WELS Daily Devotions

This is the Truth – February 6, 2016

17 hours 57 mi

By setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
2 Corinthians 4:2

This is the Truth
Daily Devotion – February 6, 2016

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:2
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160206dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Hopefully not many readers of these devotions have had the opportunity to stand before a judge and testify to “tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” If one has, these brief words give the judge your solemn word that what you say will be the truth. You won’t distort your story to protect the guilty. You won’t exaggerate the story to build up the innocent. You will simply tell the truth.

Temptation abounds for us to twist or distort the truth for our own best interest. It’s no different in the way we are tempted to treat the words of the Bible. We try to make its teachings more acceptable to us. We want to justify alternate lifestyles and so deem the Bible’s teaching on marriage “old fashioned.” Living God’s ways are challenging so we throw them out as “too strict.” To claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven is perceived as narrow-minded and arrogant, so the teaching is meshed into the nicety that there are many paths to God.

Just as a witness in a courtroom would do a disservice to the trial by not telling the truth, so Christians who distort the truth of God do a disservice to people of our generation. The apostle Paul had one objective, “set forth the truth plainly.”

What is that truth? There are many, but let me commend to your conscience the most important truth. Apart from faith in Jesus, there is no hope of heaven. Why? The Bible teaches: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Each reader must admit, “I am not perfect.” You may try harder, do more good, or feel like you are better than most. The harsh reality is that none of that activity or thinking removes your guilt and sin. There is only one way to stand perfect before a holy God. Later in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “God made him (Jesus) who had no sin, to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The reality? Jesus took your sin and gave you his perfection. Believe it. Jesus did this for you! This is the truth!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, we love to push aside the truth of your Word. We think we know better. Forgive us. Assure us of your love and forgiveness. Lead us always to trust the truth that you and you alone are the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one comes to God except through you. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

Here, There and Everywhere – February 5, 2016

Fri, Feb 05, 2016

“Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Romans 8:34-35, 37

Here, There and Everywhere
Daily Devotion – February 5, 2016

Devotion based on Romans 8:34-35, 37
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160205dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

From last night’s dinner conversation: “So, where did you go, today?” “Oh, here, there, and everywhere!”

Though understood, the idiom is an obvious exaggeration by you and me, but not by Jesus. The Apostles’ Creed confesses: “He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.” This Bible-revealed truth is not an exaggeration. 40 days after Easter Jesus visibly ascended heavenward before his astonished disciples. More astonishing to our reason is that the risen Christ took up full use of his divine powers. He now took his place as King of kings. Yet, he had promised, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

If Jesus were visibly present at your dinner table (You invited him, if you say the common table prayer), you may ask, “So, where did you go, today, Lord?” “Here, there, and everywhere!”

“Here!” “I am with you every day and I am with you, tonight, as well.”

“There!” “I am at the right hand of the heavenly Father, ruling over all things for the good of the whole Christian Church on earth. I also intercede for you: ‘Father, this is a member of my flock. Forgive and bless them for my sake. I paid for all their sins, satisfying your holy justice.’”

“Everywhere!” “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 23:24).

The Bible truths of the Lord’s presence everywhere and his divine rule over all are seen only with the eyes of faith. Whatever we face in this sin-filled world, including “trouble or hardship or persecution…, we are more than conquerors.” As the Bible assures us, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

Prayer:
(The Common Table Prayer applied to the spiritual food of God’s Word)
“Come, Lord Jesus, be my guest
And let this food to me be blessed.” Amen.

This is the eleventh in a series of devotions based on the truth of God’s Word expressed in the Apostles’ Creed. These devotions will appear on Thursday and Friday in January and February.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

Jesus is Lord of All – February 4, 2016

Thu, Feb 04, 2016

“…but God raised him [Jesus] from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen–by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
Acts 10:40-42

Jesus is Lord of All
Daily Devotion – February 4, 2016

Devotion based on Acts 10:40-42
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160204dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Cornelius the centurion knew Jesus. Who didn’t? His fame had spread far and wide and touched everyone—including the Roman legion stationed at Caesarea.

But this centurion knew more. He knew that the Old Testament taught: “the good news of peace through Jesus Christ who is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). Cornelius knew that Jesus had preached in Judea and Galilee. He knew Jesus had power over both disease and devil. He knew that God was with Jesus! He knew the sad story of Jesus’ death as he hung on a tree—mocked by Romans, despised by Jews, cursed by God.

Now God had arranged a meeting between Cornelius and the apostle Peter. Peter told him, “I want you to know the rest of the story. I want you to know what we saw. We saw Jesus alive. I am an eye-witness who stuck his fingers in the nail holes and watched Jesus eat broiled fish.”

Vivid, accurate eye-witness testimony rules in court. It trumps the opinions of those who were not there, the speculation of those who did not see. “God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. We saw Jesus alive in the flesh, and we believe it. But we want you to believe it too!”

