WELS Daily Devotions

Devotion - March 6, 2015

22 hours 19 mi

The blood of Jesus, [God’s] Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:7-9

What does a Healthy Relationship with God look like?

Preceding the verses selected for today’s devotion, the apostle John described the perfection of God as being pure light. He is almighty, all-knowing and present everywhere. He never lies, is never wrong, is always fair and good, loving and kind. He is holy—without sin. He is light. But then John presents us with this scenario: If you claim to be closely connected with the God of light but your life is characterized by things that are dark, sinful and evil, like lust and lying, like greed and gossip, like complaining or being disrespectful, like not caring about how your words and actions affect the people around you, then your claim to be closely connected with God is a lie. John’s point is that when you are in fellowship with the Lord through faith in Jesus, carelessly continuing in sin is not an option. When you know and trust that Jesus’ precious blood has purified you from all sin, it’s a plain fact that your life will show it.

Let’s use today as an example. If there’s nothing more important than having a healthy relationship with the Lord, and there’s no darkness in him at all (which includes the fact that he knows everything about you), with what words do you come before the Lord today? Do you acknowledge that you came into this world as someone whom God should hate and destroy for all eternity? Do you admit and own up to every sinful thing you’ve done? Or do you echo the words of the disciples the night before Jesus died on the cross: “Surely not I, Lord!” I break the First Commandment daily? I fail to put God first in all things? You’re telling me that I have despised God’s Word just because there are books in the Bible that I know nothing about? I’m a murderer just because I can’t stand certain people? I’m an adulterer just because I’ve thought about certain sinful actions? Surely not I, Lord!” God says you’re filled with sin. If you feel that you’re not and you can come up with excuses for everything, then you’re calling God a liar. You can’t have a healthy relationship with God if he says you’re sinful and you say you’re not.

The wonder of wonders is that when you admit to him that you are sinful (that’s repentance), he says you’re forgiven. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God dealt with your sins once and for all when he made Jesus guilty of them and cursed Jesus for them on the cross. Whenever you tell God the truth about your sins, he tells you the truth about what he did with them. He took them off you and laid them on Christ. Hell and death came to Jesus; heaven and life have come to you, for “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sins.”

When our relationship with God is like this, we don’t try to hide the truth from him and he never keeps the truth from us. We are sinners and we say so, but he has forgiven us, and he says so, without fail, time and time again. That’s a healthy relationship with God.

Prayer: 

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 304):
I, a sinner, come to you with a penitent confession.
Savior, show me mercy, too; grant for all my sins remission.
Let these words my soul relieve—Jesus sinners does receive.

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 - March 6, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - March 5, 2015

Thu, Mar 05, 2015

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Isaiah 1:18


Do you ever dream of being famous—a famous actor or athlete perhaps? People would admire you and ask for your autograph. And you could make their day by allowing them to take a selfie with you. As exciting as it might seem to be famous, there are downsides. One of the downsides is that so many people see your sins. You can probably think of a number of people whose fame made their sins known worldwide.

You may not be famous, but your sins are known by two important ones—you and God. You know the words you have allowed to pass over your lips. You know the thoughts you have allowed to pass through your mind. They hound you and haunt you and make you miserable. You desperately wish you could make the guilt disappear.

Thank God that there is someone who can make your guilt disappear because he has made your sin disappear. He is your loving heavenly Father. Yes, he has seen your sins. The prophet Isaiah says that your sins are as bright as scarlet to the LORD. But, he loves you. And, because he loves you, he has covered your sins. The bright white, perfect life of Jesus covers your sins like a fresh snowfall covers mud and dirt.

So spend this day free from guilt. Spend this day thanking and praising God who has forgiven your sins.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, although you have seen my many sins, I know that you have covered those sins with the perfect life of your Son, Jesus Christ. Although I can never thank you enough for this great gift, may my life this day show you how grateful I am. 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 - March 5, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - March 4, 2015

Wed, Mar 04, 2015

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran ... He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven ... There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “... I am with you and will watch over you ...”

Genesis 28:10-17


Jacob had tricked his father and enraged his brother. His mother feared for his life. What choice did he have but to leave behind the only home he knew and go a long distance to his uncle whom he had never met? What a mess!

Lonely, fearful, with his hopes shattered, Jacob laid down for the night. How could God be with him after he had ruined everything?

Have you ever had those kinds of nights? The silence echoes with your loneliness. Tomorrow's worries drive sleep from your eyes. Guilt haunts whatever rest you get. The future feels so pointless, even hopeless.

That night the Lord God brought his words of promise to Jacob, including the promise: “I am with you and will watch over you.”

