Teen Devotions

Transformed – teen devotion – January 24, 2021

2020 was a tough year. As we look into the new year, what are some of the lessons we learn by looking back?

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

Make peace, not war

How do you feel about Donald Trump, the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” and wearing a mask?

More importantly, how do you interact with someone who views each of these topics differently than you?

This might seem strange, but do you have four minutes right now?

If you want to do something that will change your day for the better (and maybe change your year), read all of Romans 12 right now. It takes about two minutes to read.

Read it a second time. This time ask yourself, “What if every Christian I know lived this way?” What would be different in our world? Now ask yourself, “Do I live this way?”

No doubt, you’d want to be around a person like Paul describes in the chapter: self-sacrificing, humble, uses their talents for others, sincere, devoted, joyful, patient, faithful, sharing, hospitable, peaceful, forgiving, trusting the Lord for vengeance.

When you read this list, you might start to feel guilt. That’s because you don’t live like that all the time.

That’s why it’s so important to know that Paul starts off the chapter with this—“In view of God’s mercy…”

We won’t become people of peace unless we fully take in the fact that Jesus fought our spiritual war in our place—and won. We already have ultimate peace that no one can take from us.

You won’t become a person of peace unless you view those you disagree with as the same as you—souls whom Jesus suffered and won peace for.

Who do you disagree with? What’s one thing you can do today to be a person of peace with that individual?

Prayer: Lord, let me take in your mercy for me. I so often put myself first. Thank you for not acting like me. You put me and all people first by sending Jesus to fight for me and give me peace. Help me put others first and be a person of peace. 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 17, 2021

2020 was a tough year. As we look into the new year, what are some of the lessons we learn by looking back?

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:34-35

Assisted living

We learned a new term this past year: social distancing. We did it to keep people physically safe. But social distancing has revealed just how much we need each other.

As human beings, we need connection with each other. God did not design us to go through life alone. This year we saw feelings of loneliness and isolation skyrocket.

At the same time, we saw people make connections with others in creative ways. Some wrote messages on the sidewalk. Others talked to their elderly parents through the window at a nursing home. Zoom became a household name for virtual connection. It’s clear that human beings crave love from others.

Jesus tells us that as his disciples we not only need connection and love from other people, we are designed to give love and connection to other people.

The way we are to love others is very specific. It’s the way he loved us.

Soak in the type of love Jesus has for you. It’s self-sacrificing (willingly dying on the cross is the best proof of his love). It’s patient. Kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always trusts. Always hopes. Always perseveres. Jesus’ kind of love never fails.

Jesus knew that we would be a light in a dark world if we loved other people this way. The world says “treat others as they treat you.” Believers in Christ shock everyone and say, “I will treat you as Jesus treats me.”

God made us to be rivers, not reservoirs. A reservoir stores things up. A river passes things on. Jesus gives us his amazing love so that we can be rivers and pass it on to others.

Do you need to be around a love-giving Christian today so they can pass on Jesus’ love to you? Who can you then pass that love onto? Call or text that person today. Or, visit them face to face if you can!

Prayer: Jesus, you love me with the best kind of love imaginable. You gave your all for me. Let me be a river and pass that love onto others in my 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 – January 10, 2021

2020 was a tough year. As we look into the new year, what are some of the lessons we learn by looking back?

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

Time well spent

How many things were canceled during 2020 for you?

Maybe you laughed out loud just now (or maybe you groaned) because TONS of things were canceled.

We learned this past year to expect things to change at a moment’s notice and that plans are not permanent.

It’s actually good we experienced this. Why? Because our lives can be canceled at a moment’s notice. We don’t know how long God plans for each of us to live on this planet.

Thankfully, we don’t have to wrestle with fear about this, because we know that for believers in Jesus, death is a tool God uses to bring us into heaven.

So, the question is, how do we use the time that we have?

Well, the verse for today is a prayer from Moses—the faithful leader who God used to bring the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. He knew a lot about how things do not always go as you planned.

He is asking God to remind us to have a good sense of urgency in our lives since we don’t know when they’ll end. When we sense that our earthly lives are urgent and won’t go on forever, suddenly our priorities change. We become wiser in how we spend our time.

Hopefully 2020 taught you about the things that matter most: Your connection to Jesus. Your connection to other believers. Growing in your faith. Worshiping God through everything you do. Using your talents and time to serve others. And, sharing Jesus with those who don’t know him.

Which of the things mentioned above do you want to spend more doing in 2021? What’s one small step you can take right now to make that happen?

Prayer: Lord, you are the only thing that has lasted and will last forever. You are eternal. My life on earth is not. Teach me each day to live with a good sense of urgency so that I might focus on the things that matter most 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 – January 3, 2021

2020 was a tough year. As we look into the new year, what are some of the lessons we learn by looking back?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

No pain, no gain

Wow. This past year has been difficult—even horrible—for us as individuals, as a country and as the human race. It’s okay, and even healthy, to admit this. It’s reality.

Maybe you wish 2020 was just a bad dream and that you’ll wake up to find out it never even happened. But the reality is that it did happen.

The events of this past year make it clear that you can’t avoid pain in life. In a sinful world, pain will find you.

Again, it’s okay, and even healthy, to admit this. But eventually, you have to go further than just acknowledging the pain. You have to have a strategy to deal with the pain in a healthy way.

James tells us that we first have to address how we think about pain.

It’s a lie that pain is only bad—a lie we believe. That’s why we’re shocked when James says, “consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials.” How can something that hurts bring joy?

He’s telling us we can have joy because there’s actually purpose in pain. He’s telling us that pain, in this life, is actually necessary for our spiritual growth.

It hurts when you lift weights and your muscles become sore. But that’s the only way your muscles will get bigger and stronger.

It’s the same for our faith. God uses the pain in our lives as an opportunity for us to rely less and less on our own power and more and more on his love and power—making our faith bigger and stronger. As you walk through life with God’s promises, you will see him give you a deep sense of confidence, maturity and peace—even while you’re in pain.

And, an even more comforting truth is that Jesus looked at the pain he was about to suffer on the cross with joy. He knew through his pain he would gain salvation for the entire world and ensure we would live with him forever in heaven—pain free.

It was worth it. You were worth it.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for all I’ve gained through your pain. Change the way I view pain in my life. Let me realize that you have a purpose to my pain, even if I don’t always see it. 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 27, 2020

“B.C.” is the title of this month’s devotions. Each one highlights a prophecy indicating Christmas would happen long before that night Jesus was born dividing time itself into B.C. and A.D.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
And he will be our peace.
Micah 5:2,5

The place

Were you born in a special place? I was born in a doctor’s office. My mother didn’t even make it to the hospital. It was some small town in Arizona that no one’s ever heard of. You have to really zoom in to find it on a map app.

If you were to choose the place where the Savior of the world was going to be born, do you think it would be some small place? Some town that’s hard to find on a map? Yet, that’s exactly what God did!

About 500 years before Jesus was born, God promised to bring the Savior from the town of Bethlehem, a small, insignificant dot on the map. What does that tell us about our God? It tells us that he can bring great blessings from the most unlikely of places. God likes to use the poor, the simple, and the weak things in life in order to show his power.

The Savior of the world would not be born in a great and powerful city, but in a small town. Insignificant shepherds would be the first to hear of God’s love born in the Christ child. It doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from, you see a Savior who relates to and loves you.