Peter had received his own revelation, which he shared with Cornelius. He called Jesus “the Lord of all,” and testified to this centurion, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34-35).

We believe that Jesus died for all, and we believe that Jesus rose for all. The truth of Jesus’ resurrection anchors our faith that Jesus is Lord of people from every nation, tribe and language, and it inspires our outreach to the whole world.

Prayer:
Gracious Holy Spirit, use us to deliver the message of resurrection to all people of all time in all places because we know from you “that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all.” Amen.

This is the tenth in a series of devotions based on the truth of God’s Word expressed in the Apostles’ Creed. These devotions will appear on Thursday and Friday in January and February.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

I Knew You – February 3, 2016

Wed, Feb 03, 2016

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I Knew You
Daily Devotion – February 3, 2016

Devotion based on Jeremiah 1:4-5
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160203dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“I knew you.” You might hear those words from someone who thinks you’ve changed. They knew you at one point in your life, but now you’ve apparently changed. You might hear them from someone you’ve drifted apart from. At one time you were close, but then one of you moved–off to school, off to a new job, off to a new you.

The perspective is one of looking back on who you once were. Time and distance have changed you. What they knew about you no longer seems to be true.

The LORD spoke to Jeremiah and told him: “I knew you.” But the LORD isn’t surprised at Jeremiah–who he is, how he’s changed, or what he’s up to now. No, the LORD’s perspective was different. Before Jeremiah even existed, the LORD knew him and what he would do.

From our perspective, life can feel like a chaotic tornado or a gigant game of Plinko (a “Price Is Right” reference for those of you who don’t know game shows.) When we feel that way, we all too easily give in to temptations. When it feels like no one is in control, we decide to take the reins. We start making all the decisions ourselves, regardless of what God says. When it feels like our lives are stuck in a dangerous swamp of question marks, we worry about everything (even though worrying has never worked). The list could go on, but the point is simple: when we think no one knows (or cares), we sin.

The LORD is here to tell us differently. He knows. He cares. The LORD has plans for you. The LORD’s plans started before you were even born. He planned for you before this world was created. His plans included a cradle where his Son, your Savior, was born. He planned for the cross where Jesus’ punishment brought you peace. In your life, God brought you his Word and Jesus. And, Jesus is planning and preparing a room for you in heaven.

The LORD, who has known and planned those HUGE details for you, knows every little detail, too. The LORD knows. He knows you. He loves you.

Prayer:
LORD, you know me better than I know myself. Forgive me for not trusting your loving care. Give me confidence always that you know me, you love me and your plans for me culminate with my happy home in heaven with you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

The Long Walk – February 2, 2016

Tue, Feb 02, 2016

[Love] is not self-seeking.
1 Corinthians 13:5

The Long Walk
Daily Devotion – February 2, 2016

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 13:5
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160202dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

An old, gray-haired man walked into the headquarters of General George Washington. When Washington saw him, he took notice and stopped what he was doing. The old man’s name was Peter Miller. Washington treasured him as a friend, and for good reason. During the dark days of Valley Forge, when Washington’s men were cold and starving and sick, it was old Peter Miller who had worked so hard to deliver as much relief and medical help as he possibly could.

Now here the old man stood, having walked a long walk to see the general. He was there to plead for the life of his neighbor back home, one Michael Widmon. Through some foolish act, Mr. Widmon had been found guilty of treason and sentenced to be hanged. Only Washington could grant a pardon, and a pardon is what Peter Miller sought.

Reports are that Peter Miller’s words moved Washington to tears. Nevertheless, Washington said no. After all, he said to Peter, how could he justify granting a pardon to a man just because he happens to be your friend?

What the old man said next put Peter Miller’s long walk in an entirely different light. “Friend?” he said to Washington, “Michael Widmon is not my friend. In fact, he has been my bitterest enemy.” And it was true. The townspeople knew that Widmon had taken to treating Peter Miller with contempt, even going so far as to spit in his face.

For Washington, that settled it. He granted the pardon. He granted the pardon not because Peter Miller had made the long walk for a friend. He granted the pardon because Peter Miller had made the long walk for an enemy.

You and I might flatter ourselves to think that, on our good days, we might be willing to “walk the long walk” for a friend, or for someone who kindles our compassion. But to do it for someone who has hurt us, or disrespected us, or humiliated us? That’s something else entirely. Our inability reminds us how far short you and I fall when it comes to God’s command to love.

That’s why we need Jesus. Jesus walked the long walk in our place. He suffered and died for our every self-seeking moment. Because he did, he has secured for each of us a permanent pardon from eternal death.

