was really going on. He connected the dots so that their hearts began to live again and disappointment disappeared.

Jesus comes to walk with us too. You are not alone as you walk through life. Not only that, but you can be sure that your God is up to something in your life, better than you can even imagine. He is at work in your life and will not leave you alone.

Your graduation may be canceled. Your sports season may be canceled. Much in your life may be canceled right now. And that is disappointing. But God is not canceled.

To crush the monster of disappointment, focus on the things that are not canceled. The presence of your risen Savior in your life—NOT canceled. God’s rule over your life—NOT canceled. God’s plan for your life—NOT canceled. The forgiveness of your sins—NOT canceled. God is NOT canceled, but all that crushes you is.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for walking with me in my disappointment. Do not let it crush me. There is much that is canceled, but your Easter resurrection proves you are not canceled. Replace my disappointment with joy. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – April 26, 2020

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:32

Filled with the Spirit

When you hear a good song with a good beat, you get filled with good feelings.

When you hear a motivational talk by your coach before a big game, you get pumped-up.

When you hear “I love you” for the first time from someone you love, you get a rush of happiness.

When you read a good book, you might get filled with peace, determination, or a sense of adventure.

When you hear God’s amazing promises in his Word, you get filled up.

You not only get good feelings, pumped up, a rush of love, a sense of peace, determination, and adventure—you get filled with the Holy Spirit.

That means you get more than just good feelings. You get a changed heart. And a changed heart is one filled with peace and joy. These verses for today talk about the biggest source of peace and joy—the fact that Jesus rose on Easter and is alive. That means we get life forever and his help here and now.

God’s promises found in his Word are the only things that truly change our hearts to rely on God more, trust him, live boldly, and live selflessly.

What’s your plan to let the Holy Spirit continue to change your heart through God’s promises? In other words, what’s your plan to get into the Bible more?

Make a plan today. Download a Bible app. Put your Bible by your bed. Don’t wait.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, thank you for changing my heart forever by giving me faith. Continue to fill me with your peace and joy. Encourage me to fill up on your Word more. Help me make a plan to get into my Bible more. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – April 19, 2020

Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever.
Psalm 146:1-6

Filled with praise

If you drive, you know the most important quality in a car.

Nope. It’s not how it looks. Although, I have to admit it’s pretty sweet to have a nice-looking car.

It’s not how fast it goes. Although, again, it feels really good to zoom past a Prius! (Well, it’s not really hard to do that, now is it?)

You find out the most important quality in a car when it fails in that quality. I’m talking about dependability.

If you want to go somewhere but your car won’t start, you stop caring about how it looks and how fast it goes. The longer you drive, the more you start praising cars for their dependability rather than their looks or speed.

The most amazing quality about God is his dependability.

His dependability is rooted in the fact that he will never die, will never go away, will never get sick. He’s always with you. And most importantly, he will never stop loving you.

God never fails. We are celebrating Easter—the best proof that God always delivers on his promises—especially the promise that you are forgiven and that your eternal future is absolutely secure.

I know this is true, but do you know what I often do? I depend too little on God and too much on other people.

How does that show itself in my life? I get devastated by a harsh comment from another person. I’m driven to feelings of depression when someone lets me down. I find myself living to impress other people.

How about you? Do you struggle with depending too much on other people for your sense of self-worth, your inner peace, and sense of security?

Here’s the good news. God won’t abandon us even when we struggle with depending on him! He doesn’t treat us as we treat him!

Wow! That makes me want to praise God. The longer I live, the more God’s dependability is evident in my life, especially when everything else falls apart. The longer I live, the more I’m filled with praise for God more than praise from anyone else.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for being dependable. I admit I depend far too much on other people for my sense of peace and security. I need your forgiveness. I praise you for never abandoning me! Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – April 12, 2020

Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Luke 24:12

Filled with hope

Peter ran to the tomb.

Don’t pass by that detail.

Peter and the other disciples had been told by some women that angels appeared to them at Jesus’ empty tomb and said he was alive.

“But Jesus is dead. These women are crazy.” That’s what they all thought. Peter even saw him die with his own eyes. He was confused and afraid. Luke 24:12 says he walked away from the empty tomb wondering to himself what had happened. He wasn’t fully convinced yet.

