Teen Devotions

Transformed – teen devotion – March 29, 2020

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

Practice makes perfect

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

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 22, 2020

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

Return and be renewed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 15, 2020

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

Take out the trash

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

Follow along with me:

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 8, 2020

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

Sin and grace

God was stuck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

God isn’t stuck after all!

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 1, 2020

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

Death and life

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

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – February 23, 2020

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

Save it for the real thing

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

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

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

Actually, we do need to talk. But how?

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – February 16, 2020

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

So it didn’t work out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – February 9, 2020

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

Unfollow the fool

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

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – February 2, 2020

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

Follow your heart to Jesus

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

“Will you go to the dance with me?”

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – January 26, 2020

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

20/20 Vision: See his power better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – January 19, 2020

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

20/20 Vision: See Purpose Better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – January 12, 2020

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

20/20 Vision: See Identity Better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – January 5, 2020

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

20/20 Vision: See Jesus Better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 29, 2019

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

An identity on unshakable ground

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

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

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 22, 2019

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

Jesus is worth the wait

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

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

What about Jesus? Is Jesus worth the wait?

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

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

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


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 15, 2019

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
Isaiah 11:1

A spotless rose

Winter can be a beautiful season: the Christmas lights, the ice sculptures, the snowmen, the falling snow on a calm winter night. However, it seems that every winter gets a bit colder. Yes, the weather and wind-chill certainly contribute to coldness, but I’m not talking about that kind of cold. The world seems colder. Countries are at war with each other. Peaceful protestors are beaten and arrested. Families fall apart. High schools and movie theaters are tragically transformed into shooting galleries. It doesn’t take much critical thinking to see that the cold bite of sin is everywhere.

However, this was the life we chose, wasn’t it? God created a perfect world, flawless, full of happiness and prosperity, rich with the warmth of God’s presence—and we sold it all for knowledge. Yet, despite our foolishness, God made us a promise in the Garden of Eden. Through enslavement, wandering in the desert, assault on every side, and even captivity, it was this saving promise that gave the people of Israel hope—even if the world was cold around them. Amidst the cruelties of the world, the imperfection and the corruption—the coldest winter—Isaiah spoke words of gospel comfort to those cold from sin. “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.”

Imagine a snow-covered field, the bite of the frosty wind, the gray of winter sky. Now imagine a single rose, pushing through the ice and snow from the ground beneath, and blooming. The frigid temperature and the absence of light do not hinder its growth. In fact, this crimson rose “unfolds to light” in spite of it. Later, the prophet Isaiah would refer to this rose as a lamb being led “to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent.” This tender shoot would bear the “iniquity of us all,” and later be “assigned a grave with the wicked…though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” For a short while, it seemed that the cold had triumphed, leaving the flower frozen and withered. But, as you and I know, the crimson pedals didn’t stay sleeping.

This world is certainly a cold, cold place. Yet, amidst the cold around us, it is the same promise that Isaiah wrote about that assures us of the warmth and comfort of salvation, a promise that we know has come to fruition in the fruit of Jesse: Jesus Christ. Our Lord and King was born that Christmas night in a barn, in lowliness and humility. He, Immanuel, lived among us in our sinful plight, living the perfect life we could not, to die for our sins, the very people who put him on that cross. He conquered death so that we may have the assurance that we won’t stay sleeping in death’s cold either. And now, he has given us the opportunity to share this warm message with people living in a cold world. But not just here: everywhere! Let this message always take root in our hearts this holiday season and always.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us yet another opportunity to spread your word in song. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus, the means and message of our salvation. Thank you, Jesus, for coming to this world and taking on our likeness and dying for our sins on the cross. Let us never take such a gift of grace for granted but remind us daily of your love and our need to dwell in the warmth of your word. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 8, 2019

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
Isaiah 9:2

A light has dawned on our darkness

The year was 1940. The situation for England looked rather dark. On the European front, Nazi Germany had already invaded and conquered Poland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In just 46 days, Germany conquered all of France. Hitler then set his sights on England, and with France out of the fight, the darkness of the Third Reich was just across the English Channel. The Prime Minister of England, Winston Churchill, had two options: negotiate terms of peace with Hitler or face imminent invasion. Churchill would call this dark time in English History “the darkest hour,” not to imply that there was no hope for England, but because—as the saying goes—“it’s always darkest before the dawn.”