And there’s more. God’s Word tells us that the same love which Jesus demonstrated for us is also what empowers us to lengthen our walk for others–friend and foe alike.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, by your Gospel promise of forgiveness, move me to walk the long walk for those in my life who need me to do it. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

The Truth Hurts – February 1, 2016

Mon, Feb 01, 2016

Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your home town what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'” All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.
Luke 4:23, 28-29

The Truth Hurts
Daily Devotion – February 1, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 4:23, 28-29
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160201dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“You need to hear this.” When Phil heard these words, he didn’t know what to think. He could sense it wasn’t going to be pleasant. Still, he figured he needed to hear what his friend had to say. But was it going to be a gentle correction, a needed criticism, or a stern rebuke? In any event, he prepared himself because he knew the truth would hurt.

The truth was what Jesus shared with the people in Nazareth, and there was an honesty which was hard to accept. The truth hurt. Because of the painful truth Jesus revealed, many rejected him. They were also ready to silence him. The account provides a much needed caution for me.

While I prefer to hear about God’s goodness and love, I desperately need to hear when he speaks honestly with me. I have to hear the whole truth, and, the truth hurts. I am a sinner. I am rebellious and hostile to God. By nature I don’t want to do what God desires, nor am I inclined to even think about obeying him.

As Jesus opened the eyes of the crowd, so he opens mine. He confronts me with the truth of my rebellion. He also confronts me with the truth of my condemnation. The truth hurts. It is when I feel the sting of this harsh reality and am broken under its pressing burden, that I long to hear what Jesus has done for me.

He accepted the punishment I should have endured. He experienced the condemnation I should have received. He rescued me from the painful sentence I should have borne. This precious truth brings relief. It also renews me through faith so I can delight in doing what he desires.

By faith, Jesus has set me free from the painful reality which confronted me and replaced it with the peace only the whole truth can provide. In this truth I now live and rejoice.

Prayer:
O blessed Savior, my Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you for the precious truth you provide. This alone reveals the burden of my sin, and leads me to you, the one who has released me from that burden. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

We are Renewed Day by Day – January 31, 2016

Sun, Jan 31, 2016

We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16

We are Renewed Day by Day
Daily Devotion – January 31, 2016

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:16
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160131dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

It has been said that we begin dying the moment we are born. These bodies of ours are not what they would have been had sin not entered the world and along with it death.

Knowing this, we understand the importance of time. Once spent, it cannot be recovered. There isn’t a time machine that will permit us to rewind our lives and live them over. The past is just that—it’s passed!

For that matter, we don’t have possession of the future either. Will I be here tomorrow? Perhaps not! “My times are in your hands,” the psalmist sang (Psalm 31:15). The voice of God’s servant Job proclaimed, “Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed” (Job 14:5).

Over the course of our God-given time, we experience what the apostle Paul writes: “outwardly we are wasting away.” Hair grays and thins. Skin wrinkles. Muscles lose strength. Eyesight dims. Hearing fades. Memory loses track of little details—and sometimes big ones. Though outwardly we may look and feel like the wrecks of time, the time that God gives us is precious because “inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

We often pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The nourishment that our bodies cannot do without, God graciously and regularly provides for us. In his love, God also gives us spiritual nourishment that inwardly renews us day by day. He feeds our souls with the precious truths of his Word. He comforts us with his forgiveness through Jesus to renew his peace in our hearts. He assures us of his unfailing love to renew our joy even as face the failings of our physical life. He promises to give us life that is perfect and eternal to renew our hope of heaven.

When you notice the signs of aging in your body, don’t lose heart. Through the Word of God which points you to Jesus your Savior, inwardly you are being renewed day by day!

Prayer:
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 471)
Renew me, O eternal Light, and let my heart and soul be bright,
Illumined with the light of grace that issues from your holy face.

Create in me a new heart, Lord, that gladly I obey your Word.
Oh, let your will be my desire and with new life my soul inspire.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

The Listener – January 30, 2016

Sat, Jan 30, 2016

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice.
Psalm 18:6

The Listener
Daily Devotion – January 30, 2016

Devotion based on Psalm 18:6
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160130dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

There was a machine repairman who had an unusual knack for correctly diagnosing where the trouble was in faulty factory equipment. And he could fix it quickly. His co-workers noticed that he normally left the lunchroom 10 minutes early. One day someone followed him to see what he did before the others started working again. The repairman didn’t touch a wrench or a screwdriver. Instead, while everyone else was gone and there was no sound of conversation, he stood in the middle of the large room, closed his eyes, and listened to the machinery. His ear caught every subtle sound, every click, every change in pitch or vibration. He could identify the first signs of a problem before it became apparent to the others. It’s as if he knew each machine personally.

That’s how God knows us. God knows us personally and intimately. He monitors our thoughts and feelings all the time. And when we need help, he is listening. Today’s Bible verse assures us that when we cry out to him, the Lord hears us. Why does the Almighty God want to hear us? Because he loves us and he wants to help us. He’s proved his love through Jesus—the incarnate love of God to rescue us from sin’s destruction.