However, even in his doubt and fear, Peter had something else in his heart—a little bit of hope. “What if Jesus really is alive? Wow. That would change everything for us.” So he ran.

In the next weeks and months, Peter’s hope became rock solid as he remembered everything Jesus had said. Jesus’ resurrection changed him. It filled him with hope—not in himself or his circumstances—but in Jesus.

Today is the greatest day of the year because it’s a day to remind you of your rock-solid hope. Jesus is alive! He defeated death! He beat Satan and the power of sin!

Wherever you are today and whatever your circumstances, run to the tomb and be filled with hope!

That means to bring your fears and doubts from the challenges of life to Jesus. View your challenges in the light of his victory.

You are not a victim of your circumstances. You are a victor in Christ!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for today! Thank you for rising from the dead. Today means I have a rock-solid hope. Let me bring my fears and doubts to you and let me leave them with you. Because of Jesus, I am not a victim of my circumstances but a victor in Christ! Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – April 5, 2020

The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Matthew 21:9

Filled with need

Fill in the blank. “I am ________.”

Lots of good words could go in that blank: Loved. Forgiven. Valuable.

How about this? “I am needy.”

How do you feel about that statement? Most of us do not like to think of ourselves as needy. In fact, we do all we can to avoid being seen as needy. We wander around when we’re lost instead of asking someone for directions. We fail an assignment because we won’t ask for help since we’re embarrassed that we don’t know how to do it.

Palm Sunday is all about being unashamed of being a needy person. “Hosanna” is really a cry out to God to “save us!” It’s admitting we have a need that only Jesus can fill. The people who originally said these verses for today were excited because here was the Messiah—the promised one who would fill so many of the needs they had.

Jesus is the one who truly can and does meet all your needs.

You don’t have to wrestle with guilt and shame for that lie you told, or that site you looked at. You need forgiveness. You need grace. And you get to confess your need to God. You’re in need of mercy and grace. Jesus gives it to you. He always does.

So, empty yourself of excuses for your sin. Don’t justify it (“Well, here’s why I had to tell that lie”). Don’t minimize it (“I only looked at the site for 30 seconds. It’s no big deal.”). Don’t deny it (“I didn’t gossip. I was only having fun.”).

Own up to it. Own up to your sin and need of forgiveness.

Jesus fills your need completely. Go to him today and every day.

Prayer: Jesus, I admit I am needy! I can’t go through life alone. I can’t deal with my guilt and shame alone. It’s so freeing to be able to admit my need to you and receive your forgiveness. Let me get excited each day that you fulfill all my needs. I pray this in your name. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – March 29, 2020

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
Isaiah 58:9-11

Practice makes perfect

There is nothing cooler for a teacher than when a student gets the correct answer on a test after hours and hours of extra work together after class. There is nothing better for a coach than when the team runs the play to perfection to win the game after hours and hours of hard work in practice.

It took a lot of work, a lot of pain, a lot of effort, time, patience, mercy, and grace to make you the person that you are today, a child of God. God chose you before the beginning of time. Your Father has redeemed you. He sent his Son to die for you. He raised Jesus from the dead for you. He made you spiritually alive even when you were dead in sin. He adopted you into his family even when you were an enemy and hostile toward him. He has given you a new identity, eternity in heaven, hope, love, forgiveness, and comfort. The Father has a vested interest in you and your life!

Life is filled with a lot of work, pain, and effort. Isaiah knows you need these encouragements:

  1. Call on God when you are in trouble. When you mess up, look to God for help. When anxiety creeps up into your world, cast it on him. He answers, “Here I am.”
  2. Let your light shine. God has made you his own dear child. So, act like the child of God that you are. Be kind. Be loving. Put others before yourself. When you do this, you show the world who you are. He promises, “Your light will shine in the darkness.”
  3. Be nourished. Come to the oasis of God’s Word in the desert of this world. Come to the hospital for your souls and find healing in his promises. Be the soul that is connected to God through his Word. Remember the baptism that changed your identity. Receive the Lord’s Supper and know that your sins are forgiven. In all these ways, the Lord will satisfy your faith and strengthen your resolve!

Remember who you are. Recall what God has done for you. During these pandemic days, continue to live your life for him.