Maybe you’ve paged through this chapter of world history already at school. Thing is, we don’t have to page back to 1940 in any history book to see the darkness in our world. Hitler is long gone, yet we still see abundant proof that we still live in a sinful, dark world. We see it on our phones. We hear about it at school. We read it in our newsfeeds. We experience it personally in our own lives. Maybe it’s when you’re bullied. Maybe it’s after someone breaks into your house. Or maybe it is that sinful habit you’re struggling with? Maybe it’s anger or jealousy? Maybe you struggle to be patient with your classmates? Maybe there’s guilt in your heart from something you said, something you thought, or something you did. You have a hard time looking at yourself in the mirror when you get ready in the morning. The darkness around you seems so deep, you start to doubt whether God’s light could possibly make any difference. “There’s no way God can fix someone this broken. There is no way God can forgive me—that God could love someone like me. Could God’s light really shine on my darkness?”

The answer is yes! A light has dawned: Jesus. Jesus—the light of life—healed the sick, raised the dead, preached forgiveness of sins and life eternal to every nation dwelling in darkness. Jesus took on human flesh to live in our dark world, to be tempted, to hunger, to thirst. Our God took on flesh so the very face of his love and compassion was seen weeping at the funeral of a loved one. To pull us out of our darkness, out of death and suffering, our Savior himself suffered and died—not as a victim of darkness, but as the hero who ran into the mouth of the beast and conquered it! For you. So that you would have life and life to the full. Because he lives, we also will live. Darkness has no hold on us! Not sin. Not guilt. Not Satan. Not death. For Christ, the light of life, has shined on our darkness.

“It is always darkest before the dawn.” I’d modify that saying. “For those in darkness, a light has dawned.” That light is Jesus.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for shining on my darkness. Thank you for preaching and proclaiming your Word to me, for bringing me to faith, and making me your child. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 1, 2019

Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.”
Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Isaiah 7:10-14

The best spoiled ending ever

I still haven’t seen The Avengers: End Game. I know I can get it on DVD or Blu-ray. I know I can buy it digitally online. And yes, I know I can now watch it on Disney+ (only after I watch Star Wars: The Mandalorian, of course). Point being, it’s not that I don’t know all the different ways I could watch Avengers: End Game. The problem is, I already know the ending. I didn’t get around to seeing it soon enough after it hit theaters. As time went on, spoilers started to creep into my newsfeed on social media. Now I know how it ends. I know all the ‘awesome’ moments, who dies, and who wins. All those details were spoiled for me. If you know how the story ends, you know where the story is going. It’s lost its suspense. No more twists and turns. The surprise is gone.

We don’t like spoilers. Be it books, TV shows, or movies, we like a story with surprises, with twists and turns, and nail-biting suspense—well, except when that story is my life. When we’re waiting to see how we did on a math final or worrying about those test results from the doctor, we don’t like suspense. When we’re struggling to navigate in a new school with new classes, we don’t like twists and turns. When we’re wrestling with questions of identity, wondering if we made the team, or thinking about what to do after we graduate, we don’t like surprises. We want to know how it’s all going to turn out. When we feel small and weak, or when we screw up big time and we’re left feeling broken and guilty, we want to know everything will be alright in the end. When it comes to the stories of our own lives, we’d warmly welcome any and all spoilers, wouldn’t we?

King Ahaz knew the feeling. His kingdom, Judah, was constantly under attack. Ahaz was afraid that, at any moment, these enemy nations would invade. So, God gave him comforting words of promise. “Keep calm and don’t be afraid,” God says through the prophet Isaiah. Why? Well, God spoils the ending. “It will not take place, it will not happen,” God says. But God wasn’t done spoiling the story. “You want a sign of my faithfulness, Ahaz? You want proof it’s all going to be alright in the end? That I still am advancing my plan to save my people?” Ahaz wouldn’t ask for a sign; God gave him one anyway. And that sign has been given to you, too.

A virgin woman miraculously gave birth to a boy called ‘Immanuel’, which means “God is with us.”  That child was Jesus, the Son of God! Jesus entered our broken world to save it from sin—by living a perfect life and dying on the cross in our place. Jesus has faced sin, death, and the devil—the greatest adversaries you will ever face—he fought them, and Jesus won.