If you go to church because you feel at peace with God, but lose it once you leave, you forgot to take something home with you … Jesus! This Christmas, Bethlehem is the most peaceful place on earth to be because the babe of Bethlehem will be our peace. He’s your PEACE!

Prayer: Gracious Savior, you came from nothing to save us from the insignificance of this world. Your love and sacrifice prove that your greatest gifts—forgiveness and eternal peace—come from an unlikely place, a Savior born and laid in Bethlehem’s manger. All this for 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 – December 20, 2020

“B.C.” is the title of this month’s devotions. Each one highlights a prophecy indicating Christmas would happen long before that night Jesus was born dividing time itself into B.C. and A.D.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

The name

Do you know what your name means? In some cultures, the meaning of a person’s name is the most important factor. It seems like more parents are giving their kids names that are unique, edgy, or trendy. Do you think names matter?

Before God sent his Son into the world, he gave hints as to what this child would be like. We call these promises, or even prophecies. The people who lived before Christ had limited knowledge. They didn’t know all the details of Christmas and Jesus’ life and death as we do. But God didn’t hold back when he shared the names of Jesus, because these names would say a lot about who he is and what he would do.

He is Wonderful, filling our minds and hearts with awe over his love Not only will people think he is a wonderful person, but his work is wonderful as well.

He is the ultimate Counselor who hears our cries and knows our pain. Though a child, he has no need for counselors. He already has a plan for our salvation.

He is Mighty God with unparalleled power and unmatched strength. The point is clear: When you struggle, God will comfort you with all his might.

He is Everlasting Father who provides and protects us beyond this life and into eternity. Not only does he possess the eternal gene, but as a faithful and wise father, he will share eternity with his children. God sent his Son to work out the plan for our eternal good.

He is the Prince of Peace. That’s not just a name. “He himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). He removes anything that has robbed us of peace. He calms our fears about sin, death, and where we stand with God because he is our Savior.

What’s in a name? With Jesus . . . everything!

Prayer: Dear Savior, draw me in to every detail of your names so that I find your grace for 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 – December 13, 2020

“B.C.” is the title of this month’s devotions. Each one highlights a prophecy indicating Christmas would happen long before that night Jesus was born dividing time itself into B.C. and A.D.

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
Isaiah 40:3-4

The voice

He visits with several teenagers each week. They walk into his counseling office to talk through the issues they are facing and the struggles they are having. Topics range from addiction to suicide to depression to anger and more. This counselor spends hours each week listening to what’s eating away at all of these teenagers.

It’s complex. But among the many commonalities, one stuck out. He said, “There are so many voices vying for their attention and affection. The hard part is to realize the seldom few that are actually trying to help them.”

Social media, school, friends, family, the news, marketing—can you hear and even see all the voices that want something from you? In a world that cares mostly about getting and taking, can you see that so much of what we hear isn’t trying to help us? Especially as we get closer to Christmas, countless voices want our time, our attention, our money, our allegiance, our clicks, our love. And what can the world give in return? Short-lived pleasure or happiness at best?

That’s why God, through his Word, gives us noise-canceling headphones which tune into a clear voice that promises and provides. Long before Jesus ever came, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah about a voice in the wilderness. He would point people to the One who would give the life we cannot find in this world. John the Baptist would point people to the coming Savior, Jesus Christ, not because God wants to take our money, time, and energy like this world. Rather, God wants to give. In Jesus, we have a smooth pathway to life with God. He perfectly lived through all the highs and lows of his life, and even died on the cross to give us eternal peace so that we would know that his voice is the one that promises everything and actually delivers.

Prayer: Gracious Savior, tune my ears to listen to all of your eternal promises. Help me cancel out the noise as I trust 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 6, 2020

“B.C.” is the title of this month’s devotions. Each one highlights a prophecy indicating Christmas would happen long before that night Jesus was born dividing time itself into B.C. and A.D.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers, he [the woman’s offspring] will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:15

The promise

Fill in the blank: “2020 has been _________.”

I bet you didn’t think of anything positive. It’s hard when we see all that’s gone wrong this year. But isn’t that the world we live in? If you’re anything like me you wonder, “Why? Where did all this come from?”

Go to the beginning. All was good—perfect in fact! Not just to our standards, but to God’s. Then our great ancestors broke it all for at least one reason—they believed that God was holding out on them. They believed the lie that their knowledge would be bigger and life would be better. Only the opposite became true. Fill in the blank: “Human life has been ____________.” With just a glance we see a world that is broken, lives that are hurting, and souls that have so much missing.

As it turns out, the devil is still whispering those lies today. “Life would be better if I had the next phone, if I had a bigger following, if I had better looks, or if I had greater popularity.” However, this world is not only broken, it tries to pull us farther in. The more we cling to the world the more we are broken by it.

This world will never truly fix us. It can’t even fix itself. Think of all the hostility, disease, pain, depression, stress, pollution, calamity, etc. (And that’s a big “etc.”!) Sin has ruined this world, and it permeates every aspect of our lives.

Yet it is directly into the mess and the face of the liar that God spoke his first promise. Isn’t that interesting? God wants you to overhear the way that he speaks to Satan. “Your head will be crushed!” He lets us lean in and listen to how he feels about all that is broken. He’s already thinking about the Savior being struck with the punishment for sin and death, which would happen on the cross. From Jesus’ first breath in the manger to his final breath on the cross, Jesus paid for every sin and delivered us from a broken world. Sin? Defeated! Death? Destroyed! Satan? Crushed! And you? Loved and saved, now and forever. That’s the sure promise of Christmas.

Prayer: Help me see your saving promise from the manger to the cross. 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 – November 29, 2020

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:3-4

The gospel comes first

Was your preferred candidate elected as president earlier this month? Is your political party of choice in control in our country? Do you think our country is doing fine, or do you think there is massive need for change and improvement? Do you want to be active in political thought and discussion? Do you want to be an advocate for change? Or are just not interested and want to go back to your latest TikTok marathon session?!

What is a Christian to think or do with politics and government today? What should be my greatest concern?

This whole month we’ve had devotions that have refocused our hearts and minds to be in line with what God says in his Word regarding these topics. However, as we work with God’s strength to honor and respect those whom God has established as our leaders, there is much freedom that we have in our political choices and beliefs. Thanks be to God that we can have differing viewpoints and philosophies and still be brothers and sisters in Christ! That said, there is a non-negotiable for life in this world and under any government. That would be this—the gospel always takes priority.

The joy of our Christian faith is that the gospel—the good news of Jesus Christ—is what took priority in the heart of our God. In his grace and goodness, he revealed his own good news to us—that he does in fact want all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. What amazing love, that God would desire first and foremost that sinners be forgiven, saved, and join him in life everlasting!

In the same, the love of Christ compels us to make the gospel a priority as well. You may think this or that about Republicans or Democrats, you may desire this or that as a reform in our country, and you may want him or her to be the next leader of your community or our country. Yet while we may lovingly and respectfully disagree on some of these points, we can all be in complete unity in our desire for other people to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Governments and leaders come and go, but the soul is an eternal matter. How important it is for us to urgently seek the salvation of souls through faith in Jesus Christ!