Prayer: Lord God, you made all things. Continue to watch over the world that we live in. Keep people safe from all danger until that day when this world will be perfect again. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – March 22, 2020

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Joel 2:12-14

Return and be renewed

One time, there was a wasp nest in the upper corner of the swing set. I found a rock, aimed, and fired. The rock sailed just over the nest and cracked the glass window behind it. Terrified of the punishment, I ran away.

Remember the last time you ran and hid? Was it because of something you looked at online—something you know God doesn’t want you looking at? Was it a substance you know you aren’t old enough to imbibe, but you did anyway? What are you hiding out of the sight of others because you know it’s forbidden by God?

We hide because we are afraid. We are afraid that God could never forgive “someone like me.” We think, “If I was a true Christian, then I shouldn’t keep falling into these sins.” We promise never to do it again. But then we do. Guilt and fear of punishment haunt our hearts and minds. No wonder we run.

Joel was an Old Testament prophet in troubled times to troubled people—tired of trying to crawl back into God’s good graces. They knew from the big-time disasters (like COVID-19) to the daily, little life irritations, they had only themselves to blame.

Joel’s message to them was, “Tear your hearts, not your garments.” Tearing your robe was an ancient sign of mourning and repentance. But what good is an outward show if it lacks real sorrow? Don’t just go the motions of saying sorry, but not be sorry enough to change your actions. Try standing before God on Judgment Day with torn clothes but untorn hearts.

In the moment the devil tempts you to give up and give in, run. RUN … not away from God, but run to God. Why? “He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.” God put compassion and justice together, demanding punishment for our sins, but graciously sending his Son to serve our sentence as our substitute. The cross is the way back. There is no punishment for your sin. There you will find forgiveness.

If the COVID-19 virus and its destructive power is forcing you to think more of God and pray … GOOD! Use this time as a call to repentance. But remember how God has chosen to use his divine power: not to destroy you, but to save you. He loves you!

In perilous times, stop running away. Run to your gracious God. Run to the cross.

Prayer: Lord, you are overflowing with love for me. Give me the strength to stop sinning. Give me courage in this perilous time and your strength when I am weak. May I daily find forgiveness in you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – March 15, 2020

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:7-11

Take out the trash

Your phone is worthless. Your friends don’t matter. School is important, but not that important. Your job is not a big deal. Your video games are garbage. The sports you play are meaningless. Your social media accounts are unimportant. Like comparing a remote-control car to an actual Ferrari, all of these things are nothing when you compare them to knowing Christ.

Follow along with me:

  • When you know Christ, you have faith in him.
  • When you have faith in Christ, you are perfect in God’s eyes.
  • When you are perfect in God’s eyes, you are guaranteed heaven.
  • Therefore, those who know Christ have heaven! Nothing else really matters.

As you get ready to celebrate the death and life of Jesus, take out the trash and value knowing Christ above everything else. Clear away the trash, the things that aren’t as important, so that you can focus your heart on what is truly valuable. Focus on the sufferings of Christ that took on your sin. Think about his resurrection that gives you heaven and promises life forever.

Get ready to celebrate the death and life of Jesus by valuing in your heart what is truly most precious to you.

Prayer: Lord God be with the missionaries who bring the most precious gift of heaven to people all over the world. Bless their work so that more can share in this valuable treasure. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – March 8, 2020

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:20-24

Sin and grace

God was stuck.

From a human viewpoint, it may appear as if God, the all-powerful, the almighty, the creator of the universe was stuck, the devil had all the power, and we were hopeless. Let me explain.

God is described in two ways that are true yet completely opposite. God is just. At the beginning of time, God made a contract with humans. Those that obey him and do only things that are pleasing to him get eternal life. For those who sin, the punishment is eternal death. We know that all people are sinful. Since God is just, he cannot break his contract. He has to punish sin. This gives the devil power. He could go before God and say, “That person is a sinner. You have to send them to hell. Not because I said so, but because you said so.” And he is right, because God is perfectly just.

God is also love. God wants all people to be saved. He doesn’t want anyone to go to hell. He hates, absolutely hates, even the idea of anyone being away from him even for a moment. He longs and desires that all people be saved to live with him for all eternity. He longs to shut down the devil’s accusation against us.