There is a whole lot of ‘unknown’ that will take place in your life. But the story of your life has already been spoiled. Why? Because the God who is with you always to the very end of the age has already won. You are his dearly loved child. Your identity is safe in Christ and so is your future. Spoiler alert: it’s safe with him in heaven.

Prayer: Heavenly Gracious Savior, thank you for coming to our rescue and saving us from sin, death, and the devil. Comfort us with the assurance that, because of you and your love for us, we have heaven as our home. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – November 24, 2019

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.
Philippians 4:10

Thankful for the concern of God’s people

Have you ever had powdered milk? If you haven’t, don’t. It’s gross. As it sounds, you add water to powder and voila! Milk.

I remember the first time I had it. They just let dad know at work that they couldn’t pay him or any of his coworkers that month. My mom was a stay-at-home mom with a handful of kids. Money had to stretch. Meals were “creative.” And delicious, cold, milk was replaced by cheaper, pasty powdered milk. Bleh. And that wasn’t the worst thing. I remember overhearing my mom crying while she spoke with my dad. They didn’t know how they would make things work. Word was that there would be no payment the following month.

We easily take our next meal for granted. Most of us wonder what we’ll have for dinner, not if we will have dinner. In addition, many of us are discontent because we don’t have the latest iPhone, aren’t wearing the newest clothing (despite a dresser and closet full), and we don’t like food we have.

We would do ourselves a lot of good if we would pause and thank God for what he has given and how he gives it to us.

During the days of powdered milk, God did that for my family. One day out of the blue, some friends dropped by with a bunch of extra food that they had been given. They didn’t know about our situation. They dropped by “just because.” Coincidence? I think not.

God has a way of providing for us that we cannot explain. It all looks so ordinary. But our God works through the ordinary to do some of his most extraordinary work.

While Paul was in dire need, God used the Philippians to provide for him. They sent a gift to support him while he shared the gospel. These were ordinary people who gave him an ordinary gift in extreme times. He couldn’t help but overflow with thankfulness.

God has done the same for you and for me. The list is long. Parents and teachers, friends and governmental leaders, extended relatives, church family, and pastors too. Sure, they are imperfect. But God put them in your life with the purpose of caring for you in ways he has designed.

This is how God works, isn’t it? He did that in the life of his Son? He didn’t look like anyone special. He often didn’t have a place to lay his head. Even then he thanked his Father in heaven to live out the perfect thankfulness we lack. And in his sacrifice on the cross we have been forgiven from our discontentment and greed. Your God who saved you for eternity through the person of Jesus Christ also put people in your life to care for you hear and now.

Take a moment and thank him for the ordinary ways that he cares for you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you provide for us in so many ways, including the special people you put in our lives to care for us. We can’t help but thank you for loving us through these people. Open our hearts to live this thankfulness to you all our days. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – November 17, 2019

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

Thankful for the peace of God

Her dad died when she was five. Her mother died when she was in high school. She went to live with her grandparents. They weren’t in good health. It was hard for them to be involved. So it was easy for her to lose her way.

She had boyfriends who only wanted her for the wrong thing. It was hard to make friends moving to a new high school. And she didn’t know how to deal with the emotional loss of her parents.

She got into drugs and dangerous partying. She ended up pregnant, and the dad bolted. Working two jobs and raising a little girl of her own, she didn’t know how everything ended up so wrong.

We often don’t know why things happen the way that they do. But no matter where we are, no matter how much we might be hurting, God never leaves us.

That young lady is now in her 50’s. She is remarried to a wonderful man. They have a couple more kids as well. When asked what got her through those tough years she said, “When I realized that God wasn’t out to get me but was going to bring me through this no matter what… that’s when my faith deepened.”

Trusting in God’s rule is difficult when things are going poorly. When school is difficult, and friends are unkind. When tragedy happens or when we lose someone we love. Even though it looks like God isn’t near or in control, that doesn’t mean that’s true. In these moments, Jesus longs to draw us closer to himself.