Dear Christian, watch your life, your heart, and your words carefully. Satan would divide us by frustration, anger, and hatred. And if he can divide us from each other in our country enough, he hopes to perhaps divide and separate us also from our God. Don’t let the things of this life and our country distract you from the greatest goal and good—the salvation of souls. As Christ has put us first when he came to save us, so we can put our neighbor first. In our lives, our hearts, and our words, let’s look for ways to let the gospel ring out clearly so that others may be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, as we live under a government which you have established, help us to make it a priority to share the salvation which you have won. Give us hearts that earnestly seek to share gospel with others, that they too may be saved and join us in life everlasting. 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 – November 22, 2020

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Romans 13: 6,7

Christian citizens

“Why would I support the government when it allows ________ to happen in our country? . . . I’m not paying taxes until the government proves it knows how to use my money! . . . How could I ever respect a president/governor/mayor who acts like that? Who could honor someone so dishonorable?”

Our sinful nature just eats this stuff up. Satan preys on my heart when it is not happy with our government or governmental leaders. Is it wrong to be dissatisfied with leaders? No. Is it wrong to want justice, moral laws, and peace? No. Is it wrong to personally feel a different leader could do a better job? Not at all. But the problem is how I react when Satan leads me to twist those thoughts in my heart into doing as I see fit. It’s almost as if Satan convinces us that if anyone in government sins or fails us, then we are justified in sinning back with disobedience, disrespect, or dishonor.

First of all, that’s not how Jesus lived. Our perfect Savior showed perfect respect and honor for those in authority. Perhaps you remember the time he told the Jewish leaders to, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” A fascinating statement of humble respect from our true God considering that Caesar claimed to be a god himself! We also consider how humble and respectful Jesus was to the weak-willed yet hard-hearted Pontius Pilate who sent him off to his crucifixion. How thankful we can be for Jesus, our perfect Savior, who lived a perfect life of humble respect in our place and then died to pay for our selfish sins.

In thanks for our Savior’s forgiveness, we too can live such a life of humble love and respect—yes, even when we disagree with or disapprove of our leaders. Thus, the apostle Paul teaches us that we can pay taxes to those who ask us to, even if we aren’t quite sure how well that money is being spent. And we can give respect and honor to those who lead us—yes, even if they have acted disrespectful and dishonorable themselves. Though we don’t condone the sins of leaders, we also understand that only Jesus is perfect. All other worldly leaders will fall into sin. Thus, we need to ask God to give them strength for the difficult task of leadership. For that alone—the challenge of their position and task—there is in fact a certain level of respect and honor due.

How challenging! God give us the strength and the wisdom to respond to Jesus’ incredible love with our lives of humble love and respect for all—including our government and its leaders.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive my heart that so often strays in selfish anger, disrespect, and dishonor toward others, especially our government and its leaders. Move my heart to live in your love and to show respect and honor to all for whom it is due. 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 – November 15, 2020

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
1 Timothy 2:1-2

Pray for and live in peace

“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” These are the famous words of JFK (John. F. Kennedy) from his presidential Inaugural Address on January 1, 1961. Wise words! Rather than seeking to be served by others or by your country, seek to serve your country and others. Certainly, a country filled with such humble servants and attitudes would be blessed with peace, unity, and strength.

Such wise thoughts don’t belong only to worldly leaders of the past though. Our God desires the same thing. As we live under a government that he has established for our good, God wants us in turn to serve our government. But not to worry! This doesn’t mean you have mandatory community service, military training, or political campaigns in your future! (Though, feel free to do so if the Lord moves your heart in such a way.) Rather, God wants us to serve our communities and our government in simple, humble ways.

The verses for our consideration this week help us to understand some of these ways we can show love and serve others. So what can I do for our country? Pray! Paul told the young pastor Timothy that he (and now we) can offer petitions, or requests to God, on behalf of the government. For example, we might pray for God to strengthen and support those who have difficult and challenging jobs. We can also pray fervently for God to give wisdom and diligence to those who lead. Other prayers we can offer include prayers of thanksgiving for those who lead. Yes, you heard me right—thanksgiving. Even if we disagree with those who lead and their laws or policies at times, we can still be thankful that we have leaders whom God has allowed into positions that serve our good.

When we have attitudes that are eager to serve our country through our humble living and fervent prayers, we will in fact accomplish much. We will do the very thing that Paul wrote at the end of verse two—we will contribute “peaceful and quiet lives” that let the light of Christ shine through us in all we can do. What a profound joy, then, that as we serve Christ in love, so also we serve our neighbor and our country. God bless us in such service!

Prayer: Lord of all, in this coming week of national thanksgiving, give to me a humble heart of thankfulness that is eager to pray for and serve others, including those who serve me in our government. 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 – November 8, 2020

For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:4

Government over me

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had no government? Then we wouldn’t have to argue so much about politics! Then we wouldn’t have to worry so much about following so many rules! Then we could drive as fast as we wanted on the freeway (at least legally this time)!

Not so fast on your wishful thinking! Though it might sound good on paper if we didn’t have government interfering with our personal business, in real life it would turn out to be one chaotic mess! If there was no local government, who would prevent anyone from committing a crime—be it small or large? If there was no state or federal government, who would protect us? If there was no government, who would keep the peace? The list could go on for all the problems that would quickly arise without government.

Surely, this last year we have seen again that no government is perfect. That means sinful people in government can sometimes abuse their power and citizens will not always feel safe or even be safe. But just because there has been political and civil unrest, protests, riots, and lots of fighting (verbally and physically), that doesn’t mean that government is useless.

As Christians, we recalled last week that God is in ultimate control and he has established all authorities in all places. This week we can pause to remember that God uses the government—yes even ours—as his servant for our good.

In the apostle Paul’s time, the Romans had all kinds of evils in their government—abuses of power, persecution of Christians, laws that permit great wickedness, and even an emperor who claimed to be a god himself. Yet at the same time, that government was used by God for Paul’s good. Paul traveled on Roman roads to preach the gospel. He relied on his Roman citizenship to protect him against unfair punishments and imprisonments. He benefited from Romans soldiers who protected him from persecutors, and he even appealed to the highest Roman court for a fair trial. Those are just a few blessings Paul experienced from God’s servant, the Roman government.

So also today, whether we are in love with our government, our president, current political trends or not, God will still use our government to serve us. From roads to civil services to government programs that we benefit from to college financial aid to laws that protect and keep order to the military that defends us and so much more, thank God for the many ways he uses government for his purposes to serve you!

Prayer: Dear Lord, though our government is flawed as is every other device of sinful humans, we thank you for using our government to serve us as you see fit. Bless our land and our people for Jesus’ sake. Amen.


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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 – November 1, 2020

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13:1

God over government

So whom do you want to be president?

“Really, bro? You’re going there? Haven’t we heard enough about the election? Really?”

Yes, really. let’s go there.

We may feel we have had more than enough election and presidential talk. We have been hearing about it for months already. However, no matter what our feelings or tolerance levels may be, we don’t live in isolation. As Christians, it’s important for us to be on high alert and in tune with God’s Word when major world events are happening around us. A presidential election, especially this particular one, certainly qualifies as such.

This week is election week. So many have deep-seated thoughts about the candidates this year. So many are hoping one person is president and that the other one is not. So many are very concerned about what direction the country will go in if one or the other is elected.

What should Christians do if Donald Trump is president again . . . or if Joe Biden is elected president? The answer is—rejoice!

That’s right. “Rejoice!” The joy we have as Christians is not rooted in a political party or a certain candidate. Our hopes do not rest in one leader or a system of government. We can rejoice in any and every situation and with any and every president because God is in control.

Today’s Bible verse in Romans 13 is from a chapter that goes into great detail regarding what God says about government. It starts with one foundational understanding—God is King of kings and Lord of lords. God is in control, and thus, every government that exists is established by God.