So, how could God remain perfectly just and punish sin, but at the same time be perfectly loving and not send everyone to hell? The impossible became possible because of the cross. We remember this season of Lent the suffering and death of Jesus that culminated in his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

On the cross, God justly punished the sin of the world with hell and showed his perfect love by punishing his own Son instead of us. At the cross, God gets his justice for sin, declares us not guilty, and gives grace and the gift of heaven to you, to me, and to all.

Whenever you find yourself stuck wondering if God really loves you or is still angry with you because you’ve fallen short, watch Jesus. See the cross. See justice achieved. See grace given.

God isn’t stuck after all!

Prayer: Lord God, we praise and thank you for being perfectly just and perfectly loving. Help us to always appreciate what you have done for us. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – March 1, 2020

So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, so also death spread to all people because all sinned. But the gracious gift is not like Adam’s trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of this one man, it is even more certain that God’s grace, and the gift given by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ, overflowed to the many!
Romans 5:12,15

Death and life

Whenever you prepare for an event, you will get so much more out of it. Let me illustrate. On the one hand, there’s the person with no Star Wars background going to see the newest Star Wars movie. They saw it and thought, “Meh, it had some good action scenes, it was ok.” On the other hand, there’s the person who watched all eight previous Star Wars movies. As they watched the final movie, they laughed, cried, cheered, and departed with a feeling of satisfaction. Why? Preparing to watch the movie allowed the person to enjoy it much more.

During the season of Lent (the six weeks before Easter), we take the opportunity to prepare ourselves for Holy Week. Don’t miss out. We prepare ourselves, so that when Good Friday and Easter Sunday come (the days we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus), we will better appreciate all that God has done for us. Why? Because the story of his death and life intersects our life and death.

Imagine taking a class in which failure was a guarantee. No matter what you did or how well you did in that class you fail. This is the story of our sin and death. Because Adam sinned, all people sinned—you sinned! Since all people are sinful, then all people are doomed to hell and eternal death.

Now imagine taking a class in which you were guaranteed an A+. Wrong answers wouldn’t matter because you would get an A+ in the end. Even though you are a sinner, you don’t have to be scared to die in hell. God has freely given you the gift of eternal life in through the death of Jesus. Why? Because the God of Lent and Easter LOVES you.

As you get ready for Easter and to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, spend the time of Lent remembering the life and death of Jesus. It’s a story of God loving you. It will give you much more joy in your celebration.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to focus our hearts on you as we prepared ourselves for Holy Week. Show us the depth of your love for us and the impact it has on our lives. In your name we pray. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – February 23, 2020

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice.
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.
Song of Songs 2:7-10

Save it for the real thing

What in the world did I just read? All I see are natural landscapes, scurrying animals, and changing seasons?

The Bible book entitled Song of Songs is, in general, about two people who are deeply in love. They are yearning for each other and the opportunity to express themselves through the gift of sex.

The world exclaims, “Yes, let it fly!” Our minds may ask, “But isn’t that wrong?” Awkward parents and teachers may wish, “Let’s not talk about it!”

Actually, we do need to talk. But how?

The world tells you that God is unnecessarily withholding something good from you and abuses God’s gift. Almost every form of entertainment minimizes the gift of sex: One-night flings, multiple partners before marriage, affairs, graphic pornographic exploitation, or just flat out inappropriate thoughts and touching that fly in the face of this beautiful thing God has ordained for marriage.

Before you get duped into the thinking, “How far can we go before it counts as sex?” know this: God created us to be different sexes to enjoy sex the way (and the best way!) intended—in marriage. Until then, God has called us to purity: pure thoughts, words, and actions. It is not about “how far can we go” but “how best can I safeguard my purity?

There is a chance that you may have already slipped into viewing pornography or engaging in sexual activity. Do not despair! Practice daily repentance. Plead for daily renewal. Jesus has covered all sins, including the sexual ones. Commit your way to Jesus, and he will guard and keep you from falling. God has not blocked you from this gift; he wants you to share it only with the one he has hand-picked for you to spend the rest of your life with, to save it for the real thing!

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for making me and all people special. Help me to treasure your gift of sex and prepare me to enjoy it only with my spouse, so that it can be a special gift we give only to each other. Drive sinful thoughts from me, and give me a pure heart that loves what you have decided is best for me. In Jesus’ blood you have made me free. Amen.