God hears us when we call on him. He hears the shouts and the groans of our hearts. He knows when we are “broken” or “out of tune.” And when we call on him, he knows exactly what we need.

Facing a problem today? Cry out to the Lord. Through Jesus, you can be sure he will hear you!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for always listening to the groans and troubles of my heart and life. Thank you for always being there to answer with your solution to all my problems— Jesus my Savior. In his name I pray. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

A Most Important Victory Parade – January 29, 2016

Fri, Jan 29, 2016

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.
I Peter 3:18-20

A Most Important Victory Parade
Daily Devotion – January 29, 2016

Devotion based on I Peter 3:18-20
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160129dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The year was 1997. I was serving as a pastoral intern in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was a great time and place to be a Packer fan. Brett Favre and Reggie White led the Packers to their first Super Bowl victory in thirty years. To say that the city of Green Bay was excited would be an understatement of monumental proportions.

The day after winning the championship, the Packers rode through the city in a victory parade. In spite of a severe snowstorm, thousands of people lined the streets to cheer for their team. Fortunately for me, the parade passed right by our church and I could see the whole thing through my office window.

A victory parade is not unique to Green Bay, of course. Whenever a championship is won, there is a victory parade in the team’s hometown.

But what would you say if I told you that Jesus once had a victory parade? And what if I told you that he paraded, not through his hometown, but through hell? It’s true. But, you don’t need to take my word for it. We have the words of St. Peter. Peter tells us that after Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose from the grave he went to hell and announced his victory. He had done it! He had defeated sin and death and the devil! And because he did, his victory is also YOUR victory through faith in him. Your sins can no longer condemn you. Your death cannot hold you. The devil has no power over you.

Christians have confessed this comforting truth for hundreds of years. The Apostles’ Creed states that Jesus descended into hell. The next time you confess this creed, take comfort that He did. And let your life be a celebration of His victory!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, today I celebrate the victory you announced when you descended into hell. The penalty for my sins has been paid. My fear of death has dissolved. And my enemy, the devil, cannot harm me. Thank you! Amen.

This is the ninth in a series of devotions based on the truth of God’s Word expressed in the Apostles’ Creed. These devotions will appear on Thursday and Friday in January and February.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

Equals – January 28, 2016

Thu, Jan 28, 2016

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:6-8

Equals
Daily Devotion – January 28, 2016

Devotion based on Philippians 2:6-8
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160128dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Tim and Tom were equals. If you asked them they’d agree and anyone else would have the same conclusion. They were hired on at the company the same day, they’d made an equal number of sales and had made the same amount of money for the company as the other. They were equals.

Which is what made it puzzling when Tim was promoted and Tom wasn’t. Tom felt underappreciated, undervalued. They were equals but they were treated like anything but.

We tend to be OK when people more skilled than us move up in their particular field. That’s the way it’s supposed to work! The better musician sits in the first chair, the better athlete makes the team or the starting lineup. But when it’s our equal that gets the special treatment, that’s when the “unfair” alarms in our head start to go off. We think we deserve fair treatment and when we sense treatment that is less than fair, we get upset and feel abused.

It’s really our sinful nature that demands that we receive equal treatment, isn’t it? We puff ourselves up with pride and can’t imagine anyone seeing anything in us that is less than the best. We bloat with pride and arrogance and think that everyone else is inferior. And often that pride impacts the way we look at God and the way that we think God should look at us. We feel better than others and think that God should feel the same way.

But the sad reality is that we are all sinful. There is no one better than anyone else–we are all equal–equally sinful, equally deserving of death and hell.

But God sent one who was not our equal. Jesus was far better than us in every way. He was better than everyone and equal to God the Father, yet he set that rightful equality aside and became like us. He became like a servant and placed himself under us, under our laws, under our temptations. He gave up heaven to come to our earth and suffer our hell in our place. He lived a perfectly holy life, and yet wasn’t filled with pride about his accomplishments. Though he was the one who could rightfully boast about what he had done, he didn’t. Instead he quietly went about the work of being the world’s Savior. He humbled himself even to our death, even to sin’s cross. And he did it to show his love.

For the times when we are prideful, we have a humble Savior. For the times that we are full of ourselves, we have a God who emptied himself for us. For the times when we are weak, we have a Savior who is strong–strong to save.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your humble life, your willing suffering, your gracious death, all for me and in my place. I will worship your name forever that you have purchased me and won heaven to be my eternal home. Accept my thank and praise. Amen

This is the eighth in a series of devotions based on the truth of God’s Word expressed in the Apostles’ Creed. These devotions will appear on Thursday and Friday in January and February.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

Mission Accomplished – January 27, 2016

Wed, Jan 27, 2016

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
Isaiah 61:1-3

Mission Accomplished
Daily Devotion – January 27, 2016

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:1-3
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160127dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

There was no spark left in his eyes, not even a flicker of joy in his heart. Life had become a mere existence that he didn’t even want to hold on to anymore. He had lost track of the number of sleepless nights he had spent on the hard “mattress,” if you could call it that. The days spent in darkness had long since begun to run together. Thoughts of escape no longer occupied his mind. He had lost hope.

