Transformed – teen devotion – June 13, 2021

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9

My son; my daughter

What does beauty look like? It is tough growing up in a world where beauty is defined by outward appearances. For some beauty is all about what kind of clothes you wear and how you look in those clothes. For others beauty is defined by the stuff they have. The newer the phone, the more beautiful you feel. So much of our time can be wasted trying to fit into the world’s definition of beauty.

Godly beauty is so much different. The wisest man that ever lived said that the more you listen to your father and mother the more beautiful you are. As you honor your father and mother and others in authority, it shows your real beauty.

When we break the Fourth Commandment, we show the world around us the ugliness of our sinful nature. When we disrespect our parents, we show the dark stain that is on our hearts. When we close our ears to our Heavenly Father, we are wearing the chains of sin around our neck.

Jesus kept the Fourth Commandment perfectly for you! He obeyed his Heavenly Father by coming to this earth and graced his head not with garland, but with a crown of thorns. He wore a chain around his neck, but it wasn’t a fancy gold one. It was the sin of the world. All of your sins were paid for by Jesus.

He can now proudly call you his beautiful sons and daughters. You have been washed by his blood and brought into his family by baptism. You are beautiful.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me godly wisdom to know what pleases you. Give me the strength to show my inner beauty as I live to honor and respect those in authority over me. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – June 6, 2021

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:7

Beginning of wisdom

Well, you almost made it! This unique school year is almost over. For some of you it was a struggle not to be able to eat lunch with friends. For others of you it was heartbreaking that your sports season was canceled. For some it was a struggle to transition from pajama pants back to real clothes as in person learning resumed. This school year could probably best be classified as a struggle. Teachers struggled. Administration struggled. Parents struggled. You struggled.

It’s only the beginning. Life in this sinful world is a constant struggle. Sadly, the struggles will only amplify as you get older. The devil ramps up his attacks on you. He will encourage you to engage in the foolishness of the sinful world around you. He will do all he can to get you to despise wisdom and discipline.

Sadly, it has worked. Think of the times you have fallen into the lies of the devil. How many times did you willingly do something you knew was foolish in the last week? How many times did you fall into foolish peer pressure? It’s probably not that hard to remember how many times you let your Lord down this week.

It’s only the beginning. Sit in the shadow of the empty tomb and marvel at what your Lord and Savior has done for you. You have a Savior who lived and died to take all of your foolish sins away. You have a Savior who rose from the dead to assure you that heaven is your home.

That doesn’t mean that this life won’t be a struggle. It doesn’t mean that high school will be a breeze for you. It does mean that eternal life is yours and that will never end!

Prayer: Dear Lord Heavenly Father, I thank and praise you for sending your Son, Jesus, to win my salvation. Please empower me to let the light of my faith shine as I live in this sinful world. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 31, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job 1:20-21

Rock bottom… What now? Praise God!

We’ve all been told before something along the lines of, “If you think you’ve got it bad, there’s always someone who has it worse.” Job would have been hard-pressed to find that person. His sons and daughters had died. His home was gone. His riches were depleted. Everything about his life had changed in an instant and he had indeed hit rock bottom.

Put yourself in Job’s sandals for a moment. How would you deal with these challenges? If your cell phone suddenly doesn’t turn on, panic sets in. Someone shares a false rumor about you, and your day is ruined. You get a bad grade on a test and your mood turns sour as you lament your bad fortune. When bad things happen, how do you deal with them? Don’t we all at times look for someone to lash out at, to pout and complain, to blame others for what has happened, even if it might be our fault?

What a lesson we learn from Job. At such a challenging time in his life, he humbly turned to his God and confessed, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (v. 21). As Job’s life hit rock bottom with a thud, he didn’t complain. He didn’t lash out. He didn’t cry out “woe is me.” He marveled at God’s goodness, saying, “May the name of the Lord be praised.” Whether its the end of another school year or the beginning of summer vacation, whether life is going great or rock bottom is in sight, praising God is how our faith in Jesus responds to his love for us. Nothing in this life—NOTHING—can take away the truth of what our God has done for us and what is ours in him alone. Remember that, dear young friends. Live that. Cherish it always.

