WELS Daily Devotions

Devotion - September 23, 2014

14 hours 21 mi

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy … Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:1-2


Little hands shape Play-Doh into so many things: hot dogs, stars, and colorful creatures. And when they finish they make something else.

How much like Play-Doh we are! What’s molding our hearts, minds, and character? Either the world is shaping us to conform to its standards or the Lord is changing us inside and out.

The world works hand-in-hand with our inborn, sinful nature. An advertisement leaves us dissatisfied with what God has given. A movie scene or Internet picture stirs lustful desires. Another person’s harsh words kindle our resentment.

Even potentially good virtues like hard work, family values, and self-reliance become ungodly in the world’s hands. Work or family can become more important than our Savior. Self-reliance can fail to fully rely on God, and it can foster indifference towards the needs of others.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” But how? How can we resist the power of this world? Look at what the apostle writes: “In view of God’s mercy.”

The preceding chapters of Romans laid out the wonders of God’s mercy. The opening verses proclaimed the gospel of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. What mercy! Our own sin made us worthless. Yet even though all have sinned, God has freely justified all, because Jesus paid the ransom by sacrificing himself in our place. God justifies the wicked. He gives us a clean record. Faith believes the good news of this verdict. Only by faith in Christ, and not by works, we have access to God and rejoice in the hope of glory. “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (Romans 9:16).

In view of God’s mercy, why wouldn’t we daily resist the world’s efforts to mold us like Play-Doh? Rather, take God’s word to heart to transform your mind, making you new each day.

Prayer: 

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 70:4):
Jesus, be with me and direct me;
Jesus, my plans and hopes inspire;
Jesus, from tempting thoughts protect me;
Jesus, be all my heart’s desire;
Jesus, be in my thoughts all day
And never let me fall away.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 23, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 22, 2014

Mon, Sep 22, 2014

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Matthew 16:21-26

Following Jesus is Worth Whatever it Takes

Human beings put a value on everything. How much we value someone or something affects the decisions we make. If we value a certain piece of meat enough to pay thirteen dollars a pound for it, we buy it. If we value our pet enough to pay a thousand dollars for the surgery she needs, we tell the vet to schedule the surgery. If we value winning a marathon enough, we get up early every morning to train for it. If we value losing weight enough, we avoid certain foods.

Jesus values you more than anyone has ever valued anything. He wants to spend his eternity with you. He knew that the only way he could do this was to go to the cross and spill his blood as a payment for your sins. It would be painful beyond words. It would be difficult beyond description. As Jesus said, he would have to “suffer many things.” But, for Jesus it was a simple equation. Lose his life or lose you. He chose to lose his life.

And now, because of what Jesus did, all his followers will live eternally with him. Those who do not follow him will suffer separation from him forever. So, what are you willing to suffer in order to follow him? It is a simple equation. Lose him and you lose everything. Or, to put it positively, follow him at all costs. Carry whatever burden you must. Put up with whatever ridicule you must. Pass by whatever temporary pleasure you must in order to follow him. Because when Jesus leads you to the glory of heaven you will exclaim, “Wow!  It was worth it!”

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, I thank you that you valued me enough to suffer so much to save me. My relationship with you is worth more than anything else. Send your Holy Spirit to strengthen me in this conviction so that every decision I make this day will reflect how much I value you. Amen.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 22, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 19, 2014

Fri, Sep 19, 2014

Hymn of the Week

O Lord, let this your little flock,
Your name alone confessing,
Continue in your loving care,
True unity possessing.
Your sacraments, O Lord,
And your saving Word
To us e’er pure retain.
Grant that they may remain
Our only strength and comfort.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 536, verses 2)

Lord Jesus Christ, the Church’s Head

God’s Church has always been his “little flock.” Her smallness is due to the fact that she confesses God’s name. God’s name is more than just his titles. God’s name is everything the Holy Spirit revealed about himself in the Bible.

The vast number of unbelievers can accept a wide variety of worldviews, but they cannot tolerate God’s saving wisdom. In fact, they are so violently opposed to the truth of God’s grace in Jesus Christ, that, if they could, they would storm the gates of heaven and topple God from his throne. But since this is not possible, they feel obligated to rid the world of all who believe in him.

Cain killed his brother for no other reason than that Abel offered a sacrifice with faith in the coming Savior. Noah’s family-of-eight was harassed because, unlike the rest of mankind, it embraced the righteousness that would come through the promised Messiah. King David and his tiny band of men hid from the army of King Saul simply because David’s words and life reflected his Spirit-given faith in his Savior.

We know well the happy outcome of their faith and way of life. Like a bride waiting to walk down the aisle, they paid no attention to those who disparaged them. The bride of Christ only has eyes for her Groom. And he graciously took her to himself–forever!