Ever read Song of Songs in the Bible? What in the world? It is a great love story written by God for his people. #Godsgiftofsex #blockedformarriage


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – February 16, 2020

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:29-32

So it didn’t work out

Do you like to “share time” with your significant other? Don’t get too enamored with one person. They may hurt you, but Jesus never will! #sharingtime #noheartache #keepitonmute

I use a unique phrase when I see people of the opposite sex hanging out in a social setting. When I see one of them on their own, I ask, “Are the two of you sharing time?” They have a quizzical look on their face as to what I mean. “You know dating, going out, going steady.” I prefer the thought of “sharing time,” because it seems a lot less exclusive and possessive. And if you are not exclusive or possessive, then there are no break ups because you are only “sharing time.”

Part of the fun of being young and dating is learning about yourself and other people. As you do this in the dating world, you may come to the realization quickly that you have very little in common with the other person; certain things drive you up the wall. Or, the person you may be infatuated with may not have the same feelings toward you. That is okay … because you are just “sharing time.”

Sometimes it hurts your feelings. The natural reaction is to lash out, spread false rumors, try to sully their reputation. But Paul teaches to forgive the hurt that you feel. Don’t tear others down but keep silent.

The Bible tells us that you are not your own; you were bought with the price of Jesus’ blood. As God’s chosen people, when your heart gets broken (and that may happen several times), do not lash out. See it as a learning experience … remember, you were just “sharing time.” Dating is the time to learn who we are and what is important to seek from a companion in this life.

Relax, my young friends! Take this whole dating thing slow. Don’t give your heart away to just anyone or everyone; give it to Jesus and trust him. It didn’t work out with that boy or girl? No big deal … it was just sharing time! Keep sharing time with your best friend, Jesus!

Prayer: Dear God, you wire us in unique ways to appreciate others and their companionship in our lives. Help us to be thankful for the opportunities to learn and grow in appreciation for the way you made us. When things don’t work out like we plan, help us chalk it up to experience and move on in a loving and forgiving spirit toward those who may hurt us. We will keep our eyes on you because you never hurt us. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – February 9, 2020

Trouble pursues the sinner, but the righteous are rewarded with good things.
Proverbs 13:20

Unfollow the fool

Do you like hanging with the “rebel”? It may not be the best thing for you. Find someone who respects others…and you! #unfollowthefool #heartforJesus

There is something intriguing about dating a “bad boy” or “bad girl”. They tend to be irreverent to the teacher or defiant of their parents. They can cause disruption by forming a wedge between you and your friends. It seems that everyone else can sense the dangerous vibe, but we can’t. Maybe we just don’t want to see it!

Personally, I don’t get the attachment. Is there something charming about being disrespectful? Is there something cute about cruelty? Is there something endearing about being destructive? What does this foolish behavior accomplish? If that is what they are willing to do to the people you respect, what might they eventually do to you?

There may be that one person that makes you feel “special,” but if the other people in your life show concern, pay attention to the warning signals! There is a chance that you may be able to turn them around, but there is also a danger that they can lead you to fall from your firm position among God’s people.

No, not everyone is perfect. You should not automatically judge someone as “bad” without getting to know them. Look and listen to how their actions and words align with what Jesus expects from his word. Ignoring the wisdom of Jesus (and others) will lead to all kinds of issues, but trust in Jesus will lead us to leave behind the fool. Jesus’ love will keep us safe with him and lead us to find another one who will lead us to love Jesus more!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, my ignorant heart sometimes causes me to follow my own whims and go along with the edgy crowd. Help me see the error of my ways and draw me closer to you. Use your Word and the people you put in my life to help me navigate difficult relationships and see that you are the true source of happiness. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – February 2, 2020

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:28-31

Follow your heart to Jesus

Have you ever made the “prom-posal”? Dating shouldn’t seem so difficult! Follow Jesus first; and all other relationships will fall into place! #letJesusguideyourheart #matchmadeinheaven

“Will you go to the dance with me?”

If I was interested in someone, I just used those eight words face to face. Sometimes I liked the answer I received; most of the time I did not. Now I see many of you (from your mom’s Facebook post!) putting hours of effort into the perfect date invitation or “prom-posal”. Yikes…that’s a lot of construction paper, glue, candy, and flowers just to see if someone will return your interest in them!