It’s the kind of situation they make movies about, but few of us have ever experienced. Being held prisoner in the worst of conditions by an enemy who has no intention of releasing us is something that few have experienced–physically that is.

Spiritually… that’s a different matter. Each one of us was born into this world under those conditions. Our enemy, the devil, had full control and no intention of releasing his prize. With the shackles of sin and guilt fastened securely and the very real terror of inevitable death there was no hope. Escape was out of the question.

Then our Savior came. His mission was to rescue prisoners, and that is exactly what he did. He broke your shackles by sacrificing his life as payment for your sin and guilt. He scattered the darkness of death by rising from the grave. He now proclaims to you the good news that the perfect life led has been given to you. You are no longer a prisoner, but a perfect, and perfectly free, child of God.

The darkness of death that haunts the dreams of all people no longer haunts you. You have been set free from that fear because through faith in Jesus you will rise to life just as he did.

Jesus came into our world on a rescue mission, and he now proclaims, “Mission accomplished.” You have been set free. Now you can live in peace and hope. Now you can live forever with your Savior.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me enough to make it your mission to rescue me. Thank you for being my Savior. Give me the strength to live in the freedom you have won for me. In your name I ask it. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

All the Right Parts – January 26, 2016

Tue, Jan 26, 2016

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be 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 cease to be 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 arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:12-21, 26, 27

All the Right Parts
Daily Devotion – January 26, 2016

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 12:12-21, 26, 27
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160126dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Many parts…one body. What a great mystery and marvel the Christian church is!

I am one of the least musically inclined pastors you can find in our church body, but I have yet to serve in a congregation that did not more than make up for my shortcomings: a keyboard player with her baby in a playpen behind her, a quartet in a small congregation that rivaled any vocal musicians anywhere, an organist who soaked her arthritic hands in hot wax to loosen them up for the morning service, a man who could play and lead others to play just about any instrument, a computer program called Hymnsoft and a solid, sound system to play it.

Many parts…one body. What a great mystery and marvel the Christian church is!

I enjoy yard work and tried to make it my practice to always attend work days at church and pitch in with the mowing, trimming, weeding, etc. that needed to be done. Nevertheless, I couldn’t always be there and church maintenance was not my strongest gift, but I have yet to serve in a congregation that did not have those men and women who said; “Pastor, would it be OK if I planted flowers around the church?” or those who were always, without being asked, changing light bulbs, trimming hedges, and picking up trash.

Many parts…one body. What a great mystery and marvel the Christian church is! We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body… This mystery and this marvel is the work of the Holy Spirit, so today, this “mouth” says, “I need you, hands and feet. Thank you for your service. You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

Prayer:
Holy Spirit of God, thank you for so richly supplying the needs of our individual congregations and, on a much grander scale, equipping the entire Christian church for service to Jesus our head. Bless the hands and feet, the eyes and ears, as they serve Jesus, our Head, now and forever. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

Jesus’ Amazing Claim – January 25, 2016

Mon, Jan 25, 2016

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Luke 4:17-21

Jesus’ Amazing Claim
Daily Devotion – January 25, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 4:17-21
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160125dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Have you ever heard somebody make a claim about themselves that you had a hard time believing? “I used to be in the secret service and worked for five US Presidents.” “I met legendary coach Bobby Knight and was asked to assist with his summer camp.” “My parents competed on the US National Curling Team.” “I worked under Hillary Clinton in the State Department.” If we know the person to be a liar or if we just can’t see it because of what else we know of the person, we meet such claims with a shake of the head or a raising of the eyebrow: “It’s not true!” If we know and trust the people who make the claim, we are fascinated by such connections and accomplishments. Perhaps we begin to think differently or more highly about that person, and our respect and awe for them grows.

Early in his earthly ministry Jesus of Nazareth made a claim about himself. He visited a Jewish house of worship, a synagogue, and read a passage written some 700 years earlier by the well-known prophet Isaiah. Those who took God’s Old Testament words seriously knew this selection to be talking about the long-awaited Messiah. This Anointed One (did you know that the words Messiah and Christ are both titles that mean “the anointed one?”) would come and do wonderful, fantastic, beautiful, yes miraculous, things! How the people looked for and longed for this Messiah who would bring a message of good news, freedom, and healing. Can you imagine the stunned silence in the room when Jesus made the claim that he was the one Isaiah had been talking about? Many of the people there in his hometown rejected him and his claim. They just couldn’t see it.