In an even better way, the Lord God brings his promises to you. If he were to speak to you in a dream as he did to Jacob, how could you be sure you weren't imagining it? How long would you have to wait before he spoke to you again? As far as we know, the Lord didn't speak to Jacob again until twenty years later.

But you have something that Jacob did not have. You have God's written word. The Bible is filled with his promises. You don't have to wonder if you heard him right. You can go back and read it again. You don't have to wait twenty years for another message. The Bible is available every day.

Best of all, the Bible draws you to the One who alone is the Stairway to God. Jesus came from the Father. Through his death on the cross he reconciled the world to the Father. His resurrection brings believers life with the Father. Jesus is your Stairway. He’s the only Way. No one comes to the Father except through him.

And to you who follow him in faith, he promises: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, when I struggle with guilt or feel alone and hopeless, let your words of promise drive out my fears and doubts. Draw me ever closer to your Father. 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 - March 4, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - March 3, 2015

Tue, Mar 03, 2015

Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:3-4

The Difference

For many, it is the stuff of nightmares, a physical condition too horrific to contemplate, the worst of worst-case scenarios. But for a young boy by the name of Nick Vujicic [pronounced, “VOY-yitch-itch], this nightmare was real.

Nick was born with no arms and no legs. Let that sink in for a moment. He was born with no arms and no legs. What you and I could not imagine facing for one month or one day, Nick was facing for his entire life. By the age of 8, the darkness of his circumstances was about to swallow him. “I have no life,” he thought. “I’ll never get married. I’ll never be able to do anything. I’ll never be able to be anything. I have no life.”

Fast forward 25 years. Today, Nick travels around the world giving motivational speeches to children, adults, business leaders, prisoners and everyone in-between. He’s a college graduate. He drives a car. He goes fishing. He records music. He plays soccer. He swims. And he’s married and the father of a young son.

What happened? What made such a difference? Nick’s physical circumstances did not change. He still has no arms and no legs. What made the difference was the gospel. What made the difference was Jesus Christ.

Through the message of sins forgiven and new life in Jesus, Nick came to see his life very differently. As a redeemed child of God through faith in his Savior, Nick recognized that he had a unique opportunity to encourage others with the good news of Christ. Now his heart overflows in thankfulness. As Nick likes to say, “I’ve never met a thankful person who was bitter. And I’ve never met a bitter person who was thankful.”

Don’t misunderstand. Nick’s life is still difficult. It’s still full of struggle. But seeing his life as Jesus sees his life has made all the difference. That is what makes all the difference for you and me too.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, as I struggle through this world, open my eyes to see my life as you see my life. Empower me to live a life that proclaims 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 - March 3, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - March 2, 2015

Mon, Mar 02, 2015

He [Jesus] then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Out of my sight, Satan!" he said. You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Mark 8:31-33

Understanding the Mind of God

There are some who think they know the mind of God. Unfortunately, the Scriptures testify to something completely different. "Who has known the mind of the Lord?" is the question posed by the apostle Paul (Romans 11:34). This was the lesson Peter needed to learn, and which Jesus offered through his rebuke.

It is a lesson which I need to learn as well. I may be tempted to think I know what God is doing. I may even be tempted to think I know better than God. This is extremely foolish and short-sighted. God's ways are beyond my understanding, and this should lead me to confess in all humility, God knows more than me.

Jesus made it clear why he came to suffer, be killed and rise again. It was the work his Father sent him to accomplish. While Jesus was always focused on the "big picture" of God's plan, Peter was satisfied with things just the way they were. He enjoyed the position into which Jesus brought him, and he decided it was his responsibility to change Jesus' mind. How foolish Peter was, and there are times when I can be just as foolish.

I need to open my eyes to see what God has revealed in his Word. Jesus came to seek and to save all who were lost. This is why he had to suffer, die and rise again. Jesus came so that through faith I could live a life of confidence and peace. Through Jesus, I know I am reconciled to God. Through Jesus, I know I am released from the guilt of my sin. Through Jesus, I know I am guided, guarded and preserved by God's wisdom. It is this understanding of what God has revealed which gives me the confidence to accept he knows what is best for me.

Yes, I may never completely understand how and why God works.  I do know this, he is always compassionate and faithful, and he always has good things in mind for me.

Prayer: 

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 429, verse 1):
What God ordains is always good; his will is just and holy.
As he directs my life for me, I follow meek and lowly.
My God indeed in every need knows well how he will shield me;
To him, then, I will yield me.