What leads you to ask someone on a date? I would imagine looks, sense of humor, smart, lab partner, honest, sporty, fashionable, and great hair (check some out from your parent’s teenage years!) are all a part of the mix. Does being a “Jesus lover” ever enter into the equation? If not, now may be the time to get past the simple crush phase of life and take a look at who guides your heart and the heart of those who attract your eye. Jesus has made you his own, so do not take for granted how much he loves you!

As great as your boyfriend or girlfriend may be, your God is greater. And he does not want only a part of our affection and our love. When we love him the most, he will bless us with rational and reasonable feelings about others and help us identify people who share love for Jesus. The truth is, not all people who date in school are going to live “happily ever after”.

Jesus loves us and wants us to be his own. When we love him and follow him, we will find true happiness. That is truly “a match made in heaven”!

Prayer: Dearest Jesus, help me to always make you number one in my life. As I become interested in others, may they never take your place. Guide my heart to see your love for me. Help me to always remain faithful to you so that I can live happily ever after in your presence. Thank you for loving me first! Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – January 26, 2020

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

20/20 Vision: See his power better

Your mind is a powerful thing. It can solve mathematical equations without a pencil or paper. It can identify danger on the road so that without a conscious thought you swerve and slam on the brakes. Your mind is working even when you might not be aware it.

Consider this: Do you have to think in order to scroll down this devotion, or is it just happening? Do you have to think in order for your lungs to expand or contract so you can breathe , or does it just happen? Your mind is a powerful thing.

Now use that mind of yours. Take a moment and try to imagine what God can do in your life!

The creative and creating God who made this entire universe is powerful and beyond imaginative. Your powerful God set boundaries for the oceans and planted the mountains where they are.

In addition to his power, he is wise beyond our knowing. The wisdom of God is higher, wider, deeper, and longer than we could ever know. “Who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:34) He alone knows what is truly wise and good.

God is full of a deeper love than our minds can begin to fathom. We can talk in great detail about the love of God that sent his Son to the cross, forgives all our sins, and cares for us as only a Father can. We can describe his love, but we can hardly begin to fathom how long, wide, deep, and high his love for us is.

Try to imagine what God can do. Now, multiply that by immeasurably more. That’s what God HAS already done for you! You can’t even begin to know what God is doing in your life by his power. That’s what he promises he can do for you, in you, and through you in your future life!

No one knows what that will look like in your life. But God’s working will be good because it is done for our good. Our God can do immeasurably more, and he wants to because of his deep love for us.

Prayer: Father, teach me to trust you. When I don’t know what is going on in my life, when I don’t understand your ways, when things don’t go my way, teach me to lean on this promise: You can do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine. Because you love me, do what is best for me. Teach me to trust you. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – January 19, 2020

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

20/20 Vision: See Purpose Better

There’s something admirable about wrestlers. Not WWE style wrestling, but wrestling with the mats, the protective headgear, and the singlets (that’s the tightfitting uniform).

The strength and stamina of wrestlers in competition is amazing. They are willing to do nearly anything within reason and wisdom to make weight. For the sake of the team, for the sake of personal performance, and for the sake of their success in the sport, these wrestlers go to great lengths to achieve their purpose.

Here’s the point: When you know your purpose, you will do just about anything to achieve it.

The flip side is also true. If you lack purpose, you struggle to do just about everything. Ever had a morning where you didn’t really want to get out of bed? Ever had a day when you wondered why you were here? It’s tough to get moving if you don’t know your why—your purpose.

This is why Paul’s words are so powerful for our lives even when we’re not sure of our purpose or why we’re here. Paul makes some powerful declarations about our life; more powerful than any other positive affirmation. This is God’s affirmation of you.

You are God’s handiwork. This is a statement about your identity. You are a creative work of your holy, mighty, and merciful God. He made you and shaped you just as you are. Then he perfected you in Christ by canceling your sin on his cross and changing your status as his son/daughter at your baptism!

You are created for good works. You don’t have to go looking for them. God is going to put them right in front of you. God has a purpose for your life. In fact, he has already prepared opportunities for you to live for him today, this week, and this year.