It has been several thousand years since Jesus made that claim about himself to a small group of people in a Galilean synagogue. But he still makes that claim about himself in the Bible today. Jesus is rightly called the Christ because he fulfilled every word written about him. He talked the talk and walked the walk. He tells us and shows us that God so loved us he sent a Savior from sin. Jesus proclaims that God looks on us with favor because he himself has done everything to wipe away anything that would bring God’s disfavor. He frees us from the prison house of sin and slavery to the deceiver. He promises life and heaven as he speaks to us about his resurrection from death and ascension into heaven. By Spirit-worked faith we trust Jesus’ amazing claim and receive all the blessings the truth of his claim bring to us!

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, open my eyes more and more through the power of the gospel to see Jesus as the anointed one, my Savior from sin, death, and hell, that I might live and face death with peace, joy, and hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

God has Chosen You – January 24, 2016

Sun, Jan 24, 2016

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Mark 1:16-18

God has Chosen You
Daily Devotion – January 24, 2016

Devotion based on Mark 1:16-18
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160124dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jesus saw Simon and Andrew as he walked along the Sea of Galilee. They were fishing, and he said to them, “Come, follow me.” It seems like a simple request. But then the question comes to mind, “Why?” What was it about these men that made Jesus choose them over all the other people along the Sea of Galilee? Jesus could have chosen the rich, or the highly educated, or the influential, or the officials of his day. But he didn’t. He found common fishermen and chose them to follow him, so that they could be trained for three years to become fishers of men instead of fishers of fish. But it wasn’t anything about those two fishermen that caused Jesus to choose them. It was simply God’s grace that was poured out on Simon and Andrew.

You could ask the same question about yourself: What does God see in you that would lead him to call you to follow him? If you are honest with yourself, you have to admit there is no reason that he would have to call you. You are not good enough, smart enough, perfect enough, or deserving enough to make Jesus call you. But in his grace Jesus chose you to be his disciple. He removed the obstacles separating you from God when he paid for your sins. Now he calls you to follow him just as he called Simon and Andrew so many years ago.

What a great privilege and gift from your Savior! He has chosen you to follow him.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, I give thanks that you have called me to be your disciple. Give me the strength to follow you all the days of my life. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

Our Loving Lord Calls Us to Repentance – January 23, 2016

Sat, Jan 23, 2016

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth…When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

Jonah 3:1-5,10

Our Loving Lord Calls Us to Repentance
Daily Devotion – January 23, 2016

Devotion based on Jonah 3:1-5,10
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160123dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Nineveh was the New York City of its day. Capital of the powerful Assyrian Empire, the city was large and proud. One hundred foot high walls surrounded it. The citizens of Nineveh were well protected from physical danger by the walls that surrounded them.

But the Ninevites were in danger from a force much more powerful than any neighboring army. They were in grave spiritual danger. Sin was rampant, and God had had enough. He sent his prophet Jonah some six hundred miles to warn them to repent of their sin or he would destroy them in forty days.

Like the people of Nineveh, God commands us to repent of our sins. God’s warnings about our sin are always urgent. Sin is serious; it separates us from God.

Against what sins are you struggling? Today God calls on you to repent. Turn away from those sins and trust God for his mercy. He is a forgiving God, just as he was for the people of Nineveh: “…he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.” God has had compassion on you, too. Instead of bringing on you the destruction your sins deserve, he brought that destruction on Jesus when he hung on the cross. Through Jesus you have forgiveness for all your sins against God. May this comforting reality give you the strength you need today to leave your sin behind and live your life for him.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I confess that I have so often sinned against you. Forgive my sins for Jesus’ sake. Give me the strength and the will to live this day in true repentance that all my doings and life may please you. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

It’s Not Fair – January 22, 2016

Fri, Jan 22, 2016

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Mark 15:15

It’s Not Fair
Daily Devotion – January 22, 2016

Devotion based on Mark 15:15
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160122dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“It’s not fair!” the five year old pleads as his mother takes away his toy truck.

“It’s not fair!” the teenager protests when her father grounds her for two weeks.

We all want life to be fair. Or so we claim. One of my professors in college had formerly served as the vice-principal of a high school. As such, he was responsible for disciplining students. He told us how often students would insist, “That’s not fair!” after he announced their punishment. He always responded the same way, “You don’t want it to be fair. You want it to be UNfair in your advantage.”

This is truer for most of us than we would like to admit. As the police officer approaches your car after pulling you over and you KNOW you were going fifty-five miles per hour in a forty mile per hour zone, you are not hoping he will be fair. You are hoping he will be UNfair in your advantage and let you go without giving you a ticket.