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 - March 2, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - March 1, 2015

Sun, Mar 01, 2015

Jesus came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?" Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back." "I have no husband," she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true." "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

John 4:5-26


There was probably one main reason why the woman went to the well at noon. Most women would go to the well early in the morning or later in the evening when it was cool, but this Samaritan woman didn’t want to have to deal with the other women. It wasn’t worth the hassle. All that they would do is ridicule her anyway.

This nameless Samaritan woman had a tough life, and most of it, she would have to admit, was her own fault. One of her most obvious flaws was that she confused love and sex. She had been married five times and was with number six in some sort of a “live-in” relationship that really wasn’t going anywhere. She tried to show love and affection, but the vicious cycle of rejection just seemed to pull her down over and over again. She would find a man and fall in love with him. In an attempt to keep him, she would sleep with him. He would use her for a short period of time, even marry her, and then move on to someone else. She was looking for love in all the wrong places.

But on this day a lonely woman from the town of Sychar met a man who would show her what love truly is. Jesus showed her true love by offering something with no strings attached. He offered “living water”–an eternal relationship with the true God. She had a vague knowledge of God and believed he would give her answers. She knew God would send the Christ to make things clear. On this day Jesus revealed himself as the Christ, and in him she found the love and acceptance that she so desperately needed.

Jesus also wants to cultivate and foster a relationship with us. Who of us has never felt the emptiness of a broken relationship or the sting of rejection? Haven’t we felt the guilt and shame of past wrongs? It is to hurting people like you and me that Jesus promises “living water”. He offers forgiveness through his payment for sin on the cross.  Not only do we enjoy forgiveness, but also God’s love and a personal relationship with him. He talks to us through his Word. We talk to him in prayer.  

At times you may feel alone, but remember that you never really are. Jesus is always there with living water. You never need to be thirsty again.

Prayer: 

Savior, quench my spiritual thirst with the living water of your love and forgiveness.  Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This devotion was taken from the Daily Devotion archive.


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 - March 1, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 28, 2015

Sat, Feb 28, 2015

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." … Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

Romans 4:1-3,16-17


God picked Abraham, who was born hundreds of years after the Flood, for a special purpose. God said, “... all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:3).  God had planned from the beginning to send this world a Savior who would be born to Abraham’s family line. Of course, Abraham didn’t know the when or the where, but God worked a beautiful thing in his heart: “Abraham believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” He believed God’s promise and God gave him the promised Savior’s perfect holiness and heaven.

From then on, every Jewish person knew they had Abraham’s blood in them. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, they made his blood more important than his faith. The writer of the book of Romans, the apostle Paul, was such a man during his early years. Proud of his bloodline, he also believed that he was earning more favor with God because he did Jewish things, such as following the Old Testament laws regarding what to eat and wear and how to worship, etc.

That is, until he met Jesus, the only perfect person to ever live on this earth. Suddenly he could see how blinded he had been by the traditions and false teachings that had been handed down to him. He could see that God’s Law convicts every one of us—we are all crooks in God’s perfect sight. The Holy Spirit brought Paul to believe in Jesus as his own Savior. He once said of all the traditions and his superficial obedience to rules, “I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” (Philippians 3:8-9). It makes no difference if you’re Jew or Gentile. Faith in Jesus Christ…alone…is what brings us God’s gracious gift of heaven. No one else died and rose again for our sins.

Heritages can be a good thing. If you’ve traced your family history back to Europe in the 1300’s and have found some royalty among your forebears, it connects you, and gives you a better sense of who you are (horse thieves notwithstanding). But it can become a false hope, if, for instance, your mother was a faithful, devoted Christian or your grandfather was a pastor and you are expecting that your connection with them puts you in God’s favor. The same is true for those who swallow the popular “traditional” belief that if we “try to live a good life” we will all end up in heaven some day.

It’s not Abraham’s nor anyone else’s blood in our bodies that saves us, nor the flawed lives we live. Only the blood of Jesus ON us by grace through faith can do that. Such faith makes Abraham our father. His faith looked ahead, ours looks back. Our family line meets at Jesus.

Prayer: 

Dear Holy Spirit, thank you for bringing me to believe in Jesus as my Savior through your holy Word and sacraments.  Please help me to appreciate always the rich faith heritage I have together with father Abraham.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This devotion was taken from the Daily Devotion archive.


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 - February 28, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 27, 2015

Fri, Feb 27, 2015

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2


I have a friend I would love to give away.

She is a nice enough woman. Her only problem? She thinks she is an expert in everything. She was married for only a few years, but she knows how to fix every marriage problem. She never had any children, but she knows exactly what will make Johnny behave. She knows the best solution to every problem in the world. In her great generosity, she is more than willing to share her wisdom with anyone who asks. She even shares her wisdom with those who don’t ask!

Ever know someone like her? Not the easiest to love!

People who are self-absorbed and think they know everything irritate me. As the saying goes–people who think they know everything annoy those of us who really do!

It does not matter how much she annoys me with her attitude or her actions. God commands me to bear with her in love. He commands me to patiently endure her lectures, put up with her attitudes, love her just like Jesus loved me. Anything less and I have sinned.

I have sinned. I have no excuse.

No matter what annoys us, God commands us to put up with each other in love. Not in grouchiness, not in rolling our eyes, but in love.

Just like Jesus bears with us in love.

Don’t you think we annoy Jesus? How often in prayer have we told him just how he should run things, without seriously deferring to his wisdom as God? We think the wisdom he puts in the Bible is OK, but ours is better. Those who think they know everything annoy the God who really does!

Yet he loves us. He forgives us. Day after day, he loves you and me. We tell him what to do. He patiently listens to us, incorporates our ideas when he can, and always answers us in love. He guides our lives so we never suffer the full consequences of our arrogant stupidity. He keeps pulling us back to himself. He enjoys listening to our thoughts and our prayers. He looks for every chance to share his thoughts with us through the Bible. He keeps dealing with us in love. He never tries to give us away. He just keeps forgiving us for the sake of Jesus and doing what is best for us.

He really does bear with us in love!

Prayer: 

Jesus, thanks for not treating me the way I deserve. Forgive me for thinking I’m smarter than you. Forgive me for becoming impatient with others who think they are smarter than I. Help me bear with them in love, just like you have done with me! 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 - February 27, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 26, 2015

Thu, Feb 26, 2015

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

Matthew 6:24


Many people pray that the Lord would allow them to win the lottery. It seems like such a good solution to life’s problems! People imagine that if they had all of that money, their needs would be met and their cares would disappear.

Lottery winners generally tell a different story. Their needs seem never-ending, and their cares multiply.  How can that be?

In today’s Bible verse, Jesus explains that money is really a master. If you serve it, you depend on it as the answer to everything, and you spend all of your time trying to accumulate more of it. You trust it to give you everything you need, and when you realize that you still are not happy, you figure that you just need more. When that does not work, you are tempted to despair, to hate and despise God, because he has not blessed you with everything you desire.

By contrast, when you serve God, you realize that money is a gift to be used to his glory. You take care of your obligations and your family. You figure out how to use your money to promote the gospel, which promises you forgiveness of sins and peace through Jesus Christ. You come to hate and despise the love of money as “a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). You gain a perspective on life that can only come through service to God.

Christians pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and they trust that God will take care of their monetary and other physical needs, day by day.

Prayer: 

Day by day, your mercies, Lord, attend me, bringing me comfort to my anxious soul. Savior, lead me to the home I treasure, where at last I’ll find eternal rest. 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 - February 26, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 25, 2015

Wed, Feb 25, 2015

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

Genesis 22:1-18

What Would you be Willing to Give?

Abraham was a better man than I am! That’s not a difficult statement to make (and it’s even less difficult for those who know me!) This story from the life of faithful Abraham is always a humbling one for me. I remember holding my firstborn daughter in my hands and thinking that I wouldn’t trade her for anything. I’m not sure I would give her up, even if God asked me to. And I didn’t have to wait 25 years for her to be born. She was a blessing from God but she was no miracle child!

Isaac was all of those things and yet Abraham was willing to serve the Lord by offering him up at God’s command.

There are so many things less valuable than a child’s life that God asks us to give to him and that we refuse to give: Daily time to read his word! A first-fruits offering befitting a king! A generous portion of our time to serve him and others in his name! My “me-centered” attitudes and actions!

God asks us to give those things up and we selfishly hold on to them. And for that we deserve to have God let go of us. We deserve to be sacrificed for our sins. We deserve to die!

But the same thing that saved Isaac saves us: “The Lord will provide!” The Lord provided a lamb for our sacrifice—the Lamb of God. Jesus laid down on the altar of the cross so that we would be forgiven. For the times that we aren’t willing to give up the things that God desires of us, Jesus gave up life itself, so that we could be raised with him and that heaven could be ours.

Now we can serve the Lord with our obedience. Like Abraham, we can sacrifice whatever God desires and can be glad to do it, knowing that we are worshipping and praising the God who gave up much more for us!

Today and every day, rejoice—the Lord has provided for you!!

Prayer: 

Thank you Lord, for giving up so much and sacrificing your Son so that we could be saved. Thank you for your love and your plan of salvation to bring us to your side in heaven. Help us to honor you with our lives and with our proclamation of your love, that many more might hear, believe and be saved. 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 - February 25, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 24, 2015

Tue, Feb 24, 2015

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39

More than Conquerors through Christ

In the book of 2 Kings chapter 6, there is a story about God’s prophet Elisha. The king of one of Israel’s neighbors was quite upset with Elisha and sent a large force of soldiers to capture him while he stayed in a town called Dothan. Those soldiers surrounded the town overnight. Early in the morning, Elisha’s servant got up and saw that they were surrounded by enemies. What would they do? There was no way out. Surely he and his master would be captured. So he ran to tell Elisha the bad news. Yet Elisha calmly said, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16). Then Elisha prayed that God would open the servant’s eyes so that he could see why Elisha was able to make such a claim. At once, the servant saw an angelic host, horses and chariots of fire, all around Elisha. God was with his prophet.

What force can stand against God?

That is the question the apostle Paul poses in Romans 8:31 when he writes, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Do you ever feel like Elisha’s servant: outmatched and outnumbered by sin and temptation? Are you overcome with worries and doubts of all sorts? “Does God still care about me? Does he still love me? Will he still provide for me even though I’ve failed to trust in him time after time? Will he forgive me for hurtful words I speak, for terrible things I do? Will he bring me through trying times in my life?”

Here’s the wonderful truth: God is for us. The proof of that is found in the fact that he sent his Son, Jesus, to save you from sin. He didn’t spare his own Son, but gave him up on the cross to forgive your sins and make you his very own. And if that is the length to which God goes for you, then as Paul asks, “Who can be against us?” The answer? No one! Nothing! Not even Satan himself! The same Savior who gave his life for you is always pleading for you on heaven’s throne. Forgiveness is yours through faith in Jesus. Heaven is your eternal home through faith in Jesus. In everything, you are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you. God himself has seen to it.

No force can stand against God!

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, when I struggle with sin and temptation, doubt and fear, remind me that you gave your Son, Jesus, to save me from sin and death. Strengthen my faith in Jesus and assure me that nothing can separate me from your love shown to me in him. 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 - February 24, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 23, 2015

Mon, Feb 23, 2015

At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Mark 1:12-15

Battling Sin

When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, heaven was torn open and the Spirit of God descended on him like a dove. Then a voice spoke from heaven saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). If you didn’t know the story, what would you expect to happen next? Maybe that crowds of people would rush from Jerusalem, set Jesus in a golden chariot, and proclaim him “King of kings and Lord of lords.” This was God’s Son—the Promised Messiah! But that’s not what happened. Instead Jesus was immediately sent out into the wilderness to suffer and struggle. The battle had begun, and for the next forty days he fought against the temptations of Satan.

It’s been said that those who resist temptation suffer much more than those who give in to it. That’s because once you give into a temptation the urge, the burn, and the struggle ends. However, if you never give in, it continues to burn. The writer to the Hebrews gives us insight into this battle: “[Jesus] has been tempted in every way just as we are—yet he was without sin” (4:15).  Jesus never gave in.

During the season of Lent we consider our Savior’s battle and our own battle with sin. As you think of your life, how many times have you lost that battle? How many times have you given into sin without the least bit of struggle? How many times have you fought for a while but then willingly surrendered? The message that Jesus proclaimed as he went into Galilee is the same message each one of us needs to hear: “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Don’t treat sin lightly. See it for what it is—Satan’s attempt to rip you away from God. Repent of your failures, but don’t despair. Repent and believe the good news.

The battle that Jesus fought in the wilderness would end at the cross of Calvary. And it wasn’t just for him! The apostle Paul proclaims that “through the obedience of the one man [Jesus] the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19b). Jesus’ victory over sin was for you. Because of this victory he calls you into his kingdom as one who has been redeemed, restored, and forgiven. Now empowered by your Savior’s love, you can go and fight confidently against temptation.

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, help me to remember the victory you have won for me, so that empowered by your forgiveness, I may daily take up the battle against sin in my life. 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 - February 23, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 22, 2015

Sun, Feb 22, 2015

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

Matthew 4:1


There are people who are willing to put themselves into harm’s way. These people recognize the serious nature of their commitment and understand the potential consequences. They are ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and security of others.  

There is a special debt of gratitude these people deserve–military personnel, fire fighters, members of law enforcement, even emergency medical technicians. Without their willingness to serve, and their readiness to sacrifice everything, our lives would be much more difficult. The same can be said about Jesus, and the debt of gratitude I owe him.

When I read Matthew’s account of Jesus’ temptation, I might wonder, “Why would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil? Why would he put Jesus into harm’s way?” The answer has everything to do with my rescue from sin and my freedom from the controlling power of the devil.

Because I am a sinner from birth (Psalm 51:5), it is impossible for me to defeat the devil. So great is his power over me that I would always succumb to his attacks. It is because of my weakness that God the Father had his Son come to this earth, take on my flesh and blood, and become my substitute. This meant Jesus had to live under all of God’s righteousness requirements (Galatians 4:4-5). It also meant Jesus had to put himself into harm’s way.

In order to free me from the devil’s control, Jesus had to subject himself to temptation. Every cunning act, every lie and deception, every powerful ploy, Jesus undertook on my behalf. What was impossible for me, Jesus accomplished perfectly and without sin (Hebrews 4:14-15). He overcame the devil’s attacks and secured the complete victory on my behalf. He now offers me the ability to live a self-controlled, upright and godly life (Titus 2:11-12).

It is because of Jesus’ work that my life has been changed. I am spared from the devil’s cruel and controlling ways. I am at peace with God through my Savior’s perfect obedience. I am safe and secure because Jesus put himself into harm’s way to rescue me.

Prayer: 

O blessed Jesus, you are my Refuge, my Strength, and my never-failing Help. Daily be with me to protect me and to bless me through your victory over the devil. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This devotion was taken from the Daily Devotion archive.


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 - February 22, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 21, 2015

Sat, Feb 21, 2015

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:12-19


Your DNA (the information code that God employs to define every cell in your body) is exposed to damage from things such as sunlight, X-rays, hurtful chemicals in food, and the environment . . . and perhaps even by your cell phone. The result is that each cell has to repair as many as 500,000 DNA lesions every single day! As part of our miraculous design, each cell has an extensive repair "factory" that copies "good" DNA and uses that model to repair the damaged DNA at amazing speed. Normally, that speed slows down as we age, which marks the beginning of medical problems. Ultimately, in every case, the DNA break-down is so complete that every one of us will finally die.

God didn't design us to die. It was Adam and Eve's sinful decision to break God's command in Eden's garden that introduced a fatal infection into our DNA and reached all the way into our souls, affecting our thoughts, decisions, actions, health, and life. Even before the Ten Commandments were given, people were breaking them all of the time.

Adam's sin keeps getting passed down from one generation to the next. Our children are born as sinners because we gave them our sinful nature. But Jesus gave a far greater gift. He earned a perfect grade on his life by never once sinning. Then, he offered up his perfect life on the cross as payment for not just one sin, but for the billions of sins committed since Adam! And having purchased forgiveness for them all, he gives it to you and me and the whole world for free, a gift of his grace. His gift is so big that everyone, including Adam himself, received God's own stamp of "Holy" because God looked at us through Jesus, and saw nothing but "righteousness." Through faith in Jesus, when he calls us home to heaven, we will have new eternal bodies with perfect DNA! 

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, thank you for the huge gift you have given me in reversing the effects of our sin-damaged DNA by giving me eternal life through faith in you. Walk with me each day and keep me always aware of the eternity that's coming. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This devotion was taken from the Daily Devotion archive.


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 - February 21, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 20, 2015

Fri, Feb 20, 2015

Jesus replied:" Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

Matthew 22:37-39


These commands of Jesus are hard; they are so hard to follow that it can be depressing.

Take my neighbor in the apartment above me. He plays awful sounding music so loud my dishes on the shelf rattle at 2 a.m.! I’m supposed to love him as much as myself? Then there’s the neighbor down the street who went to jail for hurting little boys in terrible ways. God commands me to love him as much as I love myself? ISIS has burned people alive. I’m supposed to love those terrorist as myself? Without hesitation, God says, “Yes. Love them as you love yourself.”

The first commandment is even harder! “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

God doesn’t command me to love the god I’ve dreamed up—the sweet, kind, divine grandfather who just winks at my sins.

God commands me to love him, the true God.  With soul-penetrating eyes, God sees my imperfection, my greed, my selfishness, and threatens to damn me to hell. I’m to love this God every moment for all my life with all my being? Without hesitation, God says, “Yes. Love me above all!”

I can’t. I can’t love the holy God with everything I am. I can’t love all my neighbors as myself.

Jesus could and did. He loved the Pharisee who was trying to discredit him with trick questions. He loved Judas while Judas leaned forward to betray Jesus with a kiss. He loved the soldiers as they pounded the nails through his hands and feet into the cross. He loves you and me, even at our worst. He loves us as himself.

He loved God with all his being. When the Father damned his Son on the cross for our sins, abandoned him, and unleashed on Jesus all his righteous anger for all sins of all people, Jesus kept on loving his Father with all his heart, soul, and mind.

In love, Jesus tells the Father to give us the recognition for Jesus’ perfect love. The Father has agreed to treat us as if we had loved our neighbor perfectly and our God with all our being. Jesus worked so hard to be perfect, and in the end he gives that love to you and me.
How much he must love us!

Prayer: 

Jesus, thanks for loving me so much that you took away my sins and gave me credit for your perfect love. 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 - February 20, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 19, 2015

Thu, Feb 19, 2015

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:18-19


There can be a lot of fear in our relationships. We fear that the other person will find out who we really are. We fear that we do not really know the other person. We fear that we will be misunderstood, or that we will disappoint the other person.

There can be a lot of fear in our relationship with God. We fear that he will punish us when we fail to follow his Word. We fear that we misunderstand what he wants and that he will be disappointed. We fear that we have not been good enough, and that we will end up in hell as a result.

God’s perfect love for us drives out those fears. God promises that he has punished his own Son, Jesus, for our sins, so he will not punish us with hell. Instead, in his perfect love, he promises us heaven through faith in Jesus, and tells us, “Don’t be afraid.” The perfect forgiveness we have through Jesus takes away our fears.

That perfect love leads us to love God. Even though he is holy, he has reached down to us unholy people and lived with us in the person of Jesus Christ. Today he promises to be with us wherever we go, wherever we live.

That perfect love also leads us to love other people. Because God has forgiven us, we do not withhold our forgiveness from others. When we need the strength to show that love and forgiveness, even to people who don’t deserve it, we remember that God has loved us and forgiven us even when we don’t deserve it, and we are moved to love.

We love because he first loved us.

Prayer: 

Lord of life and love, take away our fears, and give us confidence to live our lives for you in love for one another. 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 - February 19, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 18, 2015

Wed, Feb 18, 2015

When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?” “Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “but do not speak of it.” … As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more.

2 Kings 2:1-3, 11-12a

It’s God’s Church

When it becomes clear that a loved one is being called home to heaven, family crowds around and wants to spend as much time as they can with their dear one. They won’t leave; they’ll sleep at the hospital if they have to, just to squeeze as many cherished memories and share as many moments as they can.

That’s kind of the scene that we see with Elijah and Elisha. Elisha was the new prophet, called to replace Elijah. Elisha was aware that the Lord was going to take Elijah. So he stayed close to Elijah to soak up as much wisdom and knowledge and love as he could from his predecessor.

The ministry continues. It passes from one generation to the next, from one minister to the next. And that happens really, because it’s God’s Church. He ensures that his Word will remain and that the next generation will continue to hear his saving Word.

Sometimes we might wonder what God is doing in our lives or in the life of the Church. Elijah was the best prophet around—why would God take him home to heaven when there was so much ministry work still to be done? Why would God give me this sickness when it makes it harder for me to serve him? Why would God allow this hardship to come my way? How can that be good for me? How can it be good for his Church?

As sinners, we often question God’s timing and his plans, but God is in control. He’s got his plan for your life, for the lives of your family, and yes for the life of his Church. He will work it out for your good and for the benefit of his saints on earth. He does all things out of love and in a desire that more and more hear that Jesus is their Savior.

He might do it through pain, persecution, and maybe through the death of one of his saints. But we know that he is always in control, and we know that he knows what’s best. We know that he is arranging all things that he might one day carry us, like he did Elijah, from this vale of tears to his side in glory.

Until that day comes, let’s serve him. Let’s use all that we have and all that we are to bring him honor and glory in this world. Let’s tell as many as we can of God’s love, that there may be more and more gathered to his side in heaven.

Prayer: 

Lord God, thank you for faithful ministers of your Word, like Elijah and Elisha. Help me minister to people, too, that those in my life might know of your love for them and might have a glorious and heavenly future. 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 - February 18, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 17, 2015

Tue, Feb 17, 2015

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2

Bold in the Gospel

What makes a person bold? A husband and wife can go to the bank to secure a mortgage for purchasing their first home because their credit score is top notch. An athlete can go into the big game with boldness because he has put in hours of training, practice and preparation. A young aspiring business professional walks into his interview with boldness because he has a shiny new degree from a prestigious university.

But what makes us bold as Christians? When we look at what God’s law has to say, we have no right to be bold because it shows us that we are sinners who deserve God’s judgment and punishment. Surely a sinful human being cannot be bold before a holy God. Our boldness does not come from God’s law, but from the gospel. God’s gospel tells us that our sins are forgiven in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus our Savior. The Bible says, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Through that message, the Holy Spirit works saving faith in our hearts and thus sets us free from the curse of sin. So we can be bold not because of what we have done or can do, but because of what Jesus has done for us!

That freedom and hope also makes us bold to share the wonderful news of the gospel with others, just as Paul did. We dare not change it or speak falsely about it.  We set forth the truths of God’s law and gospel plainly because, “…the gospel…is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

So be bold. Know that in Jesus, your sins are forgiven and through faith in him you are made a dear child of your heavenly Father. Then share that gospel message boldly that others may hear it and be saved. Be bold in the gospel!

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, in you and your work of salvation alone do I have freedom from sin and the hope of eternal life. Strengthen my faith in you and make me bold to serve you with my life. 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 - February 17, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 16, 2015

Mon, Feb 16, 2015

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, 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 to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Mark 9:2-9

A Glimpse of Glory sustains our Faith

Can you really blame Peter for wanting to stay on that high mountain? After years of following Jesus, now he was finally allowed to see his true glory as the Son of God. Jesus’ face shone like the sun and his clothes were gleaming white. Then as if it couldn’t get any better, Moses and Elijah, two heroes of the Old Testament show up and by their very presence put God’s stamp of approval on the Savior’s life and mission. There was no more worrying, no more wondering, no more doubting. Just Jesus revealing himself as God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.

Who would want to leave such a place? This is religion just how we want it—power, glory, peace. Peter wanted it all right then and there. But isn’t this what we want too? No more uncertainty. No more rejection. No more broken hearts, pain, failure, disappointment, loneliness, or death. Just glory. Just basking in Jesus’ glory and experiencing the peace that transcends all understanding.

But Jesus had to leave that mountain. He had to leave because his mission was not finished. He needed to carry out God’s plan of salvation and die for sinners, so that this glimpse of glory that Peter and the others experienced on the mountain could last for an eternity in heaven. So driven by love, Jesus descended that Mount of Glory and walked willingly to that Mount of Shame where he suffered and died for our sins.

Like Peter, we may want the glory right now. We might want to be done with all of the pain and suffering and sadness of this world, but it’s not time yet. Right now it is God’s will that we live by faith in his Son. Through the Word we too have witnessed Jesus’ glory on the mountain, and even more than that, we have seen his glory as our risen and ascended Lord. This glimpse of glory is what sustains us through difficult days here on earth and assures us of an eternal glory that will never end with Jesus in heaven.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord of glory, help me to patiently bear the difficulties and sadness of this world as I keep my eyes fixed on you and await the eternal glory to come. 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 - February 16, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - February 15, 2015

Sun, Feb 15, 2015

“Seek first your heavenly Father’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33

First Things First

Ted had a saying for just about everything.  His friends thought of him as a modern Benjamin Franklin.  What impressed them the most was the common sense he used before offering one of his sayings.  His friends also noted that although he had many gems to share, his favorite was, “First things first.” 

Like Ted, most people have a gem of wisdom they regularly use and upon which they rely.  It would be safe to say, “First things first,” is pretty common.  The thinking behind this saying recognizes the need to set priorities and then address each of them according to its importance.

Whether one uses the actual words, or it is just common sense, it does seem to work.  When one remembers first things first, it does bring a sense of order and balance to life.  This is especially important when it comes to making daily decisions that influence my spiritual life.

I need the reminder Jesus offers because it is so easy to overlook, even omit spiritual priorities.  I may be great on maintaining my priorities between work and home.  I may even be very good on keeping my priorities as a parent and a spouse.  I can look at practically every aspect of my life and say with some certainty, “I have my priorities right.”  Unfortunately, the one thing often missing is my relationship with the Lord.

There is a great danger in excluding the Lord from the position he deserves.  It leads to problems which result in disappointment, even discouragement.  If left unaddressed, it could lead to despair.

This is why I need to remember Jesus’ simple words, “Seek first.”  He doesn’t say ignore everything else.  He does say, “first things first.”  This starts by having the right relationship with him.  The first step is to have a solid foundation in his Word – daily reading, studying and applying it to my life.  A second step is a life of repentance and forgiveness – daily coming before his cross to receive the benefits of his suffering and death.  A third step is to recognize the peace he offers – daily trusting in his never-failing promises.  When I put the Lord first and seek what he offers as my top priority, I will be able to meet every challenge of the day.  I will also be able to find calm when everything appears to be out of control.

Jesus’ words are precious, and I need to take them to heart. Then, when I set my priorities and put first things first, he is always first on the list.

Prayer: 

O gracious Savior, you deserve to be the first priority in my life.  Strengthen my faith through the working of your Word, so that I can faithfully follow you, love you without rival, and trust in you above all things. Amen.

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Devotion - February 15, 2015 --Daily Devotion