A new challenge for this week: Take note of your day. At the end of each day, pay attention to all the opportunities to do good that your God gives you. Write down the opportunities you have to share an encouraging word. Take notes about the opportunities God gave you to help someone in need. Pay careful attention to the simple ways you get to do good works in your home, school, and community.

When you know your purpose, you will do almost anything. There is no higher purpose than the purpose given by your God who called you.

Prayer: Lord God, give me eyes to see the good works you have prepared for me to do, and give me strength to carry it out. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – January 12, 2020

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Romans 6:4

20/20 Vision: See Identity Better

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Who do you see looking back at you? Who are you really?

We can answer that question in many ways. We can answer based on relationships: We’re sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, boyfriends and girlfriends. Within those relationships things might be going well or they may going poorly.

We can answer that question based on wins and losses. Academic grades can tell a story about you. So can successes or failures in sports and “likes” and “dislikes” with friends on social media.

But even the biggest wins don’t last and the best of grades can be followed by a horrible quiz result. It mirrors the story of sin in our lives. A good day is followed by a bad day. Loving words can instantly change to whining and complaining. It’s really a story littered with sin, failure, and disappointment.

There is a better story about you and your life. The next time as you look at yourself in the mirror, remember this: We were buried with Christ, and we were raised with him (Romans 6:4). Paul wants us to see that our identity and the story of our lives is intimately connected to the story of Jesus’ life. His victory is your victory. His life is your life.

Try this challenge. Post the following three words on your mirror to help you see who you really are in Christ.

Covered: All your sins, failures, and shortcomings are covered by his blood. They are forgiven, and they are gone.

Clothed: You are clothed with the perfect life of Jesus. You get credit for all the good things that he did. You are perfect, holy, and good in God’s sight.

Shielded: Every moment of your life is shielded by his power. He is guiding and guarding your life—all of it.

Your true identity is found in Jesus’ win for us at his cross and empty tomb. We are covered, clothed, and shielded by him.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, when I look in the mirror this week and every week help me to see who I am in you. I am covered, clothed, and shielded. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – January 5, 2020

“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Matthew 2:6

20/20 Vision: See Jesus Better

It’s 2020! The old year is gone. The new year is here. Happy New Year!

What is your take on your 2019? Was it a year of successes or a year of failures? Was it a year to be burned, or was it a year for the history books?

What is your hope and dream for 2020? One year from now, who do you hope to become and what do you hope to accomplish so that you can say: “This was a good year!”

Most, if not all people in this world, want to make a difference, a measurable difference. We want to matter and be significant. We want to be valued and valuable. We want to do big things.

Did you know there is a new way to significance, importance, and to see your value? This new way to significance is in Bethlehem. Bethlehem seemed like such a small, insignificant place. It was a little town, not a main town. But in this little town, the Ruler of the nations was born. In this town was born the One who would shepherd his people.

He is the One who gives you significance. Why did he leave his heavenly throne to come to this little town? Because you were so important to him. He couldn’t bear the thought of spending an eternity apart from you. He came because you were that important to him.

Jesus is the One who makes an eternal impact in your life. He is the One who says that you are important, valuable, and loved—and this has nothing to do with what you do or do not accomplish. He is the One who calls you to a purpose that is bigger than you and gives a divine power that is at work inside of you (more on this in the coming weeks).

This year see Jesus better. He came to an insignificant place in a simple way because we are significant in his sight. What an eternal impact that makes in our lives this new year!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, you made yourself lowly and came in a lowly way because you wanted to lift me up and exalt me in God’s sight. Help me to see you as the One who gives me true significance and value in this world. You valued me! That’s all that matters. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – December 29, 2019

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.”
Isaiah 28:16

An identity on unshakable ground

Who are you? I suppose there are a few ways you could answer that question. Maybe you’d answer with your name. But who you are is deeper than that. Maybe you’d then give your occupation, where you go to school, your hobbies, or your interests. But even these are all peripheral things. “Who are you?” demands a far more foundational answer. If you had asked me this question in high school, my “foundation” would have been popularity and acceptance. For example, when I was a freshman in high school, I got an invite to this huge party—hosted by a senior. For someone whose identity was founded on popularity and acceptance, this invitation was pure gold. I thought “My stock just went way up!” This was a vertical move up the social ladder if I had ever seen one! Me—a puny, wimpy freshman—was hanging out with the cool kids.