In the history of this world there has never been an event less fair than the sentencing of Jesus Christ to die on a Roman cross. He had broken no law. He was, in every sense, completely innocent. He was not just innocent of crimes against the government; he was innocent of a single sin against God. Yet, the Roman Governor, Pilate, sentenced Jesus to death and freed a known murderer named Barabbas. It was not fair.

And we can thank God that it was not fair. You see, it was not just Barabbas who was set free on that Friday in Jerusalem. We were set free as well. Our sins against God deserved his eternal anger and punishment. But, Jesus was punished instead. He went to the cross. We were set free. By faith in him, we are free from our sins, free from guilt, free from fear, free from punishment.

What Jesus endured was not fair. But he was willing to endure it because of his great love for us. When it comes to our salvation, thank God it’s not fair!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, how grateful I am that you were willing to take my place. Rather than object to the injustice, you accepted it. I can never thank you enough. But, may my life this day be a demonstration of my gratitude. Amen.

This is the seventh in a series of devotions based on the truth of God’s Word expressed in the Apostles’ Creed. These devotions will appear on Thursday and Friday in January and February.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

What an Entrance – January 21, 2016

Thu, Jan 21, 2016

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:22-23

What an Entrance
Daily Devotion – January 21, 2016

Devotion based on Matthew 1:22-23
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160121dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Now that was an entrance! If you’ve ever seen the Disney movie Aladdin, you know the scene I’m talking about. Aladdin had just used one of his 3 wishes to become a prince so that he would qualify to marry Princess Jasmine. He’s dressed to the hilt as his new persona, Prince Ali Ababwa. And he doesn’t come alone. On the back of an elephant, with a full scale orchestra and what looks like a zoo accompanying him down the main street, Prince Ali enters the palace. It wasn’t true, but he wanted everyone to believe that he was a prince. I think the Genie put on a pretty convincing show!

It was true that Jesus was the Prince of heaven, yet he didn’t come in an elaborate show. Can you get any less elaborate than a virgin’s womb, in lowly Bethlehem, in a barn? He was the long foretold Prince of Peace, yet he arrives, not in pomp and circumstance, but in humility. He would convince people of his royalty, not in dress or with an orchestra or exotic pets. He would convince people of his royalty with his love. The world heard the news that the angels sang; they’ve heard the message that the shepherds (and evangelists after them) proclaimed. The Holy Spirit used that gospel to plant faith in hearts, faith that would enable believers to see the grandiose love of God wrapped in flesh and packaged in the manger. Not escorted by a zoo, but born in one, our humble Savior showed his love when he set us free from sin and death.

His appearance wasn’t amazing, but the grace that he gives sure is! His entrance wasn’t awe-inspiring, unless faith enables you to see in him the heart of God that bleeds for you! See the virgin birth through which God was born to be with people like us. The Divine was born to die, so that death-bound sinners, like us, could live. The fact that God would leave heaven and set foot on earth to rescue sinners is an amazing feat of love. Yet humility was and always has been his theme.

This humble Savior–his life for us, his suffering for us, his death for us–humbles us. By faith, we see what really happened in Bethlehem that night: the grand entrance of God born in flesh, God born to save us from sin and to win us for his glory. After pondering those things in our heart, let’s go out and live a humble life of thanks and praise. Let’s humbly serve others and serve the God who has served us!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, we praise you for your humility and love. Thank you for entering our world to be our Savior, for entering our hearts through faith. Cause that faith to grow in our hearts that we might serve you and others with that same love. Amen.

This is the sixth in a series of devotions based on the truth of God’s Word expressed in the Apostles’ Creed. These devotions will appear on Thursday and Friday in January and February.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

You make God Smile – January 20, 2016

Wed, Jan 20, 2016

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62:1-5

You make God Smile
Daily Devotion – January 20, 2016

Devotion based on Isaiah 62:1-5
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160120dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

As the music played quietly in the background, another look at his watch revealed that it was time. “Any moment now,” he anxiously thought. Then the doors opened, and there she was–more beautiful than he had ever seen her. Flashes popped as she slowly made her way down the aisle. Pictures that captured his face revealed a smile that would not be going away anytime soon. He couldn’t help it. There was his bride!

That joy and delight is what God has for those who believe in him. That’s right. You make God smile. Allow your jaw to drop in awe at that beautiful truth.

We know what makes God happy–total perfection. (“Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”–Leviticus 19:2) We also know that God hates sin and will absolutely never allow any sinner to enter into his kingdom. (“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful.”–Revelation 21:27) Yet he takes delight in you. Seeing you makes his face light up like a groom seeing his bride on his wedding day.

Every sin and imperfection that should cause God to look at you in disgust was removed by Jesus when he died for you on the cross. Through faith God has clothed you with the perfect life of Jesus so that now when he looks at you he sees beautiful perfection and nothing that would prevent you from entering his kingdom.