The newly elected president of the United States of America may or may not be your personal choice. But he is in fact the one that God has allowed according to his wisdom to be the president at this moment and at this time in our government in order to accomplish his plans and purposes. So Christian friends, take a deep breath. Relax. Rejoice. No matter what happens this week, our God is still ultimate leader in ultimate control. Praise God for that!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for an extra measure of faith and trust this election week. Help us to remember that you are in control, you establish all authorities, and presidential candidates are elected only as you allow and see fit. Help us to trust that no matter the outcome of this week, you still hold all things in your hands. 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 – October 25, 2020

In the month of October, the Transformed devotions deal with “apologetics”, that is, a defense and explanation of Christian beliefs like trustworthiness of the Bible, who is God, and why faith is counter-cultural to the world.

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Romans 1:14-17

Proclaiming with power

“How would you know what it is like to experience [fill in the blank]…?”

“You have no idea what it is like to be [fill in the blank]…”

“You don’t understand.”

Chances are, when you consider how diverse our backgrounds and experiences are, they’re absolutely right.

Think of all the diversity the apostle Paul encountered on his missionary travels. His three missionary journeys took him throughout the diverse cities of the Mediterranean world. He saw new and different sights and heard different sounds. He interacted with all sorts of different people. He immersed himself in different cultures. And, I’d be willing to bet he likely ate a lot of different foods, too.

But the gig wasn’t merely to be a cultural aficionado. Paul’s gig—the Christian gig—is following Christ wherever he leads us—that we would be his witnesses and proclaim the good news of Jesus to the world. “You will be my witnesses,” Jesus said, “in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The ends of the earth? Talk about culture shock for us! Talk about a diverse audience! And our mission field today is just as diverse! While God has graciously done his church a solid and dropped the ends of the earth right in our backyard, such diverse backgrounds and experiences of those around us can leave us feeling unable to speak to those around us about Jesus. “What if they dismiss what I have to say? What if they don’t think I understand their experiences? What if I don’t know everything about their culture? What if I can’t speak their language very well?”

That all seems to be confirmed when the world to whom we witness fires back “You don’t understand.” And, chances are, they are absolutely right. We don’t.

But does that mean the validity or truthfulness of the Christian message is lost? Does our ability to talk to others as Christians boil down to whether or not we’ve experienced the exact same things as the people to whom we’re witnessing? Because if that’s the case, then we might as well hang it up.

But that’s not the case.

You don’t need to have experienced everything someone has experienced to proclaim the reality of the gospel not just with them, but for them. Who our God is and what he has graciously won and done for the world is not contingent on whether or not you—as a Christian—understand in experiential entirety what the person you’re speaking with has gone through.

There’s gentleness and respect when we bend a loving ear and listen to someone’s story. There’s power in sharing your own personal story of how Christ personally died for you, and how that same Jesus personally died for the person listening to you. There’s gospel-driven love in personally sharing the gospel uniquely to a unique person.

In spite of the fact you most certainly do not share their exact experiences, how powerful it is for you to remind them that you share the same Jesus. How powerful it is to remind them that at the other end of their catalog of all the confusion, the questions, the hurt, the heartache, and the pain in their lives, their Jesus is still there.

Never be ashamed of the message you share. It’s power rests not in who you are but in who God is. There is power in the gospel—power, even in spite of you! So listen, ask questions, and seek to understand—and find comfort knowing you don’t have to share their exact experiences to share Jesus. Your Savior is the world’s Savior.

Prayer: Gracious Lord, work in us a confidence to proclaim your word with the world. Give me eyes to see opportunities to share your saving love, and a heart of compassion to model your love to others in my life. Give me the words to say and the confidence to say it. 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 – October 18, 2020

In the month of October, the Transformed devotions deal with “apologetics”, that is, a defense and explanation of Christian beliefs like trustworthiness of the Bible, who is God, and why faith is counter-cultural to the world.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
Hebrews 1:1-2

God’s revelation

Is there evidence for the existence of God? Atheist British philosopher and mathematician, Bertrand Russell, argued that it is “unscientific” to conclude that a Creator caused the universe. But can science even say that? If science is the study of the natural world, how can science possibly prove there is nothing beyond the natural world? And where in nature have we ever observed something come into being from nothing? So, if the universe began to exist, it must have had a cause. And whatever caused the universe to come into existence must be something (or someone) beyond the need for space, time, and matter. It would have to be a timeless, infinite being with limitless power. That sounds an awful lot like God!

What is more, if our universe somehow were the accidental result of time + matter + energy + chance, how do we explain that our universe is finely tuned for the existence of life? Seriously, look it up! Did you know that there are universal constants that, if their numeric values were altered even to the slightest degree, no life of any kind anywhere could exist?

Let us take gravity, for example. In high school physics, you will solve problems where you will calculate the force of gravity, the equation for which is F = (G x m1 x m2)/r2. If you have never seen that equation before, then you probably have not made it to physics yet. Long story short, if the constant ‘G’ (the gravitational constant) changed by even the tiny figure of 1 in 1060 parts (that’s a 1 followed by sixty zeros), not a single one of us would be here. No life would exist anywhere.

To put that figure in perspective, your chances of winning the Mega Millions Jackpot lottery is 1 in 302,575,350. That ratio is 1 over a nine-digit number. Those are terribly improbable odds. Can you imagine how even more unlikely it is that by sheer chance our universe came into being by accident AND that the exact gravitational constant we observe that is needed to sustain any and all life in the universe is exactly as it is? The improbability of that figure would make winning the lottery look as easy as tying your shoes. Doesn’t it seem entirely more likely that a powerful Creator created our universe to be a certain, specific way… that a wise Designer designed the universe to facilitate life of all kinds?

And yet, there still are many who double down and insist that there is no God. Atheist biologist, Richard Dawkins, said,

“In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”1

Really Richard? No good or evil? No right? No wrong? No meaning? No purpose? But if atheism were true, Dawkins wouldn’t be wrong. Without a divine personal Creator, not only are the inherent value and worth of human beings depreciated, but words like ‘right’, ‘wrong’, ‘good’, and ‘evil’ mean absolutely nothing. We are, as Dawkins writes, just biological accidents with delusions of grandeur: machines for passing on DNA. That’s our only reason for being. Nothing more.

How does that sit with you? Such a statement should offend everyone. Our lives do have real meaning, value, and purpose. Because we are inherently endowed with meaning, value, and purpose. But how? And why? Science can’t answer that question. And if there is such a thing as ‘good’ and ‘evil’ (and there is), than we are implying that there is a moral law by which we use to define ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ And if there is a moral law, than there must be a higher person who is the foundation of what is moral, virtuous, and good. Now, who could that be?

Suddenly, in just a few hundred words, we’ve made a pretty solid case for the existence of God. By observation of the natural world around us and by our conscience, there before us lies a compelling evidence for God’s existence, but also evidence for what kind of God our God is. We could infer from nature that God is powerful, ever-present, spaceless, timeless, and infinite. We could infer from our conscience that God is personal, righteous, blameless, perfectly just, and perfectly good. But that’s it. There is nothing more that the natural world can show me about God’s nature. There’s nothing more my conscience can reveal about God’s nature.

And if the only revelation we had was nature and conscience, we’d be left with no comfort that this God loves me and cares about me. We would be left without any assurance this God will work for my eternal good. We’d be left with fear, wondering and worrying what this God will say to me when I must stand before him. Because I know that I’m a sinner—in thought, word, and deed. And I know that he is righteous, holy, and blameless. I’d be left wondering if I need to do something to save myself. And I’d be left dreadfully terrified, wondering if I have ever done enough.