Prayer: Lord God in heaven above, it gives me such great comfort to know that you are with me throughout my life. Heavenly Father, there are times when I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom. There are times when it feels like I have nothing to be thankful for. And then I am reminded of your love for me. I’m amazed at the price your Son paid to forgive my sins and call me you own. Thank you for this gift. Thank you for my life here on earth and for life eternal in heaven. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 23, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

Rock bottom… What now? Make the most of the moments

Can people tell you are a Christian? Think about that for a moment. If they didn’t know already, would the people you come in contact with in life be able to tell you confess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, trusting in him for salvation and for guiding you throughout this life on earth? It’s a humbling question to ask, isn’t it? It’s also one that sometimes leads us to an answer of “Yikes, I’m not sure.”

The apostle Paul writes not only to the church in Ephesus, but also to each of us, as he gives much needed encouragement to our lives as God’s children, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (vv. 15-16). We’re not always careful how we live, are we? Jesus is very easy to take for granted. Being “wise” is something that doesn’t come naturally for adults, let alone teenagers living in an increasingly cruel and sin-filled world. “Making the most of every opportunity” is often replaced with letting most opportunities to praise our God’s name slip through the cracks or go unutilized.

Bad stuff happens, dear young friends. It’s a fact of life in this sinful world. As God’s dearly loved children, though, we have different tools to use when dealing with these bad things. The God who loved us enough to send his Son to die for us is not then going to abandon us in life to deal with things ourselves. He is with us. His means of grace strengthen us. He not only motivates, but equips us to “(make) the most of every opportunity” when things are going well, or when we seem to hit rock bottom. Each day is a day to praise our holy God and to worship him. Each day is another chance to boldly live our faith in the One who saves us and calls us his own.

Prayer: Lord God, what a blessing you are in my life—in good times and in bad. You have guided me; You have blessed me; You have kept me in your tender care. Watch over my life, O Lord. Keep me always close to you and your Word that I might be strengthened in faith to make the most of every opportunity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 16, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:15-18

Rock bottom … Why now? A lament.

One dictionary definition for the word “lament” is “to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something.” While you maybe haven’t used the word before, all of us understand it’s meaning, as we do just that from time to time when things go wrong. Sometimes moms and dads are the recipients of our laments. Sometimes its a coach or a teacher. Sometimes its friends. Whenever we hit rock bottom, we all look for someone “to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something.”

Too often, though, going to the Lord seems to be our last resort. When bad things happen, we so often try to figure out the best course of action on our own, or we turn to a friend who means well but is ill-equipped to give us any wise advice because they might be dealing with some of the same things. Too often, the Lord is the last one we turn to in our time of need, sharing our concerns and sincerely crying out, “I need help!”

That’s why Psalm 34 is such a great reminder for all of us, no matter what we might be dealing with or wondering what’s next in life. A young David, the author of Psalm 34, was at a difficult time of life. He was all alone and running for his life from King Saul, who wanted him dead. David knew where to turn, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (v. 14). David knew as he was nearing rock bottom, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (v. 17-18). David’s Old Testament proclamation is the truth we still live by today. Jesus loves you. He died for you. He will never leave you. You can go to him in prayer knowing he hears and is willing and able to help. What comfort that gives—today and always, no matter what we might be dealing with.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there is so much pain and suffering in the world around me. My own life is filled with challenges and issues that cause me at times to feel like I am all alone. Be with me today and always, dear Lord. I come to you in prayer needing your guidance and power, your caring and your love. In Jesus’ name I pray this to you in my time of need. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 9, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
John 9:1-3

Rock Bottom … Why Them?

