Tag Archive for: teen-devotions

Transformed – teen devotion – December 4, 2022

One truth shared: God worked through incredibly unlikely beginnings to bring us Jesus. He is our one, true king and champion.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
Isaiah‬ ‭11:1-10‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

True Champion

We all love a good champion story. You know the one, where a person or team rises from the ashes and overcomes incredible odds to achieve a glorious victory. Rudy, Remember the Titans, and The Blindside are just a few of the many movies that tell a champion’s story.

Why do we like those stories? Well, they seem to lift us up to a better place. They give us something to feel good about in the midst of life’s problems. In a way, we almost feel like we share in their victory.

In today’s Bible verses, the Old Testament prophet Isaiah tells another champion’s story—the story of a mighty ruler, a victorious king from humble beginnings. This king would come from a line of kings that had been all but cut off—from a family tree that had been cut down without a trunk, branches, leaves, or fruit, and only its stump left in the ground. The miracle of Christmas is that from a dead stump in a dead, decaying world comes a live twig—a small, living shoot—in the form of a real person. God raised up a new king—a champion.

Isaiah tells us that this king, despite his humble beginnings, would be like none the world had ever seen.

  • He would reign with perfect power, authority, wisdom, understanding, and justice.
  • He would always do what was right, and most importantly for you and me, he would make us right with God.
  • He would conquer every obstacle that this world and the devil could throw at him.
  • He would overcome the most incredible odds to live perfectly in our place, lay down his life, and win for us forgiveness and eternal life with God.
  • He would bring forth a kingdom where there would be nothing but peace and comfort everywhere.

Who is this king? Who is this champion? He’s Jesus! Movie characters like Rudy, the Titans, and Michael Oher (from The Blindside) may help us feel better temporarily, but Jesus is the only champion that can fulfill all our eternal needs and give us the lasting joy, hope, and peace we long for. Why? Because his victory truly is our victory.

This Advent and Christmas let’s celebrate the king and champion foretold by Isaiah the prophet. Our one true champion—Jesus.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the true champion we need. We marvel at your humble beginnings and celebrate your glorious victory over sin and death. Thank you that your victory is our victory. Amen.


Teen 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 27, 2022

One truth shared: Our King Jesus brings a divine peace.

“This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
Isaiah‬ ‭2:1-5‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Picture of Peace

From the on-going war in the Ukraine to the struggles in our own living rooms, this world is full of conflict. Even during the holiday season, when families get together and times are supposed to be festive and joyful, we still experience conflict—arguments, hurt feelings, broken relationships, worry. And conflict robs us of a peace that we all yearn for.

The prophet Isaiah experienced conflict in his life too. His home nation of Israel was being threatened by foreign powers. Unfaithful kings were leading God’s people astray. Most people were unwilling to listen to Isaiah’s call to repentance and refused to turn back to the God who saved them. Isaiah too yearned for peace.

God came to Isaiah and gave him a picture of what was to come. He saw the “mountain of the Lord’s temple.” He saw God settling disputes between people so they would stop fighting. He saw a picture of peace for him, for his people, and for us too.

God’s picture centers around a person—a Messiah—Jesus. Jesus was born into our world of conflict. He experienced conflict his entire life—conflict between his own Jewish people and the oppressive Romans, conflict among the people he discipled, and even conflict from his own family.

Thankfully Jesus came not just to live in conflict, but to put an end to conflict. He knew the source of all conflict—sin—sin that started thousands of years before his birth when our first parents fell to the temptations of the devil. Sadly, you and I inherited that sin, and it infects the core of our being. It finds its way into every aspect of our lives, creating conflict at every turn. Every day.

Are you tired of living in conflict? Then listen to this: Jesus came on a mission to end conflict—to bring forgiveness for your sins and my sins and for all sins. Through his perfect life, innocent death on a cross, and resurrection from the grave, he completed his mission and brought peace between us and God, and between us and others.

At Christmas we celebrate the first coming of Jesus. We’ll sing “Silent Night” with the line, “sleep in heavenly peace” because Jesus is the Prince of Peace who comes into our world of conflict. We see the same picture Isaiah saw—a Messiah who will someday come again to bring a final and eternal peace—to put an end to any and every conflict once and for all.

Prayer: Prince of Peace, thank you for coming into our world of conflict and bringing everlasting peace. This Christmas season may your peace reign in our hearts and flow over into the lives of others. Amen.


Teen 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 20, 2022

One truth shared: We eagerly wait for Jesus’ final day of deliverance.

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Luke 12:35-40

A Day of Deliverance Which God’s People Eagerly Await

Layla: Where r u??!!
Chase: I’ll be there soon.
Layla: What is soon??!!
Chase: Be patient!
Layla: I AM PATIENT. Lol . . . But 4 real . . . how long?
Chase: Just be ready for me.
Layla: Prom will be over by the time you get here! Are you actually coming?
Chase: Yes.
Layla: Really??
Chase: Really. Soon.
Layla: SMH. This is taking too long!

Layla was so excited for Chase to pick her up for prom, but 30 minutes late felt like an eternity. All kinds of questions rolled through her mind. “Is he really coming? Does he really love me? Will I even make it to my senior prom?”

But before Layla could finish her next burst of messages, she saw headlights coming around the corner. Then she heard blasting music coming down the street. It came closer and closer. Sure enough! It was Chase! But actually, Chase wasn’t really late. Chase had this planned all along. He had planned to have Layla wait a bit so that she could truly appreciate the surprise of his grand entrance—he arrived in a Mercedes party bus for her and all their friends! They were going to ride in style to the greatest celebration ever!

Ever feel like Layla? Not about your HOCO or prom date. About Jesus. Do you ever hear Jesus speak in the Scriptures about the Last Day and how he’s coming back for us soon, but then wonder, “Soon? What’s soon? It’s been forever! Are you really coming back?”

It’s tough to be patient and wait for Jesus’ return in glory on judgment day. There are so many things that we suffer through that we just want to be with him in heaven so badly! At the same time, there are many distractions that take our focus off the blessed hope of heaven.

Listen carefully to Jesus’ words today though. He reminds us to keep watch and to be ready because he will come when we least expect it. It could be at any moment—even before you finish this devotion! But also note that the wait will be worth it. Our Master will return in grand style and take us to the greatest celebration of all time. What prom could compare to the joyous celebration of the wedding banquet of heaven? What hope! What peace! What joy! It’s all ours in Jesus . . . so come quickly, Lord Jesus, come!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us wisdom to wait with careful patience and preparation. Come claim your final victory and take us home! Amen.


Teen 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 13, 2022

One truth shared: Jesus will come back in justice to judge the living and the dead.

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

A Day of Terror for All Those Who Troubled God’s People
There hasn’t been a day like it for more than two decades. On this one specific day, nearly every single American had their eyes glued to the television watching news coverage of one specific event—the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It was an awful and tragic day as many were left reeling in fear, anger, and frustration. Questions flooded the minds of many, including Christians. “Why God? Why would you let this happen? When are you going to do something about it?”

It’s deeply saddening, and yes even maddening, to see the evil and wickedness around us in the world. Teens today weren’t alive yet when 9/11 happened, but surely you have seen and heard many details about that day. But though you might not have been born yet, there have definitely been plenty of tragedies since. School shootings, racial injustice, and too many more everyday evils seen on the news and online video clips.

As if the evil around us isn’t enough pressure to face, there is also the constant squeeze that the unbelieving world puts on Christians. They laugh at our faith. They scoff our beliefs. They poke fun, call names, accuse, and sometimes blatantly hate us.

Living with all these things, perhaps you have had questions enter your mind like, “Why God? Why would you let this happen? When are you going to do something about it?”

The words of the apostle Paul from 2 Thessalonians 1 bring us unique comfort. We certainly try to love and forgive our enemies as Jesus did and taught us. We want them to know Christ, and just as our God, we want “all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). However, we also know the harsh reality that far too many live as enemies of Christ and us, his people. So Paul comforts us and encourages us to be patient. Here’s why: There will be a day when Jesus brings justice and vengeance on all our (and thus his) enemies.

Perhaps too often we simply think of Jesus as our BFF, a nice guy who loves us and will help us. While Jesus certainly is loving, caring, and compassionate, we sometimes may forget that Jesus is also the mighty Alpha and Omega, the King of kings and Lord of lords who will come back in blazing fire and glory to judge the living and the dead.

When you see evil in this world, when you face pressure and persecution, first pray for those people who don’t yet know Christ. But then, take heart! Jesus will bring those enemies to justice, and he will bring you safely to your heavenly home!

Prayer: Jesus, King of glory, in your grace you redeemed me from my greatest enemies—sin, death, and the devil. Now come back in your glory and justice to deliver me from the evil of this world. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.


Teen 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 6, 2022

One truth shared: While we struggle here in this world, we have the hope of heaven where the saints shine in glory forever.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
Revelation 21:1-6

We Feebly Struggle; They in Glory Shine
An endless trickle of tears streamed down Gabriella’s face and pooled on her pillow. How could she sleep when her heart was so broken? How could she rest peacefully knowing her abuela, her grandmother, was suffering on her deathbed at the hospital?

Gabriella’s abuela, Carlita, was her dad’s mother. For decades Carlita had been the rock of the whole family. She was the one who first immigrated from Colombia to make a living in the U.S. She was the one who made sure her children (and later her grandchildren) were always in church. She was the one who pushed her family for success in education and work. She was also the one who passed down their Colombian heritage and traditions.