You see that when the disciples were stuck in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Terrified they asked, “Don’t you care?” And Jesus got up and stilled the storm. When they were hiding behind locked doors afraid of being killed like Jesus for following him, Jesus appeared and said, “Peace be with you.” Only our Savior who calms storms and rises from the dead can give us a peace that goes far beyond what we think and feel. In fact, God doesn’t ask us to understand his control. He doesn’t ask us to always feel good about it. He simply points our eyes to facts: “Your sins were paid for on the cross. Death, sin, and the devil can’t harm you because the tomb is empty.”

God’s peace in these promises will guard your hearts and minds.

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to appreciate your presence. You are my perfect, heavenly Father who never leaves me. Lead me to appreciate your love and your guidance especially when my thoughts and feelings try to tell me otherwise. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – November 10, 2019

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Philippians 2:12-13

Thankful for the plan

“Aaaaachoooo!!”

He sneezed all over my lunch. Very gross. Not only did he ruin my appetite, he also spread some of his sickness my way. Getting a cold wasn’t on my agenda that day.

Did you know that frowning and complaining does the same thing? Like a virus that’s gone airborne and inhaled or ingested, our grouchiness and grumbling negatively impacts others.

We could talk about smiling more frequently, complimenting others consistently, or demonstrating our gratitude more gladly, but we should look deeper. How can we live so positively? What would make us want to live that way?

While in prison, the apostle Paul had many reasons to complain and give up. He thought he would die soon. Even so, he writes with gratitude and joy and even gives the reason why—God is working in us.

The God of heaven who has loved you from before the beginning, who has saved you through his Son, Jesus, who has claimed you in the waters of your baptism, is working in you. Think of it, the God of heaven who controls the stars is working in you for your good. The God over the earth who creates sunrises and sunsets with unrepeatable beauty is working in your life.

Consider all that went into today for you. The sun rose bringing warmth and light. God has ordered it all for us. And since his works are wonderful and his plans are always good, then you can know without a doubt that his plan for you is good. And just in case we need one more reason to thankfully trust God’s plan, Jesus’ tomb is still empty. Not only do we have eternal life, but our lives matter here and now.

You might want to know more about God’s specific plan for you. What’s next after high school? What does God want for you and your boyfriend or girlfriend? What does God seek to change through you? Whom does he want to help through you?

For all the things that we don’t know, we do know this. God loves you. He does have a plan for you. And his purpose for you is good. Since that is the case, we have reason to smile with gratitude to God.

A study conducted by Duke University and Mayo Clinic uncovered that positivity and optimism generally adds time to life. Of course, we know that the Lord is in control of that. Unlike a viral negativity, our optimistic and hope-filled outlook on life is powerful. And since we have a God who’s working in us according to his good pleasure and will, we have every reason to smile.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to trust that your plan for my life is good. Lead me to smile with joy so that my gratitude to you would lead others to know your grace as well. In the difficult days lift my eyes heavenward and remind me of the eternal hope that I have in you, all because of your great love in Jesus. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – November 3, 2019

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-6

Thankful for people

While he was incarcerated, he spent two days in solitary confinement. He had been in several prisons. He’d seen many jail cells. This tall, buff, bald, and tatted man helped run a drug empire. This man wasn’t scared of anything. But solitary confinement? That made him almost shake with fear.

We aren’t made to be alone. Several studies have shown that children, teens, and adults suffer when they are alone.

Maybe you know what that’s like. Does it seem like other teens have a great group of friends while you are on the outside looking in? Does it feel like you might be an after-thought when others are getting together? Or worse, does it ever cross your mind that you don’t have the number of friends others do? Maybe you wonder if people even notice you.

You’re not alone.

A man by the name of Paul knew what that was like. He had been persecuted and run out of cities. Worse than having only a few friends in Philippi, he had several sworn enemies. But that is where God stepped in.

Through the people of Philippi, Paul knew what it was like to have true friends who cared when few others did. He experienced the joy of having people who prayed for him, supported him, and were his partners in sharing the good news of Jesus. It was through the gospel that God gave them the joy of encouraging Paul. That joy was the source of his prayer of thanks to God.

Jesus too understands what it is to be alone. Crowds gathered for all the wrong reasons and ditched him by the thousands. Even his closest disciples left him when he asked them to watch and pray. After spending a night in solitary confinement, he was brutally beaten and nailed to a cross. And on the cross, he became more alone than anyone in the history of humanity. He was left all alone—even by his Father—as he suffered for our sins. But in this way, he paid the price so that we would never be alone from God.