Until he takes us to heaven, he promises, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

Where does Jesus’ quaking little flock find forgiveness of sins, life and eternal salvation? In his Word. In the Bible we learn that the full punishment for our sins was paid with the blood of Jesus. His Word commands us to apply water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In the same breath it promises to “make disciples of all nations” in that unusual way (Matthew 28:18-20). Our Savior’s Word commands us to take and eat bread and wine. In these same words Jesus promises that, with the bread and wine, we received his true body and blood, given and poured out for us for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; 1 Corinthians 11). Such comfort is as foolish to unconverted reason as Jesus’ death on a cross. But like the cross, we recognize it as the wisdom of God for the salvation of all who believe.

Until the day of his return, Christ’s little flock prays:

Prayer: 

Your sacraments, O Lord, And your saving Word To us e’er pure retain.
Grant that they may remain Our only strength and comfort. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 19, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 18, 2014

Thu, Sep 18, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Lord, Jesus Christ, the Church’s head,
You are her one foundation.
In you she trusts, before you bows,
And waits for your salvation.
Built on this rock secure,
Your church shall endure
Though all the world decay
And all things pass away.
Oh, hear, oh, hear us Jesus!

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 536, verses 1)

Lord Jesus Christ, the Church’s Head

Pastor Johann Mentzer (1658-1734) was the author of this week’s devotional hymn. He carried crosses that few can imagine.

During his ministry, his prince in Saxony, Germany, joined with Peter the Great of Russia to wage war against Sweden. The most promising young men of Pastor Mentzer’s parish were being siphoned into the war machine. The military funerals followed.

Pastor Mentzer’s first wife, Eva Maria, died while giving birth to twins. He was left, a broken-hearted single-parent, with six children to raise.

In 1704 he married Anna Magdalena. The infant mortality rate at that time was about 60%. But of the seven children Anna bore him, only one survived. Within three weeks, Pastor and Anna stood at the graveside of four of their children. “Oh, my God,” he prayed. “You allow one painful distress after another only for the high praise of your name!”

It was during this time that Pastor Mentzer wrote his most enduring hymn: “O That I had a Thousand Voices” (CW 194 and 242). Of the 40 hymns he wrote in his lifetime, almost all of them fell under the categories of “Cross and Comfort” or “Praise and Thanksgiving.”

And is it any wonder? Praise and thanksgiving can only come from the unshakable knowledge that the cross of our Savior is our only lasting comfort!

Three hundred years later, our distresses, though perhaps not as severe, are not so very different than theirs. We still stand, red-eye over a mound of freshly dug earth. We turn restlessly on our bed consumed by trouble that belongs to tomorrow. But greatest of all is our guilt before a holy God and our liability to eternal punishment.

It took nothing short of the holy, precious blood and the innocent sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus to pay the price of our freedom from death and raise us to life everlasting! Our praise for the strong medicine of Jesus’ cross is reflected in the stout, biblical imagery and humble, plaintive prayer of that first verse:

Prayer: 

Lord, Jesus Christ, the Church’s head, You are her one foundation.
In you she trusts, before you bows, And waits for your salvation.
Built on this rock secure, Your church shall endure
Though all the world decay And all things pass away.
Oh, hear, oh, hear us Jesus!

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 18, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 17, 2014

Wed, Sep 17, 2014

I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.

Exodus 6:6-7

Know the LORD

After God had appointed Moses to lead the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to freedom, things did not go as smoothly as Moses or the Israelites would have liked. Pharaoh refused to let them go worship the LORD in the wilderness. On top of that, he made them labor even harder. As a result, the Israelites condemned Moses, and Moses questioned God rather than trust his will.

Our natural response to suffering is often the same. We question the way God is allowing things to happen. We want to blame him for our troubles, or accuse him of not caring, or of not staying true to his promises.

God could respond harshly to such accusations. However, we see that in his dealings with his Old Testament people, rather than get angry with Moses and the Israelites, he used the opportunity to teach them about himself.

What does God graciously teach us about himself when we enter a season of suffering?
He reminds us not only of who he is, but also of his love for us.

He is LORD. He is the God who saves. By the death and resurrection of the God-man Jesus, God has delivered us from the slavery of sin, the tyranny of the devil, and the hopelessness of death. His saving work proves that God cares deeply about us. He is not unaware of what we need. He is with us and takes a personal interest in the details of our lives.

God’s faithful love for us changes the way we view hardship. Although the pain may feel unbearable, because of Jesus, ultimately it is not. Because of Jesus’ suffering, our suffering is not a meaningless interruption of our life, but God’s way of cultivating our trust in his great mercy and grace. In Christ, he has made us his own people, citizens of his heavenly kingdom. We can be sure that he will carry us through all the trials we face and bring us safely to the Promised Land of heaven.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, you are the God of free and faithful love. Thank you for revealing your Son to me as my Savior. Help me see life’s burdens as opportunities to remember your mighty power to save. Amen.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 17, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 16, 2014

Tue, Sep 16, 2014

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:33-36


What will be the first question you ask God when you get to heaven? Maybe you will want to ask about something that happened in the Bible: “Lord, what really happened to the Ark of the Covenant?” Or maybe you will want to ask about something from history: ‘Lord, why did you allow those planes to crash into the Twin Towers?” Perhaps your question for the Lord will be on a more personal level: “Lord, why didn’t you give Grandpa more years with us on earth before taking him home?”

Like so many other passages in Scripture, these words from Romans remind us that God knows infinitely more than we ever will. Thankfully, our God is many times smarter and more knowledgeable than we are. He sees the whole picture while we often are left to wonder why he did this or allowed that. Often, we sinfully doubt God or question his will. We get frustrated and demand to know why he is doing what he is doing. As Christians we do well to simply trust him and know that his will in the end is always so much better than we could ever have thought or imagined.

That is certainly the case with God’s plan of salvation. From the beginning, God had a plan to save us from sin, death and hell. It’s a plan we maybe haven’t always understood fully, but what a wonderful plan it was! In a nutshell, the plan was to send his only Son into this world and to sacrifice him for a world full of sinners. That’s not what we would have come up with. Our plan might have involved some way to try to earn our own way to heaven; a plan that could only end in failure and eternal condemnation. God’s ways are so much higher than ours! He sent Jesus to be our Savior from sin and promised that through faith in him we will receive eternal life in heaven. “To him be the glory forever!”

We will always have lots of questions in this life. We may at times wonder why God does what he does. One thing we need never question is God’s love for us. He has proved it in sending Jesus. With hearts full of love for our Savior, we trust God to continue to do what he knows to be best for us.

Prayer: 

Dear Father in heaven, I am often full of questions. Thank you for planning my salvation through Jesus. Help me to trust in you and your will and to know that your plan is always good. Amen.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 16, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 15, 2014

Mon, Sep 15, 2014

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:13-16


More books have been written about Jesus Christ than about any other individual in history. One website estimates the number in the tens of thousands. As one might imagine, these books contain just about every opinion imaginable. Some view Jesus as God in human flesh. Others view him as a great human teacher. And some even claim that Jesus never existed at all.

What about you? What do YOU believe about Jesus? That was the question Jesus asked his closest followers one day. There were all kinds of rumors floating around about this amazing Rabbi named Jesus. Although there were differences of opinion, everyone agreed that there was nothing ordinary about him. In fact, Jesus’ words and miracles were so amazing that many people thought he must be one of the prophets of old who had come back to life.

Peter, one of the men who knew Jesus best, understood why Jesus was so amazing. Jesus was none other than God himself who came to earth in human flesh. Jesus was the One God had been promising since Adam and Eve had first rebelled against him. Jesus was the One who would repair the relationship between God and his rebellious children. Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

He still is. Jesus is not simply a great human teacher. He is not just an interesting historical figure. He is not one religious leader among many. And he most certainly exists. He is your God. He is your Savior. He is your hope for a life beyond this one and your hope for a life of meaning and purpose here and now.

Finally, it doesn’t really matter what a website says about Jesus. What matters is what YOU say about Jesus. Who do you say he is? Say he is your Lord and life and love…because he is.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself to me as my God and my Savior from sin. May this belief be reflected in everything I do and say. Amen.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 15, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 12, 2014

Fri, Sep 12, 2014

Hymn of the Week

For you have promised, Lord, to heed
Your children’s cries in time of need
Through him whose name alone is great,
Our Savior and our advocate.

And so we come, O God, today
And all our woes before you lay.
Be with us in our anguish still;
Free us at last from every ill.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 413, verses 3-4)


There was a story on the news recently about a mother who had accidentally locked her infant son inside the car along with her keys and her phone on a hot summer day. She borrowed a stranger’s phone and dialed the emergency number. “My infant son is locked in the car,” she said when someone picked up, “It’s so hot outside … can somebody come?”

“Ma’am,” the emergency dispatcher said, “How is your son right now?” “He’s doing ok,” she replied.  “Ma’am,” the dispatcher said once again, “We won’t send anyone unless the child is actually in some kind of distress.” And then the dispatcher hung up. A stranger eventually helped this woman by breaking the car window and rescuing her son. The woman thought she knew where to turn for help first in her time of need. It turns out, she was wrong.

That’s a painful feeling–to call on someone who has promised to help you in your time of need … and to be disappointed. But it happens so often.

Politicians break promises. Men and women disappoint their spouse’s marriage hopes. Parents disappoint their children. Employees don’t live up to expectations. Friends break appointments because something came up that was more important.

And every time someone disappoints a person by not being there in the way that person was hoping, they also do one more thing. They give reason to believe they won’t be there for that person again. They create room for doubt, which is a painful companion in your time of need.

A companion God knows you don’t want.

Consider Jesus. As he hung on the cross, he had the need of someone to be there for him, but no one was. Not because the one who promised to be there for him wasn’t, but because God was keeping a promise to always be there for you. Even as God watched his only perfect Son writhe in pain, he considered your need for comfort, hope, companionship, and forgiveness most important.

At the cross of Jesus, we see how true it is that God will be there for you when you cry out to him.

And in Jesus’ empty grave on the third day, we see something else. We see that we can trust him not only to “be with us in our anguish still,” but to one day overcome every need by raising us to a place with him where we will be “free at last from every ill.”

Prayer: 

Dear God, thank you for your gracious promise to be there for us in our times of need. May we never fail to confidently cry out to you, knowing you will never fail to fill our hearts with peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 12, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 11, 2014

Thu, Sep 11, 2014

Hymn of the Week

When in the hour of utmost need
We know not where to look for aid,
When days and nights of anxious thought
Nor help nor counsel yet have brought.

Then is our comfort this alone
That we may meet before your throne;
To you, O faithful God, we cry
For rescue in our misery.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 413, verses 1-2)


I recently attended the funeral of a young man who was killed. The church was overflowing with friends and family, many of whom were standing in the aisles because there was not enough room for them all in the seats. Most of their attention that day was directed to the young man’s mother. There were countless hugs, an abundance of tears, and many words of encouragement and comfort.

I happened to see the mother two weeks later. We were both shopping, and I asked how she was doing. “I feel lonely,” she said. But she wasn’t just talking about missing her son. After the funeral, not one of the hundreds of friends who had attended had even called to see how she was doing. Not one of them considered that her “hour of utmost need” might last longer than the hour-long funeral service of her son. Her need for comfort was ongoing. And two weeks later, she didn’t have it.

Mothers who have lost their sons aren’t the only ones to ever feel alone in their pain. Maybe you’re struggling with an addiction, and you’re too ashamed to tell anyone. Maybe someone you love is sick, and you feel obligated to put up a strong front for them. Maybe too much work is piling up, and you’re afraid to admit that you might not be able to get it all done. Maybe you feel guilty about something, and the longer you keep it on your heart, the heavier that weight becomes. Whatever the cause, “days and nights of anxious thought” are a far too common experience for everyone.

Even Jesus. Jesus knows how it feels to be alone. As he hung on his cross, all his enemies laughed, his disciples had already run away, and even his Father in heaven had forsaken him. Jesus died alone. But he did so willingly, showing us exactly how far he was willing to go to put our needs ahead of his own, even if our greatest need was to be forgiven of the sins that killed him.

Though we aren’t always faithful in coming first to Jesus for rescue in our misery, he is always faithful in providing it whenever we call on him. “Call upon me in the day of trouble,” the Lord said, “and I will deliver you.”

Prayer: 

O faithful God, thank you for your promise to hear my cries for help, and to deliver me in the hour of my every need. Help me to cry out to you faithfully and confidently. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 11, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 10, 2014

Wed, Sep 10, 2014

“Foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” The Sovereign Lord declared—he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”

Isaiah 56:6-8


Meditate a moment on God’s declaration: “I will gather still others.” Do you realize that by God’s grace through faith, you are a fulfillment of these words? Think of all the amazing stories in the Bible you wish you could have been a part of. This one in Isaiah—it includes you!

Imagine yourself sitting in the house of God. Now reflect on why you are here. You have a phenomenal story, don’t you? Consider where you came from. There is no darker place than “dead in sin,” is there? But here you are. Recall your prodigal paths, each one illustrating how lost in sin you were. Still, here you are, in God’s house. You realize you should be on the outside looking in. “Foreigner” describes you well, doesn’t it?

But here you sit in God’s house, bound to him, loving his saving name, giving him the glory he deserves, clinging to his promises, praying with fellow believers. Why? The Sovereign Lord has gathered you here. That word “sovereign” says a lot about your Lord.
 
And it says a lot about your life, about the Lord’s gracious rule that has brought you into his presence. Do some more reflecting. Think of where you’ve been, the company you’ve kept, the rebellion of your life. You know there are times you could have died because of your foolishness. You would cringe at the thought of detailing these disgraces in an autobiography for all the world to read, but your God knows your story intimately. Yet here you are, sitting in the Lord’s house. Again, why? You sit here because of God’s grace. You sit here because the saving waters of baptism have made you alive in Christ. You sit here because “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

You sit here because while you were still a sinner, Christ died for you and saved you from God’s wrath. This isn’t just your story. It is the story of countless others from all nations, all whom the Lord has gathered by grace.

The next time you go to church, remind yourself, “I get to sit here in the house of God because of his astonishing grace.” And may your heart stir with delight as you recall his promise, fulfilled in you: “I will…give them joy in my house of prayer.”

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, it is a humble honor and privilege to be in your house. Thank you for your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 10, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 9, 2014

Tue, Sep 09, 2014

You who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy.

Romans 11:30

What God means by Mercy

The story goes something like this. Long ago, in a faraway land, there was an old man in a small village. The old man was a Christian. He also had the reputation for receiving direct messages from God. One day another Christian came through that village—a Christian haunted by his past. When people told him about the old man, he didn’t know what to think. And so he decided to try a test. He went to meet the old man. Then he told the old man this. He said, “I am a Christian, but for years I have been carrying the guilt of a terrible sin. The next time you talk to God, would you please ask him to tell you what that terrible sin was?” The old man agreed.

The next day, the two met again. “Did you talk to God last night?” “Yes, I did,” said the old man. “Did you ask him to tell you about my terrible sin?” “Yes, I did,” the old man replied.

“And what did God tell you?”

In a strong, clear voice the old man answered, “He told me to tell you…that he doesn’t remember.”

When God speaks to you and me in the Bible about his forgiving mercy through faith in Jesus, many times you and I do not fully grasp what he means. Just because we often cling to memories of sins from the past, we assume that God does too. But that assumption is wrong.

Here is the truth. God was determined to wash away our sins of disobedience. He was determined to wash them away once and for all. And he did. He spilled the blood of his own Son to do it. Then he raised him from death to assure us that the guilt of our sin is gone. But not only is it gone from our record. It is even gone from God’s memory. As God has already said, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).

That’s what God means by mercy. And that is the mercy we possess through faith in Jesus Christ.

Prayer: 

God of mercy, so often I choose to cling to memories of sins from my past. But you do not. Help me to absorb this truth. With your gospel, heal my wounded heart. Amen.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 9, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 8, 2014

Mon, Sep 08, 2014

The woman came and knelt before him [Jesus]. "Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Matthew 15:25-28

A Crumb of Grace

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). The apostle Paul heard and accepted the Lord's, "no" to his prayer. Still he rejoiced in what the Lord did for him. Even though Paul retained his "thorn in the flesh," he was content with the knowledge that God's undeserved love was his.

It is a lesson worth remembering and which is repeated in Jesus' answer to the Canaanite woman. She came to him and pleaded for his help. Even though Jesus seemed distant, she remained undaunted in her request. She was so confident that Jesus would help her, she believed even a crumb of grace would be sufficient for her.

As I consider the woman's persistence, as well as her unshakable faith, I need to ask myself, "What are my expectations when I pray?" "With what would I be content?"

Although I am invited to pray with boldness, confidence and without ceasing, am I always ready to accept the Lord's answer with contentment? Here is where the devil tries to trap me. He wants me to ignore Jesus' answer. He feeds my pride to think I deserve better. He even tries to fill me with discontent when the Lord does not do what I want. When I see these temptations gaining control, I need to remember the faith of the Canaanite woman. She believed a crumb of grace would be more than enough.

It is faith which leads me to see that God's grace is all about his undeserved love for me. This love proclaims I am forgiven and my guilt is removed. This love assures me I am rescued from my just punishment. This love even provides me with the certainty that I have a place in heaven. When I recognize the greatness of God's love for me in Jesus, I begin to realize what may seem like a crumb is actually a feast.

Prayer: 

O gracious Lord and Savior, pour out your grace and answer all my prayers according to your good will. Bless me with an unshakable faith which rejoices in every gift you give, and receives every one with contentment. Amen.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 8, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 5, 2014

Fri, Sep 05, 2014

Hymn of the week:

By grace! Oh, mark, this word of promise
When you are by your sins oppressed,
When Satan plagues your troubled conscience,
And when your heart is seeking rest.
What reason cannot comprehend
God by his grace to you did send.

By grace to timid hearts that tremble,
In tribulation’s furnace tried—
By grace, despite all fear and trouble,
The Father’s heart is open wide.
Where could I help and strength secure
If grace were not my anchor sure?

By grace! On this I’ll rest when dying;
In Jesus’ promise I rejoice.
For though I know my heart’s condition,
I also know my Savior’s voice.
My heart is glad; all grief is flown
Since I am saved by grace alone.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 384:3-5) 

I’m certain of Salvation because of God’s Grace

There are a lot of things in my life that can lead me to wonder if God really loves me. I’ve thought, said, looked at, and done things I’m ashamed of. How could God possibly love someone like me? Where is God’s love for me when I’m suffering from financial setbacks or health problems? Why would God let me have so much trouble in my life? Where is God’s love in death, whether it’s my own impending death or the death of a loved one? It just doesn’t seem like God could be a loving God when I look at my life.

But the Bible gives me a different message to consider. The one true God is the God of grace, the God who loves me, not because of who I am or what I have done, but because of who he is and what he does for me.

He loves me even though I daily sin much and trample all over his commands. He proclaims to me, “Son, daughter, your sins are forgiven in Christ.”

He loves me enough to allow hardships to discipline me and call me to return to him. He promises to work all those troubles for my spiritual and eternal good. He does not abandon me when I need him the most. He is “my anchor sure.” He loves me enough to be at my side when I’m facing the reality of death. He has prepared a place for me in heaven because of Jesus. He brings me home to heaven when I die.

A troubled conscience can keep you awake at night. Difficulties in life can lead you to question God’s love. The prospect of death is scary. But be certain of God’s love because his grace will never fail you. “For though I know my heart’s condition, I also know my Savior’s voice. My heart is glad; all grief is flown since I am saved by grace alone.”

Prayer: 

Lord God, as I face uncertainties in my life, help me find comfort and security in your grace.  Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 5, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 4, 2014

Thu, Sep 04, 2014

Hymn of the Week:

By grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless;
My soul, believe and doubt it not.
Why waver at this word of promise?
Has Scripture ever falsehood taught?
So then this word must true remain:
By grace you, too, shall heav’n obtain.

By grace God’s Son, our only Savior,
Came down to earth to bear our sin.
Was it because of your own merit
That Jesus died your soul to win?
No, it was grace, and grace alone,
That brought him from his heav’nly throne.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 384:1-2)

I’m certain of Salvation because of God’s Grace

Our world is flooded with uncertainty: fluctuations in the job and stock markets; the ups and downs of gas prices; turmoil in places like Ukraine and Gaza; threats of natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Those uncertainties lead to uncertainties in our minds. What will these things mean for me and my family?

Then there’s the uncertainty about spiritual matters. How can I be sure I’m right with God? Have I done enough good to make God happy? It sure doesn’t feel like it.

When we look inward for certainty or at the world around us, we will never find it. The world changes so quickly. The promises of a better future fade away with another economic downturn. And my life is too sinful. I don’t consistently think the right thoughts or have pure desires. I speak hurtful words and harbor unforgiving attitudes. If I’m to be right with God, how can I know I’ve been good enough when I so often just see myself doing the wrong thing?

The Bible has a different message for us. The Bible urges us to look away from ourselves and look to the promises of God where he says that we are saved because of his grace. What is grace? It is the love God has for those who don’t deserve it simply because that is what God is like.

God is love. His love is free and boundless. By his grace, his Son left his heavenly throne and became a lowly human being. By his grace, Jesus sacrificed himself on a cross as the payment for the sins of the world. By his grace, God has touched your life with his message of grace so you might believe it.

In a world of uncertainty, when you’re surrounded by spiritual uncertainty, be certain that you are saved because your relationship with God and your place in heaven hinge entirely on God’s grace. “So then this word must true remain: By grace you, too, shall heav’n obtain.”

Prayer: 

Lord God, thank you for your grace to me. Help me find certainty by looking to your Word alone. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 4, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 3, 2014

Wed, Sep 03, 2014

There (Elijah) went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord God said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. … The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came…”

1 Kings 19:9-12, 15


“What are you doing here?” the Lord asked Elijah. And Elijah’s response might as well have been, “I’m wondering the same thing myself.”

It’s easy to find yourself where Elijah was—depressed, alone, wondering what’s the point of living. You live in much the same kind of times that Elijah lived. You live in a world that could care less about the true God and hates those who do care. They are so brazen about it! Watch enough of it on your 24/7 news channel or witness enough of it in your community, and you’ll feel like you are the only faithful one left. You will wonder, “What am I doing here?” Perhaps you wonder that right now. Is it God's fault or your fault that you feel like you are the only faithful one left?

Has God taken away your purpose for living in this world or have you lost sight of it? Has God failed you with his promises or have you walked away from them? Who has been more brazen—those who do evil and hate you or you who wallow in a pity puddle and insinuate that God is sitting on his hands? Aren’t you amazed right now that God doesn’t lay you flat with a mighty wind, or swallow you up with a violent earthquake, or consume you with a blazing fire?

But what comes to you? A gentle whisper that says, “Go back.” Go back where? “Go back to where you have my promises.” Go back to the cross of your Savior, Jesus Christ, where sin is swept away and forgiveness is given. Go back to the empty tomb where the worst enemies—sin, death, and the devil—are swallowed up. Go back to the waters of baptism where self-pity drowns and new life rises. Go back to the Supper where Christ’s body and blood satisfy the hunger for peace.

When you do go back to God’s promises, do you know what you’ll find? You’ll find that you are back where you belong—back as the faithful spouse, the faithful parent, the faithful citizen, the faithful church member, the faithful Christian witness.

You’ll be back where God wants you. And you’ll know exactly why you are there. Through faith in Christ, you have God’s promises.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, keep me focused on your promises in Christ. That’s where I need to be. Amen.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 3, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 2, 2014

Tue, Sep 02, 2014

…from [the patriarchs] is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all.

Romans 9:5

The Rescue

During World War II, an American soldier by the name of Bert Frizen was on the front lines in Europe. One day, his patrol reached the edge of a wooded area with an open field before them. But unknown to the Americans, a unit of Germans waited in trenches about 200 yards across that field.

Bert was one of two scouts who moved out into the clearing. Once he was halfway across the field, the remainder of his battalion followed. Suddenly the Germans opened fire. Bullets ripped into both of Bert’s legs. The Americans immediately withdrew into the woods for protection. A rapid exchange of fire continued, but Bert lay helpless where he had fallen.

Then things got worse. Bert noticed that a German soldier was crawling towards him. He closed his eyes and waited for his enemy to arrive and put him to death. Time passed. Finally he dared to look. There was the German soldier kneeling at his side. Then Bert noticed something else. The shooting had stopped. The shooting had stopped because every man on both sides wanted to see what this mysterious German soldier was going to do next.

And this is what he did. In the middle of that field, the German picked up Bert in his arms and carried him to the safety of the American side. Then, without speaking a word, he turned and walked back across the field to his own troops. Moments later the fighting resumed, but not before all those present had witnessed how one man had risked everything for his enemy.

By nature, you and I were God’s enemies. Our sinfulness had infected us so much that our very minds were hostile toward God. But God did the unthinkable. He became one of us. He became one of us in the Person of Jesus Christ. On our behalf he lived the holy life we had refused to live. Then, for our sin he suffered and died the death we had deserved to die. Then he rose from death to assure us that we were enemies no more.

And now we are rescued, you and I—rescued and forgiven through faith in the One who refused to stand by and watch us die. That is what we have in our God. That is what we have in our Savior.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, at a time when every fiber of my being was your sworn enemy, you chose to rescue me. And now you are my dearest Friend. Thank you, Lord. Thank you. Amen.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 2, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 1, 2014

Mon, Sep 01, 2014

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

Matthew 14:25-27

Mistaken Identity

Often embarrassment follows a case of mistaken identity. What also quickly follows is an apology with the explanation, "I thought you were someone else." It is a situation that will repeat itself regularly, but likely will not have any lasting consequences—except when it happens regarding Jesus.

On the night the disciples witnessed the miracle of Jesus walking on the lake, their fears escalated. Instead of seeing their Friend, Teacher, and Savior, they mistook Jesus for a ghost. As a result, they were filled with terror and believed their demise was near. I need to learn a lesson from the disciples, and even more importantly, I need to know who Jesus is and what he does for me.

It is easy for Jesus to experience a case of mistaken identity. It happens when I fail to see Jesus for who he is, and try to make him into something he never came to be. Without the guidance of the Scriptures I would only identify Jesus as a good man, a fine teacher, or someone after whom I would like to model my life. The problem comes when I need Jesus to be more than this.

This is why I need to get back to what God's Word reveals. There I see Jesus' true identity. He is my Savior who by his obedient death on the cross rescues me from the condemnation of sin. He is my Redeemer who by his victorious resurrection frees me from the power of the devil. He is my Shepherd who by his unsurpassed power lovingly leads me through this life to eternal life. He is, finally, my ever-present God and Lord who says, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

While situations of mistaken identity will happen from time to time, I can never afford to see Jesus as anything, or anyone other than my Savior, my God, and my Lord.

Prayer: 

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 358)

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear!
It soothes our sorrows heals our wounds, and drives away all fear!

O Jesus, Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, my Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - September 1, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - August 29, 2014

Fri, Aug 29, 2014

A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!

Proverbs 15:23


It usually takes about 15 minutes.

Fifteen minutes after I’m walking away from a conversation–then I think of what I should have said!

I completely agree with Solomon’s wisdom in Proverbs 15:3. There is great joy is giving a friend an apt reply in a timely manner. I just wish I knew what that felt like!

But I do. And you can too.

My friend was going into minor surgery. As his pastor, I shared a devotion with him before the surgery. Instead of focusing on Bible passages that promised the Lord would be with him and keep him safe, we read a passage about God’s forgiveness. I reminded my friend that he was going into surgery totally forgiven by his Savior. I reminded him that his heavenly Father had put my friend’s sins behind God’s back. His Lord loved him without reservations.

Later, my friend told me that my “reply” was the best thing I could have told him. He went into the operating room filled with peace and confidence.

The point?

Many of us are not good with the quick come back. We struggle to know the right thing to say. What do you say to a friend who is down? To someone who is grieving? To a person feeling lonely? To those who realize they made a huge mistake? To a friend going into surgery?