Gabriella always thought it was so funny when her abuela would get angry and revert to correcting them all in Spanish. She was so strong yet so kind and loving! But now stage four cancer had quickly ravaged Carlita’s body. The once strong pillar of the family was now lying frail and fragile in a bed, seemingly a shadow of the person she once was.

Eventually Gabriella fell asleep that night, but sadly more tears would be waiting for her in the morning. That night her abuela passed away in her sleep at the hospital. It seemed like Gabriella’s world was flipped upside down. Now what was she going to do? Now where would the family find strength? Now who was going to make the world’s best empanadas?

The family was not looking forward to the funeral and final goodbyes at all, but it turned out to be just what they needed. The pastor read the words of this devotion from Revelation 21. Here the apostle John sees a vision of God’s people beautifully dressed as a bride at a wedding. The bride is radiant, glorious, and filled with joy because God dwells with his people and wipes every tear from their eyes. No more suffering. No more troubles. No more cancer! “I am making everything new!” Jesus declares. The pastor reminded everyone at the funeral that Carlita was now dressed so beautifully and sitting at the marriage feast of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. This was his gift of grace to her. “To the thirsty I will give water without cost,” Jesus says. It was so comforting to Gabriella and her family to be reminded that their dear abuela was now living with Jesus in eternal peace and joy. How gracious that God would take her from pain to peace, from death to life!

How many things do each of us suffer through in a lifetime? Oh, the pain and the hurt as we and our loved ones struggle through life! Yet even as we struggle, we remember with joy those who have been called home to heaven. They have won the race and received the crown of life! They are no longer just saints who live by faith like we are, but they are saints who live by sight, face to face with Jesus forever. What comfort to know of their joy, and what comfort to know it will soon be ours! Amid all the sadness of this life, know the joy that Jesus guarantees you. After all, he declares in these verses, “It is done.”

Prayer: Jesus, dry my tears of sadness in this life. There is so much suffering and pain! Give me strength and fill me with the hope of heaven where there will never be tears again! Amen.


Teen 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 30, 2022

One truth shared: We look to Christ and his Word as the ultimate source of all truth.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
John 8:31-36

The Truth Will Set You Free
Kylie was caught off guard. She sort of froze in the moment with all the frozen fries in her hand. She nearly dropped the whole batch in the fryer.

It had been an ordinary day at work. Burger here, fries there. A couple quick jokes among workers between orders. Normal stuff. However, as soon as things had slowed down a bit after the dinner rush, the conversation began to pick up among workers. Somehow, they got onto current topics in the news and what they thought about issues. Everyone had opinions about huge things like marriage, abortion, LGBTQ+, and even democracy and how to be a good citizen.

Tasha rattled off all kinds of buzz words and catch phrases you could find on Reddit or Instagram memes. “But it’s the truth,” she asserted. José fired back with his passionate response. “I’m happy you have opinions, Tasha. But this is my truth,” José insisted. Then came that awkward moment that froze Kylie. “What about you, Kylie? What’s your truth?”

Have you found yourself in these kinds of situations? Have you had discussions with people at work or in your clubs or on your teams? Have you argued about hot topics with people at school? Have you found yourself in a posting war online, arguing back and forth with posts and memes on your timeline or story?

So many today have very strong opinions about all kinds of issues, and many claim that what they are saying is the truth. And it’s not unusual to have two different people with two opposite opinions both say, “Well that’s my truth.”

(TIME OUT! . . . If you think about it, this is craziness today. It doesn’t even make logical sense. How can two opposing ideas both be true? For example, how could creation and evolution both be true at the same time? It’s impossible! Something to think about. TIME IN . . .)

When we are caught between conflicting claims to truth, we need to go to the source, to the Truth—to Jesus. In the words for our consideration from John 8, Jesus reminds us that if we hold to his teaching, we are really his disciples, and then we will know the truth. This reminds us of what Jesus also says six chapters later. “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

If you want to search for ultimate and absolute and objective truth, go to Christ and his Word. He is the truth, he speaks the truth, and he shares the truth with us.

It can be so confusing in a world full of seemingly opposing truths. Whom do you listen to? What “truth” is right? Don’t find yourself lost as a slave to sin and the lies of this world. Go to Jesus. Go to his Word. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to see you and your Word as truth. Help me also to filter all issues and opinions through the lens of your Word to know with godly wisdom what is true. Amen.


Teen 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 23, 2022

One truth shared: Getting into heaven is totally dependent on God, not you.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.”

“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Luke 18:18-27

Faith Demonstrated Through Total Dependence

An archery competition is a fairly simple concept. If you hit the target, you win the prize. The ruler wanted the prize of heaven, so he asked Jesus what the target was that he needed to hit in order to win the prize of heaven. Jesus’ answer, obey the commandments. The ruler was thrilled. He truly believed he had hit the target and had earned the prize, but he was wrong. He hadn’t obeyed all of the commandments. He loved money. The sad reality for the ruler was that he had missed. If you don’t hit the target, you don’t get the prize. If the prize is heaven, then not getting the prize is hell.

Everyone thinks that they can step up to the line and hit the target to get into heaven. But hitting the target doesn’t just mean to be a good person or try hard. The target is perfection. The target is sinlessness. No one is capable of hitting that target including the ruler. Everyone must face the reality that they have missed the target and deserve hell. That is why when the crowd heard this they asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered, “No one… without God’s help. But with God, you are saved.”

God in his grace sent Jesus to step up to the line, and Jesus hit the target. He was perfect. Instead of enjoying the prize of heaven for himself, Jesus hands you the trophy. But why? You did nothing to deserve the prize of heaven. Your arrow didn’t even come close to the target. Grace. Jesus loves you. The proof? He gave you his victory.

This is true for you yesterday, today, and forever. Knowing that you are guaranteed the prize of heaven gives you incredible confidence, peace, and hope. These things are better than popularity, relationships, money, basically everything this world has to offer. So hold on to them. Don’t go thinking that there is still some expectation for you to hit the target. Just turn to Jesus and say, “Thank you for giving me your prize.”

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for making it possible for me to receive your free gift of salvation. I am not worthy to receive such a gift, but I thank You in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.


Teen 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 16, 2022

When we ask God for something that is according to his will, we can be absolutely confident we will receive it.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
1 John 5:13-15

Faith Demonstrated Through Persistent Prayer

Prayers are like retainers for teeth. They keep things formed the right way. I can still remember the day I got my braces off. I couldn’t stop smiling in the rearview mirror. Finally, after years of having braces, I was finally free, or so I thought. I didn’t realize that after braces comes the retainers. I was frustrated that I still had to have something in my mouth to keep my teeth straight. Isn’t that what the braces were for?

But if you have had braces, you know why retainers are important. Your teeth like to move. So if you don’t use your retainer, your teeth will become crooked again.

Prayers are like retainers. They help keep our mind and heart in line. The question is, what is the shape of your prayer retainer? Is it shaped to keep your heart and mind in line with God’s heart and mind, or is it shaped to keep your heart and mind in line with your own heart and mind? (Kind of like a retainer shaped like your original crooked teeth.) If you are not sure, examine the content of your most recent prayers.

Prayer is not just to ask God for stuff or to expect him to make things go our way. That would be like wearing a crooked retainer. Prayer is an act of faith. Prayer is talking to God and saying, “Lord, you do it your way. Let things happen in my life according to your plan. You give me what I need and what is best.” If prayer is done in faith, then our prayers are like wearing a straight retainer with our heart and mind in line with God’s.

Think about the blessings that come with a prayer life that is shaped in line with God’s heart and mind. What happens if you ask for healing, success, or happiness and God doesn’t give it to you? If your prayer life is in line with your own heart and mind, then you will get angry or frustrated at God. But if your prayer life is shaped in line with God’s mind and heart, then no matter what happens, you can be at peace. You will know that whatever God is doing in your life, it is all according to the plan of your good and gracious Father in heaven.

That is why John can say, “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” When our prayers end with, “Lord, do everything according to your will,” that is a prayer that will always be answered in the best possible way.

Prayer: Lord, you invite me to pray and call on you for help in any trouble because you promise to deliver me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayers according to your gracious will for my life. When trouble comes again, lead me to your mercy, for I know it never ends. Amen.


Teen 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 9, 2022

One truth shared: God replaces my anxious thoughts with the reality that he has shown incredible generosity in my life.

Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
Genesis 8:15-22

Lord, Increase Our Faith That Overflows With Gratitude

“Over a year in that boat with those animals! That’s at least 375 days, God. My home, destroyed. My friends, gone. There is literally no one and nothing left. What am I supposed to do now?” – hypothetical Noah.

Noah had a lot of things he could have complained about or been anxious about. But instead of complaining, whining, or worrying, he worshiped God with gratitude in his heart. That is a surprising reaction. Sure, God saved Noah and his family from the flood, but did he really have to make the flood last that long? Did God really have to wipe out the whole earth? Noah was now in charge of starting the world over. Talk about pressure. Noah had a ton of reasons to complain or feel anxious, but instead, he was grateful to God.

Why?

Because Noah was very aware of reality. Noah was aware of who God is. Noah was aware of who he was. He was aware of what he deserved. He was aware of the generous grace of God that God poured out on Noah and his family.

Ask yourself, “Do I live with an awareness of God’s generosity in my life? Why do I sometimes feel so anxious and frustrated?” Why? Because we lose awareness of our reality. When we complain, we’ve lost sight of all of the blessings God has shown us. When we are anxious, we have forgotten who is walking alongside us. When we grumble, we have ignored the truth that we are sinners and that God has showered us with his love to make us his adopted children.

Be a Noah and open your eyes of faith! Be aware of this reality: You are a child of God. That means he made you sinless in his eyes and he loves you like crazy. The super powerful God, who made everything and rules over everything, made and rules everything with you in mind. The goal of your life has already been set by God, heaven. He is going to do whatever it takes to make sure you get to enjoy heaven forever. These truths help drive anxiousness from your lives and fill us with thankfulness.

So, open your eyes of faith. Be fully aware of reality. Enjoy life with gratitude in heart to God.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my eyes to truly see how generous you have been to me in my life. When I’m anxious or complaining, remind me again that I am safely yours, today and forever. Amen.


Teen 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 3, 2022

One truth shared: It is our duty and a delight to serve God because we know everything we have comes from him.

Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the Lord God. With all my resources, I have provided for the temple of my God… But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.”
1 Chronicles 29:1,2,14,16

Lord, Increase Our Faith that Delights in Duty

Being a Christian is not like a video game where you have to complete missions and objectives in order to level up. But when it comes to our faith life, we have to be careful not to treat it the same way, as in doing good to level up as a Christian. That kind of mentality can lead to frustration or laziness when serving God.

Take David for an example. Think of the level of Christian he would have been. He slayed Goliath, became king of Israel. He led God’s people to become a great empire. He wrote a large section of the Bible. And now, here is David at the end of his life. He is collecting a crazy amount of money and materials to build God a temple. That would make him at least a level 99 Christian, yet he says things like, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?” And “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”

Even after all of the good things David had done for God, it was still a delight for him to serve God because it came from faith. David recognized the awesomeness, patience, love, mercy, and generosity God had shown him in his life. David wasn’t serving God to get to level 100 Christian. David was delighted to serve God because God had already made him a perfect level 100 Christian through faith. David didn’t have to earn it. David simply recognized the gift of forgiveness and heaven God had given to him. And so, no matter how many times David served God or no matter how difficult it was to do so, David delighted to serve God.

God has made you also level 100 Christian—forgiven, holy, and perfect in God’s sight. Let this truth make your duty to serve God a delight and not a burden.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for opening my eyes to delight in serving you. Recognizing that everything I have was given by you, may I count it a privilege to imitate my Savior’s service and give myself in service to you and others. Amen.


Teen 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 25, 2022

We cling to Christ—the one who clings to us through earthly hardships and will carry us to heaven.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Luke 16:19-31

What Seems to Help in Life Fails in Death; What Seems to Fail in Life Helps in Death

June 15, 1904. The PS General Slocum, a 264-foot dual-paddle steamboat, set out with 1,300 passengers for an annual summer cruise on New York City’s East River. Not even thirty minutes after launch, that cruise took a tragic turn for the worse. It was 12-year-old Franky Paditski who first spotted signs that the ship was on fire. Franky raced to the pilot room to inform the captain, shouting “fire” all along the way—but no one paid any attention to him. He burst into the pilot room and told the captain about the fire. But the captain told Franky to get out—thinking the kid was only joking. But Franky wasn’t, an uncontrollable blaze had started within a storage room in the hull of the ship, a room that had been packed with hay insulated barrels and containers of kerosene oil—needing nothing more than a stray ember from a cigarette to ignite a surging fire that would overtake the entire ship. 1,021 people died that day.

What makes this story really sad is, it could have been avoided. The captain neglected any fire drill protocol. The crew waited too long before notifying the captain about the fire. The boat firehoses were cracked with dry-rot and burst immediately. In addition, nearly all the 2,500 life jackets on board were useless—the cork having rotted and dissolved into powder. The lifeboats were all wired in place, permanently fixed to the ship. But the error easily forgotten in this story was disregarding the warning cries of a 12-year-old boy.

Can you see the parallels between this tragic story and Jesus’ parable from Luke 16? The rich man’s wealth did him no better than a rotted-out life jacket. His confidence before God was anchored in his status, his popularity, and his prestige—but it did him no better than clinging to a lifeboat that’s been bolted to a burning ship. This rich man ignored the warning cries of Scripture—which tell us that sin has rendered this world no better than a sinking ship in need of saving.

We don’t have to look too far to see the same thing today. Sure, we know people who cling to wealth like this rich man. But money isn’t the only rotted-out lifejacket. We cling to sinful self-gratification, hatred, grudges, and bitterness. We can be self-absorbed and self-righteousness. And to those who insist on clinging to faulty life jackets and useless lifeboats for life, God’s Word is not silent: the result isn’t life, but death—not just physical death—but spiritual and everlasting separation from God.

We neither earned nor deserved God’s love. We didn’t deserve even the scraps from God’s table. We are beggars. But that’s what makes God’s undeserved love so awesome. When we would have drowned by the weight of our guilt, God, in love, reached out to save us. When sin had rendered us worse than dogs in the kingdom of God, he, in grace, opened the door to bring us in—not as strays to sit under the table, but as family to sit at the table. God sent his Son Jesus to take the sickness of our sin onto himself so—by his wounds—we would be healed. God himself would bleed to buy you a seat at his banquet and a home in his heaven.

We, like Lazarus, can cling to God’s Word of promise in the midst of every storm. We can anchor our identities on sure foundation of the gospel promises embedded in Scripture and sealed by Christ’s blood. So, let go of those rotted life jackets and lifeboats that ultimately can’t save anyone. Cling to Jesus—the one who has saved you, and the one who will carry you through the storms of this life to the safe shores of heaven.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for reaching out in love to rescue us from sin, death, and hell. Strengthen our faith through Word and Sacrament—assuring us that heaven belongs to us as we belong to you. Amen.


Teen 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 18, 2022

Lasting contentment comes from Christ, our heavenly treasure.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:6-10,17,19

Serve God With Money; You Can’t Serve God and Money

Tom and his mother lived in Asia but got a chance to live in the United States. While he was there, he got connected with a particular Christian church where he and his mother came to faith. But during his time there, one of the leaders in that congregation “prophesied” that in two years after Tom would return to his home country, he’d land a prosperous job, he’d marry a beautiful wife, get a car, buy a big house, and he’d be able to pay for his mother’s medical treatment. This, of course, was immediately met with Tom’s joy and excitement. I mean, who wouldn’t be?

That was twelve years ago. Tom still isn’t married. He’s still stuck in a dead-end job that he hates. He’s still living in an apartment. And his mother is still sick. Tom is no longer a Christian. That unfulfilled, empty, audacious promise made by a church leader was the reason he left Christianity behind.

Stories like this certainly highlight the danger of false teachers within the church who preach anything but the Word of God. But there’s another danger this sad story shows—that being the self-inflicted, self-destructive damage caused by the love of money. For Tom, he associated his sense of meaning, purpose, identity, and worth by his employment and how big his salary was. He hinged his hope, joy, and peace on earthly treasures. And his love for those things was so great, it shipwrecked his faith.

So, let’s ask the obvious question posed by our Scripture reading today: Can true, lasting hope, joy, and peace come from earthly treasures? Can I find lasting contentment from material possessions?

Joel Osteen is a prosperity gospel preacher. In a 2012 sermon entitled “The Power of I Am”, he says you can have your best life now. “Feeling old? You can be younger! Feeling weak? You can be stronger! Feeling poor? You can be rich! It all starts with you! God is ready to give you what you want!” You want to guess how many times that sermon referenced the name “Jesus”? A grand total of zero times. Yet it’s the most popular sermon on the internet. In a society saturated in materialism and consumerism, such sermons cash in on peoples’ love of earthly treasure—a lie that says true meaning and purpose, joy, peace, and happiness rest in material wealth. Meanwhile, God invariably is reduced to nothing but a resource, a big sugar daddy in the sky, a means to my end—a divine vending machine.

While the love of money comes in many forms, at its heart is a lie—a lie that challenges the definition of “enough,” a lie that gets us hung up on what the word “need” means, a lie that not only confuses what we “need” with what we “want” but a lie that leaves us forgetful of the greatest need we all have, a need that threatened our eternal standing with God, a need our money can’t meet—the need to be rescued from sin and be reconciled to God.

But in Christ, that need has been met! That is why Paul says to Timothy, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” Your God can and will provide for your earthly needs. But he’s given you something far greater than money, a great job, a nice house, and a full fridge. He’s given you far more than your friends and family and your gifts and talents: God has given you the gift of himself. Jesus would take on flesh to die for the sins of that world—including our sins of loving money, all to win for us eternal life with him in heaven. Through Jesus, we have the gift of eternal life! Your God has conquered sin, death and the devil for you! We are heirs of eternal life in the glorious riches of heaven.

You see, earthly contentment doesn’t come from earthly treasures. That you and I can be content is entirely because of the heavenly treasures we already have in Jesus. He’s given hope for the hopeless, peace for the broken, comfort for the guilt-ridden, rest for the weary, strength for the weak, and joy for the heartbroken. You and I can be “rich in good deeds” and “rich in generosity,” not to earn heaven, but because, through faith in Christ, it’s already yours! Through faith in Christ, you are already rich!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for giving us house and clothing, friends and family, food and drink, our mind and all our abilities. We especially thank you for meeting our greatest needs in your Son. Move us to treasure your gracious words of promise and be content in all circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Teen 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 11, 2022

You are the reason the angels celebrate—but you are not the reason you are found: Jesus is.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke 15:3-10

The Found Are Left; the Lost are Found

Did you catch that? Angels threw a party for you!

Contrary to pop culture, we were never once angels, we are not an angel now, and, when we die, we will not become angels, either. The Bible draws an incredibly clear distinction between humans and angels. And although these servants of God are very knowledgeable and incredibly powerful, angels are not the apple of God’s eye. They are not the crown of God’s creation: you are. So, it’s no surprise then that, behind the stories of shepherds and women celebrating with friends and neighbors, we find angels celebrating for every sinner who comes to faith in Jesus.

Jesus paints the picture of a shepherd leaving the 99 sheep ‘found’ in his flock in pursuit of one who was lost. And when he finds it, he tells all his friends and neighbors—because that one sheep is totally worth the celebration. In the second parable, Jesus portrays a woman with ten coins (each worth a day’s salary) and—when she loses just one of them, she turns her whole house upside down to find it. And when she finally does, she—like that shepherd—tells all her friends and neighbors that her lost coin was found. And yet, such rejoicing over lost coins and sheep pales in comparison to the celebration of the angels in heaven when even one sinner repents—when even one person turns away from sin and turns to Jesus in faith—including you.

“Well, why?” you might be wondering. “Why am I worth the party?” Maybe your heart is filled with regrets from all the mistakes you’ve made, and you wonder “How could God’s love possibly run that deep?” We, as breakers of God’s law, look at our total lack of worthiness to be called God’s child and wonder “How could God possibly love someone as broken and messed up as me?” But maybe your first thought wasn’t “Why would I be worth a party?” Maybe your first thought was “Why wouldn’t I be worth a party? I’m a good person! I’m nowhere as bad as some of the people I know—including other Christians! I try to read my Bible and go to church. I’m not out partying or wasting my life away. Why wouldn’t I be worth celebrating?”

Don’t get me wrong: you were worth celebrating; but if we double down and insist it’s by virtue of “who I am” or “what I’ve done” that we’re deserving or worthy of God’s love, we’re dead wrong. When you and I stare into the mirror of God’s law and try to see an entitled or meritorious ‘me’, we’re only going to find a wayward ‘me’ covered in pig slop and rags—stinky and stained with sin. We needed a new wardrobe.

But if you feel that you’re too sinful to be forgiven, too broken to be fixed, or simply too lost to be rescued, you’d be wrong about that, too. God’s love runs deep. This is where God’s grace—amazing, sweeping, saving grace—just blows our man-made economies clear out of the water.

You see, we were the lost sheep. We were the lost coin. The Bible tells us that we were born spiritually blind, deaf, and dumb—born enemies of God—estranged from God. And without God’s gracious, divine intervention, estranged is where our relationship would have stayed. But the seeking compassion of our God took action and found us. We must celebrate!

You are the reason the angels celebrate—but you are not the reason you are found. After all, that you are “found” means someone else had to find you. That means someone, in love, sought you and pursued you—in spite of you. Your God calls out to us through his Word when we drift away. Your Savior binds you up in his loving arms through his Holy Supper. Your God receives you with arms open wide in grace. There is no sin that stinks too much that he couldn’t possibly love you. There is no stain too deep that Jesus’ death on the cross hasn’t washed away with his holy, precious blood. When your heart is heavy with guilt, know you can always come to your God—knowing that grace is what he stands ready to give. He stands ready to hear and receive each and every one of your prayers—and he lovingly invites you to cast all your cares and anxieties onto him because he cares for you. You are forgiven. You are free. And all the angels in heaven celebrate.

Prayer: Lord, you, in your mercy, sought us to be your own. When we wander and go astray, call us back to you through your Word and comfort us by your redeeming love. Amen.


Teen 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 4, 2022

Your Savior counted the cost to rescue you—and you were totally worth it.

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:25-27

Put down What You Love; Pick Up What You Loathe

That probably caught you off guard, didn’t it? That Jesus would say you need to hate your father and mother to follow him? Or maybe, when you heard that, your first thought was, “One step ahead of you, Jesus! I already hate my parents!” Before you get ahead of yourself, consider two things. First, Jesus’ list of loved ones you’re called to “hate” also includes [spouse] and children, brothers and sisters—and yes, even [your] own life. Second, this is the same Jesus who calls us to love our worst enemies. So, what does Jesus mean when he says “hate”?

Jesus isn’t saying you need to wish the worst of those closest to you. What he is saying is “If you want to come after me, I’m going to reorient your relationships.” Jesus, as God, calls us to fear, love, and trust in him above all things—with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. That is a love so great, all our other “loves” in our life look like hate by comparison.

Our love for our family and friends is incredibly great. So great, that our lives might completely revolve around them. Don’t get me wrong: God intended our relationships with family and friends to be good relationships. The problem is when our good relationships become ultimate relationships. We look to our parents or others to give us what only God can. Don’t believe me? Then why do we enter romantic relationships with ridiculous expectations that no sinful human being will ever be able to fulfill? Why do we hold our friends and family to incredibly high standards—standards we don’t even meet?

At the very core of all this relational disorder, we find a love that is greater than our love for our friends and family. We find a love of self. And that love of self comes into direct conflict with Jesus’ message about counting the cost to follow him. Following Jesus may cost you status or reputation. It may cost you popularity and acceptance. It might cost you relationships with friends and family. It will definitely come at a cost to our personal comfort. And the cost of following Jesus is non-negotiable—meaning we can’t come at Jesus and say, “Lord, I will follow you, but only on my terms.” Christian discipleship isn’t broken down into categories of “casual Christians” and “Jesus freaks.” There is no middle ground. It’s all or nothing. And our sinful nature hates that. We may even think, “What kind of loving God would have me follow him down a path of self-denial that leads to suffering for him—even dying for him?”

The same God who walked a path of self-denial that inevitably led to him suffering and dying for us. When other religions will give you a list and tell you “Here’s what you need to do to get right with God,” Jesus says, “You couldn’t do what needed to be done, so I did it for you.” What we couldn’t pay, the Son of God did. Jesus would “hate” his own life out of love for yours—because a restored relationship with you was a priority to him. Jesus has paid and paved our entry into heaven by his precious blood shed for us on the cross. That he rose from the dead reinforces the reality that our sins of disordered love have been objectively buried in his death and we, in Christ, are forgiven! That Jesus lives means our greatest relationship—our relationship with God—has been completely and eternally restored in Christ!

The world can’t give what Christ alone has—because the world can’t be what Christ alone is. In him we have peace with God. In him, our identity is as God’s blood-bought, redeemed child. In him, our lives have renewed purpose and eternal significance. You carry your cross in the shadow of a Savior who already carried his cross perfectly for you. Why trade Jesus for anyone in this world? Your Savior counted the cost to rescue you—and you were totally worth it.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you know the weight of the crosses we carry to follow you. You carried your cross perfectly for us. Give us strength and patience to carry crosses in your name—until the day you carry us home. Amen.


Teen 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 28, 2022

Where you sit makes all the difference – and thanks to Jesus, we’re sitting at his table.

One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Luke 14:1, 7-14

The Humble Will Be Exalted; The Exalted Will Be Humbled

Where you sit makes all the difference. That’s definitely the case when you’re on a 16-hour international flight. Flying coach on a flight that long is brutal. Good luck trying to get comfortable. Those airbuses pack you on like sardines. You can’t really recline your seat. Your knees are constantly digging into the row in front of you. If you don’t get an aisle seat, good luck trying to get up and stretch or go to the bathroom. Even if you do get an aisle seat, good luck trying to sleep, because it seems like everyone on that plane is going to step on your foot walking up and down that aisle. Flying coach on a 16-hour international flight is brutal. Flying business class is a completely different story.

I was at the Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee gearing up for one of those 16-hour flights. I had a layover in Chicago first. While we waited to board, I got to talking with a guy named Bill—who, turned out, was also a Christian. We pretty much talked all the way to Chicago. But before we parted ways, he asked for the flight number on my 16-hour trip. Then he made a phone call and upgraded my flight from economy to business! Can you believe it? A complementary glass of champagne as soon as you sit down and cake and ice cream for dessert. But what really makes business class awesome is the upgraded seat: a seat that completely reclines, a seat with padded armrests, a seat with all the legroom in the world. On a 16-hour flight, where you sit makes all the difference.

You get that impression—where you sit makes all the difference—in our story for today as we see and hear those guests selfishly fight over those coveted seats of honor at that Sabbath dinner party. And while we may not be fighting over chairs at parties, that same “me first” attitude beats in our hearts, too. It vies for the spotlight whenever it can. A “me first” attitude never listens—just demands that others listen. “Me first” motivation doesn’t serve those who can’t return the favor. The “me first” attitude redefines people as props and accessories for our own selfish wants. We look down on those who don’t have their lives together. We might even convince ourselves that God is lucky to have us on his team. We might even convince ourselves that somehow, we deserve to have the best seat of honor not just in worldly banquets, but also at God’s. Such pride blinds us of the fact that the key currency in God’s economy is his unconditional love. We forget about the great equalizer that puts us all in the same category, that earned us all not the seats of honor in heaven, but the hot seat of hell: sin. Because of sin, you and I were entitled to far less than the lowest seat at God’s table: we were entitled to no seat at all.

Jesus knew that, too. And yet when he had every right to say “Me first” he didn’t. Instead, the King of creation lovingly made himself nothing—and took on the very nature of a servant. He served the sick, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, both Jew and Gentile, and even those who were his enemies. He submitted to sinful authorities. He was put on trial by the proud and arrogant, and then sentenced to a shameful death. The irony of all that is—Jesus became the curse of sin so that you would be free from it. Jesus greatest act of humility is also his greatest act of compassion! Jesus, suspended on a cross among criminals, rejected by God the Father, suffered a death of dishonor and shame for you and me, so that you and I would have a seat of honor at his table! Jesus humbled himself so we would be exalted!

Where you sit makes all the difference—and thanks to Jesus, we’re sitting at his table! But don’t forget why you’re sitting there. I didn’t earn that business class upgrade on my flight; neither did we earn a seat at God’s table. We couldn’t. So, Jesus did. Jesus has conquered sin, death, and hell. The risen Savior now sits enthroned in glory, honor, and praise, and awaits the day that you will sit at his side as his friend at the wedding feast of heaven. In Jesus blood, we see our sins of “Me first” forgiven and find the strength to say “You first” to others. In our relationships with friends, family, strangers, even our enemies, may the selfless, saving love of Jesus be our model and our motivation. We don’t need to worry about where we’re going to sit. In Christ, we’ve already got the best seat in the house.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, out of your amazing love for us, you were totally humbled so we would be exalted. Forgive us for our pride. Move us to reflect your humility and model your servant heart to all you put in our lives. In your name we pray. Amen.


Teen 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 21, 2022

When our spiritual narcissism entitled us only to be cast out from God’s presence forever, Jesus would be cast out so we would be brought in.

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
Luke 13:22-30

The First Will Be Last; The Last Will Be First

Steve is the owner of an incredibly popular Italian restaurant—a restaurant so popular you need to make reservations in July to get a table in December. On the days when his restaurant is incredibly busy, you won’t find Steve hiding in the back office; you’ll find him busing tables, mopping floors, and filling in wherever help is needed. One night—when Steve was greeting customers at the door—a group of six women walked in and demanded to be seated. Steve asked for the name on their reservation. The leader of this group says, “Oh, we didn’t make a reservation—but it’s okay. The owner is a personal friend of mine—and he said he always has one or two tables open for special guests like me.” She clearly didn’t know the owner. And Steve didn’t know her, either. What he did know was that this woman was trying to get into his restaurant on her terms—not his. She was trying to illegitimately bypass her need for a reservation and get in however she wanted. She, by virtue of who she was, felt entitled to a seat.

We see that same attitude of entitlement in our story today. Some within Jesus’ audience felt entitled to God’s love because of how good a person they thought they were; others felt entitled to God’s heaven by virtue of their Jewish ancestry. But if it’s by virtue of who I am that gets me right with God, that inherently paves a broad highway to heaven. And so, with one sentence, Jesus demolishes that idea entirely. “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door.” That narrow door is Jesus.

But entitlement seeks to engineer other doors into heaven. Entitlement points to our track record and says “See God? I’m such a good person, I deserve to go to heaven!” Entitlement points to our background or upbringing, and says, “Because I’m this kind of person, I deserve to be loved by God.” The Pharisees listening to Jesus certainly felt that way. They prided themselves on their Jewish lineage and they vigorous devotion to their man-made traditions. They didn’t feel they needed the kind of Savior Jesus came to be. So, you can imagine how offended they got when Jesus said they would stand outside the heavenly banquet pleading to be let in—while the outcasts of society—the foreigners, tax collectors, and prostitutes who clung to Christ in faith—were not only entering the kingdom of God ahead of the Pharisees but were given a seat “at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

How this world determines who’s first and last isn’t how it’s done in the kingdom of God. God’s economy of grace defies our economies of entitlement—and the world isn’t the only one scandalized by the upside-down nature of God’s kingdom: we are, too. “Why wouldn’t I be first?” we say. “I try to go to church and read my Bible regularly. I volunteer. I work hard. I try to be a good person. Shouldn’t that count for something? I mean, sure, sin is bad. But there are people around me who are much worse. Why wouldn’t God love me for who I am?” But if you and I try to appeal to entitlement and point to who we are as our confidence to stand before God, then God would be entitled to respond just like Steve did to that woman trying to get in his restaurant on her terms. “I don’t know you.”

But when our sins of spiritual narcissism entitled us only cast from God’s presence forever, Jesus stepped in. More accurately, Jesus would be cast out so we would be brought in. Jesus was headed to Jerusalem to endure hell on a cross. Not because he was ‘entitled’ to that kind of death—but because we were. His love would move him to be rejected by God so we would be accepted. Jesus endured what we were entitled to in order to win us what we weren’t. Because of Christ and Christ alone, you and I are forgiven before God and restored to him; we, in Christ, are made members of God’s family and have heaven as our home. Jesus would become last to put us first.

We can’t engineer other doorways into heaven. But we don’t have to. The only door is already wide open for the world! Through faith in Jesus alone—clothed with his righteousness, we will stand in joy beside him at the heavenly banquet! Rest assured that you have a seat at God’s table—because his blood has bought your seat. Your reservation is under the name of ‘Jesus’.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for becoming last to put us first. Thank you for becoming a servant to save us. Thank you for winning us a spot in your heaven and a seat at your table. In your name we pray. Amen.


Teen 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 14, 2022

When the rigor of our race tempts us to give up and lose heart, we look to Jesus—whose pain was our gain.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

We Want Peace, But the Truth Divides

It was the 1992 summer Olympics. Great Britain’s Derek Redmond readies himself to run the 400-meter semifinal race. As millions watched, many expected Derek to win the gold. The starter pistol fires, and Derek explodes out of the starting blocks and begins his lightning sprint for the finish line.

You and I are running a race, too. But the race we’re running is no 400-meter dash; it’s a lifelong marathon. And while there’s a guaranteed prize at the end of the race we call the Christian life, our Savior guarantees the race won’t be easy. It will be a struggle.

The Hebrew Christians knew the feeling. Persecuted by secular powers and rejected even by their families, these Hebrews must have felt like exiles all over again. Some started to slide back into the familiar rhythms of living under the weight of those ceremonial laws. Others were tempted to run down paths that looked easier—but were filled with sins that ensnared them and obstructed their Christian race. These Hebrew Christians were growing weary and losing heart. Giving up was looking good.

And maybe you know the feeling, too. Unlike the Olympics, the race we’re running isn’t in competition with anyone. But the race the Christian runs is definitely a different race than the rest of the world. In fact, it’s much harder. After all, we’re running behind Jesus—the same Jesus who said, “I have not come to bring peace, but division.” Don’t get me wrong: Jesus—the Prince of Peace—came to win us peace with God. But when the Son of God spoke, people were and still are divided.

Our world loves the Jesus who lovingly made time for the sexually scandalous—but not the Jesus who scandalizes us with his “outdated” views on sexuality, gender, and marriage. Our peers are quick to compliment a Jesus who calls out self-righteous hypocrisy—but quick to condemn a Jesus who would dare say the sin of hatred, in God’s eyes, is tantamount to murder. Our post-modern world, as one pastor put it, “believes the [only] thing we need salvation from is the idea that we need salvation.” It’s no surprise then when we, like the Hebrew Christians, are forced out of friend circles or kicked from our communities for putting stock in a story about the Son of God entering this broken, messed up, dying world for the very purpose of saving it. We strive, as Christians, to run the race marked out for us; but when we are divided from our communities, we’re tempted to give up and lose heart.

But before you do listen again to the author’s encouragement: “Look to Jesus—the author and perfecter of our faith.” Your God and Savior Jesus ran the perfect race for you. His eyes were on your prize. His pain was your gain. Jesus perfectly fulfilled every single one of God’s commandments for you. He ran the gauntlet—even to the point of shedding of blood—because you were his prize. He didn’t run away from the pain. He didn’t run around it, either. He ran headlong into it—because you were on the other side. He ran to Calvary with the weight of your guilt. His race would have him endure our hell on the cross—all to win us the prize of heaven. His dying cry of victory says it all: “It is finished!”

About halfway through Derek Redmond’s race, he tore his hamstring and fell to the ground in pain. He tried to limp through the agony to the finish line. And that’s when his dad ran out onto the track to carry his son to the finish line. Your Heavenly Father is committed to doing the same for you.

That struggles enter our lives isn’t evidence that God doesn’t love us: in fact, quite the opposite. God sends or allows it to disciple us. Just like Derek Redmond had to lean into his father to limp to the finish line, our God wants us to solely depend on him, too. After all, the prize of heaven isn’t contingent on how well we run our race, but on how Jesus ran his race. He, who began that good work of faith in you, will bring that good work to completion. Jesus is the founder and finisher of your faith—and he’s going to see you through to the end. His love and grace will carry you through all the suffering and the heartache until the day you cross the finish line and fall into his loving arms.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you know exactly what we’re going through when we struggle to run our race. In those moments, lead us to lean on you and look to you. We know you will carry us to the finish line. In your name we pray. Amen.


Teen 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 7, 2022

Focused living helps us to value heavenly treasures above all other things.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 11:1-2, 13-16

Focused Living Properly Values Heavenly Treasure

Have you traveled to a different country before? It can be so exciting to visit new places—new sights and sounds, new food, new culture, and so much more! It’s often very eye-opening and a wonderful learning experience to explore another country.

As fun as this can be, often when you travel—especially to places far away—you quickly realize that you don’t belong there. You don’t look or act like those people. The food is not what you prefer. The sleeping arrangements may be uncomfortable. Everything about this “other” place builds up over time to the point that you just want to scream, “I just want to be home!”

Funny example: Once I went on a mission trip to Africa with eight American teens. It was the trip of a lifetime and we had been looking forward to it for weeks. But after many hours of exhausting travel, arriving to accommodations that were not usual for Americans, and seeing a rather large wall spider, one young lady screamed, “I want to leave! I want to go home! Now!” We hadn’t even been there 10 hours. These are the times we remember just how special “home” truly is.

Sometimes we get a little too used to the things of this world. We fall in love with the possessions, experiences, and desires of this world. But while there are many blessings of God to enjoy in this life, we have to realize that we don’t belong here. This isn’t really our home. When we forget this, sometimes God allows reminders in our lives. Suffering, sickness, problems, and persecution will quickly remind us that we need God and we need something better, or rather, some place better that doesn’t have any of these problems.

Thanks be to God that he has given us just that. We have a different home, a citizenship in a better country. Jesus’ life and death for us gives us full and free citizenship in God’s city. We have the sure and certain hope of living in an eternal home with God in heaven.

In Hebrews 11, the great Heroes of Faith chapter of the Bible, we are reminded of how many believers of the past had the proper focus. Instead of worrying about all the troubles and problems of life in this world, “they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.” That home with their Savior was their ultimate goal. It’s not that nothing else mattered, it just didn’t matter as much as being with God in heaven.

So too for us. Enjoy your journey through this life. There is much to see, do, and experience! There are many blessings of God to enjoy, and it is a good gift of God to enjoy them. Yet all the while, remember what the famous hymn says, “I’m but a stranger here, heaven is my home!”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have prepared a place for us with you forever in heaven. Keep us focused on our heavenly home that we may have proper perspective on what you give us in this life and on what is coming in the next. Amen.


Teen 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 31, 2022

Focused living helps us put worldly wealth into the proper perspective.

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Luke 12:13-21

Focused Living Properly Values Earthly Wealth

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Every young kid hears that question endless times, and most respond with the biggest dreams for wildly successful lives—“An astronaut . . . an Olympic gymnast . . . a doctor . . . a NFL star and famous rapper . . . a magic unicorn trainer!” Oh the dreams of young children!

The question becomes much more real, and more difficult, as a teenager, doesn’t it? “What are you going to do after high school?”

Ouch! That one is tough! Some have clear visions for where they want to go and what they want to do. Others not so much. But whatever it is that you want to do or be in the future, whether that’s college, trade, military, or just working, how much is your decision going to be influenced by money?

Very often, money influences teen thinking so much when it comes to future plans. Which career makes the most money? Which job will give me the best and easiest life? What’s the best or most affordable path to get that job? How many scholarship dollars can I get? And so on and so forth.

Money can be good. Success can be good. Receiving blessings from God can be good. The problem is when the blessings of money and possessions become the main focus of our lives. And how quickly that can happen!

Just look at the verses for this devotion. First, we hear of two brothers who were arguing about their inheritance and tried to get Jesus to settle their financial dispute. Of all the things they could have cried out to Jesus for help with when the Lord was standing right in front of them (like mercy, forgiveness, stronger faith, and all that good stuff) they decided instead to selfishly fight over who gets more of daddy’s dollars.

Then Jesus tells a story about a man who was greatly blessed with earthly success and got caught up in thinking about the good life. He died that night and ended up enjoying none of his blessings. “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God,” Jesus warns the crowd.

Graciously God forgives our greed and worldly focus. Jesus set aside his riches and glory to come to this world and become poor—a humble servant who would suffer and die for sinners. Because he did, we receive true riches through Jesus—forgiveness, life, and salvation.

Don’t be burdened by the chase after worldly things, especially money! Ask yourself bigger and better questions about the future like, “How will I serve God when I grow up? What career can I choose that lets my gifts from God flourish? How can I help others with my talents and treasures? What can I do to make sure I’m focused on the Lord and spiritual things?”

A few verses after this story Jesus says, “Seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Focus on the true riches of God first, and all the other things will fall into place. How rich you will then be!

Prayer: Gracious God, you give so many earthly blessings to me. I have more than most people in the world. And beyond these things, you gave us your one and only Son! How can I ever thank you enough? Help me to set my heart on your heavenly riches, so that I can thank and serve you properly with my worldly riches. Amen.


Teen 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 24, 2022

One truth shared: Focused prayer goes to God with things that are according to his will and for the good of his kingdom.

Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
Genesis 18:27,28

Focused Prayer Claims What God Wants for Us, Not What We Want from Him

If you were Aladdin, what would you ask for? It’s a question people have been asking since the original Disney movie came out in 1992. To be honest, it’s kind of a fun game to play and sure to spark a good (though shallow) debate with friends.

“I’d ask for infinity wishes,” (says every young person who thinks they are smarter than everyone else).

“You can’t do that,” is always the reply.

Well, what would you ask for? Fame? Fortune? Money? Maybe you’re slightly more clever, and you would ask for some amazing career or secret investment that keeps the money flowing without end. Or maybe you’re slightly less selfish and would ask for grandma to be cured of cancer or for the HOCO date you dumped to find true happiness with someone else.

I wonder how often we treat God like this, as if we are Aladdin and he’s some magic genie in a bottle. Take a moment and think about your prayer life. How often are you going to God with something that you really, really want? Better grades . . . to pass a test . . . a fixed friendship . . . a happier home life . . . success in your future . . . a “Yes” to your prom-posal.

While we certainly can ask God for all kinds of things, the Bible reminds us what truly focused prayer is like. Prayer that is properly focused goes to God with things that are according to his will. Proper prayer is a mixture of confessing sin, praising God, thanking God, and then also bringing our requests to him. But those requests are not just for iPhones, PS5s, and Porsches. Instead, focused prayer goes to God with things that line up with his will—for strength, wisdom, perseverance, peace, comfort, help and healing for others, etc. Because we are God’s dearly loved children, we know that we can bring such focused prayers to our Father with confidence, just like Abraham did.

God revealed to Abraham his plan of bringing judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah for their rebellious sin and rejection. But Abraham boldly pleaded with God to change his plans. In fact, he was so bold that he seemingly bargained with God to see how low he would go. Six times he went to God in prayer on behalf of those people and his nephew Lot’s family living there! But again, Abraham knew that God is a gracious Father, he was his dearly loved child, and this prayer was something that would be in line with God’s will (being merciful to people).

So young friends, pray away! Let it rip! Go to God boldly and confidently in prayer. But do so not with genie-in-a-bottle wishes. Go to God with bold requests trusting his love and that his will is always done.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, how gracious you are to invite us to communicate with you in prayer! Give me bold confidence to come before you with all my prayers. Help me also to pray not only for my wants and needs, but also for things that are according to your will and good purpose. Amen.


Teen 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 17, 2022

One truth shared: Focused worship understands what God does for us in worship and his Word and sacraments—he serves us with his grace.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

Focused Worship Seeks Service from Jesus More Than Service for Jesus

“Sydney, you wanna sleep over tonight? It’s been a minute since we’ve pulled an all-nighter and binge-watched shows!”

“Let’s do it! . . . Although, I feel kinda bad. I also haven’t been to church in a minute either. I probably should show my face there sometime soon.”

“It’ll be OK, Syd. God knows you love him, and he wants you to enjoy your friends, too. You can, ‘Remember the Sabbath Day’ next week for him. This week is for me, girl!”

It happens so quickly, doesn’t it? One thing comes up, then another. Good things. Fun things. Even blessings-from-God things. But quickly those good things become “god things” and push the true God to the background. And when God is pushed to second place (or even much further down the list), it’s amazing how our view of worship and the Word quickly changes, too.

Did you catch it in Sydney’s conversation with her friend? To them going to church was just a chore or an obligation, as if it’s putting in time to earn brownie points with God. It’s like worship was a service they would do for God to make him happy.

It was much the same in the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was very focused on a good thing. She and her sister were hosting Jesus and Martha was working hard to serve him. How important it was to make Jesus happy with a clean house and a great meal! Yet that good thing became a “god thing” to Martha, so Jesus had to correct her. It was Mary who chose the one thing that was better—being served by Jesus.

This story really helps us to flip upside down our view of church, Bible studies, devotions, and personal Bible study time. We don’t do these things to put in our time for God. “Well I guess I should do this to serve the Lord and show him I love him.” Rather, the miracle of God’s grace is that when we go to worship or the Word, it is Jesus who is actually serving us! Jesus gives us his grace, his forgiveness, his comfort, his peace. Jesus assures us that our sins our forgiven because his life, death, and resurrection are credited to us. Jesus teaches us about the hope that we have in an eternal life with him in heaven.

When we understand what God gives us and does for us—how he serves us—in worship and his Word, how could it not be a priority? What else could be more important? Where else would we want to be other than joining with Mary and sitting at Jesus’ feet?

Know how Jesus serves you, and you too will choose the one thing needed, the one thing that is better and that will last.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to prioritize my life properly. You give so many good things to me, and I have many obligations and responsibilities with those good things. But help me to put time with you in worship and your Word first, so that you can serve me with the goodness of your grace. Amen.


Teen 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 10, 2022

One truth shared: Focused love leads us to find neighbors to love like Christ has loved us—no matter who that neighbor may be.

“And who is my neighbor?” . . . “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:29,37

Focused Love Finds a Neighbor Rather Than Avoiding One

“Look at that guy,” Andre thought, “No way I’m sitting by that dude!” Andre glanced to the other side of the cafeteria and saw a table full of strangely dressed girls, each with brightly poppin’ hair colors. “Ummm . . . No.”

After lunch Andre was on his way to 6th period and saw a freshman trip up the stairs and dump his books and papers everywhere. “Stinks to be that guy!” Andre laughed to his friend.

Later that night Andre lay alone in the dark in his room, mindlessly scrolling through social media. What followed was 30 minutes of absolutely trolling his peers with every snarky, sarcastic, or downright mean comment he could think of.

This was sort of Andre’s daily routine—walking through life like a social elite while trampling on the self-esteem of pretty much everyone he came across. Each day brought another round of arrogant savagery—until one Tuesday during Homecoming Week.

Andre thought his Spirit Day outfit was gonna be fire, but it totally bombed. Pretty much the whole school laughed at him all day long, and at least a dozen people posted pictures of his crazy outfit on their stories. To make things worse, a meatball squirted out of his sub at lunch and rolled down his shirt onto his pants. And then in the most epic fail, Andre tripped over a chair and fell over trying to get an extra napkin. The cafeteria erupted in laughter.

Andre felt terrible at his lunch table with his head hanging low—until another student came and sat next to him. “It’ll be alright. They’ll all forget about it by the end of the day,” the student said as he slid some napkins over. “I got you, bro.” The student happened to be the same freshman who tripped on the stairs two weeks before. “Why are you helping me and being nice to me after all I’ve done?” Andre asked.

“We’re Christians. That’s what we do. We love like Christ.” It was just one comment, but it hit Andre with a quick strike both law and gospel. He quickly remembered how sinful he had been in how he had been treating others, yet he was also reminded of how much Jesus loved even sinners like him.

The story of the Good Samaritan that Jesus tells in Luke 10 is very similar. It’s a story about a man who thought he was so much better than others, much like Andre. When Jesus told him he needed to love both God and his neighbor in order to be truly perfect, the man asked, “Who is my neighbor?”

The story Jesus told illustrates the answer. After several self-righteous Jews passed by, it was a hated and looked-down-upon Samaritan who stopped to help the man who was robbed, beaten, and left half-dead. The point is that anyone and everyone is our neighbor whom we should love, and Jesus drops the mic on the arrogant man when he says, “Go and do likewise.”

On our own, how could we be so loving? Our sinful hearts cloud our minds with so much arrogance and pride, so many biases and prejudices. Thank God that Jesus has been our Good Samaritan and beyond. He has shown perfect love that covers over us, and his loving death paid for all we have done. It’s his love alone that can fill our hearts to the point of taking the focus off ourselves and onto our neighbors. His love is what will give us both the motivation and the strength to see all our neighbors and “go and do likewise.” Look to Christ and his cross, then filled with his love, look to your neighbors and show them the same.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the pastors you have given to me. They aren’t perfect, but they are from you. Help me to honor them as I honor you. Through them, help me to lean on you. Amen.


Teen 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 3, 2022

One truth shared: The ministers that God sends to us are the mask by which he proclaims his Word to us. It is good for us to put ourselves under them. They are a gift from God to us.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5

God’s Gift to You

He didn’t look like much. He wasn’t all that impressive. He was dressed in a gunny sack with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached in the wilderness. He didn’t look like much, but God sure used him. I’m talking about John the Baptist.

They didn’t look like much either. None of them had a whole lot of training, but still they had left everything to follow Jesus. They didn’t look like much, but when they went out Satan fell like lightning from heaven and demons submitted to them. Jesus used them; he spoke to people through them! I’m talking about the seventy-two disciples whom Jesus sent out as missionaries.

He doesn’t look like much. His clothes may not be trendy, and his speech might be old fashioned. He might try too hard to be cool when he’s around young people. He might make things really awkward; but really, are adults supposed to do anything less when they are with young people? He doesn’t look like much, but God sent him for you. Your pastor is God’s gift to you.

  • God gave him to you to pray with you when you are overwhelmed and stressed.
  • God gave him to you to listen to you when you are trying to make sense of your life.
  • God gave him to shepherd you, to care for you, and to lead you to Jesus.
  • God gave him as an example for you that you might learn from him and seek to imitate his faith.

He isn’t perfect, but he is forgiven. He may not be cool (let’s be honest, he probably isn’t!), but he is God’s gift to you to care for you. This is the call God has given him.

It will be good for you to hear him even if he isn’t cool. It will be good for you to confide in him. He is given by God to you to walk with you in faith and in life until you reach your eternal good.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the pastors you have given to me. They aren’t perfect, but they are from you. Help me to honor them as I honor you. Through them, help me to lean on you. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 26, 2022

One truth shared: Following Jesus is not just words, but action. It’s not a duty, but it’s a direction. It’s not when I feel like it, but my life—my all.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9: 57-62

What it means to follow Jesus

In Luke chapter 9, Jesus meets three men who are eager and willing to follow him. The first man enthusiastically says, “I will follow you wherever you go!” How surprised he must have been when Jesus replied, “Animals have a home and enjoy its comforts, but I don’t. If I lack good things in life or endure a tough time occasionally, my followers can expect the same. Are you willing to follow me if it means suffering? If it means losing someone or something?”

Jesus said, “Follow me!” And the next two men answer, “We will! But first….” The second man says, “First… let me go and bury my father.” The third man says, “First… Let me go back and say good-bye to my family.” In both cases they said, “Lord, first, let me do this.” In both his responses, Jesus makes clear what it means to follow him. There can’t be any other first. He says, “Either I’m your first priority or I’m not.”

What does it mean to follow Jesus? Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

  • The call to follow Jesus is to deny your precious self. Peter once denied Jesus and said, “I don’t know him!” To deny yourself is to say to yourself, “I don’t you. I don’t want to know your desires.”
  • The call to follow Jesus comes with a cross. Since he carried one, Jesus promised you will too. No cross? No Christian.
  • The call to follow Jesus is not a choice you get to either opt in or opt out. It is daily following, daily cross carrying, and daily denying of yourself.

Does that sound impossible? Exhausting? Do you hate the thought of having to carry a cross? That’s the discipleship challenge. When you struggle in your commitment, or beat yourself up and wonder why your attitude, behavior, and habits of life seem to display a skin-deep faith, Jesus says, “Stop trying to save yourself through your commitment.” Then he makes clear his commitment to seek, save, and give his life as a ransom for you.

The call to follow is embedded in Christ who says: “I want my disciples to know they’re saved by grace. Jesus doesn’t say, “If you follow me, I’ll go to the cross for you.” He says, “I went to the cross for you, so follow me.” You’re not saved because you’re a disciple who often struggles and fails. You are a disciple because of your baptism. That means the only thing that matters today is that your name is written in the book of life. May the power of the Word work to show you that! Now… follow him!

Prayer: Dear Lord, your call is simple, but following is often my great struggle. I carry burdens too heavy to bear and fight inner desires too strong to overcome. Thank you for your promise to help carry my crosses, take my burdens, and fight for me. With you by my side, I follow you today! In Jesus name. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 19, 2022

One truth shared: The moment you can’t see or understand God’s direction for your life may be the very one God knows we need to grow in faith.

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

Then he went up and touched the coffin they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
Luke 7:11-15

“Young man, I say to you, GET UP!”

There’s an old German word for certain feelings and the times you feel those feelings: Anfechtungen (take your time to say it—an-fech-tung-en). There are moments when you can clearly see God’s divine direction for your life, but other times you can’t find him. It’s as if God is playing hide ‘n seek so well that he’s successfully hidden himself from you. That’s Anfechtungen. Something rocked your world and assaulted everything you thought you were certain about. There’s a little inner voice echoing, “Is God compassionate or cruel? At the moment, I don’t know.”

Hear out what you are about to read next: The next time you feel Anfechtungen, embrace it.

Anfechtungen was hanging in the air and in the hearts of today’s Bible reading. It was a funeral procession. On the shoulders of six men is the reason for their grief: a cold body on a wicker stretcher. Cradled in the casket is the corpse of a young man. Such a sad sight. But even more heart-wrenching was the look on the face of the young man’s mother heading the procession just behind the coffin. She recently walked the same road when she buried the body of her husband. Then, her son walked beside her. Now she walks alone. She’s the one who’ll have to go home later that night and sleep in an empty house. She’s the one who’ll sit at a table alone after making dinner for one and conversation with none. Death stole her family. Might she be saying to herself “What did I do to deserve this? Does God have it in for me?”

Then, she meets Jesus. When Jesus saw the mother, his heart broke for her. How shocked she must have been to hear him say, “Don’t cry.” Don’t cry? Who would say that at a funeral?!

Only God can. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” People gasped as the dead stirred back to life. Cold, wooden fingers flexed. Gray-pale cheeks turned rosy again. The dead man sat up and began to talk. “What’s going on here? Why am I here? What’s this crowd about? Why am I all wrapped up in a bedsheet?”

Here we see what kind of God we have. We have a God who is so touched by our sorrow and our needs, he feels our hurt and is full of compassion. Like the young man we’re all destined to die. Like the dead young man, we can do nothing to seek the Lord. The procession of life led by Jesus must find us and stop the procession of death. Jesus glared at the angel of death that hovered over the body of the boy. “Not this time. This boy is mine.” Jesus has given us life. He rained on death’s parade by pouring over us the waters of baptism and declared, “Not this time. This child is mine.” Jesus has given us life.