Now the connection that we have with others means so much more.

We get to enjoy the company of our friends. More than that, in our faith family, we have partners who share eternal joy. Not just in this life, but as brothers and sisters in our Father’s eternal family. So, every encouraging word we share, every friendly moment, and every step we step we take together is all part of God’s plan in leading us to our heavenly home.

Remember that rough-around the edges character described at the beginning? He later admitted, “The only thing that got me through was knowing that I had just come to know my God and Savior. And I had a cell-mate who said he would pray for me.” He was never alone ever again. Neither are we.

Take some time this week to thank God for the people he has put in your life so you are not alone and with whom you might walk to heaven.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of friends who share my faith. I get to share not just my life with them, but by your grace eternity as well. Help me to be a support to them as they are to me on our way to heaven. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – October 27, 2019

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.

The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?

Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Matthew 25:14-18, 24-30

Monster killer: Risk

This parable seems pretty harsh. At first glance it can seem like the master (God) is mean and overacts concerning the man with one bag of gold.

But, Jesus is giving us some key insights through this parable into how seriously God takes our relationship with him.

Imagine you just got a boyfriend or girlfriend that you’ve always wanted. They’re kind, smart, ambitious, generous and make you feel special. You never thought they’d like you, but now you’re actually together! They are committed to you.

Now imagine that every time you ask them to hang out, they say no. They justify their answer by saying they fear that if you hang out together you might discover something you don’t like about them and then you’d breakup with them.

Seems pretty crazy, right? A boyfriend or girlfriend that never wants to do anything with you? You might say there’s no relationship at all. Their inaction killed your relationship. Inaction is a monster.

God is the master of taking action! He moved heaven and earth to have a relationship with you. He sacrificed his Son, who got into the mess of this sinful world and even faced the wrath of God himself in our place. God saved us from an eternity without him. We now get to call him our Father and get to look forward to a life of perfect happiness with him.

And, God saved us for something, not just from something. He saved us for a life filled with purpose and action. He gave each of us spiritual gifts and talents that are beautiful. When we use them it’s like we’re “hanging out” with God and showing him we’re glad we’re in this relationship.

The man with one bag of gold knew that in order to gain more bags of gold he’d have to take a risk. He knew he could face ridicule, failure, jealousy, and pain if he used what he had. He didn’t want to take that risk. But his inaction produced more severe consequences than his risk would have.

The men who had five bags of gold and two bags of gold took a risk. They went out into the world and used their gifts. They knew their master would value the risk they took. They knew his heart—that if they failed he would welcome them still and love them.

Don’t just settle with being saved from something. Live for something. Take risks for God and use what he’s given you. Even if you get a little bruised and beat up along the way, you’ll end up stronger, more resilient, and even more reliant on God because you’ll realize you need his grace even more.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for saving me from death and saving me for a purpose-filled life. Forgive me for my inaction. Forgive me for burying my gifts. Help me step out in faith and take risks for you. Convince me that there is a certain thrill to living my life for you. It’s what I was made to do. And when I stumble (because I will) you will be right there to comfort me, encourage me, and empower me. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – October 20, 2019

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-25

Monster killer: Self-control

Just stop it.

That’s our default strategy for dealing with spiritual monsters we face. Whether it’s lust, jealousy, rage, alcohol and drug addiction, or sexual sins, we normally have one plan to battle them.

“I’m just going to stop it. I’m going to use my will power.”

But this strategy doesn’t work. You know it doesn’t work because you’ve tried (and failed) to just stop. Why doesn’t it work? Because human will power is part of the “flesh”. That means it’s corrupt, weak, and incapable of following God’s will.

That’s why we will become frustrated and filled with guilt and hopelessness if we try to achieve self-control simply by following God’s law by our own power.

There’s a better way to battle against these monsters—these sins of our flesh.

Instead of “just stop it,” how about “just step with” the Holy Spirit? This is a better strategy. Why? Because with this strategy you’re tapping into the power of the only one who can truly transform your heart and life. With this strategy, you’re getting true self-control because you understand some important things about yourself.