We needed God to reveal himself in another way. A better way. An unmistakable way. We needed the invisible God to reveal himself to us so we could tangibly see who our God is in all his fullness. In the past, God spoke through his prophets and revealed who he was through his Word—be it through promises made, or promises kept. But one promise stood out from the rest: the promise to redeem and ransom our fallen, broken, messed up world. How would God do that? God would dwell among us. God the Father loved us so much he would send his one and only Son, Jesus, so we could see who our God is.

Veiled in humility and masked in suffering, God, in Christ, gives dimension to his love that we might see the very shape and contours of God’s undying compassion for fallen humanity. And your God assures you that those who look to Jesus not only see who God is but see what God has done personally for them! Jesus died for you! See God’s tenderness and mercy as Jesus has compassion on the sick and helpless. See your God’s love for you as he carried your sins to Calvary to die for you. See your God’s promises fulfilled as Jesus rises from the dead. Because he lives, you also will live.

You want to know truly who your God is? Look to Jesus.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, you loved us so much that you would take on our humanity to die for us and save us. In your incarnation, you showcased your heart and love for sinners like me. By your Spirit, work in me through your Word a rock-solid confidence that trusts in you as my Savior. Amen.


1 River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life


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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 – October 11, 2020

In the month of October, the Transformed devotions deal with “apologetics”, that is, a defense and explanation of Christian beliefs like trustworthiness of the Bible, who is God, and why faith is counter-cultural to the world.

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:19-21

God’s love letter to you

The spaceships were coming to take them home. That’s what Marshall Applewhite believed, the founder of the religious cult known as Heaven’s Gate. Applewhite believed that he and his partner, Bonnie Nettles, were extraterrestrial agents with “higher level minds” that had come from outer space to unlock the path to paradise. Applewhite preached that this time on earth was a season of metamorphosis, where his followers could achieve a “next level” mode of existence and eventually evolve into aliens. But this bizarre tale takes a tragic turn. Applewhite and 38 of his adherents eventually coordinated a mass suicide. They went to sleep, never to wake up. Why? Because Applewhite claimed that, by dying, their souls would be received by an incoming UFO spaceship and shuttled off to heaven. But that ship never came. A total of 39 people—21 women, and 18 men—died for a cleverly invented science fiction story, a man-made religion, a myth, a lie.

I know plenty of people who would argue that Christianity is no different—that the Bible is just a bunch of manipulative fairy tales cooked up by human imagination.

The apostle Peter knew that objection, too. He wrote in defense, “We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Christianity is not some back-alley cult, crafted in secret. The Bible isn’t some mythological compilation of half-baked narratives and proverbial maxims like other religious texts—written in a vacuum, hidden from examination, study, and scrutiny. The events the Bible describes actually happened in real history!

Both the Old and New Testament writers ‘marry’ their text to history to a degree matched by no other religion. Christianity shamelessly joins the unfolding of salvation to real, historical events that are verified not only by archaeological evidence but also by ancient secular, non-Christian historians. Peter’s point is that, the biographies of Jesus’ life (the Four Gospels) are well corroborated accounts internally and externally.

The Bible actually is what it claims to be: the true story of the salvation of the world! The very words of God himself! For Christians today who daily wrestle with doubt, we might think, “Easy for you to say Peter. You were there! You witnessed these things with your own eyes!” And you’d be right. We weren’t eyewitnesses of these events firsthand.

But just in case we would see the Scripture as something less valuable than firsthand experience, Peter lovingly reminds us that what we have—God’s Word—is completely reliable. Because God wrote it. “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

True, human beings recorded the words of Scripture—but they were just the “pen.” God is the author who wrote with the “pen.” Why would God write the books of the Bible? So that you would know with certainty who your God is and who you are because of who your God is.

At the beating heart of every biblical promise is your Savior: Jesus. God not only points to Jesus as the central figure of Scripture—the promised Messiah who had come to save the world—but God points to the cross as the way he would do it. True, we weren’t at Calvary. But our sins were. Outside of Jerusalem the glory and majesty of God would be demonstrated not in flashes of lightning, but in darkness; not in radiance, but in the shame of the cross. Why? To ransom and rescue sinners like you and me.

So, you know that Bible you hold in your hand or scroll through on your smartphone? It might seem quiet and quaint when you page through it but make no mistake—your God is there. God gives of himself through the Bible—to strengthen and nourish your faith, to grow you in wisdom, to guide you on right paths, so that you, right now, are able to fellowship with God.

The Bible is not some man-made, cleverly cooked up story; it’s God’s undying love letter to you—one penned in the fulness of his grace, one that unfolded in real time and space, and one preserved throughout the ages so you could hold it not just in your hands, but, in faith, hold it in your heart.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, continue to work in us through your Word a trust in you and your gracious promises. Work in us a heart that delights in your Word, but a heart that rejoices in the love shown us through our Savior Jesus. 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 – October 4, 2020

In the month of October, the Transformed devotions deal with “apologetics”, that is, a defense and explanation of Christian beliefs like trustworthiness of the Bible, who is God, and why faith is counter-cultural to the world.

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

John 18:33, 36-38a

What is Truth?

“What’s 2+2?” Remember way back when questions like that were your weekly homework? And if you penciled in “5” as your answer, your teacher would lovingly get out her red pen and circle that question. Because your answer was wrong. Same thing for the more creative student who literally put ‘2’ and ‘2’ together and wrote “22.” Both answers are wrong. The answer is “4.”

The question posed by Pontius Pilate in John 18:38 isn’t all that different. “What is truth?” It’s a question people are still asking today. When it comes to questions of identity, meaning, purpose, and destiny, many people answer, “All worldviews and beliefs are true.” What’s true for one can be true for them, and what’s true for another can be true for them. After all, why can’t everyone be right? But that’s just as silly as responding to the question “What is the answer to 2+2?” with “22” or “5.”

There is no shortage of systems that strive to answer those questions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Atheism, and so many more it’ll make your head spin! But they cannot all be true. Such answers to life’s questions could (in theory) all be false, but they can’t all be true. The Christian apologist (and once atheist) C.S. Lewis compares it to grade school math: “As in arithmetic—there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong; but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.”1 To the question “What is the answer to 2+2?”, “5” is certainly closer to “4” than “22”, but they’re both wrong—no more correct than leaving the question completely blank.

But there was another question Pontius Pilate asked Jesus—a question Jesus himself asked his disciples—who is Jesus of Nazareth? Many today say Jesus was just a moral guru. Others say he was a radical, social activist. Still others insist that Jesus was just a good person, but he wasn’t God. The Jewish mob before Pilate labled Jesus a liar. Others labled him a lunatic. But who does Jesus say he is?

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus says. The same Jesus who stood before Pontius Pilate had claimed to be not just a bearer of truth, but the embodiment of truth itself—God in the flesh. “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pilate sided with the mob, not the truth. And the Truth was hung on a cross.

“Who is Jesus of Nazareth?” is a question to which the world must provide an answer. The historic evidence for life, the ministry, the death, and (yes) the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth demands a verdict. As C.S. Lewis put it, Jesus is either 1) a liar, 2) a lunatic, 3) or he is who he said he is: the LORD. And if God has raised this Jesus from the dead, the question is answered by God for us.

When you’re asked the question “Who is Jesus of Nazareth?” don’t leave the question blank—because you know the answer. He is your God and Savior who died on a cross to save you from sin and death. When you’re asked questions about identity, say with confidence “I am a redeemed child of God.” When you wonder if your life has meaning, look to Jesus, who tells you that you were graciously set apart to be his own. When you wrestle with questions of origin, your God reminds you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by him and for him. And when you wonder about your eternal resting place, rest your worried mind in the blood-bought promises of Jesus that your eternal resting place is heaven.

His tomb is still empty. And because his tomb is empty, you can trust your Savior speaks the truth.

Prayer: Gracious God, Heavenly Father, sanctify us by your truth. Your word is truth. Move us by your Spirit to continually cling to your Word of truth. Amen.


1 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, page 35


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Transformed – teen devotion – September 27, 2020

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Play your best song, Lord, to give me courage

What makes a king out of a slave? Courage. What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage. What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage. What makes the Sphinx the 7th Wonder? Courage. What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage. What makes the hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in ape-ricot? Whatta they got that I ain’t got? Courage. You can say that again!

– The Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz

We aren’t too young for this reference, are we? (Granted, the quote is from a movie that’s now just over 80 years old, but still, it’s a classic. If you aren’t familiar with it, check out the Cowardly Lion’s performance of “Courage” on YouTube, or better yet, watch the movie on Amazon Prime for a few bucks.)

How are you doing in the courage department these days? I suppose that depends on what you’re up against. If we’re older and vulnerable, immunocompromised especially, we may lack courage in facing the Coronavirus. (Even if we are perfectly healthy, there’s always a chance it could be fatal. This demands courage from all of us!) Maybe you’re facing peer pressure to join in some things you know aren’t right. It takes courage to go against the crowd, doesn’t it? Maybe you’re facing some worries this school year with some project, some event, some challenge, some issue, and you wonder how you’ll ever make it. This too demands courage. Pause for a moment and ask yourself, “What’s my greatest fear?” Courage is required to stop running from it, stop putting it off, but to finally face it head on. Do you have courage? If so, could the strength of your courage fail and flee when you need it the most like what happened to the cowardly lion after encountering the wizard?

What alone gives you courage, courage which cannot fail? It’s always the Lord, isn’t it? This is precisely what the psalmist concluded in his song which would have helped the cowardly lion out immensely had that timid scaredy-cat learned it. The psalmist sang, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Here’s the beauty of that hymn. Are you fearful? Are you lacking courage? Is your greatest fear nothing short of sin, death, or the devil? The psalmist gives you courage. He says, “Wait for the Lord.” That implies that the Lord knows your greatest challenges, your greatest threats, your greatest worries and fears, and he’s already on the way to be your courage. You need only wait for him, and he will never let you down. He didn’t let us down on the cross, did he? Certainly not, he rose after three days. He conquered our greatest fears there, and we can be sure he’ll do it again, every time. And so the psalmist concludes, “Be strong and take heart.”

There’s your courage.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I love the playlist of Psalms, songs which give me a voice, songs which address all my needs with the good news of your love in Christ. Keep me in tune with the sweet music of your gospel, because I know that without your strength I can only fall into fear. Bless me with the very courage of Christ and teach me to face all things with all confidence. Amen.


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Transformed – teen devotion – September 20, 2020

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.
Psalm 8:1

Play the song that moves me

Glo Germ. Shortly after the days of the Corona pandemic hit us, this product became popular because it could be utilized as a tool to show how germs spread. After pouring some powder or gel on your hands and rubbing it in, it becomes undetectable to the naked eye. But under a black light, it is clearly visible.

By nature, we don’t see the handiwork of God. His fingerprints are undetectable apart from the eyes of faith, although God has given us nature and a conscience to sense God who is unseen.

In Psalm 8, the psalmist is picking up on one of the signals out there pointing to God’s awe-inspiring existence. The psalmist is looking at the earth with all its beauty and the heavens as well. Then, through eyes of faith—like a blacklight flipped on—he sees God’s fingerprints everywhere.

Do you see the handiwork of God? Are you looking through your eyes of faith regularly and taking in all that God has done? If we’re not careful, we can so easily miss it, like germs which spread unseen. In both cases, the effects are disastrous. Germs kill. So does not seeing God in faith. To live without awe for God is to live in awe of ourselves and die. So, again, do you see the majesty of God?

We all struggle to. If this is the case, I’d encourage you to not only lift your eyes to the hills and skies to take in the glory of God’s handiwork, but to look to the cross of Jesus. There is no greater work of God than that. Even the psalmist hints at this when he says, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them…? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5).

It’s only at the cross that we are God’s crown of creation. For God did not take on any form of creation but our humanity, and in our place, he took us whom God should not be mindful of because of our sin and raised us to sit at the throne of God itself in Christ. Truly, there is nothing more awe-inspiring which opens our eyes!

Live always in view of the cross. Then, you’ll live seeing the handiwork of God in all the beauties of creation with you as the crown. There’s nothing more awe-inspiring!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, when I stop to think about all your work, I am overcome with a rush of emotions of joy and amazement. Your created world is beyond what I can understand. Your work of love at the cross puts a lump in my throat. Your masterpiece that you’ve made of me in Christ fills my heart with unbelievable happiness. Help me to always think on these things. Keep this song of Psalm 8 always on repeat in my head. Amen.


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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 – September 13, 2020

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90:14

Play the song of unfailing love

Think back to all the times you wandered away from God’s presence. It never ends well, does it? After so many times, you’d think that our God would say, “I’ve had enough already!” You’d think for all the times that we go wandering through this desert life looking for a drop of water anywhere but from the Rock of our salvation, that God would finally turn away. I mean, how long does a guy continue to pursue a girl who isn’t interested? Or, how many times does a girl allow her heart to be broken by someone who has eyes for everything else but her? Only so much.

But, not our Lord.

This was the reality of God’s relationship with his people during the desert wanderings described in Psalm 90. The One who had rescued his people over and over again through miraculous plagues and parting waters was refused at every turn by his wayward people. If there was ever unrequited love, this was it. God had fallen in love with a people. But they were prone to complaining and straying.

But God never gives up. That’s the amazing thing about God and his pursuit of us too! He never gives up. At the same time, he never forces himself on anyone. He will never make you love him. For those who refuse to turn to him and only complain, there is only a hard reality—a thirsting one, a desert one. God sometimes allows us such an experience so that we come to our senses before we perish in the wilderness of this life and enter into the absence of God, his eternal wrath. That’s precisely Moses’ experience and that of his generation in the verses leading up to the song being played for us today in Psalm 90:14: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

God’s love finally broke through! His people who loved to stray finally began to cry out to him for rescue and true love. Though they didn’t deserve it, they realized all their pursuits only left their souls desperately parched. God’s love finally won over their stony hearts. It melted their cold complaining. It revived an attitude of faith and gratefulness. God’s love rescued those who returned to him in repentance and trust.

Such a beautiful song is the same song Jesus Christ puts on our lips and in our hearts. He suffered in the wilderness of our rebellion on the cross and withered in the depths of hell so we could be revived in every way. Has such a love broken through to you? It has! You have been baptized into Christ! May we never wander from his love! And when we’re tempted to grumble and go astray, may we quickly turn back in that moment to his unfailing love.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, don’t give up on us, even when we stray. Should complaint flow from our lips, forgive us. Soften our hearts by your unrelenting love in Christ. Give us a renewed love for you and satisfy us every morning! 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 – September 6, 2020

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Psalm 130:1-4

Play the song of brokenness and forgiveness

Music is powerful. Music gives voice to feelings. You hear a song a song and think, “That’s exactly how I feel.” One of my favorite bands during my teen years was Nirvana, which made somewhat of a resurgence over the last year or so. Nirvana’s last recorded song was “All Apologies.” It’s considered lead singer Kurt Cobain’s swan song as well as his final farewell. A couple of lines from that song read: “What else should I be? All apologies… Everything’s my fault. I take all the blame.” Words like these can only come from a crushed soul acutely aware of his damning faults.

Sounds a lot like the writer of Psalm 130. But this is where the similarity between Cobain and the psalmist ends. You see, Cobain despaired entirely. His songs became anthems of his death.

But not the psalmist. By God’s grace, he knew that in spite of his many sins, he was a forgiven child of God. Listen: “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord, if you kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?” He already knew the answer—no one. What’s his comfort? It’s this: “with you there is forgiveness.”
Thank God that you, too, can sing the words of Psalm 130. You are forgiven, restored, and a dear child of God himself. Then in awe and reverence, live your life of meaning, joy, and service. Let it be your whole life’s song of confession.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I come before you with a humble and sorrowful heart. I confess to you all that I have done and left undone. I recognize that for all these sins and my very sinful condition, I deserve nothing but separation from you forever. I praise you that you have removed my sins entirely through Jesus and in grace invite me to confess all to you. Help me to always confess my sins all because of the sweet music of your forgiveness. 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 – August 30, 2020

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”
Matthew 25:21

God’s good gifts

Have you ever received a compliment from someone you admire? A parent gave you loving personal advice that helped you greatly. A coach congratulated you on a great performance and inspired you to keep playing well. A teacher took notice of your work ethic and motivated you to continue your efforts. A friend knew just the right thing to say.

What did you do to receive that compliment? Likely, you utilized some talent or ability that you have. Did you know that God’s Word says that, to everyone who believes in God, he gives spiritual gifts or special abilities! (See 1 Corinthians 12:7 and 1 Peter 4:10.)

On top of the forgiveness and goodness that Jesus richly pours into our hearts and lives, in addition to taking away your sins and taking all your troubles on himself because he cares for you, God blesses you with abilities. As a cherry on top of the joy, peace, hope, faith, and love that God serves to you in your Baptism, God gives you even more gifts, which are the very talents you have!

The gifts God gives are varied. God gives his gifts to people in varied amounts, too. But rest assured, God gives to you! Some have artistic abilities to create in awe-inspiring ways. Other people are leaders who motivate groups to get things done. Musicians skillfully use their voices or instruments. Others have the unique ability to encourage with just the right word at the right time. Those with the gift of hospitality make strangers feel like friends. Some have the ability to write clearly, give generously, serve faithfully, think deeply, or care compassionately. The list could go on and on!

Whatever your gifts may be, understand this about your gifts: your gifts are not from you or for you! First, they are from God. Your talents are not something that are from you, your hard work, or that you developed on your own. Rather, God is the giver of every good gift, including your abilities! Second, knowing that our gifts are from God we better know how we are to use them. Your gifts are for serving those around you. The reason God gives his good gifts to us is so that our neighbors will be served, and through our service to others we give glory and praise to God!

To those who use their gifts faithfully, God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

What an unforgettable compliment!

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the gifts that you give us on top of the gift of your grace! Thank you for blessing us with talents and abilities. Forgive us for using these gifts selfishly to serve ourselves. By your Spirit, help us to use all the gifts you’ve given us to give glory 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 – August 23, 2020

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:14

How could a loving God send people to hell?

“How could a loving God send people to hell?” This question wrestles with two important biblical truths.

First, is God loving? Yes! God is absolutely loving. In fact, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God is also perfect. Therefore, God is perfect in his ability to love and be love!

Second, does God send people to hell? Again, yes. The same God who is perfectly loving is also just and holy. Because God is holy there are things our God cannot love. He cannot love evil, which is the opposite of holiness. God doesn’t love murder, abuse, selfishness, or pride. Therefore, God justly does something about evil and those who do evil. He punishes evil and all who sin by removing them from his presence. That is, he sends people to hell. Hell is eternal separation from God and his love.

So, is God really loving? Let me tell you how really loving God is!

Even though we all sin, deserve hell, and ought to have God remove his amazing love from us, God did something about hell. He went there. For you! God put his limitless, perfect love on display by sending his son, Jesus, to suffer the pain of hell for sinners like you and me. God didn’t just leave sins unpunished and forget about justice. He carried our sins and experienced hell for us. Jesus was separated from God’s love so we would never be. In doing so, God took our sins from us, then clothed us in Christ’s holiness.

Jesus told a parable where a king (God) invited many guests to enjoy an amazing wedding reception (God’s love in heaven). How did people respond? Sadly, many invited guests rejected the invitation because they wanted nothing to do with God or his love. Logically, they were not allowed into the party. They suffered hell.

Yet, how did the king (God) respond? With love! He determinedly sent his invitation to others so more and more might enjoy the party (God’s love in heaven)!

The same happens today. Though many reject God’s love, God responded to our human evil and sin by sending his Son to forgive. Through Christ, God gathers more and more people to himself! On the cross he removed the rags of our sin and clothed us with his robes of righteousness.

So, how do we respond to the good news of God’s love in bringing us into his eternal party of heaven?

First, enjoy it! Nothing needs to be done. The King has prepared everything for you and given every good thing to you. Enjoy what God has done for you in Christ. Enjoy who God has made you in Christ!

Second, go! Invite your friends to the party. Tell everyone they’re invited! Tell everyone they have a loving God.

Prayer: Dear God, we praise you for your love and mercy. Thank you for sending us your relentless love, which you give us even when we sin. Help us to rejoice in the righteousness you cover us with all the days our life. Use us to spread your love to others so that they too might be with us in your eternal party of 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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Transformed – teen devotion – August 16, 2020

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Matthew 20:16

Life’s not fair!

“Life’s not fair!” Do you agree with that statement? Have you ever said that yourself?

Imagine this: Monday through Friday you put in the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears at your job. On Friday, you receive a large paycheck. You’re pumped!

What if your co-worker, who had worked just one day that week, got paid the same amount? That would not be fair. You would be irritated! You might protest this unfairness to your boss. And if your boss said to you, “Life’s not fair”—you’d be outraged!

We want life to be fair.

Fairness makes sense. We live in a culture that emphasizes a person’s ability to work hard and get what they deserve. If we put in longer hours at our job, we make more than those who don’t. If we study harder for an exam, we get a better grade than those who didn’t. If we practice harder, we get more playing time. The best, brightest, and most beautiful all go to the front of the line. It’s only fair!

Jesus told a story that completely flips this way of thinking. In the story, a landowner (Jesus) hires workers (us). Some work a lot; some work little. But get this: they all get paid the same. Jesus finished the parable by saying, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” What’s Jesus’ point?

He does not care about fairness!

Instead, Jesus is all about graciousness!

Jesus’ story illustrates God’s grace. Grace is God’s love to you, it has nothing to do with you. Grace has everything to do with God. Grace is irrational in the sense that it is not based on anything you do or deserve. Grace has nothing to do with your talents or abilities. Grace defies logic. Grace is—quite literally—unfair.

What if God was fair? What if God did give us what we deserve? What we deserve, because of our sin and unholiness, is death and separation from God. What God gives us instead is the gracious gift of life forever with him (Romans 6:23). Fairness means we deserve “last.” Grace is us coming in “first.”

The next time you hear someone say, “Life’s not fair!” remember: they’re correct. Life’s not fair.

That’s a good thing! It means we have eternal life with Christ.

Prayer: Dear God, we praise you for your grace to us. For the times we imagine we deserve something from you, forgive us. Through your Word, help us to know the grace you’ve given us in Christ, and grow in a deeper and fuller appreciation of that gift. 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 – August 9, 2020

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Matthew 18:21-22

The business of forgiveness

A popular basketball tournament is held every year in my community. It’s free!

Each player plays for free. Every attendee can have free food and drink. The MVP from each game receives a free pair of Air Jordan basketball shoes. At half-time of every game, free bikes are given away to young kids. It’s all free!

Except someone needs to pay for everything given away for free.

My friend works for the organization that hosts the tournament. He once told me the cost to his organization so others can eat free food, wear free shoes, and ride free bikes. What an amazing act of selfless generosity!

You know what else is free? Forgiveness! The forgiveness God gives to you for every sin you have ever done or will do, is and always will be absolutely free for you. You never have to pay for forgiveness. You never have to do anything to earn forgiveness. God forgiveness is free!

Except someone had to pay for that forgiveness.

Your friend, Jesus, paid for it all! With his blood on the cross, Christ cancelled the massive debt you owed for your millions of sins. Because Jesus rose from the dead, you owe no payment. The price for sin we could never afford, Christ paid in full. Freely! Do you know what we call that act of selfless generosity? Amazing grace!

In Matthew 18, Jesus tells his disciples a story to illustrate the immensity of his free forgiveness! Jesus tells the story so we not only know of his free forgiveness to us, but also so we show free forgiveness to others.

What about when people sin against us a lot? What if the same person continues to commit the same sin against us? Jesus disciples asked, “Should we stop forgiving at seven times?” I mean, that’s pretty generous, right? Jesus answered that at seven times, you are just getting warmed up! Giving forgiveness to those who have wronged us can be difficult. So how do you give forgiveness when it feels like it costs you a lot?

Remember Christ’s forgiveness! When Christ forgives, he also gives you the ability to give forgiveness. When Christ’s Word tells you “I forgive you!” he gives you a forgiveness that gives, and gives, and gives and won’t run out.

Freely you have received; freely give. Be in the business of forgiveness. Cancel the debt of sins someone owes you, because you know in Christ how rich you really are!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, we thank you for your forgiveness of our sins, which you freely give to us. Forgive us for being unforgiving to those who sin against us. Strengthen us in the message of sins paid in full so we might go and forgive like 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 – August 2, 2020

Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Matthew 13:9

A Notification to Notice

“Ding!” On average people receive 63.5 cell phone notifications per day. That’s a lot of noise! Add to this barrage of buzzes the photos and news that flash before our eyes. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the noise competing for our attention.

You often see people instinctively jump for their phone as soon as it beeps. Yet rarely is it a matter of true importance. Often, it’s the picture from a friend’s vacation. Sometimes, it’s a sad news story that causes you to worry.

What are constantly connected people to do with all the noise? It can begin to feel like too much, and you figuratively plug your ears to tune it all out. Don’t let the sound of God’s Word get silenced, too.

To those living in a world of nonstop noise, Jesus speaks. He begs us not to turn off the notification of his Word when he says, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” In his Word, Jesus lets your eyes see the story of his unexpected, undeserved, and unending love for you. In his Word, Christ fills your ears with the sounds of his certain promises given to you.

“Blessed are your eyes because they see” that your guilt has been cancelled on Christ’s cross! “Blessed are your ears because they hear” that your shame has been buried in your baptism! (Matthew 13:16)

The annoying noise of the world weighs us down and burdens us. The sweet sound of God’s Word does the opposite. This is how God works. In the songs and hymns you sing, Jesus lifts you up with joy. Through your pastor’s sermon, the Holy Spirit gives you courage. When you share an encouraging verse with a friend, God heals their hurt. Through his Word, God works faith in our hearts.

May God plant his Word in your heart and in your mind as you open your ears to hear it.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, forgive us for the time we have neglected to open our ears to hear your Word. We praise you for filling our ears with the good news of your forgiveness. We thank you comforting our minds with the promises of your peace. Grant us confidence to share your Word with our friends and family. 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 26, 2020

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:4-8

Serving Christ boldly . . . within Christ’s church

It’s often been said in Christian circles “young people are the future of the church.” While I understand the good intentions behind this saying, I disagree. You are not only the “future” of God’s church on earth, young friends. You are the “here and now.” Stop waiting, then, for some time in the future when you can get serious about growing in your faith and learning how to serve him with your life. Do it now! Rejoice in the opportunity to respond to our God’s goodness and to “serve Christ boldly.”

The way each of you and all of us serve is many and varied. The apostle Paul reminds us of something we need to hear—we’re all different. Yes, we are all members of “one body,” but we are all different parts of this “one body,” parts which “do not all have the same function.” God loves variety. Therefore, he who formed us in our mother’s womb has blessed us with different gifts and abilities to serve him in different ways. While these gifts are different, they are used for the same thing, “to praise the One who truly does give us all things.”

Dear young friends in Christ, thank you! Thank you for your passion, enthusiasm, and zest for life. Thank you for serving as young examples to older people about what it means to “serve Christ boldly” with lives of service to his holy name. As we close this month of devotions around that theme, please know today, tomorrow, and always that Jesus loves you! It’s not just a cute saying. It’s a timeless truth. Serve him, then. Say “thank you” with the way you praise him and the way you treat others. Serve him knowing your heavenly home is with him for all eternity in heaven.

Prayer: Lord God, what a blessing you have been in my life and in the ministry of my church. You have guided us; you have blessed us; you have kept us in your tender care. Watch over the ministry of our church, O Lord. Keep us always close to you and your Word that we might be strengthened in our faith and able to take on the devil and all his schemes. Compel our hearts to reach out to those around us with the gospel message we hold so dear. 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 19, 2020

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:36-37

Serving Christ boldly . . . by looking out for my neighbor

Teaching in Lutheran high schools for many years, I’ve noticed a few things. One of those things is that ever since cell phones became popular, school hallways have become more dangerous. And why?! Because as students would put their heads down to focus on their phones on their way to the next class, I would regularly see kids running into someone . . . or something in front of them—with books, papers, and bodies falling to the ground in the process.

This truth is a microcosm of life, isn’t it?! We become so consumed by our own lives, our own priorities, our own wants and desires, that there is no time or energy left for others. The apostle Paul helps us with this struggle, reminding us in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Christ’s love compels us. It reminds us who we are declared to be by his grace alone. It reminds us what is ours because of his mercy on our sinful selves.

Christ’s love also motivates us to look up from our own lives and to be concerned for the well-being of others. Find time this week to read Luke 10. Marvel at the Good Samaritan who helped his neighbor who really wasn’t his neighbor at all. Learn from the mercy he showed a complete stranger in his time of desperate need. Then find joy in hearing Christ say to you, “Go and do likewise.” That’s what “serving Christ boldly” is really all about.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there is so much pain and suffering in the world around me. There are those near and dear to my heart—and those who I barely know—that need a shoulder to cry on or someone to turn to in their time of need. Give me wisdom, O Lord, in dealing with these situations. Guide my words and actions, that I might share your goodness and strengthen others through the power of your Holy Word. In Jesus’ 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 – 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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