We live in a world that tries to convince us, “You get what you deserve.” Teachers will say it to students. Coaches will yell it at players. Bosses will try to convince employees of the same. You can understand the statement in some aspects of life. But not when it comes to sin and grace.

Jesus was constantly teaching lessons that his disciples—and we—need to learn well in our lives as Christians on earth. Our reading today serves as an opportunity to do just that. Seeing a blind man, the disciples mistakenly thought that there must have been a reason in either his life or in the lives of his family that caused this blindness to befall him. We can easily fall into the same trap, thinking to ourselves, “You get what you deserve.”

Thank our gracious God that we don’t. Jesus would go on to heal the blind man from his affliction, not because he deserved it, but because of Christ’s love for him. That’s how he treats us in life! We know who we are. We know how we’ve failed God and shown ourselves to be unworthy of his love. We know that if it’s true that “You get what you deserve,” we are in a world of trouble. Faith in Jesus, though, understands and cherishes that we don’t get what we deserve. Instead, we are recipients of God’s love—love revealed to us in his Son Jesus today, tomorrow, and for all eternity. Everything that happens in life is “so that the works of God might be displayed” (v. 3). What a blessing!

Prayer: Almighty God, we are not the only people who struggle in life. All have sinned against you and need the comfort that you alone can give. Be with all who are struggling, dear Lord. Help me be a friend to those around me and someone others feel they can come to for help. All to give you glory. All for your Son’s sake. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – May 2, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:13-14, 23-26

Rock Bottom … Why Me?

It’s really easy to have a pity party for oneself. Someone else’s family has a more comfortable lifestyle. A classmate more easily understands physics. We see those who seem to have a brighter future than we see for ourselves. Pity parties are something that affect all of us from time to time. They allow us to wallow in our misery and ask out loud “Why me?” when things go wrong.

The writer of Psalm 73 dealt with the same thing. He was struggling. With what? We don’t know exactly, but we do know we can relate. He speaks for all of us who have lamented before, “All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments” (v. 14). Whether we ask God “Why me?” from self-pity or sincere concern, it’s a question our sinful selves need to have answered if we are to have any joy and peace in life.

Our gracious God does just that. Think about how much he loves us. He sent his one and only Son to this earth to die as a substitute for our sin. He turned his back on Jesus so that he might never do the same to us. He’s given us his holy Word as guide, leading us forward in his most holy name. The writer of Psalm 73 asked “Why me?” and found his answer not by looking deep within himself, but looking to his gracious God who was was always with him—in times of trouble, in times of celebration, and for all eternity. We join with the psalmist today in praising this same God, proclaiming “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand” (v. 23).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. I never deserve and don’t always appreciate this love, but you freely and fully shower me with your blessings each and every day of life. Guide me to always love as you have loved me. In your name I pray this and all things. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – April 25, 2021

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “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 25:7-9

Death swallowed

Nine thousand, six hundred seventy-two. According to one study in Great Britain, that’s how many ailments and injuries the average person can expect during a lifetime.

The study even broke down the numbers according to ailment. The average person can expect approximately 860 headaches, 780 sore backs, 470 upset stomachs, 230 paper cuts, 150 blisters, 78 nose bleeds, 3 hospital stays, and 2 surgeries in a 78-year lifetime. And that’s just the average person!

Is it any wonder why death is always on the back of our minds?

Our hurting bodies constantly remind us that something is wrong. Our fluctuating health constantly teaches us that death lingers near. Our grieving hearts verify for us death’s daunting power. Death is, as the prophet Isaiah called it, the sheet that covers all people.

But death doesn’t have the final say on the matter of life. The Lord has spoken too about the end of death! Death isn’t the most powerful voice in the back of our minds or in the middle of the cemetery. Resurrected life is!

Long before Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb, Isaiah foretold the outcome. Death would be swallowed up in victory!

Long before you cry your last tear in the midst of death, Jesus’ resurrection has assured you of the outcome. He will wipe every tear away!

Long before you have your last paper cut, blister, nosebleed, surgery, or taken your last breath, you know who made the outcome of eternal life and victory possible. Surely this is our God! Let us rejoice and be glad in him!

Prayer: Jesus, when I grieve, comfort me. When I’m sick, provide healing and peace. When I’m afraid of death, assure me that you have swallowed it up in victory. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – April 18, 2021

Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe… When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
Exodus 12:21-23

Passover

Do you eat a special diet? Do you know anyone who eats a special diet?

God gave his people, the Israelites, a special Passover diet in Exodus 12. The main item on the menu was a blemish-free lamb. God instructed Israel on how to prepare it, eat it, and even what to do with the lamb’s blood. They were to paint it on their doorframes—almost like a Halloween movie scene.

Why did the Lord give this special meal and these specific instructions? He was setting the table for his deliverance. The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt at the time. But the Lord would deliver them in a special way—through the blood of a lamb!

But lamb wasn’t the only food on the menu. The Israelites were to eat bitter herbs to remind them of their bitter slavery and need for deliverance. You probably don’t need to eat herbs to be reminded of bitterness. Are you lonely, sick, frustrated, afraid, or struggling with sin? The reminders of bitterness are all around every day. Like Israel, you need deliverance too.

God has provided your deliverance through THE Lamb! All those Passover lambs set the table for Jesus, THE ultimate Passover Lamb to come. Years later, a man named John the Baptist pointed directly at Jesus and said, “Look, THE Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29).

At the Passover, every family had its own lamb. Every Israelite archway was covered in blood. God made his deliverance personal. God makes his deliverance personal to you too. In bread and wine, Jesus gives his body and blood for your forgiveness. On the archway of your heart and the framework of your conscience, God paints the certain promise that Jesus has, does, and will deliver us too.

Prayer: Jesus, when I am reminded of the bitterness of sin and life in a sin-filled world, deliver me and renew me in your saving love. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – April 11, 2021

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

Scars that heal

Every scar has a story.

The scar on the athlete’s knee tells of the torn ligament and the lost season. The scar on the child’s chin tells of the hard fall when learning to ride a bike. Do you remember the stories behind your scars?

Over 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah wrote about the scars the suffering Savior would receive. We cringe as the nails drew innocent blood from Jesus’ hands and feet on a cross. We sigh as the spear pierced his lifeless body. Do you remember the story behind Jesus’ scars?

Jesus’ scars tell the seriousness of sin. Our holy God demands that sin be punished, and the punishment deserved for our sin is death. But Jesus’ scars also tell the seriousness of God’s peace. Jesus willingly and lovingly took the punishment in our place. He got what we deserved. In exchange, he gives us what we didn’t deserve—his forgiveness and peace.

Every scar has a story.

But not all scars are visible. Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, was scarred with doubt. He wouldn’t believe Jesus had risen unless he saw the scars and touched them. Jesus appeared and removed all doubt. Jesus’ scars brought Thomas what Isaiah had prophesied long ago—healing peace. They still do!

Do you have any “invisible scars?” Are you scarred by grief? Have you been hurt by a friend or bullied by an enemy? Do you have deep pains inside from some heavy burden? Then, remember Isaiah’s words. Look upon Jesus’ scars. Find healing and peace in Jesus!

Prayer: Jesus, heal my wounds physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Help me to find healing and peace in your wounds and your great love for me. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – April 4, 2021

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
Genesis 3:15

The plan the whole time

The dog’s owners noticed his leg was bleeding. Something had agitated the dog causing him to run over to where their child was playing. The dog barked fiercely and limped away with a wound.

The veterinarian’s examination discovered the marks from a snake bite. The story became clear. The dog saw the threat and put himself in harm’s way between the snake and the child. The dog took the wound to save the child. This is amazing love from a faithful friend!

But that true story pales in comparison to the true story God’s faithful love and his plan to save!

God saw the danger and damage the devil caused. The devil, who took on the form of a snake, slithered into God’s perfect world to tempt and destroy. He succeeded in enticing the first people to consume his lies and then consume the forbidden fruit.

The results were instant! Sin entered the world. Shame, fear, blame, and death quickly followed. Not a moment goes by where we aren’t reminded of sin’s devastating impact.

But God responded with an incredible plan to save. He promised a serpent-crusher, a sin-bearer, a death-destroyer! With each added promise, the story became clearer and clearer. A Savior would come!

And he did! Jesus put himself in harm’s way—receiving wounds and taking sin’s punishment to save us. Jesus put himself in harm’s way—taking on and taking down the devil. Jesus put himself in harm’s way—entering death and then rising from it. All for you!

This is everlasting love from our greatest friend!

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your amazing and everlasting love. When sin, fear, or death close in on me, come quickly to comfort me with your promises of salvation, forgiveness, and life. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 28, 2021

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Matthew 27:51

Torn

Torn is not a word we often associate with anything good.

Things that are torn, like paper or clothes, usually get thrown in the trash.

A torn ACL can end a season for a basketball player.

A torn relationship causes hurt feelings, awkwardness, and embarrassment.

A torn relationship, unfortunately, is exactly what we have with God because of our sins. Our sin alienates us from God and makes us his enemies.

Throughout the Old Testament, this torn relationship was pictured quite vividly by the curtain that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place in the temple. The Most Holy Place was where God dwelled. Because of sin, no one was ever allowed to enter there, apart from one person, the high priest. And he entered only once a year in order to make atonement for the sins of God’s people.

But all of that changed when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus willingly but undeservedly allowed himself to be punished on the cross for our sins, and his relationship with his Father was torn for our sake.

At the moment of Jesus’ death, the curtain of the temple was torn in two. The symbol of the torn relationship between God and people was removed. Because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, God’s relationship with all people was restored forever.

Because of Jesus you now have full access to God. You can go to him with anything. He is always near you. Your relationship with him is no longer torn, but eternally secure.

And now, with Jesus’ love and forgiveness, you also have the power and the tools to restore torn relationships with others!

Prayer: Lamb of God, thank you for restoring the torn relationship between us and your Father through the shedding of your holy and precious blood. May your redemptive love work in and through us bless the relationships in our lives. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 21, 2021

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Matthew 27:45-46

Forsaken

As a child, did you ever get left somewhere accidentally? It’s a sickening feeling, “Did my parents forget about me?”

Some children experience something more serious than that. They were given up for adoption when they were young and may wonder, “Did my parents not want me anymore? Why did they give me up?”

One of our greatest human needs is to feel loved and accepted. The thought of being abandoned or rejected by our parents can shatter that sense of feeling loved and accepted. Rejection by loved ones, or even by friends can leave us feeling unloved, unaccepted, and forsaken.

Have you ever felt rejected? Maybe you’re experiencing those feelings today. If you are, God your Heavenly Father wants you to hear something, something very important. He has NOT forsaken you, and he never will.

How do we know? Because Jesus was forsaken for us.

While all of us at times have been or felt rejected or forsaken by others (perhaps some of us quite seriously), no human being will ever fully understand or appreciate the depth of rejection and abandonment that Jesus experienced in our place. From eternity, Jesus enjoyed the perfect love of his father. While hanging on the cross however, Jesus endured the full brunt of his father’s abandonment, rejection, and condemnation as payment for our sins. That is why he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

All of us deserve to be abandoned and forsaken by God for our sins, but in an act of amazing unconditional love, God abandoned his Son Jesus in our place. Jesus experienced that hell so that we never would.

Therefore, we can rest secure in God’s love for us. Even if we feel abandoned or rejected in our human relationships, we will never be abandoned or rejected by him. That gives us peace, hope, and joy.

Prayer: Dearest Jesus, how can I ever thank you for being forsaken by your Father so that I never will? Your love for me never ceases to amaze me. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 14, 2021

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
James 4:9-10 ESV

Season of resistance

Ben and Lauren had another fight. It was their third one in a week, and Ben was exhausted. He was tired of all the problems in their relationship. In desperation, he turned to God in prayer. A thought struck him, “Maybe my biggest problem is not the external fights I’m having with Lauren, but the internal fight inside of me.”

Ben’s prayerful thought echoes James chapter 4. In verse 1 of this chapter James says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”

Our biggest problem is the fight that goes on inside of each of us, each and every day—the fight between the sinful, selfish nature that hates God’s will and the new nature, born again by God’s Spirit to live for him. If we’re going to resolve the other problems in life, this problem must first be resolved.

All of us sense the battle between these two natures when we struggle to do what is loving and right towards God or others.

James’ words lead us to humbly confess to God all of the times we let that old selfish nature win—when we fall to the devil’s temptations, hurt others, and want to blame others for all of our problems. When we confess, God reminds us that he graciously forgives us because of Jesus, who never fell to the devil’s temptations and won the battle with the devil through his death on the cross and resurrection.

James’ words also lead us to stay in the fight—to never give up! Staying in the fight means humbly submitting to God, resisting the devil, and drawing near to God.

God is calling each of us to humbly resist sin and wage war against it in our own hearts and lives. When we do, we have the promise of God to empower our new nature with his Spirit and to lift us up with his grace when we fall.

Prayer: Victorious Jesus, oh how I struggle in the fight against temptation. Thank you for forgiving me for the times when I fall. Give me your Spirit to stay in the fight and resist sin. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – March 7, 2021

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Psalm 139:23-24 ESV

Season of searching

If you’re like most people, you don’t exactly love going to the doctor. There’s something scary about letting another person do a thorough examination of your body looking for something wrong. What if they find something? What if it’s serious? Maybe it’s just easier to deal with it on your own? Maybe it will just go away?

We do this spiritually too. There’s something a little scary about going to a holy God, knowing that he can do a thorough examination of your heart. And oh yes, he will find something wrong, something serious. It’s called sin, and it’s uncomfortable to have your deep, dark sins exposed! Maybe it’s just easier to deal with it on your own? Maybe it will just go away?

King David fell into this way of thinking. After he committed adultery with a married woman and then plotted the murder of her husband, he didn’t want his sin exposed. He tried to deal with his dangerous spiritual condition on his own. Fortunately, God graciously sent the prophet Nathan to speak to David and conduct a spiritual examination on his heart, leading David to finally confess his sins.

In Psalm 139, a spiritually restored David now shows us the only way to deal with our sinful condition. Here it is: ask God to perform a thorough examination of our heart and look for any spiritual afflictions. Confess our sins to God who knows our heart completely. God is the expert on our spiritual health and dealing with sin. He knows just how sinfully broken and corrupt we are and how desperately we need fixing. In his incredible mercy, he gives us the fix—his Son Jesus! Jesus took the fatal disease of sinful humanity on himself and died with it on the cross so that we might be cured.

This Lenten season, don’t shy away from the spiritual examinations God desires for your heart. Instead, like David, go to God in repentance. Ask him to search your heart and to lead you in the way everlasting.

Prayer: O Great Physician of the soul, search my heart. Expose the sin and corruption that lie there. Have mercy on me and assure me of your forgiveness. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – February 28, 2021

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”
2 Samuel 12:7

Conflict avoidance

The Question: I’ve decided not to talk with my friends to avoid conflict. It is better for everyone, right?

Not talking to your friends when there is conflict between you is definitely the easier option, but is it really the better option? Is it what God wants you to do?

Nathan was a prophet while David was king of Israel. David created conflict with God, and it was up to Nathan as the prophet of God to resolve it. David wanted another man’s wife. He had sex with her. He lied and tried to cover it up. When he was in danger of being discovered, he had her husband murdered. In the end, David looked like the good guy because he took the mourning widow into his own home as his wife. God told Nathan to confront David about his sin.

Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. Put yourself in Nathan’s shoes! Nathan was to confront the king with what he had done, though David could easily have him killed. David had already shown that he was willing to murder to cover up his sin. Would Nathan be next? It would have made sense for Nathan to avoid the conflict, but he didn’t. He went to David and said, “David, you are the man. You are the sinner, the murderer, the liar.” Nathan addressed the conflict head on. Why?

Nathan loved David so much he confronted him with the truth. God’s people are sometimes called not just to do what is safe and easy. They do what is best for others. David’s eternal life was at stake due to dangerous, unresolved, and unrepentant sin. Nathan put David before himself and confronted him.

That is what God wants you to do in your conflicts. Avoiding conflicts may at the moment be the easy way out, but it doesn’t make them go away. Confront conflict! Love your friend. Put them first just like Nathan did his king, like Jesus did for you.

Prayer: My Father in heaven, I experience many moments of being weak and afraid. Comfort me with the assurance that you still love and will always forgive me. Reach down and take hold of my hand and lift me to a higher level of strength. Give me courage to speak when I should, and to know when best to be silent. Give me wisdom so that your will, not mine, be done. Use me to accomplish your purpose in Christ. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – February 21, 2021

Then the king [David] said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.”
2 Samuel 15:25-26

Squad problems: Drama queens

The Question: Some of my friends do things for attention all of the time. It’s really annoying. How should I deal with them?

Remember David? He was that famous king of Israel who killed Goliath with a stone and slingshot. God blessed King David with many long years of prosperity and peace.

There was someone in David’s life who wanted all the attention—David’s son, Absalom. Absalom would sit at the gate of the city, listen to people’s problems and say, “If I were king, things would be different.” Absalom wanted the attention. He wanted to be loved by everyone. He wanted to be king. And it worked! Absalom was able to turn the country against David.

David, his whole family, and the people who were faithful to David had to pack their things and run for their lives. Some priests brought the ark of God with David. They knew that where the ark is, God is. So, if the ark was with David, God would be with David and will bless him. But what did David say? “Take the ark back.”

What’s the lesson for us? David knew and trusted that God is fully in control of everything that is happening. If God wanted Absalom to be king, he would be king. If God wanted David to be king, David would be king.

Yes, our friends can grab the spotlight, and that can be frustrating especially if it comes at our expense. Take a deep breath. God knows what is happening. If God allows your friend to have that attention, it is for a reason. If God wants you to have more attention, you’ll get it. There is no need to stress over something that God is in complete control of. This truth also comes with a promise. God works out all things for the good just like he did for David.

Prayer: My Father in heaven, too often I stress over things that are beyond my ability to control. Sometimes my heart gets so heavy, and I feel insignificant and invisible. O Savior, tell me that isn’t so! Come close to me, my Lord. Whisper again into my heart your warm words of forgiveness, love, and promise. Only you can truly fill my inner emptiness. Help me not to seek the spotlight. Instead, I will trust you to lift me. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – February 14, 2021

Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.” But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.” So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my ancestors.” He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat. When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard.
1 Kings 21:1-4,16

Squad problems: Jealousy

The Question: My boyfriend/girlfriend is jealous and says things that make me sad and angry. I really care. It will get better, right?

I get why you don’t like jealousy in your life. Sinful jealousy is so destructive. It can destroy friendships, relationships, and overall happiness. Look at the dark path that jealousy led King Ahab down.

Depression, anger, hate, and eventually murder all came from jealousy in Ahab’s heart. I am not saying jealousy will lead to murder, but it clearly leads to nothing good. Jealousy is definitely something you don’t want in your relationships and life.

So here are some godly tips to help suppress jealousy, specifically in relationships.

  1. Check yourself. Jealousy is wanting something that you do not have. If your boyfriend/girlfriend is getting jealous, it may be a warning that they want something they are not getting from you. If you are giving someone else special attention that should be going to your boyfriend/girlfriend and it is making them jealous, stop it. Dating is practice for marriage. Practice being emotionally faithful (give special attention) to your future spouse by being emotionally faithful to your boyfriend/girlfriend.
  2. Communicate with each other. If there is jealousy in the relationship, talk to each other. Identify what your boyfriend/girlfriend feels like they are not getting. Take each other’s words and actions in the kindest possible way (Eighth Commandment) and build trust.
  3. Trust in God. God provides everything you need in a relationship. It’s why he gave his only Son who treats us as if we are his bride! He will provide everything you need—including the right words to say, direction in your life, and peace knowing that he’s got you.

Prayer: My Father in heaven, you are a welcome refuge when I become the victim of my own insecure feelings. Help me to be humble, grateful, and at peace. Make me more like you. Give me grace to smile when I want to cry and to forgive when I want to fight back. As you showed me love in Jesus, help me to live in his love. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – February 7, 2021

Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.” His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.”
Judges 14:1-3

Squad problems: Self-destructive

The Question: What should I do when my friend is involved in self-destructive behavior?

The struggle is, “How much does God expect me to do?” Samson’s father gives us some answers.

First of all, God wants us to be a good influence. You can encourage your friend with words and remind them what is God pleasing. You can also influence them by letting your good behavior rub off on them. BE CAREFUL! Don’t let their bad behavior influence you.

Second, know that you are not responsible for your friend’s behavior. God wants you to influence, warn, and love, but at the end of the day, your friend is responsible for their own actions.

Finally, pray and give thanks. Pray that God would lead your friend to change their ways. Pray that God would give you the right words to say and make you a good influence. Pray that God would use this situation for your friend’s good. And give thanks that Jesus has died on the cross for your and your friend’s sins.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for friends of mine who are caught up in self-destructive behavior. Thank you for your promise never to leave or forsake them and to work this moment of life for their future good. Assured of your love for them, guide my words and behavior to reflect my love for them and the power of Christ to assist and save them. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – January 31, 2021

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:8-10

Refuge

I will be fine in life as long as I have _______. Fill in the blank.

Really think about it. What is so important to you that you’d put it in the blank? Family? A girlfriend or boyfriend? Money? My phone? Approval of others? My health?

This past year showed us that things we take for granted can be gone in a flash.

But through all of the craziness of 2020, God never left. He didn’t leave you. You are part of his people.

If anything, this past year has taught us that God is the only one strong enough to fill in the blank. He alone has the ability to satisfy all of your needs and calm all of your fears. He alone hears all of your prayers and knows all of your thoughts. He alone knows every fault about you and loves you in spite of them.

So, “taste and see” that he is good. Experience what life is like when you run to God on a daily basis and let him be your refuge instead of those other things you might use to fill in the blank.

Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” You can have a full life, even with Covid-19 in the world, as you depend on Jesus and his Word for Every. Single. Thing. In. Life.

Even people as strong and powerful as lions will come to ruin eventually if they rely on themselves. But those who seek the Lord and rely on him lack nothing.

Prayer: Lord, I need you. Oh, how I need you. Every hour I need you. You’re my one defense. My righteousness. Oh God, how I need you! Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – January 24, 2021

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

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

Make peace, not war

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – January 17, 2021

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

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

Assisted living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – January 10, 2021

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

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

Time well spent

How many things were canceled during 2020 for you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – January 3, 2021

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

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

No pain, no gain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was worth it. You were worth it.

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 27, 2020

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

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

The place

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 20, 2020

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

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

The name

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer: Dear Savior, draw me in to every detail of your names so that I find your grace for me. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 13, 2020

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

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

The voice

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

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

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

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

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


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – December 6, 2020

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

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

The promise

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer: Help me see your saving promise from the manger to the cross. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – November 29, 2020

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

The gospel comes first

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Christian citizens

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

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

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

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

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

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


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