No matter what is going on in your life, or what others think when they look at you, God looks at you with loving eyes. What he sees gives him great joy and will continue to give him great joy for all of eternity.

Prayer:
Gracious Lord, thank you for removing my sin and making me a delight to your eyes. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

The Right Tool for the Right Job – January 19, 2016

Tue, Jan 19, 2016

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
1 Corinthians 12:1-11

The Right Tool for the Right Job
Daily Devotion – January 19, 2016

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160119dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Everyone has heard the saying; “the right tool for the right job.” This is an important truth to learn. But what if we could find the one tool that does it all?

When I moved to Alaska, wise men gave me sage advice: “Get a Leatherman multi-purpose tool.” Before I went anywhere – hiking, camping, fishing – I was told, get the real deal and not an imitation. Because outdoor activities in Alaska often take place in remote places, you need to be prepared for anything. Leatherman tool, duct tape, and mechanics’ wire were always in the backpack. With this tool and these supplies you could do amazing things.

When I read today’s devotion text I thought: “Leatherman tool! The Holy Spirit is God’s ‘multi-purpose tool.’” The Spirit is the real deal that does amazing things.

In Alaska I got to know a woman who said to me; “I wish I believed what the people of this church believe, but I just don’t.” It can be frustrating and disappointing to hear someone say that. But the confession of faith, that “Jesus is Lord,” happens only by the Holy Spirit.

Equipped with the Word of God we can only do what we can. We can only share the message of Jesus who is the Lord of life and Lord over all things. Then we watch and wait as the Spirit does what only the Spirit can do: bring sinners to faith in Jesus, gather them into his church and equip them for service.

As you hear today’s words you see that the Spirit has many functions, gives many gifts and confers many blessings. Truly the Holy Spirit is God’s “multi-purpose tool” for the building of his church.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit of God, as we think of those who do not have the blessing of faith in Jesus, we ask you to give that gift freely and frequently. To those who wish to serve in your kingdom, grant your gifts for the common good. For all our other needs in life and eternity, we pray that you would work in us just as you determine. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF

Don’t Forget to invite Jesus – January 18, 2016

Mon, Jan 18, 2016

…and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
John 2:2

Don’t Forget to invite Jesus
Daily Devotion – January 18, 2016

Devotion based on John 2:2
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160118dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The state of marriage is a mess in our country and world. Ugly divorces leave hurt and bitterness in their wake. “Amicable” divorces are sought and justified as “being best” for all involved. Unhappy and bored spouses live a marriage-killing lie by seeking sexual thrills and emotional excitement with partners outside their marriage. Abuse (physical, verbal, or emotional) is the unwelcomed guest in the lives of many who stick it out because they want to make it work. Some stay married to the partner of their youth, but strain the relationship with emotional, physical, or sexual distancing. Even well-meaning and loving spouses get busy and distracted and forget to work on the marriage as they once did and know they should. Alternative arrangements that alter or attempt to replace traditional marriage haven’t done our society any favors or made any notable improvements. Men and women live together without commitment so that they can easily remove themselves from the situation if it becomes inconvenient. The definition of marriage is changed to allow lifestyles that God calls wrong and harmful to stand as legitimate and normal.

Argggghhhh! What’s going on? Where did we go wrong? Is there any hope for us–as individuals, as couples, as a society? There is, if we are willing to look for help in the right place. There is, if we do what an unnamed couple in Cana did so long ago. They invited Jesus to their wedding. The reason they did this? It seems that he had been a part of their life as family or friend prior to the big event. Did they know everything about who he was or what he had come to do? Maybe not. But they invited him to their wedding. After he revealed himself as more than just another guest (read John 2:1-11), they had good reason to invite him into their married life.

We know, without a doubt, who Jesus is! He revealed himself as true God and man who entered our world to be the Savior from sin. He speaks to us through his Word as one who loves us and seeks only what is best for us and our relationships. He is able to heal, restore, and guide us in a way that nobody else can or does. Do you recognize your sins in a past or current relationship or marriage? Take them to Jesus who lived and died for you to erase your sins in the eyes of his Father. Are you in a relationship and contemplating marriage? Talk to a pastor to get some pre-marital counseling from God’s Word. Are you confused about relationships and marriage? Seek out Jesus in his Word and through the words and advice of Christian couples whose marriages you admire. Do you need help moving forward in your own marriage? Consider attending a marriage retreat or Bible study. Jesus stands by ready to help! Don’t forget to invite him to your wedding and into your marriage!

Prayer:
Lord, I thank you for the gift of marriage that you’ve given to the human race. Forgive me for the times when I have sinned against you by thoughts, words, and actions that demean or destroy marriage. Lead me by your Word in all my relationships, restoring peace and joy through forgiveness and guiding me in godly living with your wisdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF