WELS Daily Devotions

An Important Meeting – February 26, 2017

16 hours 29 mi

Jesus took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
Luke 9:28-34

An Important Meeting
Daily Devotion – February 26, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 9:28-34
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170226dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Phil received an email from his supervisor. Not only did it say read immediately, it was also marked extremely important. Initially Phil assumed it was going to be like every other important meeting he attended – somewhat boring and unnecessary. Something hinted this one was different. Whether it was the wording of the email or the energy among his co-workers, he decided he should go. Once the meeting convened, Phil realized why it was extremely important for him to attend. His supervisor announced his retirement and named Phil as his replacement.

Extremely important could be used to describe the meeting Jesus had on the mountain of his transfiguration. As he prayed, his appearance changed and his true glory as God was unveiled. If this were not amazing enough, Moses and Elijah also appeared with him in the glorious splendor. This meeting was extremely important because it focused on Jesus’ departure from this world, and the fulfillment of his God-appointed work which included his crucifixion, death, and resurrection. This meeting in glorious splendor also signaled Jesus was the one whom God appointed and approved to rescue all people from the curse of sin. It is a meeting to which I need to pay close attention and cherish as extremely important.

Even though the meeting on the mountain of transfiguration is important, it is easy to be like the disciples, sleepy about spiritual matters. The devil wants me to dismiss this glorious meeting as unreliable. The world wants me to reject it as impossible. Even my flesh wants me to question its importance. What will I lose if I allow myself to be lulled into spiritual sleepiness? I will miss the joy of knowing I have peace with God. I will miss the confidence of knowing I can stand acceptable before the Lord on the Day of Judgment. I will miss the comfort of knowing I will live with my Savior in the glorious splendor of heaven. This is a meeting I do not want to miss!

Jesus’ meeting with Moses and Elijah on the mountain of transfiguration was important, and it is important for me to be there with the eyes of faith. Through faith I can see the loving and faithful Savior God provided. Through faith I can see the rescue which Jesus secured. Through faith I can see the joy which is mine through this important meeting, and which is expressed in the words, “Lord, it is good to be here!”

Prayer:
O precious Savior, I thank you for revealing your glory as true God. I also thank you for revealing yourself as the one whom God chose to be my Savior. Give me the faith I need to keep this glorious picture before my eyes as I live in this world. Then, through faith, let me see your unveiled glory in heaven. 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 Friendly

Preaching Christ – February 25, 2017

Sat, Feb 25, 2017

We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.
2 Corinthians 4:5

Preaching Christ
Daily Devotion – February 25, 2017

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:5
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170225dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Back in the 1500’s, there was a man by the name of Hugh Latimer. Hugh Latimer was a preacher in England during the reign of King Henry VIII. And according to Christian author Michael Corcoris, Hugh Latimer had a problem.

The problem was this. Latimer had just finished preaching a sermon. King Henry VIII was in attendance. Something in his sermon had angered the king so much that the king ordered Latimer to preach a new sermon for him the next Sunday, but to include an apology for what he had said the previous Sunday. No one had to tell Latimer that offending someone like Henry VIII could mean imprisonment or death.

The next Sunday arrived. Latimer climbed into the pulpit. From there he could see the king, waiting for his apology. In essence, Latimer began his sermon with these words: “I know I stand before a king, who is able to take my life. But I also stand before Christ Jesus, who holds my immortal soul.” And with that, Hugh Latimer proceeded to preach the same sermon he had preached the week before.

Perhaps you are someone who attends church regularly. If you do, then you know that preachers can come in all different styles and personalities, weaknesses and strengths. You also know that if a preacher is being faithful, he is going to hit a nerve from time to time. He is going to tell you something that your old sinful self does not want to hear.

Or perhaps you are someone who is searching for a church home. If that’s you, remember what the purpose of a preacher is. His purpose is not to just make you feel good about yourself, to avoid difficult subjects, to avoid hurting your feelings. Rather, his purpose is to preach Christ. It is to call sin what Jesus calls sin. Because only then can Jesus’ message of forgiveness bring real healing for our hurts and real rescue from our guilt.

By the way, Hugh Latimer survived to preach many more sermons.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I pray for preachers. Make them faithful in proclaiming your Word. And bless my hearing of their message to me. 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 Friendly

Hope and a Future – February 24, 2017

Fri, Feb 24, 2017

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Hope and a Future
Daily Devotion – February 24, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 29:11-13
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170224dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Things weren’t looking very good for God’s people when these words of God were recorded. The once blessed nation of Israel was barely even a shell of its former self. Only the kingdom of Judah remained, and it had all but completely fallen away from God. As a result, God allowed the mighty Babylonian Empire to begin its conquest of Judah. The Babylonians had taken into exile Judah’s leaders along with the most influential of its society.

Among those who hadn’t yet been carried into exile in Babylon was a prophet named Jeremiah. God instructed him to write a letter to those exiles. In that letter God told his people that Babylon would be their home away from home for no less than 70 years. But after those 70 years were up, he would bring his people back to their native land. He had greater things in store for them. “I know the plans I have for you,” God said. That faithful remnant of God’s people couldn’t see it at the time, yet they had hope in the future that God held in his hands. In that future was a baby boy who would be born in Bethlehem, grow up in Galilee, die on a cross outside of Jerusalem and rise again from his tomb. In that future the long-promised Savior would win for them forgiveness and eternal life. In that future was a permanent home not on earth, but with God forever in heaven.

The hope of a future in God’s hands is yours as well. Maybe you feel like an exile struggling to see past the here and now. Disappointments and failures, guilt over the wrongs you’ve done and regret over the good you didn’t do, dreams unrealized and goals unmet all have a way of focusing us on the present. But the present here on earth isn’t our home. God has greater things in store for us: a permanent home with him for ages unending, thanks to the salvation won by Jesus in his death and resurrection.

That hope and future is yours through faith in Jesus. And it changes your present. You are a redeemed child of God today. You can call on him and he will hear you today. You can seek and find him in the pages of his word today. There he will strengthen you when you need it the most with the assurance that in Jesus you have the sure hope of an eternal future with him.

Prayer:
Jesus, lead us on till our rest is won. Heavenly Leader, still direct us, still support, console, protect us till we safely stand in our fatherland. Amen.

The focus of devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in February is Truth for Today.

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 Friendly

Habits – February 23, 2017

Thu, Feb 23, 2017

Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.
Proverbs 14:22

Habits
Daily Devotion – February 23, 2017

Devotion based on Proverbs 14:22
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170223dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The most important aspect of the Word of God is that it leads us to Jesus, our Savior. Since we’re sinners who deserve to go to hell, we need to be reminded over and over again that we have a Savior who loves us dearly. He does! Thank God!

There are parts of the Bible where God wants to give us practical advice about this life. The Bible verse for today is one of those parts.

To what is God urging us? The words translated “plot” and “plan” are the same word in the original Hebrew language. The word often means “to cut into, to engrave.” To help us understand this, we should think in the terms of “habits,” life-approaches which are cut-deeply into us. Our habits have a huge influence on our life, and will have huge results.

So, for example, if you make it a habit to be dishonest, eventually your dishonesty will come back to haunt you. If you make it your habit to belittle others, eventually you will make a mess out of your relationships. The Bible verse says: “…those who plot evil go astray.”

There is another way. Choose God-pleasing habits! If you make it your habit to show concern for others, your relationship with others will generally improve! If you make it your habit to be thankful, your attitude will likely become more positive! If you make it your habit to see the good in all things, you will likely become more content! Plan for good! Make “good” happen! And what will you find? “Love and faithfulness.”

Will there be times when dishonest people get away with their lies and cause people pain? Yes. Will there be times when people who show concern will, in return, be scorned or mocked? Unfortunately, yes again.

The result is that it drives us right back to Jesus! Yes, it’s worth it to cultivate God-pleasing habits, but ultimately, my habits aren’t the issue, because no matter how hard I try, my habits will never be perfect. But Jesus practiced goodness perfectly; he cultivated perfect habits. Because of his perfect habits, he was able to win for me God’s love and God’s faithfulness.

And knowing that, I’ll want to cultivate God-pleasing habits!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, lead me to cultivate habits which bring glory to you and which spread your love to others. Amen.

The focus of devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in February is Truth for Today.

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 Friendly

Love Your Neighbor – February 22, 2017

Wed, Feb 22, 2017

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart…Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.’”
Leviticus 19:1-2,17-18

Love Your Neighbor
Daily Devotion – February 22, 2017

Devotion based on Leviticus 19:1-2,17-18
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170222dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Did you lose a friend as a result of the 2016 U.S. presidential election? If you did, you’re not alone. According to a recent poll, one out of every fourteen Americans lost a friend in 2016 because of their support for one or the other of the presidential candidates.

Disagreement over politics may seem like a flimsy reason for ending a friendship, even if that disagreement is particularly pointed. But that is where much of our culture seems to be right now. Disagreement often is interpreted as hatred. And instead of engaging in a calm discussion with those who hold different opinions, too often people immediately resort to insults, derision, and exclusion.

We may look at this, shake our heads, and think, “I can’t believe that people actually treat each other that way!” But then we remember that neighbor who borrowed our hedge trimmer and it just didn’t work quite right when he returned it. “See if I ever let him borrow one of my tools again!” we think. And then there’s that person who sits on the school board with us who just can’t seem to understand that the policy we proposed would be best for the school. “I can’t believe people can be so stubborn,” we lament. And then there’s that coworker who totally botched a project, yet somehow we got blamed for his failure. “Just wait until he sees how miserable I can make things for him!” we console ourselves.