We don’t have to be clever or witty. Sometimes the most apt reply is the good news of Jesus’ forgiveness because we have all sinned. Feelings of guilt can jump up and pull us down when we least expect it. We always can use a dose of good news that God’s Son has taken our guilt away forever.

Be a friend who is willing to talk about God’s overwhelming forgiveness. Share a few thoughts on how God has put away all our sin since Jesus died for the whole world. Tell your friends that Jesus died for them too. Whatever challenge or heartache or danger they are facing, they can face it being absolutely sure God holds nothing against them. God has forgiven them and will be with them as their loving, dedicated Father.

They will know the joy of forgiveness. You’ll know the joy of giving an apt reply that will help them for the rest of eternity!

Prayer: 

Jesus, so many times I’m not sure what to say. Help me find the words to talk about your undeserved love to people who need you. I’m not asking you to make me quick witted, just compassionately open about your grace. Thanks! Amen.

This special series has concluded. Refer to the archive for all the devotions in the “Summer with Solomon” series.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - August 29, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - August 28, 2014

Thu, Aug 28, 2014

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1

Stir It Up?

It’s fun to stir things up, isn’t it? Stirring up a science experiment in a lab can produce exciting results. Stirring up a cooking mixture in the kitchen can produce delicious results. Before you start stirring, you need to think about what will happen. How will these chemicals react to each other? How will these ingredients taste when mixed together?  When the recipe looks good, you go for it and stir away.

Have some fun and stir it up! But stirring things up is not always fun and good. Today, God tells us about a kind of “stirring up” that isn’t so good. The stirring up has to do with communication. When you take harsh words and stir someone’s heart into anger, it’s a bad thing.

We may know we shouldn’t use harsh words that stir up anger, but we excuse our sin by finding reasons why it isn’t so wrong: “They had it coming.” “The service at this place was horrible.” “I had to defend myself.” And the excuses go on and on. What excuses have you used for slinging harsh words at someone else?

Thankfully, God’s mercy and grace extend to us even when we’ve been so hateful as to attack someone else with our harsh words. In our place, Jesus took the harsh and angry words we deserve. As he suffered and died, people heaped angry ridicule and harsh words on him. He took the punishment that all our sins deserved when he died on the cross. On the third day, God’s answer was revealed as he raised Jesus from the dead. Your sins–even your harsh words–are forgiven in full!

God’s gracious work and forgiving words calm and strengthen our hearts. And God stirs us to action. The same God who shares kind and gentle words with us sends us out to share words with kindness and gentleness. In Galatians chapter 5, he says it this way: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.”

The next time you’re ready to share words with someone, ask yourself: “Am I giving a gentle answer or a harsh word?” Think about how the mixture of what you say and how you say it will react in the heart of the one who hears it: “Am I stirring up anger or giving a gentle answer?”

Have you heard the gentle words God uses with you? Through Christ, he calls you his own child. The Holy Spirit whispers his mercy, grace and peace into your ear. Your Good Shepherd knows your name and needs, and calls you to follow him. The way God speaks changes your heart and your words. Before you speak, listen–God loves you!

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, you soften my heart with your kind and gracious words. When I speak to others, fill my words with kindness, gentleness, truth and love. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - August 28, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - August 27, 2014

Wed, Aug 27, 2014

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.

Isaiah 55:1-3


Have you ever heard the axioms, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” or “You get what you pay for?” We would have to agree that usually those sayings are true. Everything comes with a cost. When someone offers us something for “free,” we’re automatically skeptical, aren’t we? We’ve been burned one too many times before. So we think to ourselves, “What’s the hidden cost? It must not be that valuable if someone is willing to give it away for free.”

Is that your initial reaction to God’s invitation to you in our verses for today? Wine and milk are not inexpensive. The richest of fare can’t come without cost. God is offering a deal that sounds too good to be true, isn’t he? It goes against all of our natural sensibilities. We have to do something to get something. We’re going to end up paying for it in the end, right? That’s just how the world works!

If you feel like this offer sounds too good to be true, you’re right! We don’t deserve anything that God offers here. Even if we had all the money in the world, we could never pay enough to buy what God offers us. Only one person could pay the price, only one person could do what was required and that person is Jesus. Jesus earned the salvation of the world by his perfect life on earth and then he paid the cost for the sins of the world with his innocent death. God offers all the benefits of Jesus’ work to you as a free gift.  He gives you life for your soul!

Everyone in this world is spiritually bankrupt. Everyone is thirsting for salvation. There are all sorts of earthly, sugary solutions that will not satisfy. But God offers the good food of salvation in the good news about Jesus. You get what Jesus paid for! It’s the richest of fare. It will always satisfy. And unlike your lunch, it really is yours for free!

Prayer: 

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. Amen.

Today's Devotion is 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.

Devotion - August 27, 2014 --Daily Devotion