This is what it means to have Jesus in your moments of Anfechtungen. Even as you experience a spiritual assault so vicious it is robbing you of comfort and personal peace, you still have Jesus. To have Jesus means to depend on him with all your heart no matter how you presently feel. Jesus really cares for you. His care is perfect and wise and always for eternal good.

When you don’t know where else to go, may the mercy and power of God lead you to the one who now says, “I say to you, GET UP!”

Prayer: Dear Jesus, there is so much going on around me that brings me down. In those moments when I feel down and question your goodness, remind me how you stared down the power of death for me. In my down moments, may I trust in your power and be encouraged by your command to get up and live by your grace! Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 12, 2022

One truth shared: Facial expressions and attention from those we love communicate powerfully to us. God communicates something to us when he turns his face toward us.

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’
Numbers 6:22-26

Blessed by a Look

You never forget how it feels. It is something that you just can’t forget. You are so excited to see someone near and dear to you, so you run into the room, ready to be received with open arms and a bright smile, ready to be greeted with joy and gladness. You are so excited to see them, but as soon as you walk into the room, they look the other way and walk out. Suddenly you feel alienated and alone. It’s like a death sentence.

As you retreat to your corner, you wonder why they treated you that way. Was it something you said? Was it something you did? Why would they turn their back on you and give you such a cold shoulder?

We forget how powerful a look is until such a look is given to us. You might remember that from your younger days. You might even still experience that. A sideways glance from a peer. A glare from a mother. A shaking head from your father. These looks speak volumes to you about your standing with them. A look communicates something to us.

But it’s not just the negative looks. Smiles and attention speak to our hearts too. A warm glance. A bright smile. All the attention in your direction says something to us too. It says we’re loved. It says we’re welcomed. Such a look says, “You belong and I’m glad you’re here.”

The truth is God should look away. We’re too gross to look at. The stench of our sin and the ugliness of our rebellion should turn his face away from us. He should look away. And by that he would say to us, “You don’t belong here. Away from me!” That’s what kings in the days of the Old Testament were saying when they refused to turn their gaze toward someone who came into their throne room.

But instead of looking away, God does something else. He turns his face toward us. He looks at you. You! His attention, his energy, his care, and his love all beaming in your direction. With his look he welcomes you to come close. With this look he tells you that you belong. With this look he tells you that all your life is under his care and direction, for your eternal blessing.

Prayer: Dear Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you should look away. But instead, you turn your face toward me and give your full attention to my care and my salvation. Thank you. Help me to live each day knowing that your face beams on me and is attentive to me. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 4, 2022

One truth shared: The Holy Spirit works both in us and through us according to God’s Holy Word.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:23-27

The Spirit Marches Victorious Through the Word

Shortly before his suffering and death, Jesus encouraged his disciples saying, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3). He did suffer. He did die. He did come back to life. And—forty days later—he ascended into heaven.

That’s not the end of the story, however. A week and a half after ascending, we see God send his Holy Spirit on Christ’s followers, equipping them for the work that lay ahead for them.

That truth is what we celebrate on the Day of Pentecost. While living at a different time and place, this same Holy Spirit equips us for the work our gracious God has given us to carry out. It was not just to the Twelve, but also the massive crowds of all who call on the name of Jesus as Savior that he said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

The Holy Spirit does indeed work both in us and through us according to God’s holy Word. His means of grace—the Gospel found in Scripture and the Sacraments—are the tools that have been given us to both come and see the goodness of God and then to go and tell of this goodness to others.

Doing all that can be hard work. Sharing Christ with others can present challenges and pitfalls. In the midst of all of these things, we hear Jesus say to us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (vs. 27).

What a promise these words bring! What assurance! As we close out this series titled “Victorious,” we realize that this is exactly who we are and what we have in Christ Jesus. We need look no further to find this truth than in God’s holy Word, which the Holy Spirit uses to march victorious each and every day of life and for all eternity.

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Come into my heart and guide me through my life. Fill me with your holy Word and strengthen me to take on the challenges of this world with the good news of Jesus, my Savior. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 29, 2022

God’s people celebrate diversity and strive for unity.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:20-23

Unity Marches Victorious in Diversity

When the question “What’s your favorite food?” is asked to a large group of people, there are many answers—cheeseburgers; pizza; spaghetti; maybe even a few people would answer Brussel sprouts or green beans.

People are different that way. Not just when it comes to food, though. But also in our fashion sense, our musical genres, our choice of entertainment and more.

“Different” is a good thing. Our God loves variety. He created a vibrant different world exploding with plenty of different colors, shapes, and sizes.

“Different” is a good thing. But only so far as being “different” doesn’t harm the unity our God wants us to have in worship and praise of his holy name.

In our reading today, Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane. He will shortly be betrayed, arrested, beaten, and then nailed to a piece of wood. All of what awaited him is what causes us amazement as he spends this precious time before his suffering and death praying about… others.

Listen again as the Son of Man prays, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” In a world of diversity, unity in Christ Jesus marches victorious.

And why? Because wherever you come from, no matter what your abilities are, no matter your favorite food or musical genre, Jesus Christ died for you. His victory is your victory. His resurrection from the dead is proof that your every sin is forgiven and that heaven is your home.

You may never eat a Brussel sprout—unless it’s wrapped in bacon. You may not be a fan of certain kinds of music, and romantic comedies may just put you to sleep. You might be different… and that’s okay. “Different” is good, as long as we are united in Christ Jesus—together praising him and proclaiming his holy name for all to hear.

Prayer: Be with me today, Lord Jesus, as I live in a world not unified to serve you alone. By your Word and sacrament, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may live to glorify you and proclaim your holy name. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 22, 2022

Easter joy reigns supreme over our present circumstances in life.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21:21-27

Joy Marches Victorious Over Circumstance

Have you ever tried to picture heaven? If you can color or draw or paint, do you know how you would depict it?

Perhaps it’s because of the majesty of our eternal home or because our current circumstance is anything but “heavenly,” but sinful human beings often find it difficult to picture or describe what heaven will exactly be like.

That struggle, though, does not mean our anticipation of being united with our God isn’t the excited hope of every Christian. That’s especially true when the apostle John paints such an amazing picture of what it will be like in the last book of the Bible, Revelation.

Each person reading this devotion has different strengths and weaknesses. We have different likes and dislikes. One’s life might be filled with joy right now and another’s a day-to-day struggle just to get by. Whatever situation you find yourself in, these words written by John through inspiration of the Holy Spirit are for you.

And why is that? Because no matter what you have going on in life, your eternal home is in the heaven described here through faith in Christ. The One who suffered and died made that possible for you. The One who burst forth from the tomb proving his sacrifice was sufficient for the Father to call us his own has made this our reality by grace alone.

Easter joy reigns supreme over our present circumstances in life. Don’t take my word for it, though. Listen to Jesus, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). None of us will ever live a trouble-free life. All of us will suffer setback and sadness. Jesus says so. But he also continues, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We live in a world of darkness, my dear friends. But this world does not define us. In fact, this world cannot even steal the joy we have Jesus. The joy we have, the purpose we live with, the confidence that drives us is not based on our current circumstance. No, it is found today and always with the certain hope that while we live on earth, our home is in heaven—for all eternity!

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, that despite whatever I have going on in life, you are there. In good times and in bad, your love for me reigns supreme and your victory over death and the devil is mine as well. Grant me strength today and always to do your will for my life, finding my strength in you and the desire to serve you alone. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 15, 2022

One truth shared: Christ’s love for us both motivates and equips our love for him and others.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8

Selfless Love Marches Victorious Over Self-Glorification

“I love you” is a phrase said in a myriad of situations between many different individuals. It’s shared between spouses, family members, and friends. It’s said to express genuine affection.

“I love you” is also a phrase where the words uttered don’t match the actions carried out. In fact, love is endangered in a world that today is so dominated by anger and hate.

We have to admit that we too are guilty of this, aren’t we? “I love you” might be said over and over again with words. But what about our actions? Too often we fall far short of being motivated by love in how we interact with others.

The apostle Paul knew this. He knew that a lack of love was something that not only affects us each day of life, but also was threatening the well-being of an entire congregation near and dear to his heart—the one in Corinth.

So Paul, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes what has come to be known as “the great love chapter of the Bible.” He shares with his readers—then and now—exactly what love is and how it reveals itself in the lives of those who are in Christ Jesus.

We find an example of what true love really is in Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection. Notice how selfless he was in everything. Notice how he was resolute in his concern for others when things seemingly crumbled around him.

All for us. He did it all for us. And his resurrection? It’s proof that his sacrifice was more than sufficient to pay for our every unloving action and to assure us of our heavenly home built with God’s love for us.

So we learn this: Love is not all about us. It never has been. It never will be. Flee the temptation to become so caught up in self that you don’t reach out to those in need. Fight against focusing so much on “me, myself, and I” that there’s no room left to say and show “I love you” to others. All because of Jesus. All empowered by Jesus.

Prayer: Your love for me is selfless, timeless, and immense, O Lord. Thank you for everything, especially your Son, who is the personification of your love for me. Guide me in my life, heavenly Father. In this world of hatred, let me be a beacon of your love and an ambassador of your grace. Amen.


Teen 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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