The truth is that it’s not just everyone else who has a problem showing love to their neighbor. We struggle with that too. And it does us no good to try to justify ourselves by saying, “At least I’m not as bad as some other people.” God expects us to be holy—perfect—just as he is holy. And anything less than perfect love for our neighbor simply does not meet God’s standard.

Thankfully, our holy God has not left us without hope. Although we are not holy, God has declared us holy through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son Jesus. In Jesus, all our failures to love our neighbor as ourselves have been removed from our record. And in their place we have Jesus’ perfect love of neighbor credited to us. In addition, God works in our hearts the desire and the ability to forgive our neighbor when we are wronged, to let go of our grudges, and to forgo all thoughts of revenge. With God’s own strength, we as God’s people truly can love our neighbor as ourselves.

Prayer:
Holy Father, fill me with your strength that I may love my neighbor as you have loved me. 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 Friendly

Your Foundation – February 21, 2017

Tue, Feb 21, 2017

No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:11

Your Foundation
Daily Devotion – February 21, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 3:11
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170221dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The foundation for a building is crucial to the strength, stability and longevity of the entire building.

What is your foundation? On what do you build your life? Here are a few popular “foundations”:

What I do. Accomplishments like career goals, success, or life experiences such as recreation, athletics or vacation—these function as the foundation of our lives.
Whom I know. Relationships build the foundation of our lives. Family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers are essential to our sense of well-being.
How I feel. We seek security, happiness, hope and fulfillment. More than just desiring them, we build our lives on finding or maintaining them.

When these things are going well, life is good. All these things are tremendous, good blessings from our God. But what happens when we take a good, God-given thing and make it our foundation, our all? What are we doing to our hearts and lives when we make our foundation something God created rather than the God who created them and us?

Paul wrote to first century Christians in the city of Corinth. He told them, and us, that the one and only foundation is Jesus Christ. Jesus is your God. Jesus is your Savior who lived a perfect life, died in your place and rose on the third day. Jesus rules all things and will give you heaven as your eternal home. Jesus gives you forgiveness, peace with God, new life now and eternal life. Trust fully in Jesus. God builds your faith and your life on him. God makes Jesus your foundation.

When our foundation is things like career, family or happiness, those things eventually crumble, and then so do we. When Jesus is our foundation, we have the solid base that will not crumble and on which to build our entire lives. In Jesus, we have secure footing even when our life is shaken. We have a solid foundation on which to build our lives.

Jesus is our God, our Savior and our sure Foundation. Trust in him. Build on him.

Prayer:
Jesus, forgive me for the times I’ve placed my hope and trust in things that are not you. Give me a solid and growing faith in you that builds my hope and joy and life on you alone. 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 Friendly

Imitate your Father’s Love – February 20, 2017

Mon, Feb 20, 2017

“I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:44-45

Imitate your Father’s Love
Daily Devotion – February 20, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 5:44-45
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170220dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

We are blessed to be children of our heavenly Father. We did not earn or deserve the distinction of being members of his family. Rather, the Father graciously adopted us through the water and Word of Holy Baptism. Through the life and death of our brother Jesus Christ, the heavenly Father continues to freely pour out his grace and love upon his children.

It is the Lord’s boundless love for us that captivates our hearts with love for him and for others–even our enemies. Do we imagine that Jesus asks too much from us when called upon to love those who act lovelessly toward us? Are we tempted to limit the love that we show to certain people? When we personally experience heaped-up human hatred and read Facebook posts that are fuming with fury, are we engaged to join in the rage too?

If so, Jesus calls us to repent and to imitate our heavenly Father’s love. In a demonstration of immeasurable mercy, the rays of the Father’s sun shine upon all, even unbelievers. He shows his love for his own enemies by showering them with rain from above. Most importantly, he continues to extend his invitation of forgiveness to those who have spurned his love and his will.

Although we have felt the stabs of hurtful words and the blows of hateful actions, Christ’s selfless love for us compels us to shower our enemies with Christ’s love. We do so in the hope that our enemies may be brought to repentance and rescued from their sin as the rays of the Son’s forgiving grace penetrate their hearts and lives.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you faced the blows and hateful words of your enemies. Then you carried my sin and shame to the cross. Because of you, I am no longer a hostile enemy of God, but rather a blood-bought child of God. Your limitless love for me compels me to love others without limit—even my enemies. 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 Friendly

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus – February 19, 2017

Sun, Feb 19, 2017

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 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 4:14-21

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
Daily Devotion – February 19, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 4:14-21
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170219dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

All eyes are on you. What do you say? Do you tell a joke? Share some intriguing insights on the political and economic conditions in faraway places? Tell a personal story that has people chuckling or tearing up?

All eyes were fixed on Jesus. He was in his hometown’s synagogue (their local place of worship.) He read a section of God’s Word from the prophet Isaiah. They were waiting for what he would say. All eyes were fixed on Jesus.

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” he declared. That might not mean much when it hits your eyes and ears, but Jesus’ 1st Century audience knew what he was saying. The section of Isaiah that Jesus had just read to them talked about the promised Savior. He was clearly telling them: “I am the promised Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God.”

What did they do with that information? Was this man who had grown up before their eyes really the Savior, the Son of God? Many of them totally and emphatically rejected Jesus’ message. In fact, a few verses later it is reported that the people of Jesus’ hometown unsuccessfully tried to kill Jesus.

Jesus delivers the same message to you. Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the Son of God. What do you do with that information? Don’t disregard it or dump it on the trash heap. Instead, trust this good news. Jesus is your Savior from sin and eternal death. He is the Son of God who rescued you and rules all things for you.

Trust this good news and explore it even more. Pick up a Bible and read more about Jesus. Perhaps start with one of the Gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Make public worship a regular part of your weekly routine (just like it was for Jesus.) Dig even deeper into God’s Word–join a Bible study that leads you to know more and more about your Savior. There, in the Bible is God’s message for you. And, when God, your Savior, speaks up–listen and trust him.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to be my Savior. Help me to trust in him and his saving work more and more. Lead me to study your holy Word. Work through your Word and increase my knowledge and love of 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 Friendly

Stop Making Excuses! – February 18, 2017

Sat, Feb 18, 2017

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.” “Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the LORD Said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. Then the LORD Reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Jeremiah 1:4-10

Stop Making Excuses!
Daily Devotion – February 18, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 1:4-10
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170218dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“But…I can’t.” “But…that’s too hard!” “But…I don’t know how.” “But…someone else can do it better than I can.” How often during our day do we focus on our limitations and make excuses why we didn’t do something or why we can’t do something. Unfortunately, these same excuses transfer from the daily activities of life to the important spiritual matters of life. Excuses abound. “But…I don’t have time for church right now.” “But…it’s all too confusing to figure out.” “But…when my kids get older then I’ll think about those things.” “But…” The list goes on.

The prophet Jeremiah had a direct call from the Lord to be his spokesman to the people of Israel. Granted, he was going to have a rough task and a very difficult message for the people to hear. However, the first thing he did was make an excuse, “I do not know how to speak.” Our sinful human nature resists the call of God.

Not many can claim a direct call from God, but we all can claim making excuses in response to God’s will. A friend brings up a spiritual discussion to which we say, “I don’t want to talk about it.” A family member invites us to come with them to church. We say, “It’s my day to sleep in.” Our child asks us about God and who he is and we say, “Go ask your mother.” A fellow church member asks us to serve and we say, “I don’t have the time.”

We can only marvel that God in his love continues to reach out to us. He didn’t cast Jeremiah aside for his excuses, but rather reminds him that he has nothing to fear. The all-powerful God, who knew him before he knew himself, was present with him.

Today God wants to remind you of two things when you are tempted to make excuses and steer away from his call. One, you are part of the Lord’s plan. He knew you before you were formed in the womb and he desires that you, now outside of the womb, come to know and believe in him. And, two, with that reality in mind, he wants us to understand that life is not about me as an individual, rather we are here on this earth to carry out the Lord’s purpose.

So stop making excuses. The Lord is calling you to believe in his Son, Jesus and live for him. Discover more about him in his Word. For help and guidance, go online to www.whataboutjesus.com and learn more about Jesus.

Enjoy living for your Lord today!

Prayer:
Lord, keep my sinful nature from resisting your precious call to faith and your will to live out my faith in you. Empower me today to stop making excuses and see every aspect of my life as an opportunity to glorify 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 Friendly

More than Conquerors through Christ – February 17, 2017

Fri, Feb 17, 2017

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 8:35,37

More than Conquerors through Christ
Daily Devotion – February 17, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 8:35,37
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170217dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Divide and conquer can be defined as a strategy in which you gain or maintain power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into smaller less powerful pieces. Those smaller pieces can then be overcome one by one until total conquest is achieved. Three or four wolves don’t take on a herd of hundreds all at once. They separate one or two from the rest and get their meal that way. It’s a tried and true strategy employed in military matters, politics, sociology and even simple mathematics.

It’s a strategy also used by the devil, the world and our own sinful nature to conquer us. Trouble comes into our lives. Family members fight with each other, bringing strife and conflict into the home. Hardship strikes. Health suddenly takes a turn for the worse, the medical bills pile up and the prognosis is far from hopeful. Persecution rises up. You’re mocked for your faith, belittled, marginalized and shunned. Across the world, believers are marched in front of video cameras before being put to death.

We see the trouble all around us. We feel and experience it in our own lives. And soon we are caught in a frenzy of fear as the swirling worries and stresses drag us deeper and deeper into despair. At such times how easy it is to forget about God’s love for us, or to think that God neither knows nor cares about us. Feeling separated from God’s love we are easy prey.

But the apostle Paul reminds us of an indisputable, unchangeable fact no matter how bad things may look. In Christ we are more than conquerors. Jesus, our champion, conquered our sins of worry, fear, and doubt with his perfect life and innocent death on the cross. He conquered death by rising to life again. Against enemies that no one else in human history has overcome, Jesus prevailed. Through faith in Jesus, he gives us that victory. Through faith in Jesus, we are made more than conquerors over our own sin, over death and over the devil himself. Jesus died and rose again for sinners one and all. That love conquers strife and brings peace. That truth comforts and encourages the worried, the fearful, the persecuted and the dying, because no matter what we face he gives us everlasting life in heaven.

So in all circumstances and especially in trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and even death, remember this: Jesus conquers it all, and in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.

Prayer:
Savior Jesus, when I face trouble and hardship, hold your cross and empty tomb before my weary and worried eyes. Remind me that in you I have forgiveness of all my sin and life eternal in heaven. Comfort and encourage me that in you, I am more than a conqueror in all things. Amen.

The focus of devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in February is Truth for Today.

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 Friendly

Love One Another – February 16, 2017

Thu, Feb 16, 2017

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
1 John 3:11

Love One Another
Daily Devotion – February 16, 2017

Devotion based on 1 John 3:11
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170216dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

It was one of the most touching acts of love which I’d ever seen. The elderly woman was nearing the end of her life, and the family wanted her to be able to live her final days at home. They’d put the hospital bed in the living room of their home. Her elderly husband was caring for her, doing his best to keep her comfortable. Her mind wasn’t as clear as it had been; she became easily angered because of it.

It was late in the afternoon. Husband had made some soup, and asked her if she wanted some supper. “No.” “Are you sure.” “No.”

And then in a few moments, “Yes.” So, husband helped her out of the bed so that he could help her to maneuver the few feet to the table, a difficult task. As husband tried to help, she began to scream at him, in the frustrated anger which springs from a failing body. She accused him of being rough, of being mean, of not caring, of not trying. Words of anger and frustration spilled out of her mouth.

Yet husband was wonderfully patient, speaking her name calmly, and continuing as gently as possible to help her move to the table as she continued to scream at him. It was one of the most touching acts of love I’ve ever seen.

I wondered if I would be as patient, as kind, as loving. I pray that I would have been. But the very fact that I wonder forces me to deal with an ugly truth: my love for others isn’t perfect. It’s often reluctant, or slow, or driven by some selfish motive. Yes, I should love others, but how often I struggle to do it! Oh how I need the love of my Savior!

Thank God, you and I have the love of the Savior! Jesus’ love for you and for me was never “reluctant” never “slow,” never driven by selfish motives. Jesus’ love was willing, perfectly timed, totally unselfish. Jesus loved you and me—indeed, loves you and me—more than and better than anyone ever could.

It’s that wonderful, unselfish love of Jesus which motivates us to love one another. Oh, true, we’ll often struggle with it. That drives us right back to Jesus, and we’re reminded of his forgiving love for us.

And then every once in a great while it will happen: the love of Jesus will lead us to do exactly what God asks us to do, to love one another. To love one another with unselfish, giving, patient, caring love.

Kind of like that elderly husband.

Prayer:
O Savior, as you loved me, lead me to love others. Amen.

The focus of devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in February is Truth for Today.

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 Friendly

Choose Life – February 15, 2017

Wed, Feb 15, 2017

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Choose Life
Daily Devotion – February 15, 2017

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 30:15-20
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170215dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Finally, after forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the people of Israel were almost to their destination. Across the Jordan River lay the land of Canaan, which God had promised to give to them. But before the people entered the Promised Land, Moses, who had led them for the past forty years, confronted them with a monumental choice.

The choice was no less than the choice between life and death. If the people obeyed the Lord and followed his ways, they would enjoy the Lord’s blessings and live long in the land that God was about to give to them. However, if they chose to turn away from God and instead worship the false gods of the pagan peoples who lived around them, they were, in effect, choosing death. They would forfeit God’s blessings and would not live long in the land God had promised them.

Which would they choose? To us, the answer seems obvious. They should, of course, choose life. Why would anyone choose death and curses instead of life and blessings? The problem is that no one—neither we nor the people of Israel—has the ability to choose life on their own. The sad truth that God reveals to us in his Word is that if left to ourselves, we all would choose death rather than life.

But even though the people of Israel on their own had no power to choose life, with God’s help they could. As God continued to work in their hearts and strengthen their faith, they would be able to love him, listen to him, hold fast to him, and find in him their life.

The same is true for us. As God works through his Word and sacraments to create and strengthen faith in our hearts, he enables us to remain faithful to him. He works in us both the desire and the ability to obey him, listen to him, and hold fast to him. He alone is our life. And with him dwelling in our hearts, our choice is clear. By his strength, we choose life.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, always dwell in my heart, that with your strength I may always choose life. 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 Friendly

The Basement – February 14, 2017

Tue, Feb 14, 2017

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”–but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

The Basement
Daily Devotion – February 14, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170214dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In 2004, author Susan Shaw published a work of fiction with a dark title. She called her book, The Boy from the Basement.

The Boy from the Basement is the story of a 12-year-old boy named Charlie. Charlie has lived his entire life in the basement of his home, kept there by his psychotic and abusive father. He knows nothing about the world beyond his basement walls. In fact, he fears it. He accepts his miserable existence as normal.

That all changes when the city authorities discover his plight. Before long, Charlie’s entire sense of reality is different. He moves into the home of a foster family–a foster family that is caring and kind, affectionate and patient. From there he discovers things he has never known before. He discovers the telephone. He discovers learning. He discovers Christmas. He discovers friendship. Most of all, Charlie discovers unconditional love. Although the road is difficult and long, in time Charlie does find healing. The Boy from the Basement is in the basement no more.

Before the arrival of Jesus, you and I were in a basement. It was a basement of our own making. It was the basement of our own sin. Because of that basement, you and I could not see what was beyond it. Left to ourselves, you and I would have accepted our basement as reality and lingered there until we died.

But God changed all that. He sent his Son. Through his life and death on our behalf, Jesus destroyed our basement of sin, wrapping us in the blanket of his forgiveness. And now his Holy Spirit speaks to us by the power of his Word. He describes all the things we may now enjoy beyond our basement walls. And he tells us that even better things are on the way.

Yes, the road for us can still be difficult and long. But our healing has come. We are in the basement no more.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have rescued me. Thank you. In your Word, help me to discover more and more the wonderful things I now have in 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 Friendly

Keep It Simple – February 13, 2017

Mon, Feb 13, 2017

“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Matthew 5:37

Keep It Simple
Daily Devotion – February 13, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 5:37
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170213dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Stan had a problem with the truth. It wasn’t that he was a blatant liar. He just had a problem with embellishments and exaggerations. As a result, people were skeptical about everything he said.

On one occasion Stan actually told the unvarnished truth. While he assured his hearers there were no exaggerations, he couldn’t convince them. To offer some assurance he added, “with God as my witness,” to his testimony. Even then people were still slow to accept he was trustworthy. He finally resorted to taking an oath, “cross my heart and hope to die!”

Stan’s problem can be mine. I color the truth to fit my needs. I rely on “white lies” to avoid accusations. I even call on God to serve as my witness. But what am I really doing with my words?

The moment I ask God to be my witness, I am inviting him to be the judge of all I say. I also permit his just judgment if I mishandle the truth. The effects of such an invitation could be disastrous. What if God would decide to strike me dead as soon as I didn’t tell the truth?

This is why Jesus’ lesson is so relevant. Not only does he say, “keep it simple,” he further adds that I should be a person who delights in and relies on the truth.

Certainly telling the simple truth is a challenge, because my heart is full of lies. I am also easily swayed by the devil who is the author of every lie. I can only overcome this propensity to lie when I rely on Jesus to make me a person who delights in being truthful.

During his earthly ministry Jesus established and proclaimed the truth. It convicted. It convinced. It converted. Along with the truth, his innocent death and shed blood washed away every stain and stigma of my lying nature. His blood cleansed my heart. It also purified the words of my mouth.

It is only because of Jesus I can be truthful in all things. It is also only because of Jesus I can keep all my conversations simply ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

Prayer:
O Jesus, overcome the deceitfulness of my words with your truth. Replace the sinful weakness of my heart with your strength. Fill me with joy in speaking what is simple and pure. 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 Friendly

The Lord looks at the Heart – February 12, 2017

Sun, Feb 12, 2017

The LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord looks at the Heart
Daily Devotion – February 12, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 16:7
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170212dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Samuel had a difficult task before him. He was to go and anoint a new king because the current king, Saul, had abandoned the Lord. So the Lord told Samuel to go to the house of Jesse. There he would anoint the next king of Israel. So Samuel went and when he saw Jesse’s oldest son, he was impressed and thought that this fine looking young man would be the next king. That is when the Lord rebuked him with the words that our Bible devotion is focusing on today.

It is so easy to do the same thing as Samuel. It is easy to look at the appearance and make our judgments based on what we see. We can do the same thing when it comes to our relationship with God. We can look at what we do, or what we say, and begin to think to ourselves that we aren’t all that bad; especially when we compare ourselves to other people. Except “the LORD does not look at the things man looks at…the LORD looks at the heart.” In human hearts he sees a pool of selfish, self-centered sin. He sees hearts that want to dwell on themselves over everything else.

Because God saw sin-filled hearts, he determined that he was going to send his Son to take care of that problem. So Jesus came into the world to remove the sin that was inside our hearts. He did so by using his blood to wash our dirty hearts and make them pure. Then Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts as the Spirit plants and nurtures the faith that trust in Jesus. So also Jesus sends his Holy Spirit into your heart through his Word. As you trust in Jesus’ cleansing blood for your sinful heart, the Holy Spirit continues to nurture your faith by the power of the gospel.

Samuel’s trip to Jesse’s family was not in vain. The very last son of Jesse was a boy named David. As the Lord looked into David’s heart, he saw a boy who trusted in his Lord and loved him with all his heart. This is what the Lord was looking for, so he had Samuel anoint David as the next king of Israel. As the Lord looks into our hearts, may he also find hearts that trust in our Savior Jesus and are filled with love for him.

Prayer:
Jesus, your precious blood cleanses me of all sin. With the pure heart that you created in me, give me the ability to trust you in all things and love you above all things. 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 Friendly

The Meaning of Mercy – February 11, 2017

Sat, Feb 11, 2017

When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
Titus 3:4-5

The Meaning of Mercy
Daily Devotion – February 11, 2017

Devotion based on Titus 3:4-5
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170211dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In the early 1800’s, Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as emperor of France. His word was final. A woman appeared before him one day. She was seeking a pardon for her son.

Napoleon explained to her why this was not possible: Her son was guilty of committing a serious crime not once but twice. Under the law of the land, he had been sentenced to death.

But the mother persevered. “I plead for mercy for my son,” she said.

“But your son does not deserve mercy,” pronounced the emperor. It was then that this mother got to the heart of the matter. “You are correct,” she said. “My son does not deserve mercy. But if he did, it would not be mercy. And mercy is all I ask for.”

“Then I will have mercy,” Napoleon said. He spared her son’s life.

This woman understood the meaning of mercy. The Apostle Paul did too. Paul said that, with the arrival of Jesus Christ, “God saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” The Son of God invaded our time and space to conduct a rescue mission. He rescued us from the curse of our own sin. He did this through the perfect life and innocent death he lived and died on our behalf.

But why? Here is where Paul gets to the heart of the matter. God did this not because we deserved it; not because he saw us as diamonds in the rough; not because we’ve done something that made us sparkle in his eyes. He did it because of his mercy.

It’s his mercy through Jesus Christ that makes your relationship with God so secure. It doesn’t depend upon what you have done for God. It depends on what the Savior, in mercy, has done for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in my moments of anxiety and doubt, fill me with your Holy Spirit. Through your Word, remind me that my relationship with you rests not on what I do for you, but upon your mercy. 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 Friendly

Love Others – February 10, 2017

Fri, Feb 10, 2017

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Love Others
Daily Devotion – February 10, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170210dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

If you don’t really love the other person, it doesn’t matter that you go all out for Valentine’s Day next week. You can find the sweetest thing to say and you can be very impressive with the presents that you give and the outing that you plan, but it doesn’t mean anything without love.

You can appear very spiritual and be genuinely good at understanding and speaking spiritual truths, but without love for people, you are missing the point.

God demonstrates his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He took the punishment for our sins and grants us forgiveness through faith in him. That love inspires us both to love him and to love others.

Without the genuine love of God in our lives, we can try all that we want to impress people with our speech or our intelligence or our faith, but we will be missing the point. God gives us all of his gifts so that we can show his love to one another.

God is love. He is patient and kind; he keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. He always protects and always perseveres. God never fails.

When we fail in our attempts to love one another, God calls us to repentance. He comes to us in his perfect love and forgives all of our sins. Because of his love, we are not resounding gongs or clanging cymbals. Our words of love have power, and we gain everything in Christ.

Prayer:
Lord, lead me to love as you have loved me. Amen.

The focus of devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in February is Truth for Today.

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 Friendly

Thanks for Growth – February 9, 2017

Thu, Feb 09, 2017

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3

Thanks for Growth
Daily Devotion – February 9, 2017

Devotion based on 2 Thessalonians 1:3
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170209dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

For a high school graduation party my wife put together a picture board to commemorate and celebrate the eighteen years of our daughter’s life. She assembled pictures all the way from birth to graduation and every stop in between. And trust me, these years had some interesting moments. At three years old my daughter fell and knocked out one of her teeth. At ten she broke her wrist while roller blading. At twelve she got braces. At sixteen she got her license and at seventeen her first fender-bender. There were a few heartaches and more than a few disagreements with mom and dad along the way, but we couldn’t be more proud of the mature young woman that our daughter has grown up to be.

If you have ever watched someone grow up, you know the range of emotions you can feel as you watch her sometimes stumble and fall, but eventually learn and grow from all of the experiences in life.

The apostle Paul had the privilege of watching a group of new Christians in Thessalonica grow up. When he wrote the book of 2 Thessalonians, he had time to reflect on his relationship with them. He actually spent a relatively short period of time with these people in person, but made the most of it. He had the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with them. He taught them from God’s Word that Jesus had to suffer and die on the cross to pay for the sins of the world. He proclaimed to them the good news of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the certain hope of heaven his children have as a result. These people heard and believed Paul’s message.

But it was not easy for this young church. Shortly after his arrival, Paul had to leave because of persecution in the city. The Thessalonian church had to grow up in a hurry. Very early in their walk with Christ they experienced firsthand the hate that many have for Jesus and his followers. They were verbally and physically abused. Their community marginalized them. They suffered financial loss. All of these things happened as a direct result of their relationship with Jesus.

But a remarkable thing happened. Instead of abandoning their faith in Jesus, a deeper relationship with Jesus was developed. When just about everything else in their lives was taken away, they realized that what they had in Jesus far outweighed what they lost in the world. Not only did the faith of these individuals survive, it thrived. They took advantage of the many opportunities to show love for God and one another.

In the book of 2 Thessalonians the apostle Paul took a moment to reflect on the journey that these men and women had taken and to thank God for how far they had come.

As long as we are in the world, each of us is also on a journey of faith. Perhaps yours is just starting. The thought of a loving and just God might be hard for you to understand. It is hard to wrap your mind around the concept of Jesus giving his life for yours. Maybe you are at a time of tension in your walk. You have family or friends who don’t seem to appreciate or understand your relationship with Jesus. You feel like you are being pulled in different directions, all of them away from God and his Word. Maybe your walk is nearing an end and you have time to reflect on how God has been with you all the way.

No matter where you are on the journey, may your faith grow and your love continue to increase. Paul prayed this prayer for the Christians at Thessalonica and God answered. God’s promises are just as certain today. He will give the comfort, strength and courage you need to face the difficulties of each day and even use them to bring you closer to him.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for planting your Word in my heart. Make my faith continue to grow and let my love continue to increase. Amen.

The focus of devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in February is Truth for Today.

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 Friendly

Fasting that God has Chosen – February 8, 2017

Wed, Feb 08, 2017

“Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”
Isaiah 58:4-9

Fasting that God has Chosen
Daily Devotion – February 8, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 58:4-9
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170208dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What a horrible thought, that God would reject our worship and offerings and leave the building! God requires a lot more than a little bending here, a little bowing there. Real worship is more than an hour when I feel like it.

Real “fasting” starves selfishness. Fasting demands that I stop thinking about my stomach’s growls and start thinking of my God’s command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

That love breaks the chains of injustice and unties the cords of oppression. Our love for God leads us to share food, clothing and shelter with the hungry, homeless, and helpless people all around us—including our own relatives!

Then God matches his demands of selflessness with these selfless promises: (1) HEALING of body and soul–think of Jesus’ miracles; (2) SHIELDING, both fore and aft; (3) HELPING–He says words that all the sick and suffering, defeated and dying wish to hear, “I am here.”

Prayer:
Lord, provide us with your help and your healing. Be our shield and our rock. Then let us be for others what you have been for us so that your light shines through us. 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 Friendly

One Thing – February 7, 2017

Tue, Feb 07, 2017

I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:2

One Thing
Daily Devotion – February 7, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 2:2
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170207dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Ready for a bit of movie talk? Here goes. Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the academy award-winning film entitled, City Slickers. City Slickers is a comedy about a neurotic New Yorker played by Billy Crystal. He decides to spend two weeks at a dude ranch in order to sort out his mid-life crisis. Once he arrives, he comes face-to-face with a seasoned old cowboy by the name of Curly, played by the legendary Jack Palance. Curly is the roughest, toughest – and wisest – man Billy Crystal’s character has ever met.

Even though City Slickers is a comedy, its most memorable scene is serious. Billy Crystal is riding side-by-side with Curly during a cattle drive, and Billy is pouring out his heart to Curly about his confusing and complicated life. After a time, Curly stops riding. He turns in his saddle and looks right at Billy. Curly says to him, “Life is about one thing. You find out what that one thing is, and you’ll be all right.”

You and I can watch City Slickers and laugh as a nervous Billy Crystal tries to play cowboy. As we do, however, many of us see more of ourselves in him than we care to admit. It’s very easy to get lost in the weeds of life. It’s very easy for our deadlines and crises and worries and regrets to smother us in a thousand distractions.

Curly is right. “Life is about one thing.” When we have that one thing firmly in hand, everything else will be all right.

Enter the Word of God. Enter the Word of God through the apostle Paul. In his first letter to the Christians in Corinth, Paul simply says, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

And that’s it. Life is about Jesus. Life is about what the Son of God was willing to do to rescue us from the abyss of our sin. Life is about our forgiveness, purchased at the cross. And life is about living for him.

Thank you, Lord Jesus. For the One Thing in my life is you.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, when distractions and worries of life begin to smother me, refresh my focus through your gospel. Remind me that my life is about Jesus. 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 Friendly