Keeping in step (walking with) the Holy Spirit and getting true self-control involves three parts.

  1. Remember who you belong to.

    Through faith, God has made you his dearly loved child. You belong to Christ, and he has given you his Spirit. The Holy Spirit is powerful. He has transformed your heart by giving you faith in Jesus. You are deeply loved and valued, no matter how well or how poorly you have been living. God never abandons his dearly loved children!

  2. Call things what they really are.

    When you fall into temptation, don’t deny it or hide it. Confess it. Bring it into the open. Call those actions what they are: “the old me”. You will always have a sinful nature that wants to keep sinning here on earth. These actions lead to guilt, pain, and death. The more you call out your own sin, the more you destroy its power.

  3. Put what you learn into practice and persevere!

    Stepping with the Holy Spirit means you are moving forward. He promises that when you stay close to him you will bear fruit (love, patience, goodness, kindness, and self-control). And, most importantly, don’t give up! Keep going back to #1 and #2.

Remember that keeping in step with the Holy Spirit is a marathon and not a sprint. Jesus is with you on the journey!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please give me true self-control by reminding me about myself. I am a dearly loved child of God bought with the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. You will never abandon me! I also know I have a sinful nature. Help me put it to death every day by confessing my sins and trusting in your forgiveness. Finally, let me trust your Holy Spirit and keep moving forward. Staying close to him, I will produce good fruit in my life, all to your glory. Amen!


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – October 13, 2019

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:6-10

Monster killer: Love

False imprisonment, whippings and beatings, a shipwreck, rumors and lies spread about him, ridicule, sleeplessness, and extreme hunger. What would you call a guy who perseveres through these things to share the good news of Jesus with people?

Courageous? For sure. Strong? Definitely. Determined? Absolutely.

Loved? Loving? Uh…didn’t think of that.

I’m talking about the apostle Paul, who wrote the Bible verses above to his good friend, Timothy. Paul went through extreme suffering in order to spread God’s Word to people who didn’t know God’s true love in Jesus.

Paul was afraid at times. Wouldn’t you be? But something kept Paul going. Something slapped his fear in the face and held it back.

It was love.

Jesus’ love for him had radically transformed Paul’s life. He realized he now didn’t have to fear the ultimate fear of eternal death. He grew up thinking the opposite. He grew up fearing God and thinking the only way to heaven was through following a bunch of rules—rules he knew he couldn’t keep completely.

But now Paul knew better. He knew that he was saved by God’s great power and love. So with his ultimate fear gone, he was now ready to face his other fears in life. Now he not only knew he was loved by Jesus, but he felt love for other people. He wanted them to have the same peace he felt. Paul’s love for other people kept him going.

The next time you face fear, especially the fear of sharing your faith, remember this: love drives out fear. Jesus loves you right in that moment. He’s with you as you stand next to that person who needs to hear about him.

Let your love for that person slap your fear in the face. When you look at that person with love, things change!

Facing the monster of fear with Jesus’ love is a recipe for success.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your love for me. Holy Spirit, thank you for giving me power, love, and self-discipline. The next time I feel afraid of rejection or suffering because of my faith in you, fill my mind and heart with the truth of how much you love me. Your perfect love drives out my fear. You help me do what seems impossible—you help me love another person and share the good news of Jesus with them. Thank you! Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – October 6, 2019

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:5b-7

Everything in love

Think of the last time a trusted friend turned on you. You thought you could count on them only to find out that they only were concerned about themselves. What’s worse is they betrayed you. They posted unkind things about you on social media. They spread lies about you. In the end, they really weren’t your friend.

That’s how pride works. For a while, you like pride. He’s your friend. You feel good about yourself. Others might even view you as confident. You seem to be getting ahead in life.

Pride inside of you says, “If you want to be great, put yourself first. If you don’t, you’ll never succeed.”

But, at some point, pride turns on you. You realize that living a self-centered life has its drawbacks: Friends might leave you or avoid you. Everything seems dependent on you and on your shoulders, but you realize you aren’t always in control of life. One mistake could ruin you. That’s a lot of pressure.

The most frightening thing about having a prideful heart is that God will oppose you. That’s not a good place to be. He will oppose you because there’s no room for him inside a prideful heart. God knows that when he’s not first in your heart, everything falls apart eventually. Pride really is a monster.