About an hour into the party, some of the seniors started making fun of a kid at school—really digging into him. And me? I said nothing. I thought if I did, the conversation might turn on me, and I’d be the focus of everyone’s insults. I mean, if I stood up for this guy, my chances of being seen as “cool” would be gone, and my social stock would go down. So, I said nothing. I just kept quiet and pretended they weren’t saying anything. But pretending didn’t change the fact that they did say something. Even worse, the person they were making fun of was one of my close friends. And because I anchored my identity on popularity and acceptance, I hid from an opportunity to be a friend.

You and I hunger for acceptance, belonging, and a sense of community. We tend to wrap up our identity—who we are—in all sorts of peripheral things, like popularity, our social affluence, how much we are admired by others, our accomplishments, or by the material things we either have or hope to have. When these peripheral things become the foundation of who we are, we find ourselves willing to sacrifice quite a bit to prop up that identity—even the truth. Maybe you fear sharing your faith because of the ridicule you’ll get. You’re worried what people will say if they catch you praying at lunch. Maybe you’ve felt the pressures to compromise your Christian convictions and adopt more trendy world views—to tap out in the wrestle with temptation and give in to our sinful nature. Soon, the “Christian” flavor is indistinguishable from the world. The “light” of the gospel gets snuffed out.

But that is not who you are! Jesus, the light of the world, has shined on your darkness and brought you into his wonderful light—into the light of truth. We—once spiritually blind—now see! We—once bound in darkness by our sinful nature—have been called out of our darkness and into God’s wonderful light—the light of the gospel; the gospel that shows our Savior fulfilling all the promises of Scripture; the gospel which shows our Savior living the perfect life we could not; the gospel which shows our Savior not running from suffering, rejection and isolation, but taking it all on himself so you wouldn’t experience that for eternity; the gospel that shows our Savior dying the death our sins of fear and silence deserved; the gospel that shows our sin, guilt, and shame nailed to the cross; the gospel which gives new life now and for eternity; the gospel which shows us our identity: blood-bought, redeemed children of the light. If someone asks you who you are, you know the answer. You know your identity’s foundation: Jesus. And he is a sure foundation.

Prayer: Dearest Jesus, draw us ever closer to you. With your holy precious blood, you bought for us an identity that lasts forever. Remind us that our identity is eternally found in you. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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Transformed – teen devotion – December 22, 2019

“Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
Isaiah 25:9

Jesus is worth the wait

If something is worth the wait, we’ll wait for it. We’ll wait 10 minutes at Starbucks for a $10 cup of coffee. We’ll wait even 20 minutes in the drive through at Chick-fil-A. We’ll grind through four years of high school to get to graduation. We put in months and months of diligent time and energy to get that ‘A’ or make the varsity basketball team. We wait for friends to be there for us when we need them. Because if something or someone is worth the wait, we’ll wait.

But any kid at Christmas time can tell you how hard it is to wait when eyeing up those gifts under the tree. Waiting demands patience. Waiting also demands trust—trust in that product or the person you’re waiting for—trust that they are worth the wait. If they’re not, we’ll take our business elsewhere. We’ll buy a different smartphone or pursue a different career. We’ll find new, more reliable friends. Because if something is not worth the wait, we won’t wait for it anymore.

What about Jesus? Is Jesus worth the wait?

It’s hard to wait when we don’t know how long we have to wait. It’s hard to wait when things seem urgent and desperate, when we hurt, or when we are teased and ridiculed for our faith. It’s hard to wait when things are out of control and we can’t see God’s plan. The more we have to wait, the more we start to worry. Is Jesus really worth the wait?

Jesus—the promised Messiah has come into the world, suffered the punishment that brought us peace, and risen from the dead. He has defeated sin, death, and the devil. And he will deliver you. Our God fulfills his promises. His people never wait in vain. The same God who shows us today our standing in salvation history, showing us his guiding hand as he carries out his saving work—the very God who gave you life and breath—is the same God who took on human flesh to give up his life so that not even death itself can separate us from God. That Savior is the God we trust in. That Savior is worth waiting for always.

Prayer: Gracious God, you alone are our rock and our redeemer. Help us trust in you and your gracious promises as we wait for you to take us home to heaven. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
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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