The good news is that you have another friend. A truer friend. He is humility personified. His name is Jesus Christ. He’s kind. He’s dependable. He is concerned about you. He sticks with you when others bail. He’s always thinking of you. In fact, he left everything to come rescue you and serve you. And he’d do it again if he had to!

If the monster of pride is getting to you, fight him with humility. Humility starts with confessing your pride and turning to your friend, Jesus. God will then lift you up and calm your heart with his presence.

Jesus’ love and forgiveness refresh you and empower you to a better life. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

So, hang out with and follow your best friend, Jesus, today. Put on your new self. Live today thinking of the interests of others, not just your own. Do something today that lifts up another person. Doing so will be a punch in the gut to the monster of pride.

Prayer: Father, you thought of us first even when we brought sin into the world. You promised us Jesus. He had everything, but willingly put our interests ahead of his own. Convince us that you belong first place in our hearts. Show us the ugliness of pride. Forgive us for our pride. Give us the strength to lift up another person today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – September 29, 2019

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 the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and 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

Everything in love

Who is the most accomplished person you know personally? A classmate with a 4.0 and tons of scholarships coming? The all-conference captain of the team? The soulful singer who steals the stage and the show? The neighbor who seems to have endless friends and perfect relationships?

The words that open 1 Corinthians 13 are fascinating. And they open our eyes to a completely different way of thinking. You might have the greatest gifts and abilities (which these devotions have talked about a lot this month), but unless you act in love you do nothing, you gain nothing, and you are nothing. Without love, then, the greatest action or deed is meaningless.

It all comes down to love. So, what better thing can there be than a checklist of what love looks like, right? However, reading through the description of love in verses 4-8 of this great “love chapter of the Bible” is like reading your own personal list of epic fails. Patient? Nope! Not proud? I wish! No record of wrongs? Fat chance! For me, it seems like love always fails.

But this is where our attention needs to shift focus to true love, to the one who embodies love and even is love—God. “God is love,” the Bible says, and it also tells us how “God so loved the world,” and how “God demonstrated his love for us.” We need look no further than Jesus. There we see perfect love that never has, never did, and never will fail. In Jesus we see love that was perfectly patient, kind, compassionate, forgiving, and every other descriptor you could add.

That perfect love of Jesus is your love. Why? Because he is your substitute and his perfect righteousness now belongs to you. And, he is also your Savior who blots out and erases your every failure. Now that is perfect love!

That love of Jesus is what wraps us in a warm and snuggly embrace. That love of Jesus is what fills our hearts with joy to the point that eventually it spills out as we love and serve others. That love of Jesus is what never fails to be good or the right thing to do. Yes I may fail, but his love never does—either for me or through me.

So go on friend! Live your life. Pursue your goals. Chase your dreams. Do your daily work. But whatever you do, let the love of Jesus drive each thought, word, and deed.

Prayer: Jesus, so fill my heart with your love that I may live that love for you and others in all I do. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – September 22, 2019

Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
1 Corinthians 12:14-18

We are many

Ever have that one little pain that drives your whole-body crazy? A sprained ankle leads to limping and possible back and hip pain, as well as sore hands and shoulders from using crutches. Waking up with a knot in your neck muscles leads to impaired mobility and subpar functionality throughout the day. A severe headache might cloud your thinking and sideline you for the whole day.

Of course, the more severe the impairment, the more difficult it is for the body. Those without use of limbs (either by birth, accident, or otherwise), have a great deal of work to do to compensate. Those without senses have to figure out certain ways to navigate this world without being able to see, hear, or speak.

You see, God designed the body in such a way that every part has a function. Every part is important. And, every part is meant to work together in unison as one fully functioning body.

The same is true for God’s church on earth. You are not less important if you are not a pastor. You are not useless if you are female and not male (or vice versa). You are not a waste of the church’s time because you are young.

As we said a few weeks ago, every service and every servant matters. The apostle Paul tells us again here that every part belongs because, “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”

Maybe you are part of the tech team on Sunday morning. Maybe you are an usher. Maybe you help with VBS. Maybe you sing or play an instrument, or help canvass and pass out fliers, or simply offer whatever best offering you are able. God has given you the abilities to function as that “part” of the body of Christ and your work matters to the functionality of the whole body of believers in the church.

Think carefully about what you enjoy doing—activities, hobbies, work. These are likely things that involve the unique gifts and abilities God has given you. How can you use those to serve your Savior and serve your neighbor? It doesn’t have to be big! Maybe you will be a mouth that witnesses. Maybe you will be hands that serve. Maybe you will be ears to listen and a shoulder to cry on. But whatever you do, know this—your part matters to the body of Christ!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, in addition to the many gifts you shower me with daily, you also have given me unique gifts and abilities to serve you and others. Help me to use these gifts as a part of the body of Christ. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – September 15, 2019

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11

We are one

Division hurts. No, not the mathematical functions that hurt your brain in homework sessions. Division between people hurts. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ve seen and experienced the pain of divisiveness.

The family that once was whole, now ripped apart by divorce. The friend group that crumbled because of backstabbing gossip. The team that couldn’t get along. The street filled with opposing protestors screaming back and forth. The red-faced political pundits debating (and debasing) each candidate for office.

Quite frankly and quite sadly, when you look out at the world today, there isn’t much you see except division. Does anyone get along? Will anyone play nice? Is anyone united anymore? YES! We are.

The apostle Paul reminds us of a spectacular truth that Christ Jesus has accomplished for us. He has made us to be one in him. We are one body of believers!

There really is nothing like it in the world. You see, you could be black or brown or white, rich or poor, young or old, male or female, or any other combination of variations and differences in life. Yet you stand side by side and united with the entire holy Christian church on earth and every saint already in heaven. Each soul is bought with blood of Christ and each soul is brought into his family through baptism. Together we form one body united in our Savior and our salvation won for now and eternity.

On this side of heaven, you certainly will feel the pain of division. Sin tears apart and separates. It creates loneliness, isolation, and sadness. But the next time that hurt creeps in, remember your vast support system—a vast body of believers throughout the world and throughout time in heaven and on earth who are your brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

We are one. What strength! What comfort! What peace!

Prayer: Lord of the Church, you have purchased and won for yourself the souls of all mankind, and in baptism you have united all believers together as members of your body. Give me comfort in times of loneliness and courage in times of hurt that the body of Christ is there to support me. Help me also to love and support my brothers and sisters in need. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – September 8, 2019

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good… All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11

Every service matters

“I just want to find a good job someday—you know, doing something that matters and is meaningful.”

It seems to be the elusive dream of every teen. Get into a good college or trades program. Find a job that is influential and important. Do something that really makes a difference. After all, who wants to be a low-class person doing low-class work?

The apostle Paul challenges you to think differently today. There is no such thing as doing more important work than others. There is no such thing as being gift-devoid or ability bankrupt, as if everyone else has some special gift (academics, athletics, personality, etc.) but you have nothing. Whether in the world or in the church, all work and all workers are equal. Why is this?

Because it is the same Holy Spirit who distributes gifts to each person. It is the same God who works in and through each person.

So yes, some people may function as leaders in the world or in the church. Some people may have higher profile jobs that get more attention than others. Some people may make more money than others. But what of it? Different does not mean better. Each person has gifts from God and so is an instrument of God with those gifts.

Think of the bread you eat in your home. Some farmer raised and harvested the crops. Someone bought the product. Workers in a factory processed and produced and packaged bread. Truck drivers delivered it. Stock boys (or girls) put it on the shelves. Someone rang up the groceries. And someone in your family purchased it with money earned from their job. Each had a different set of skills used in a different vocation (life-calling), but God used each to provide for you and many others.

Think of a Sunday morning. The pastor often gets the limelight and attention. But what if no one replaced the lightbulbs, turned the lights and AV on, or even paid the light bill for that matter? What if no one greeted you, gave you a service folder, collected and counted the offering? What if no one played an instrument or led the congregation in singing? Or, God forbid, what if no one made coffee or had snacks available?

This is precisely what Paul is teaching. There are many gifts and many kinds of service. Each is valuable and important—both inside and outside the church. You have been given gifts and abilities by God. So friend—get to work! And trust that your service is important and valuable to God and to others. Why? Because God himself is working through you!

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to see the gifts that you have given, to make wise use of them, to be grateful for the opportunities to serve you and others. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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